Japan's nuclear and industrial safety agency today said that levels of radioactive iodine in seawater just offshore of the embattled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant spiked to more than 1,250 times higher than normal.
Samples taken yesterday morning at a monitoring station 330 metres off the coast showed significantly higher levels of radioactivity than the previous mornings' results when the level was 104 time above normal.
The measurements also reveal that high levels of cesium in samples taken outside the discharge canal for the Nos 1,2, 3 and 4 reactors at the plant.
Readings taken a short distance away, outside the Nos5 and 6 units' discharge canal, showed lower but still high radioactive iodine levels around 284 times above normal.
According to experts at the Tokyo Electric Power Co which operates the nuclear plant, the high levels suggest a direct leakage into the ocean.
According to a company official who spoke to CNN the authorities were not sure of the reason for the spike in the levels. The official said the radioactive iodine may have been swept off the coast recently into the Pacific Ocean or the tainted water may have seeped from turbine buildings for two nuclear reactors that have shown the presence of radiation 10,000 times the normal amount.