Plutonium has been discovered for the first time outside Fukushima's reactor buildings. The radioactive material was found in the soil at five points of the nuclear plant.
Most probably, the plutonium comes from reactor 3, which is powered by a mix of plutonium and uranium. This finding may confirm the breach on the primary containment previously feared by authorities. The company says that this is not dangerous for the population by itself, but the implications of a breach and a partial meltdown of this reactor—which the Japanese atomic authority thinks may be underway—have yet to be established and could have catastrophic consequences in the future.
Earlier in the day, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said that they have found other indicators of a breach in primary containment: The water found on two trenches and the subterranean tunnel connecting the reactor 3 with reactor 2 is releasing 1,000 milisieverts per hour, ten times more radioactivity than normal. Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission said the water may come directly from the primary vessel, which seems like the most logical explanation.
Click to viewAnother report by ABC News says that water with high levels of radioactivity is now "uncontrollably" pouring into the ocean from inside the reactors. This report has not been confirmed by the Japanese government or TEPCO. In fact, they claim that this water—only 180 feet from the shore—has no possibility of reaching the sea.