Japan’s Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi announced on his visit to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that the government will “take charge” now to prevent further leakage of the radiation-contaminated water at the plant. This comes after they raised the situation to a level 3 “serious incident” at the plant, the worst situation since the meltdown in 2011.
“The urgency of the situation is very high,” Motegi said as he inspected the plant. He blames lax maintenance from the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) as the reason for the situation they are in right now. Inspectors from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) last week also came to the same conclusion, calling the water storage “sloppy”. Both the government and the public have lost confidence that the utility operator will be able to turn things around, and so the government is now taking urgent action to solve the crisis. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the instruction from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to take “every possible measure”, even to the extent of using reserve funds from the national budget.
The priority right now is monitoring the other tanks that hold contaminated water to prevent them from leaking further. The 300-ton leak revealed by TEPCO last week was the worst yet, and it is crucial to monitor the 1,000 tanks across the plant that contain around 300,000 tons of radioactive water that was used to cool the damaged nuclear reactors. Motegi said it is important to prevent the contaminated water from ever reaching the sea. Some of the leaked water may have already seeped into the Pacific Ocean through a rainwater gutter. Suga assured the public, “As a government, we will do whatever we can do to resolve the problem.”
[ via The Republic ]