Twenty-two of 50 landfills tested in California have been found to contain unusually high levels of radiation, and radioactive waste from seven of those dumps has contaminated nearby groundwater, state environmental officials announced yesterday. The findings raise new questions about the ongoing impact of a now-defunct California policy that allowed mildly radioactive waste in local dumps. State officials said more testing was needed to determine the sources of the radiation, some of which, they said, could have come from natural mineral deposits near the landfills. But nuclear-watchdog organizations called that scenario highly unlikely, given the diversity and number of landfills testing positive for radiation, and said more likely culprits were radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and research facilities. Environmentalists were upset by the findings, as were landfill operators, who said the state never told them it was allowing radioactive waste to be disposed of in their dumps.