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» [Three years after 3.11] Still radioactive water is big challenge

Three years having passed since the outbreak of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, radioactive water continues to leak from the plant, breeding fears among the public. While TEPCO is now removing fuel rods from the No. 4 reactor’s spent fuel pool, it has yet to even locate the spent fuel in reactors No. 1, 2 and 3.

Of the 1,000 metric tons of groundwater that passes through the grounds of the Fukushima power plant from the mountain side of the facilities every day, 400 tons come in contact with spent nuclear fuel inside the reactor buildings and turn into radiation-contaminated water. Some of that radioactive water flows into the ocean, and the remainder is held in storage tanks — from which numerous leaks have been reported.

As of Feb. 25, at least 430,000 tons of radioactive water was stored in approximately 1,000 holding tanks.

Workers found a total of 58,000 tons of water leaking from seven underground storage tanks in April 2013. In July that year, an estimated 300 tons of contaminated groundwater per day was found to be spilling into the ocean from the embankment. The following month, 300 tons of contaminated water leaked from one of the storage tanks, an incident that Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) ranked level 3, the fifth most serious classification on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) of 0 to 7. Then in October there were a series of incidents caused by human error, including one in which workers overfilled a storage tank installed on an incline, causing radioactive water to overflow.

In August 2013, TEPCO set up a task force directly headed by its president, Naomi Hirose, to handle the storage of contaminated water. But in February this year, approximately 100 tons of water with up to 240 million becquerels per liter of radioactive substances such as strontium 90 that emit beta radiation leaked from the plant.
<Media Report>
Radioactive water still a challenge three years after Fukushima disaster (Mainichi Newspaper)


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