As Typhoon Hagibis hammered Japan on Saturday, thousands of bags containing radioactive waste at Fukushima were reportedly carried into a local stream by floodwaters.
Experts warn the radioactive bags could have a devastating environmental impact across the entire Pacific region, reports Taiwan News.
According to Asahi Shimbun, a temporary storage facility containing 2,667 bags storing radioactive contaminants from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were “unexpectedly inundated by floodwaters brought by Typhoon Hagibis.“
Torrential rain flooded the storage facility and released the bags into a waterway 100 meters from the site.
Officials from Tamara City in Fukushima Prefecture said that each bag is approximately one cubic meter in size.
Authorities were only able to recover six of the bags by 9 p.m. on Oct. 12 and it is uncertain how many remain unrecovered while the potential environmental fallout is being assessed.
The radioactive waste swept away by Typhoon Hagibis represents the latest setback for Fukushima officials who have struggled to adequately quarantine the radiation.
StatesmanJournal reports: Seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on the West Coast of the United States.
Cesium-134, the so-called fingerprint of Fukushima, was measured in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are reporting.
Because of its short half-life, cesium-134 can only have come from Fukushima.
Also for the first time, cesium-134 has been detected in a Canadian salmon, the Fukushima InFORM project, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, is reporting.
In both cases, levels are extremely low, the researchers said, and don’t pose a danger to humans or the environment.
Massive amounts of contaminated water were released from the crippled nuclear plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. More radiation was released to the air, then fell to the sea.
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