As much as 120 tons of radioactive water may have leaked from a storage tank at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, contaminating the surrounding ground, Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Saturday.
The power company has yet to discover the cause of the leak, detected on one of seven tanks that store water used to cool the plants reactors, a spokesman for the company, Masayuki Ono, said at a press briefing.
The company plans to pump 13,000 cubic meters of water remaining in the tank to other vessels over the next two weeks.
Water from the leaking tank, which located 800 meters from the coast, is not expected to reach the sea, Kyodo news wire reported, earlier, citing unidentified officials from the utility.
The company did not say how long the tank had been leaking.
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant has faced a range of problems with controlling ground water and maintaining the massive cooling system built to keep the reactors stable.
The power company said on Friday said it lost the ability to cool radioactive fuel rods in one of the plant’s reactors for about three hours. It was the second failure of the system to circulate seawater to cool spent fuel rods at the plant in the past three weeks.
The storage tanks, pits excavated at the site in the wake of the disaster, are lined with water proof sheets meant to keep the contaminated water from leaking into the soil.
Work to decommission the plant is projected to take decades to complete.
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.
Understatement of the year:
“Tohoku Electric President Makoto Kaiwa has said it would be difficult to build a new plant in the radiation evacuation zone.”
SENDAI – Tohoku Electric Power Co. on Thursday dropped its plan to build a new nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
The utility apparently decided it was impossible to go through with the construction amid strong local opposition following the triple meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant. The site also falls within the fallout evacuation zone. The plan was excluded from the firm’s management plan for fiscal 2013 released later Thursday.
Tohoku Electric had been in the process of acquiring around 150 hectares of land in the town of Namie and in Odaka Ward, Minamisoma, but has faced strong local opposition. Namie is presently deserted, its residents forced to evacuate due to radioactive fallout from Fukushima No. 1.
The planned construction site was flooded with tsunami after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the area was designated an evacuation zone. It is located some 10 km north of Fukushima No. 1, which is situated in the towns of Okuma and Futaba.
Since the nuclear crisis erupted, Fukushima Prefecture has supported the phaseout of atomic energy, and the municipal assemblies of Namie and Minamisoma have passed resolutions to stop attracting nuclear plants to the area.
The utility has yet to acquire all the land it sought. But in a plan unveiled last March, a reference on when to start construction and operation, previously stated as fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2021, was changed to “undecided.”
Tohoku Electric President Makoto Kaiwa has said it would be difficult to build a new plant in the radiation evacuation zone.
Meanwhile… still going on in the background…
From the Japan Times:
A mountain trout caught in the Niida River in Fukushima Prefecture contained 11,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram, more than 110 times above the government limit for food products, a survey by the Environment Ministry showed.
Presenting its findings Friday on cesium in fish and insects in rivers, lakes and sea in Fukushima, the ministry said it also detected 4,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium in a smallmouth bass and 3,000 becquerels in a catfish caught at the Mano Dam in Iitate.
The maximum threshold for food items is 100 becquerels per kilogram.
It is only the second time the ministry has conducted such a survey, after undertaking a study between December and this February. The first data were published in July.
“Like the previous survey, concentrations (of cesium) tended to be higher in rivers and lakes than in the sea. We want to grasp the extent of pollution by continuously conducting the survey,” a ministry official said.