About 120 tons of contaminated water leaked into the ground from a tank at the Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday night. On Sunday a second leak was reported, this time smaller, with about three liters of radioactive water seeping into the soil.
The contaminated liquid is not expected to reach the sea, as the tank is located about 800 meters away from the shore.
Seven water storage tanks were excavated at Fukushima nuclear plant after a violent 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that crippled the plant’s ability to cool its reactors. Although at that time Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) tried to cool the reactors using seawater, three of them melted down.
The problems with the cooling system are still an issue for TEPCO, as a massive power outage caused the plant’s cooling system to fail for 29 hours about two weeks ago. The cause seems to have been a small rodent that had entered an electrical switchboard, according to the international press. TEPCO also added on Friday they could not cool one of the reactors for about three hours due to a technical problem.
Following the latest series of problems at the nuclear plant, the utility set up an emergency task force headed by its President Naomi Hirose, according to Kyodo news agency. TEPCO still does not know for sure what caused one of its seven tanks to leak and plans to move the remaining 13,000 cubic meters of water into other tanks within the next two weeks.
Cleaning up the Fukushima site will take about 40 years and will cost at least $13 billion, according to the Japanese government.