Amid efforts to stabilise Japan's tsunami-stricken Fukushima plant, radiation levels have surged in seawater near the nuclear reactors, as workers tried to remove contaminated water from it, officials said on Saturday.
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that tests have shown radioactive iodine had surged 1,250 times higher than normal in the seawater some 330 metres south of the plant as the operator started pumping in fresh water into the No. 2 reactor core to enhance the cooling of its overheated fuel rods.
The level rose to its highest so far after staying around levels 100 times over the legal limit, said Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima plant, 250-km north-east of capital Tokyo.
It is highly likely that radioactive water in the plant has disembogued into the sea, said TEPCO.
However, the safety agency said the contamination will not have significant impact on fishery products as fishing is not conducted in the area within 20 kilometers of the plant with the government already issuing a directive for residents in the area to evacuate.