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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Japan : TEPCO finds another leak of radioactive water into sea

Article from Japan Today :

" TOKYO : Tokyo Electric Power Co said Wednesday it had detected another leak of highly contaminated radioactive water into the sea near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant but was able to stop the flow.

Some radioactive substances also apparently passed through the ‘‘silt fence’’ curtain barriers installed in the sea near the crippled plant to prevent the spread of radioactive materials when leaks occur, raising concern that they may contaminate a wider area of the Pacific Ocean.

The water leaked from a pit close to a seawater intake for the plant’s No. 3 reactor and seawater in the area included cesium-134 at a concentration 32,000 times the maximum permitted level for seawater and cesium-137 at a level 22,000 times the level, the company said.

The contaminated water in the pit contained cesium-134 at a level 620,000 times the permitted level and cesium-137 at a concentration 430,000 higher, it said. The radiation level at the surface of the water was measured at 1.5 millisieverts per hour.

The leak was stopped Wednesday night after filling the pit with concrete and other substances. A worker at the site heard water flowing near the pit at around 10:30 a.m., but it is not known when the leak started.

‘‘This is an extremely serious problem,’’ Goshi Hosono, special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, told a press conference jointly attended by Tokyo Electric and other government officials to explain the ongoing efforts to tackle the nuclear crisis."

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