For the first time since 2011, Japanese regulators declared “a radiological release incident” because 300 tons of radioactive water had leaked from a Fukushima Dailchi storage tank.
Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) stated the release of radioactive cesium and strontium is many hundreds of times as high as legal safety limits. Accordingly, workers raced against a forecast of heavy rain to stem the spread of the contaminated water by placing sandbags around the tank.
The leak first became apparent last Monday when workers noticed contaminated water around the tank. Upon measuring the contents of the 1,000 ton tank’s capacity, they found the tank held only 700 tons of radioactive water.
Tepco spokesman, Masayuki Ono, said much of the contamination had seeped into the soil, necessitating it being dug up and removed. Eventually, the contaminated water will reach the ocean.
The plan was to clean the water using a filtering system before releasing it into the ocean, but protests by Japanese fishermen are delaying the project.
Desperate to stem the leaks, the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority suggested building a huge underground ice wall around the plant. One of the problems with that plan is the enormous amount of electricity required.
Earlier this month rats chewed through exposed wires and caused a blackout of the plant’s cooling system.
Source: Smart Planet Daily, August 22, 2013 The New York Times, August 21, 2013