An estimated 300 tons of radioactive water is believed to have leaked from a tank at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. It is the latest leak in a series of cleanup setbacks.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said Tuesday the contaminated water leaked from a steel storage tank at the plant. The company said it had identified which tank was leaking but had not yet pinpointed the exact spot of the leak.
A TEPCO official said that workers failed to detect the leak of water at an early stage.
"We failed to discover the leak at an early stage and we need to review not only the tanks but also our monitoring system," he said.
The company said puddles with extremely high radiation levels were found near the water tanks at the plant. The water's radiation level was about 100 millisieverts per hour.
"This means you are exposed to the level of radiation in an hour that a nuclear plant worker is allowed to be exposed to in five years," a TEPCO official told reporters.
Since Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 triggered the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, the Fukushima plant has suffered several setbacks. Following the disaster, hundreds of tanks were built around the plant to store huge amounts of radioactive water coming from damaged reactors. Since the disaster, there have been four similar leaks.
The massive amount of radioactive water is one of the most pressing issues affecting the costly cleanup process, which is expected to take decades. About 400 tons of the contaminated water has been collected per day and kept in storage at Fukushima.
hc/dr (AFP, AP)