Scientists detected radioactive contamination 400 miles off the coast of Japan. Readings showed that radiation levels in the area were 1,000 times higher than before, the Associated Press reported. However, the scientists said that they are actually relieved about that figure. "This is what we predicted," Hartmut Nies, of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the AP.
The radiation readings come from samples taken in June, four months after Japan's northeastern coast was hit by a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, resulting in a nuclear meltdown at Japan's Fukushima power plant. Scientists announced the findings today at the annual Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City.
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Scientist Ken Buesseler said at the meeting today that the radiation levels, though elevated, are still below levels considered harmful for marine animals or for people who want to eat fish. Though scientists consider this good news so far, Buesseler warned to the AP that "we're not over the hump" yet because of continued leaks.
Late last year, officials said that the damaged Fukushima power plant had become stable. But less than two months later, Tokyo Electric Power Co. workers spotted more radioactive leaks, the AP reported.
Japanese citizens are also still dealing with fallout from the disaster. The Associated Foreign Press reported that less than five percent of the rubble from the earthquake has been cleared so far, due to fears that the rubble is contaminated.