In its second accident in three days, a worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accidentally removed a pipe that is connected to the contaminated water treatment system. It has resulted in the worker and five others being exposed to radiation, as well as the leakage of several tons of water in almost one hour.
The cooling system is the one that removes the salt from the water that was used to cool down the damaged nuclear reactors. Three of the plant’s core reactors had a meltdown following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and the disaster is considered the world’s worst nuclear accident in the last 26 years. Tokyo Electric Power Co, (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, did not give out any information as to the condition of the six workers. They however said that the leakage from the removed pipe was contained within the plant. The government’s nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said that this incident is equivalent to just a “Level 0″ on the International Nuclear and Radiological Events Scale (INES), but there was no official rating given out.
Earlier this week, another worker accidentally switched off the power of one of the cooling pumps in the No. 1 reactor, but the backup pump automatically kicked into gear and so power was immediately restored. TEPCO said one of the two workers conducting the regular inspections accidentally pushed the wrong “stop” button, toggling the one that controlled the pump which cut the power supply. The worker was actually doing the checks for the first time, while the other one was looking at another switchboard and so did not notice the mistake. These two incidents followed the announcement of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Japan is open to receiving international assistance in order to stop the numerous problems plaguing the plant, including the 300 tons of contaminated groundwater that leaked into the Pacific Ocean.
[ via RT ]