- Tokyo Electric Power Company has asked independent research
centers to check if radioactive substances from the Fukushima plant contain
highly toxic plutonium.
- The company says it expects the results will be available
within several days.
- The nuclear power plant continues to emit radioactive
materials that may include plutonium.
- Plutonium is a radioactive element that is produced when
uranium fission occurs in a reactor core.
- So far, the utility firm has not detected plutonium through
its own methods.
- It took soil samples from the plant's compound on March
21 and 22 and sent them to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Japan
Chemical Analysis Center for examination.
- Plutonium is formed at power plants that use conventional
uranium fuel. The No.3 reactor of the Fukushima plant uses mixed oxide
fuel, or MOX fuel, which contains uranium blended with plutonium extracted
from spent nuclear fuel.
- Radioactivity from plutonium can be blocked by human
skin or paper. But if the substance is inhaled or ingested, it remains
in the body for a long time and can cause cancer.
- The power company plans to conduct checks twice a week
to determine if the plant's soil is contaminated with plutonium.
- Sunday, March 27, 2011 22:02 +0900 (JST)