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  • 7/28/2019 Tons of Contaminated Water Leaks at Fukushima Nuclear Plant


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    120 tons of contaminated water leaks atFukushima nuclear plant

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    April 06, 2013

    About 120 tons of contaminated water has leaked from an undergroundstorage tank at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and may have mixed

    with underground water, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said April 6.

    TEPCO estimated that the water contained about 710 billion becquerels ofradioactivity and leaked through the joints of protective sheets of thestorage tank.

    The water had passed through a filtration system before leaking, and itsradioactivity level was about half that of water that has yet to be filtered,according to TEPCO.

    TEPCO acknowledged that the contaminated water likely soaked the soilsurrounding the tank and may have reached underground water.

    But "the contaminated water has not seeped into the sea, TEPCOspokesman Masayuki Ono said at a news conference before dawn on April6. Ono noted that the storage tank is located 800 meters from the PacificOcean.

    About 13,000 tons of contaminated cooling water was put into the tankfrom Feb. 1 to March 2, filling it to capacity.

    Workers began to transfer contaminated water from the leakyunderground storage tank to a different tank early on April 6. It takesabout an hour totransfer about 100 tons of water, meaning five days ormore are required to complete the task.

    The water had initially been used to cool melted nuclear fuel after theonset of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, and wassubsequently put into the storage tank.

    TEPCO has been removing cesium from the water with filtrationequipment. However, water that goes through the filtration process and isstored in the underground storage tank is still highly contaminated

    because it contains other radioactive materials, such as strontium. Theradioactivity level of the water is about 290,000 becquerels per cubiccentimeter.

    TEPCO became aware of the leak after measuring the height of the waterin the tank on April 4 and 5.

    The underground storage tank is 60 meters long, 53 meters wide and 6meters deep. It is lined with three layers of protective sheets--two made ofpolyethylene and the outermost layer of clay--to prevent leakage.

    TEPCO had been checking for possible leaks by measuring radioactivitylevels of water from a hole dug near the tank. Until last month, however,the radioactivity level of the water had been so low that it was impossibleto detect any leakage.

    But on April 3, 20 becquerels of radioactivity per cubic centimeter wasdetected, followed by 35 becquerels the next day.

    At 3 p.m. on April 5, workers took water from an area between the claylayer and a polyethylene layer. At 10 p.m. they found that theradioactivity level of the water was about 6,000 becquerels.

    TEPCO suspects that joints in the sheets of the polyethylene layer hadruptured and the water then managed to leak through the 6.4-millimeter-

    By SHUNSUKE KIMURA/ Staff Writer

    TEPCO spokesman Masayuki Ono tells reporters on April 6 in Tokyo how

    contaminated water leaked from a storage tank at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear

    plant. (Hikaru Uchida)

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  • 7/28/2019 Tons of Contaminated Water Leaks at Fukushima Nuclear Plant


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