Fukushima plant operator reverses claim groundwater not contaminated

 

Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc
An aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture March 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kyodo

TOKYO | Tue Jun 4, 2013 9:44am BST

(Reuters) – Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Tuesday it had detected radioactive caesium in groundwater flowing into its wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant, reversing an earlier finding that any contamination was negligible.

The announcement is yet another example of Tokyo Electric initially downplaying a problem, only to revise its findings because of faulty procedures. It casts further doubt over its control over the cleanup of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

“Once again, they’ve missed something they should be aware of,” said Atsushi Kasai, a former researcher of radiation protection at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute.

“This shows again they lack the qualification to be managing the plant, which is the root cause of their failure to contain the March 11 disaster.”

In recent weeks, the company has been battling with leaks of radioactive water and power outages — more than two years after an earthquake and tsunami knocked out power and cooling and caused three reactor meltdowns.

The discovery that groundwater is also being contaminated before it enters the damaged reactor buildings compounds the problems for the company known as Tepco.

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2013-05-31T090404Z_1252140769_GM1E95U0N4M01_RTRMADP_3_FUKUSHIMA-FISHERMEN.JPG

A laboratory technician uses a Geiger counter to measure radiation in fish, which was caught close to the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, at Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture May 28, 2013. Commercial fishing has been banned near the tsunami-crippled nuclear complex since the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake. The only fishing that still takes place is for contamination research, and is carried out by small-scale fishermen contracted by the government. Picture taken May 28, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

2013-05-31T090217Z_1636905694_GM1E95U0MZ601_RTRMADP_3_FUKUSHIMA-FISHERMEN.JPG

A crab is hauled aboard the “Shoei Maru” fishing boat, close to Hirono town, about 25 km (19 miles) south of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima prefecture May 26, 2013. Operated by 80-year-old Shohei Yaoita and 71-year-old Tatsuo Niitsuma, the boat’s catch will be used to test for radioactive contamination in the waters near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility. Commercial fishing has been banned near the tsunami-crippled nuclear complex since the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake. The only fishing that still takes place is for contamination research, and is carried out by small-scale fishermen contracted by the government. Picture taken May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

 2013-05-31T090330Z_1526003344_GM1E95U0N2Y01_RTRMADP_3_FUKUSHIMA-FISHERMEN.JPG

A laboratory technician is seen through a closed door, as he tests for cesium levels in fish caught close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, at Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture May 28, 2013. Commercial fishing has been banned near the tsunami-crippled nuclear complex since the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake. The only fishing that still takes place is for contamination research, and is carried out by small-scale fishermen contracted by the government. Picture taken May 28, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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Japan Today

 

Gov’t suggests TEPCO freeze soil around Fukushima plant

TOKYO —

A government panel of experts on Thursday recommended that Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) consider freezing the soil around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to reduce the amount of radioactive groundwater being generated by water flowing into the plant.

According to the panel’s plan, pipes would be placed in the ground and filled with coolant at a temperature of minus 40 degrees Celsius. This would then freeze the surrounding soil, effectively acting as an underground wall around the plant.

 

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