Sensors at the Fukushima nuclear plant have detected a fresh leak of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean with contamination levels 50-70 times greater than the already-high status
A fresh leak of highly radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean has been detected today.
Sensors detected contamination levels up to 70 times greater than the already-high radioactive status seen at the plant campus, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) announced this morning.
TEPCO said its emergency inspections of tanks storing nuclear waste water did not find any additional abnormalities, but the firm said it shut the gutter to prevent radioactive water from going into the Pacific Ocean.
The levels of contamination were between 50 and 70 times higher than Fukushima’s already elevated radioactive status, and were detected at about 10 am local time (1.00 am GMT), AFP reported.
After the discovery, the gutter was blocked to prevent leaks to the Pacific Ocean.
Throughout Sunday, contamination levels fell, but still measured 10 to 20 times more than prior to the leak.
“We are currently monitoring the sensors at the gutter and seeing the trend,” a company spokesman said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the original spike of the contamination and its gradual fall, he said.
“With emergency surveys of the plant and monitoring of other sensors, we have no reason to believe tanks storing radioactive waste water have leaked,” he said.
“We have shut the gutter [from pouring water to the bay]. We are currently monitoring the sensors at the gutter and seeing the trend.”
The latest incident, one of several that have plagued the plant in recent months, reflects the difficulty in controlling and decommissioning the plant, which went through meltdowns and explosions after being battered by a giant tsunami in March 2011, sparking the world’s worst nuclear disaster in a generation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently said TEPCO has made ‘significant progress’ in cleaning up the plant, but suggested that Japan should consider ways to discharge treated waste water into the sea as a relatively safer way to deal with the radioactive water crisis.