Nuclear experts say new findings of highly toxic plutonium in the soil outside Japan’s beleaguered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant show the crisis unleashed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami is far from over.
"Minute amounts of plutonium have been detected for the first time in soil outside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant," Japanese broadcaster NHK reported today.
Japanese researchers who analyzed roadside soil samples taken some 1.7 kilometers from the power station’s front gate on April 21 “found minute amounts of three kinds of plutonium,” NHK reported. The Japanese researchers said the quantities of plutonium found in the soil are roughly similar to that which has been found at past nuclear bomb test sites.
Plutonium is highly toxic—whether ingested or inhaled—because it emits alpha radiation “that can easily penetrate membranes inside the body,” Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Arms Control Association, told The Envoy.”