Japan: Radioactive Strontium Discovered in Seawater

Tokyo, June 13 (Prensa Latina) Japanese experts discovered high levels of radioactive strontium in seawater near the Fukushima nuclear plant, seriously damaged by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima plant, declared this was the first time since the disaster that rates higher than the safety standard have been reported.

Strontium is a chemical element absorbed by the body naturally, and in its stable form can be beneficial. However, when generated by the fission of uranium atoms, it can be dangerous, because it can accumulate in the bones and pose a risk of bone cancer and leukemia.

The compound also has been detected in towns close to the nuclear plant, though the highest concentrations were registered in the towns of Namie and Iitate, both within the 20-kilometer restricted zone surrounding the Fukushima facility.

Strontium also was found in the city of Fukushima, the provincial capital, 60 kilometers from the nuclear plant, where it was carried by northwesterly winds.

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