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Japan atomic leak 3 times first estimate

Sept. 11, 2011 at 10:36 AM

TOKYO, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Radiation leakage from a Japanese nuclear plant after this year's earthquake and tsunami is three times higher than first thought, officials said Sunday.

A report to be presented Sept. 19 to the Atomic Energy Society of Japan says the amount of radiation in water that leaked from damaged reactors at the Fukushima power plant and airborne radioactive materials that fell into the Pacific Ocean was three times initial estimates, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported.

A massive earthquake March 11 triggered a tsunami that did double damage to the coastal nuclear facility and caused a core meltdown in one of its six reactors.

The initial estimate of radiation leakage by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. said 4,700 terabecquerels of radioactive substances were released in liquid and vapor, although researcher Takuya Kobayashi said in his report the actual amount was closer to 15,000 terabecquerels.

The research paper said not all radioactive elements were included in the estimate, meaning the amount of radiation dispersed could be even higher.

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