More than two years after disaster struck the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, TEPCO has confirmed what pretty much everybody thought: radioactive water that leaked from the wrecked reactors is believed to have seeped into the underground water system, TEPCO officials finally admitted today at a regular news conference. Japan's nuclear watchdog said two weeks ago a leak was highly suspected and ordered TEPCO to examine the problem. But with today's admission came a lot of tempering, per the TEPCO rep:
He said the company believes the radioactive elements detected in water samples are believed to largely come from initial leaks, and said the leak has stayed near the plant inside the bay, with very little spreading further into the Pacific Ocean. As the AP points out, the problem has long been suspected by nuclear officials and experts, and only adds to the grief TEPCO has gotten for delaying the revelation of issues related to the plant. On that note, the company today was admonished for not disclosing earlier that the number of plant workers with thyroid radiation exposures exceeding threshold levels for increased cancer risks wasn't 178 workers—it was 1,972.