TEPCO reveals new contaminated water leak at Fukushima plant
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said Sunday that at least 45 tons of radioactive water have leaked from a desalination facility at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and some of it may have reached the Pacific Ocean.
TEPCO said the trouble came in two stages, Fuji TV reported. In the morning, utility workers found that radioactive water was flooding a catchment next to a purification device. Officials said the device was then switched off, and the leak appeared to stop. But the company said it later discovered that leaked water was escaping through a crack in the catchment’s concrete wall and was reaching an external drainage ditch, Fuji reported.
Experts say that before the latest leak, the Fukushima accident had been responsible for the largest single release of radioactivity into the ocean, threatening wildlife and fisheries in the region. As much as 220 tons of water may now have leaked from the facility, according to a report in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that cited TEPCO officials.
The water is believed to have contained up to one million times as much radioactive strontium as the maximum safe level set by the government, and about 300 times the safe level of radioactive cesium. Both are readily absorbed by living tissue and can greatly increase the risk of developing cancer.
TEPCO said it was exploring ways to stop the water from leaking through the crack and attempting to confirm whether contaminated water had reached the ocean, Fuji reported.