Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, admits that there is a “state of emergency” as the radioactive water from the plant continues leaking into the Pacific Ocean. Shinki Kinjo, an official from the Nuclear Regulation Authority says that the leak has already exceeded the legal limits of radioactive discharge.
The NRA also revealed that the water is already above the shore barrier that TEPCO installed to prevent it from seeping into the Pacific Ocean. They created an underground barrier by injecting chemicals in the shoreline of one of the buildings that house the reactors, solidifying the ground 1.8 meters below the surface. However, the contaminated water has managed to break through that barrier, seeping into the shallow areas of earth. The countermeasures that are being planned are just temporary solutions into this problem, especially as the bigger concern is once the seepage rises towards the surface, it will hasten the outflow of the water. “Right now, we have an emergency,” admits Kinjo.
On Sunday, TEPCO released information about how much of the water has leaked out of the facility. This is the first time they issued such data after the March 2011 Fukushima disaster that saw several of the reactors suffer permanent damage in what is considered the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. TEPCO estimates the total amount of radioactive water leaked into the Pacific Ocean since May 2011 to be between 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels. They said that they are still under the allowed level under safety regulations, which is 22 trillion becquerels annually. But TEPCO needs to come up with new drastic measures to stop the leak into the ocean or that figure may very well get past the safety level, once again putting in danger the lives and livelihood of the people in the area.
[ via ABC ]