"Tokyo Electric says fuel rods at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant have been damaged, releasing five kinds of radioactive material and contaminating seawater nearby.
The acknowledgements from the utility indicate poisons emanating from the plant may be spreading through the air and sea, raising concern over the safety of seafood from the coast of north-eastern Japan and agriculture in the region.
The decay of radioactive fuel rods, composed of uranium and plutonium, was suspected by company officials five days after the March 11 magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami off the main island of Honshu.
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The disclosures on the spread of radiation were made in a press briefing after midnight Tokyo time and in a press release this morning.
Iodine-131 was detected at 127 times normal levels from sample water taken at 2.30pm yesterday, while caesium-134 levels were 25 times normal and caesium-137 was at 17 times normal, Tepco said on its website."