For the third time this week, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) says that there may be another leak from one of the seven underground storage tanks in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The leak was discovered when they were transferring the radioactive water from the No. 2 tank (where the original leak was first spotted) to the No 1 pool. They have temporarily stopped the transfer to address the problem.
TEPCO has been storing around 280,000 tons of water used to cool down the reactors that were crippled by the meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters. Spokesman Masateru Araki said they still have no idea how much water has already leaked from the No 1 pool. Just yesterday, they confirmed that 167 tons of the highly radioactive water escaped from the leak in the No 2 pool while 3 liters have seeped through the leak in the No 3 tank.
The leaks highlight another problem for TEPCO as they continue the long, arduous and expensive process of decontaminating the crippled nuclear plant, the site of the biggest nuclear disaster in recent years that saw around 160,000 people in nearby areas evacuated. Investigation panels, lawsuits from citizens and the US military, power outages and these leakages are just some of the problems facing the company, not to mention the financial challenges facing them. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has ordered TEPCO to immediately address this latest issue and assure the public that the toxic water will not seep into the Pacific Ocean and cause further catastrophic damage.
[ via Bloomberg ]