Published time: July 27, 2013 22:19
Edited time: July 29, 2013 09:19
Water samples taken at an underground passage below the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contain alarming levels of radiation which are comparable to those taken immediately after the catastrophe.
According to a Saturday statement by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the tested water contains 2.35 billion becquerels of cesium per liter, and the radioactive water is now seeping into the sea. The findings were also evident from samples taken within a 50-meter radius around the plant.
TEPCO’s specialists have hit a wall trying to solve the problem of the leaking groundwater, which has persisted since 2011. However, unlike then, they cannot tell what the source of the newfound radioactivity is. The current explanation is that the radioactive water that had been left in the underground trench some two years ago is now mixing with the groundwater, which is in turn contaminating the sea.
The current investigation started back in May, when specialists registered a 17-fold hike in radiation levels compared to December 2012. More tests immediately followed.
In July, scientists found high tritium levels – 20 per cent higher than just two months before. At the beginning of the month, cesium levels also went up by an astonishing 22 per cent from the previous day. The legal limit of 90 becquerels per liter was exceeded by around 22,000 becquerels.
On July 10, scientists warned about possible sea contamination, although they had no evidence at the time.
On Monday, however, TEPCO discovered that radiation levels were rising and falling together with the tide. This has led them to their latest theory - that the leftover trench water from 2011 is indeed mixing with the underground water that flows straight into the Pacific.
The only theoretical solution at this point is to build a wall of liquid glass between the nuclear reactors and the sea, siphoning off contaminated water from the underground trench.
Steam has also been seen emerging from one of the damaged reactors on three occasions, sparking further fears about the state of the wrecked plant.
Meanwhile, TEPCO has had to sustain bad publicity after it was revealed that it delayed publishing the summer study which sparked these newfound fears - which were realized just days after TEPCO reassured the public that the water was safely enclosed. The government has labeled the company’s behavior as “deplorable.”
Environment Pollution in Japan on Monday, 29 July, 2013 at 06:32 (06:32 AM) UTC.
|Tokyo Electric Power Co. said on July 28 that an extremely high level of radioactive tritium has been detected in a pool of water that has accumulated in a pit in the compound of its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The level stood at 8.7 million becquerels per liter of water, which was 145 times that of the permissible level stipulated under the law, the plant operator said. Radioactive water apparently flowed into the pit, located on the ocean side of the turbine building for the No. 2 reactor, immediately following the March 2011 nuclear accident and has remained there, the utility said. On June 26, the Nuclear Regulation Authority expressed concerns that high tritium levels detected in the sea near the plant were a result of contaminated water leaking from the site. It is believed that more than 5,000 tons of radioactive water still remain in the pit after flowing from the No. 2 reactor building to the turbine building and, then, into the pit. On July 22, TEPCO admitted that some radioactive water is leaking into the sea from the compound of the nuclear plant. It is suspected that some of the water that accumulated in the pit could have permeated the soil and leaked into the sea. On July 27, the utility announced that an extremely high level of 2.35 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter of water has been detected from the water that has accumulated in the pit. A TEPCO official said the utility believes the radioactive water is remaining within the pit, although it would check for leaks into the soil and seal the ground to prevent leaks into the sea.|