Approximately 200 tons of highly radioactive water were redirected to the wrong building at the disaster stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant on April 14 when pumps that were not supposed to be used were incorrectly turned on, this according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The plant’s officials assured that there were no other channels the contaminated water could leak out of from the building, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) ordered the utility to monitor for leakage just the same.
TEPCO said that the highly contaminated water – used for cooling the molten down reactors – has been wrongly directed to a group of buildings that house the central waste processing facilities. The embattled operator said that the basements of these buildings were supposed to function as emergency storage for contaminated water anyway, but the water was not supposed to be directed to the buildings at this point. Fukushima workers noticed something was wrong on April 10, as the water levels in buildings that should have been pumping out water were noticed to be going up instead of down. On April 12, it was discovered that four pumps that should not have been working were actually being used. All four pumps were stopped around 5:00 PM on April 13. By that time, around 200 tons of contaminated water had already flooded the basement floors of the buildings where the water should not be.
This incident was reported by TEPCO to the NRA, and the country’s nuclear watchdog recommended that TEPCO monitor the situation so that no undue leakage would escape the buildings and facilities. TEPCO also reported a separate incident on April 13 where approximately one ton of treated radioactive water leaked from a damaged storage tank at the nuclear plant. TEPCO officials said that none of the water was released into the sea.
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