TOKYO - Japan pledged a renewed push to contain potentially hazardous leaks at Fukushima on Tuesday after the operator of the crippled plant reported spiking levels of radiation in groundwater.
Late on Monday, two days after Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Olympics, plant operator TEPCO announced samples taken from a well at the site showed the presence of radioactive substances, including strontium, a known carcinogen.
Reports said the utility believed it "now seems more likely" that leaks from tanks storing highly polluted water had made their way into subterranean water, which flows out to sea.
In a release, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said groundwater showed radiation readings of 3,200 becquerels per litre.
The contamination level compares with government limits of 100 becquerels per kilogramme in food and 10 becquerels per litre in drinking water.
Experts say, if consumed, strontium accumulates in bones and can cause cancer.
The continuing nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima has come under the international spotlight in recent weeks as Tokyo fought off challenges from Madrid and Istanbul for the right to host the 2020 Games.
Speaking to Olympic chiefs in Buenos Aires ahead of their decision to award the Games to Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the situation at Fukushima was "under control".