Radioactive water leak discovered at Fukushima nuclear power plant

A radioactive water leak was discovered at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan on Wednesday, but no traces of contamination were detected outside the site, operator Tepco told Reuters

Radioactive water leak discovered at Fukushima nuclear power plant

A radioactive water leak was discovered at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan on Wednesday, but no traces of contamination were detected outside the site, operator Tepco told Reuters. Agence France-Presse (AFP), Thursday February 8.

This leak of 5.5 cubic meters of water – or about 5,500 liters – into the badly damaged plant in 2011 occurred before it was treated by a system called ALPS, which rids water collected at the site of most of their radioactive substances, explained a Tepco spokesperson. The leak was stopped about twenty minutes after its discovery on Wednesday morning by a worker who was cleaning exhaust pipes on the site.

This water could contain radioactive isotopes, such as cesium 137 and strontium 90, according to the Tepco spokesperson, adding that the group planned to remove the soil contaminated by the leak. “There has been no notable change” in the radioactivity monitoring data around the plant, she assured.

Decontamination and dismantling of the plant

The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant was devastated by a tsunami in 2011 in northeastern Japan. Decontamination and dismantling of the plant are still decades away, with the most difficult part – extracting the melted fuel from its damaged reactors – yet to begin.

Following authorization from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japan began last summer to very gradually release more than 1.3 million cubic meters of water from the Pacific Ocean into the Pacific Ocean. central after its treatment by the ALPS system.

Japan and the IAEA assure that this process, which should last until the early 2050s, is safe for the marine environment and health. China and Russia, however, have expressed serious concerns and suspended all imports of Japanese seafood products.

An incident at another Japanese nuclear site also occurred on Thursday. Smoke and sparks appeared in an exhaust pipe of a reactor being dismantled at the Tsuruga power plant in Fukui Prefecture in central Japan. “The situation was resolved immediately, without causing any injuries or causing a leak of radioactive materials,” a spokesperson for Japan Atomic Power Company, the plant’s operator, told AFP.