TOKYO - (AP) - Workers have discovered new pools of radioactivewater leaking from Japan's crippled nuclear complex, and now powercompany officials say plutonium has been detected in soil outsidethe plant. Experts had expected traces of plutonium would show up oncecrews started searching for it this week. Tokyo Electric Power saysthe amount is small and does not pose a risk to public health. New readings today show ocean contamination has spread about amile farther north, though it is still within the 12-mileevacuation zone. Inside the plant, emergency crews are trying to balance twoseemingly contradictory tasks: pumping in water to cool overheatedfuel rods, while pumping out and safely storing water that's beencontaminated. Japan's nuclear safety agency describes it as"delicate work." Hundreds of tons of contaminated water has now been found in anumber of places around the complex, including the basements ofseveral buildings, but the source remains unknown. It has beenemitting radiation exposures more than four times the amount thatthe government considers safe for workers. The contaminated water needs to be removed so that crews canrestore electricity to the plant's cooling system.
Links and information for relief efforts
LI Continuing Coverage: Japan quake and aftereffects
Breach possible at troubled Japanese power plantPower lines up in progress at Japan nuclear plant