Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Finds New Leak in Storage Pools for Radioactive Water
April 9, 2013 1:25 PM
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant
Tepco said it was unclear if any other the remaining seven pools were also leaking
Yet another storage pool for
at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is leaking, forcing operators to find alternative storage options.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has been transferring radioactive water from from a leaking underground storage pool at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into another pool -- only to find out that the second pool is also leaking.
According to reports, the second pool had about 120 tons (32,000 gallons) of toxic water run inside the pool's plastic linings and rush into the soil.
It doesn't end there. It was recently discovered that a third underground storage pool also has a leak -- though smaller than the first two. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has seven underground chambers for radioactive water storage.
An operator at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant stopped an emergency operation to transfer the radioactive water from pool 1 to pool 2 today after discovering the massive leak.
Since the earthquake and tsunami occurred two years ago (which damaged the nuclear plant's cooling systems), Tepco has been flooding the damaged reactor cores with water to keep them cool and stabilize the fuel. But the problem is that there is little space to store the runoff water.
Tepco had been releasing "low-level" contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, but it received criticism for the act -- especially when bluefin tuna caught off the California coast had radioactive cesium. The water is no longer being released into the ocean.
But the issue remains that Tepco stores over a quarter-million tons of radioactive water in tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and this amount is expected to double within three years.
Tepco said it was unclear if any other the remaining seven pools were also leaking.
In March 2011, a
shook Japan and crippled the reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The earthquake led to the release of
contamination of crops
and of course, the thousands of lives lost.
According to atmospheric chemists at the University of California, San Diego, about
400 billion neutrons were released
per square meter surface of the cooling pools between March 13 and March 20. The nuclear reactor was damaged March 11.
Despite the high levels of radioactive sulfur recorded in California, Thiemens and his team said these levels were
not dangerous to human health
The New York Times
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