TEPCO sounds the alarm at Fukushima

7 years ago by in Japan
Tokyo Electric Power Co, or TEPCO, the operator of Fukushima nuclear power plant, reported on Friday the most severe crisis so far at the tsunami-hit plant, saying that there is more than 200,000 tons of radioactive water in makeshift tanks vulnerable to leaks. There is no place to move the contaminated water and no reliable way to check the tanks, the company’s officials added.

The latest report comes after a long series of recent and breakdowns that have revealed grave vulnerabilities at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that was hit by a violent earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised two weeks ago that his government would work more regarding the site’s cleanup, but only managed to raise questions regarding his real implication, as Abe’s government has continued so far to promote the restart of a nuclear power program in Japan.

The politicians from the opposition parties have demanded that Abe declare a state of emergency.

“The government should declare a state of emergency right now, and intervene to stop the outflow of contaminated water,” Kira said at an anti-nuclear rally outside Abe’s office in Tokyo.

Last week, TEPCO reported a huge leak from one tank and a few days later the company admitted that around 220,000 tons of radioactive water are stored in makeshift steel tanks similar to the one that is leaking.

“The tanks are susceptible to leaks at the seams and through their concrete base”, said Noriyuki Imaizumi, the acting general manager of TEPCO’s nuclear power division. “A nearby drain can carry any leaked water to the sea”, Imaizumi said, “and high radiation readings along a section suggest that water has already traveled through the drain to the ocean”.

It is possible that the contaminated water is seeping out from under the reactors into the groundwater and the Pacific, experts say, and high levels of radioactive cesium in surrounding waters seem to confirm those suspicions