|Japanese nuke plant in Fukushima leaks deadly radioactive water yet again
A new leak of 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water has been found at Fukushima, the wrecked Japanese nuclear plant's operator said. The Japanese company also revealed that only one of 9 thermometers in a crippled reactor was still working.
The toxic water is no longer leaking from a storage tank, said a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power, adding it was likely contained, but the news is a further blow to the company's battered reputation for safety, AFP reports.
“As there is no drainage way near the leak, which is in any case far from the ocean, it is unlikely that the water has made its way into the sea,'' he said.
The tank, one of hundreds used to store water contaminated during the process of cooling broken reactors, is 700 meters from shore.
However, the water was highly radioactive, with a beta radiation reading “at 230 million becquerel per liter,’’ he said.
The contamination level compares with government limits of 100 becquerels per kilogram in food and 10 becquerels per liter in drinking water. A becquerel is a unit of radioactivity.
Beta radiation, including from cancer-causing strontium-90, is potentially very harmful to humans and can cause damage to DNA. But it is relatively easy to guard against and cannot penetrate a thin sheet of aluminum.
“We are now in the process of recovering the leaked water and the earth it has contaminated,'' the spokesman added.
The tank holds water filtered to remove caesium but which still contains strontium, a substance that accumulates in bones and can cause cancer if consumed.
The accident came a day after TEPCO announced that one of the two thermometers in the lower part of the No.2 reactor pressure vessel is out of order. There were originally 9 thermometers in the vessel, Kyodo News reported, but eight have now stopped working.
Today's leak announcement is the latest in a long line of problems the utility has had with waste water at the plant.
TEPCO poured thousands of tonnes of water onto runaway reactors to keep them cool, and continues to douse them, but has to store and clean that water in a growing number of temporary tanks at the site.