3 Août 2013
August 3, 2013
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday that an estimated 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of tritium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have flowed into the Pacific Ocean since May 2011.
The utility reported the estimate Friday to the Nuclear Regulation Authority after recently admitting that toxic water from the emergency cooling system set up after the nuclear crisis began on March 11, 2011, is leaking into the sea.
Nevertheless, Tepco said the size of the release is roughly in the allowed range of 22 trillion becquerels a year but acknowledged it didn’t take place in a controlled manner. Tritium has a half-life of about 12 years.
Since it doesn’t know when the leak began, the utility has assumed the beginning was in May 2011, after it attempted to stop the toxic water from entering the ocean when it was discovered in April 2011.
The constant injection of water that is needed to keep the damaged reactors cool after the core meltdowns of March 2011 are generating a new radiation crisis at the plant that officials appear unable to solve without tainting the ocean and marine life.
TEPCO urged to stop tainted water leakages
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has come up with plans to stop radioactive waste water from leaking into the sea. One idea is to build a new facility to collect underground water in the compound.
Tokyo Electric Power Company presented the plans to a working group of the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Friday. The group, tasked to stop leakages, met for the first time.
TEPCO admitted during the meeting that contaminated underground water may have moved aboveground along seawalls that were solidified to stop leakages.
TEPCO's proposals include construction of a new facility to gather underground water flowing toward the seaside of the plant and begin pumping water in late August.
Experts in the group urged TEPCO to implement the measures ahead of schedule, citing the seriousness of the problem.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority plans to set up another working group to assess the spread of radioactive materials in the sea and its impact on the environment.
TEPCO said that an estimated 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium have flowed into the sea between May 2011 and last month.
The utility said the amount is equivalent to the annual release allowed under safety regulations.