Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant utility operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said on Saturday that they have detected a new water leak in the No. 3 reactor building. Workers at the crippled plant saw through a video feed that water was leaking from the first floor to the basement of the building that was damaged during the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of 2011, which caused the worst nuclear accident of recent times.
While TEPCO is currently investigating the source of the leak, they believe it is either coming from a pipe that is sending water to cool down the nuclear reactor or from the reactor containment vessel itself. If it’s the former possibility, then the water is contaminated and will mean more problems for the company. The workers saw the leak through video from a remote-controlled robot that was removing debris from the first floor of the building at around 2:40 PM on Saturday. It was around 30 centimeters wide and was coming from a room where the main steam isolation valve is located. They currently have no idea as to the volume of the water that was leaking.
Last year saw several incidents where radioactive materials leaked from the facility, with some even contaminating the nearby oceans. This has severely delayed the decontamination and decommissioning process at the plant, which is already predicted to last for decades. However, there’s also the possibility that the latest leak detected is just ordinary rainwater that’s draining off, since they have not detected any irregularity in the cooling operations. There has been no change in the radiation levels at the building as well as the volume of water that’s cooling down the reactor. The radiation has been measured at 30 millisieverts which is almost the same as those from other floors.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]