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Regulator: Radioactive seawater off Japan

TOKYO, March 26 (UPI) -- Seawater near Japan's damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima is highly radioactive, the country's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Saturday.

Also Saturday, Yukio Edano, Japan's chief Cabinet secretary and government spokesman, suggested Tokyo Electric Power has been dilatory in providing information on the crisis, Kyodo News Service reported. He urged the company to be more forthcoming.

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The nuclear agency said radioactive iodine-131 was found at a concentration 1,250 times the legal limit Friday near the drains of the four reactors battered this month by an earthquake and tsunami.

However, the agency said the sea would "significantly dilute" the radiation and because an area about 15 miles in all directions is under evacuation orders, there wouldn't be any fishing in the area.

Engineers at the plant succeeded in restoring power to the control room at the No. 2 reactor Saturday. That left one of the six reactors, No. 4, still without electric lights in its control room, Kyodo said.

Meanwhile, the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said it had changed to using fresh water from seawater to hose the reactor cores and spent fuel areas, the report said. The company said there were concerns salt from the seawater was building up a crust that reduced cooling effects and water flow.

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Edano told a news conference it was too early to forecast a date when the reactors, which have been rendered useless, would be stabilized.

"The current situation is that we are preventing it from worsening," he said.

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