nuclear-plant

Around 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water have leaked from a storage tank at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant

A large amount of water containing extremely high levels of radioactive substances has leaked from a holding tank at Japan’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, its operator said Thursday.

Tokyo Electric Power Company officials said the leak was found on Wednesday night in one of the many tanks being stored on the mountain side of the reactor buildings.

They say the leaked water contained 230-million becquerels per liter of beta-ray emitting substances. The amount far exceeds government limits.

A becquerel is a unit used to measure radioactivity. WHO guidance advises against drinking water with radioactivity levels higher than 10 becquerels per liter.

Officials say they have taken measures to stop the leakage. TEPCO estimates that about 100 tons of water had leaked.

The leak reported Thursday is one of the largest since TEPCO reported last summer that about 300 tons of radioactive water had leaked from a tank.

The plant, which was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, has faced multiple problems including leaks and power cuts since the disaster.

The company doesn’t believe that there was any leakage of the radioactive water into the nearby Pacific Ocean. They say the water leaked from a seam near the top of the tank. It traveled along a rainwater pipe and flowed outside the barrier that surrounds the tank and is being absorbed into the ground.

“We apologize for worrying the public with such a leak,” Mr Ono said. “Water is unlikely to have reached the ocean as there is no drainage in that tank area.”

“We are now in the process of recovering the leaked water and the earth it has contaminated,” he added.

Water is being pumped in to cool the reactors. However, this creates large amounts of contaminated water that must be stored securely.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered a number of setbacks last year, including worker errors and a series of toxic water leaks that have lead to concerns contaminated water is mixing with groundwater that is flowing into the sea.

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Previous Fukushima problems

  • 9 Oct 2013: Six workers are accidentally doused in radioactive water
  • 7 Oct 2013: A plant worker accidentally switches off power to pumps used for cooling damaged reactors
  • 3 Oct 2013: Tepco says there is a radioactive water leak after workers overfill a storage tank
  • 21 Aug 2013: Japan’s nuclear agency upgrades Fukushima alert level
  • 20 Aug 2013: Tepco says 300 tonnes of radioactive water has leaked from a storage tank into the ground
  • July 2013: Tepco for the first time admits radioactive water is going into the sea
  • June 2013: Tepco says radioactive water leaking from a storage tank to the ground
  • April 2013: Tepco suspects a fresh radioactive water leak at Fukushima
  • March 2013: Tepco suspects a rodent may have been behind a power cut that shut down cooling systems
  • Dec 2011 Contaminated water leaks from a treatment system, caused by a crack in the foundation

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