Sunday, April 03, 2011

Japan Confirms Radiation Leak Into Sea

Japan confirms radiation leak into sea

Sat Apr 2, 2011 12:17PM

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has confirmed that radioactive water has leaked into the sea from one of reactors at Fukushima power plant.

The Japanese nuclear safety agency announced on Saturday that a 20-centimeter crack discovered at a maintenance pit in Fukushima's No. 2 reactor was the source of radioactive water leaking into the sea.

The agency's spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said the government “wants the plant operator [Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)] to start the operation of covering the crack in concrete as soon as possible.”

“We will also check whether there are cracks at other reactors as soon as possible,” he added.

The level of radiation in the seawater near the Fukushima plant has been increasing since the nuclear crisis began on March 11 when the power station was damaged by a destructive quake and tsunami that hit Japan's northeastern coasts.

On Thursday, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the maximum legal level had been detected in seawater near the plant.

TEPCO plans to use a large artificial floating island called “mega-float to pump the contaminated water which had been poured into the reactors to cool them off.

The government has ordered the evacuation of about 200,000 people living in a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) radius around the plant, and told people residing between 20 kilometers and 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the plant to remain indoors.

Last week TEPCO announced that Fukushima's four damaged nuclear reactors would be decommissioned.

Earlier on Saturday Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited the disaster-hit areas, vowing full support for the victims of the brewing disaster, a Press TV correspondent reported.

He then visited survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in the city, who have since been living in makeshift shelters.

"It will be a long battle, but the government will be working hard together with you until the end. I want everyone to do their best," Kan said.

Japan's attempt to plug leaking reactor fails

Workers due to attempt again on Sunday to stop radioactive water leaking into the sea at a crippled nuclear plant

Last Modified: 03 Apr 2011 03:28

Naoto Kan, Japan's prime minister, visited tsunami-ravaged areas

Japanese officials grappling to end the nuclear crisis at the earthquake and tsunami-crippled Fukushima plant are focusing on a crack in a concrete pit that is leaking highly radioactive water into the ocean from a crippled reactor.

Power plant workers attempted to fill the shaft with fresh concrete on Saturday, but that did not change the amount of water coming out of the crack, spokesmen for Tokyo Electric Co (TEPCO) told a news conference.

They will try to block the leak on leak again on Sunday by injecting polymeric material into the trench and use additional concrete to prevent contaminated water from leaking into the sea.

A Tokyo Electric expert will visit the site on Sunday and decide what polymer to use before the work begins.

The water has been leaking into the sea from a 20-centimetre crack detected at a pit in the reactor where power cables are stored, the government's nuclear safety agency said.

TEPCO said the pit is connected to the No. 2 reactor's turbine building and a tunnel-like underground trench, in which highly radioactive water has been spotted so far.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), said on Saturday that to cool the damaged reactor, NISA was looking at alternatives to pumping in water, including an improvised air conditioning system, spraying the reactor fuel rods with vapourised water or using the plant's cleaning system.

Operators of the plant are no closer to regaining control of damaged reactors, as fuel rods remain overheated and high levels of radiation are flowing into the sea.

Radiation 4,000 times the legal limit has been detected in seawater near the Daiichi plant and a floating tanker was to be towed to Fukushima to store contaminated seawater.

But until the plant's internal cooling system is reconnected radiation will flow from the plant.

Source: Agencies

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