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Fukushima police, wearing protective clothing, searching for missing people in the Fukushima Prefecture on 16 June, 2011. Masanori Genko/The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP/Press Association Images

Fukushima clean-up suspended suddenly over rising radiation

Plant operators are still working to remove highly toxic contaminated water from the tsunami-stricken plant.

A SYSTEM to clean massive amounts of radioactive water at the site of Japan’s nuclear disaster has been shut down hours after beginning full operations.

A spokesman for the operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant said today that a cartridge in the system was supposed to last a few weeks, but reached its radioactivity limit within five hours.

The spokesman says Tokyo Electric Power Co is investigating and isn’t sure when it will restart the system.

Japan’s earthquake and tsunami knocked out the plant’s crucial cooling systems. Water is getting contaminated as it is pumped in to cool damaged reactor cores. Now some 105,000 tons of highly radioactive water have pooled across the plant, and could overflow within weeks if action is not taken.

Handout photo taken 3 June, 2011, shows a radioactive water treatment system installed at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. (Photo courtesy of TEPCO/Kyodo/AP/PA)

- AP

Read: Japan doubles radiation leak estimate for Fukushima plant >

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