Fukushima: New Radioactive Water Leak is Another Setback for Plant

Thursday, 03 Oct 2013 05:59 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant has a new radioactive water leak, apparently caused by workers overfilling a tank that was sitting on ground that wasn’t level.

The plant, which was heavily damaged after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, has had several leaks and the Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been criticized for the way the situation has been handled.

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The Associated Press quoted a nuclear energy expert who said this latest incident was “unthinkable” that TEPCO tried to fill the tanks, particularly when they were on ground that wasn’t level.

“That's only common sense,” Tesuro Tsutsui, an engineer, told the AP. “But that seems to be the routine at the Fukushima Dai-ichi. I must say these are not accidents. There must be a systematic problem in the way things are run over there.”

A TEPCO spokesperson said at a news conference, “We would like to apologize that we have to announce that we’ve had another leak in our tanks today. This is partly because we’ve had to fill our tanks to the brim in order to deal with the difficult management of rain water overflow following (a typhoon),” the BBC reported.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide criticized the company’s efforts to contain spills.

“It’s actually leaking so of course we can’t say that (TEPCO) have been properly dealing with the issue,” he told BBC. “It should not be leaking at all.”

NBC reported that latest spill involved 430 liters of water that was 6,700 times more radioactive than legal limits.

TEPCO and the Japanese government have been fighting to make the plant safe and contain the damage done from the disaster. But their efforts have been dogged by problems, including a Tuesday announcement that 4 tons of contaminated rainwater leaked as water was transferred between tanks, NBC said. The water apparently had a low level of radiation.

Another leak that occurred over the summer pushed the Japanese government to get involved, and last month, the prime minister announced $500 million in funding to build a below-ground wall that would help prevent groundwater from mixing with water from the plant, NBC said.

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Related stories:

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Workers Reportedly Exposed to Radiation

5.3 Earthquake Hits Fukushima; No Further Damage Reported to Nuclear Plant

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