Radioactive water leaks from Japan's damaged plant

TOKYO Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:50pm EDT

International Atomic Energy Agency fact-finding team leader Mike Weightman examines Reactor Unit 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, May 27, 2011. REUTERS/IAEA

International Atomic Energy Agency fact-finding team leader Mike Weightman examines Reactor Unit 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, May 27, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/IAEA

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Tons of radioactive water were discovered on Tuesday to have leaked into the ground from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, the latest in a series of leaks at the plant damaged in a March earthquake and tsunami, the country's nuclear watchdog said.

More than three months after the disaster, authorities are struggling to bring under control damaged reactors at the power plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

About 15 metric tons of water with a low level of radiation leaked from a storage tank at the plant on the Pacific coast, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said it was investigating the cause of the leak which was later repaired.

Vast amounts of water contaminated with varying levels of radiation have accumulated in storage tanks at the plant after being used to cool reactors damaged when their original cooling systems were knocked out by the March 11 disaster.

Dealing with that radioactive water has been a major problem for Tepco, which is trying to use a decontamination system that cleans water so it can be recycled to cool the reactors.

But the system has encountered technical glitches and officials have said the water could spill into the Pacific Ocean unless the system was operating properly.

The system was halted an hour and a half after it started on Monday because of a water leakage.

Tepco fixed the problem and restarted the system on Tuesday afternoon, said Junichi Matsumoto, an official at the utility.

(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro and Yoko Kubota; Editing by Michael Watson and Robert Birsel)

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Comments (12)
TheKLF99 wrote:
And the British government are planning on building new nuclear plants all over our country, when this has happened in Japan, are we mad? (nb. most other countries are cutting back on nuclear power). Worst of all Beatrix Potter left us an area of outstanding natural beauty which could be totally destroyed if Sellafield went the same way as Japan, even though you don’t get many earthquakes in the Lakes there is still other major hazards. I’m tempted to go and move to Germany, at least they seem to have more common sense when it comes to nuclear power than the British government.

Jun 28, 2011 3:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
PeterNTX wrote:
TheKLF99, now let’s say somebody built an airplane mounting the engines to a fuselage make from glass and glue, and on takeoff, that plane never left the runway and burst into flames burning and cutting to death everyone on board. Would you stop flying on all airplanes? Tepco build a nuclear power plant close to a coast and a faultline where a tsunami was inevitable, and it was a gamble on how many years or decades it would take. If you build nuke plants away from fault lines and the coast, they are very safe as long as they are built correct. Your objections are based on ignorance and fear. If you don’t want nuclear power due to the radioactive waste, that is an understandable and logical issue.

Jun 28, 2011 10:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
txgtrpr wrote:
Two hours ago i was siting on my motorcycle looking at chermobyl. to the left you see cattle grazing in the field. there is a river that goes thru here and flows thru kiev and so thru entire country. people swim in it and its fine. only the people making money off condeming this place talk about it. same with three mile island. i think japan will be similar. Nuclear is the safest way to go right now to deliver energy needs. i hope the world does not cave in to fear.

Jun 28, 2011 11:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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