Thursday, October 3, 2013

Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant operator says another tank leaked toxic water

An aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks (bottom) in Fukushima, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 20, 2013. REUTERS/Kyodo 

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said on Thursday another tank holding highly contaminated water overflowed, probably sending the liquid into the Pacific Ocean, in the second such breach in less than two months.

Recent site mishaps have returned Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco, to the spotlight, calling into question its ability to execute a complex cleanup that could last decades. The company has vowed to monitor the tanks more closely and improve its water management.

Amid mounting international alarm, Japan's government stepped in last month and said it would fund efforts to improvement water management at the plant.

The latest leaks show Tepco's efforts to improve its handling of the contaminated water are not sufficient, Japan's top government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, told reporters on Thursday. The government will take steps to deal with the water, he said, adding that he thought the situation was under control.

Tepco has been relying on hastily built tanks to hold excess cooling water flushed over damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site, where three units suffered nuclear meltdowns and hydrogen explosions after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tepco said the water that leaked contained 200,000 becquerels per liter of beta-emitting radioactive isotopes, including strontium 90. The legal limit for strontium 90 is 30 becquerels per liter.

For the rest of the story: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/03/us-japan-fukushima-water-idUSBRE99200R20131003

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