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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Fukushima No. 1 still has 7,000 tons of problematic toxic water to be removed

Some 7,000 tons of radioactive water at risk of leaking into the ground still has to be removed from underground tunnels and other locations at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. is trying to get rid of tainted water from the cable tunnels for reactors 2 and 3. That work is expected to be mostly completed by the end of this month.
As of Monday, such water could still be found in at least 16 such locations at the plant, where three reactors suffered a meltdown after being heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
According to Tepco, numerous underground tunnels, ducts and pits hold radioactive water, in addition to the reactor and turbine buildings. Some of the water is more radioactive than the contaminated water already in storage tanks.
The highest levels of radioactive substances contained per liter were 990 becquerels of cesium-134 and 3,200 becquerels of cesium-137, more than 60 times higher than the provisional standards for water Tepco may discharge within the plant site.
The tunnels and ducts are not designed to hold water and therefore have a higher risk of leakage than storage tanks.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority has urged Tepco to immediately remove the water in the cable tunnels for reactors 2 and 3 due to extremely high levels of radioactive materials it contains and the high risk of the tainted water leaking into the ocean. These tunnels are located relatively close to the Pacific shoreline.
Levels of radioactive materials in the water in other tunnels and ducts are substantially lower, and such facilities are located away from the ocean. Still, due to the lack of sufficient monitoring, it would be hard to immediately detect a possible leak.
An official of the secretariat of the NRA said, “Tepco needs to tackle the problem of this tainted water, which it has so far failed to address.”
Source: Japan Times

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