"TOKYO – Highly toxic plutonium is seeping from the damaged nuclear power plant in Japan's tsunami disaster zone into the soil outside, officials said Tuesday, heightening concerns about the expanding spread of radiation.
Plutonium was detected at several spots outside the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant — the first confirmed presence of the dangerously radioactive substance, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
There are strong indications some of the radioactivity is coming from damaged nuclear fuel rods, a worrying development in the race to bring the power plant under control, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Tuesday.
'The situation is very grave," Edano told reporters. "We are doing our utmost efforts to contain the damage.'"
"Japan Tries to Stem Leak of Radioactive Water" (New York Times)
"US Experts: Significant Water Contamination in Japan" (Reuters)
"At Plant, Toxic Pools Threaten to Spill" (Wall St. Journal)
"Japan Nuclear: PM Naoto Kan Signals 'Maximum Alert'" (BBC News)