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High Levels of Toxic Radioactive Isotope Found in Fukushima Nuclear Plant Groundwater

Jun 21, 2013 13:40 IST

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan unveiled that high levels of toxic radioactive isotope were found in the groundwater at the plant.

The tests indicated that in the groundwater at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Strontium-90 was found at 30 times more than the legal rate. The radioactive isotope tritium was also found at the elevated levels.

The tsunami and earthquake in the year 2011 in Japan crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant and led to power failures as well as water leaks. Tsunami had crippled the cooling systems of the nuclear reactor, which were melted down. Water was pumped in the reactors to cool it but then Tepco faced the problem of dealing with the safety of storing the contaminated water.

Strontium-90 is formed in the form of by-product of the nuclear fission. The tests conducted by Tepco unveiled that levels of Strontium-90 at Fukushima plant increased 100 times since end of 2012. Tepco believed that the increased levels of Strontium-90 were a result of leak of contaminated water in April 2011 from one of the reactors of this nuclear plant.

On the other hand, Tritium was present at eight times more than the allowed level. Tritium is used in the glow watches. Toxic radioactive in the groundwater leads to ill effects on health as well as environment.

What are radioactive isotopes?

• Radioactive isotopes are also known as radioisotope.
• These are the any form of various species of same chemical element with different masses where the nuclei are not stable and dissipate excess energy. This excess energy is dissipated by emission of the radiation in form of beta, alpha or gamma rays.
• Every chemical can have one or more radioactive isotope.

Hazards of toxic radioactive isotopes

The air is contaminated by the radioactive isotopes in particulate form. This can cause inhalation hazard to humans.

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Read more Current Affairs on: Toxic Radioactive Isotope , Fukushima Nuclear Plant

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