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Authorities discovered highly radioactive water leaking from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean Saturday, the latest sign that the desperate strategies being used to cool the overheating reactors could be creating new problems.

The toxic water had pooled by an almost eight-inch-long crack in the concrete wall of a pit at the No. 2 reactor where power cables are stored, Japan’s nuclear regulatory office said. The radioactivity level in the air above the water was measured at 1,000 millisieverts per hour, four times the maximum level that workers can be exposed to under Japanese law.

Emergency crews poured concrete into the crack Saturday afternoon and again in the evening in a bid to stem the leak, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported. However, the concrete was unable to set because the water washed it away, authorities said, and Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, was considering using a plastic polymer Sunday morning.

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Category: Science