Fukushima Operator Reports Large Contaminated-Water Spill

Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 20, 2014, 8:20 a.m.

Ja­pan’s Fukushi­ma atom­ic en­ergy fa­cil­ity spilled 100 met­ric tons of wa­ter con­tain­ing large amounts of ra­dio­act­ive con­tam­in­ants, Re­u­ters re­ports.

The Fukushi­ma Daii­chi plant op­er­at­or said the ra­di­ation-tain­ted li­quid prob­ably did not reach the ocean — loc­ated nearly half a mile away from the site of the spill — due to the ab­sence of any nearby out­let. The wa­ter flowed out of a massive con­tain­er on Wed­nes­day, when work­ers ac­ci­dent­ally left trans­fer pip­ing open and per­mit­ted more flu­id to es­cape between parts of the dam­aged com­plex than in­ten­ded.

“We are tak­ing vari­ous meas­ures, but we apo­lo­gize for wor­ry­ing the pub­lic with such a leak,” Tokyo Elec­tric Power spokes­man Masay­uki Ono said.

The Fukushi­ma fa­cil­ity’s over­seers have struggled to con­trol massive volumes of ra­dio­act­ive wa­ter at the site since March 2011, when an earth­quake and tsunami led to melt­downs in three of the fa­cil­ity’s six re­act­ors. In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency ex­perts last week pressed Ja­pan to con­sider au­thor­iz­ing fur­ther “con­trolled dis­charges” of wa­ter from the sea­side com­plex, en­abling the na­tion to re­lease flu­id con­tain­ing lower con­cen­tra­tions of harm­ful ma­ter­i­als.

Wa­ter in the latest spill is nearly eight times more con­tam­in­ated than flu­id the op­er­at­or can leg­ally dump in­to the ocean.

The 2011 dis­aster promp­ted the shut­down of Ja­pan’s oth­er atom­ic re­act­ors for safety checks, and their pos­sible re­act­iv­a­tion has been sub­ject to do­mest­ic con­tro­versy. One in­sider, though, said the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment now plans to ref­er­ence the value of atom­ic gen­er­at­ors in a forth­com­ing power strategy for com­ing years, Re­u­ters re­por­ted on Thursday.

Ja­pan­ese Cab­in­et of­fi­cials are ex­pec­ted to en­dorse the plan next month, ac­cord­ing to the wire ser­vice.

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