7 Août 2013
August 7, 2013
A Japanese government official said an estimated 300 tons of contaminated water is leaking into the ocean each day from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged on Aug. 7 to step up government efforts to stem radioactive water leakage.
Abe ordered the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry to urgently deal with the water situation and ensure the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, takes appropriate action to deal with the cleanup, which is expected to take more than 40 years and cost $11 billion.
The ministry official also said the utility would begin pumping out groundwater to reduce leakage and had aimed to be removing 300 tons per day by December, but would end up 60 tons short of that goal.
Removing 300 tons of groundwater, however, would not necessarily halt leakage into the sea, he said.
300 tons of nuclear water leaks to sea daily
Japan's industry ministry estimates that about 300 tons of radiation-tainted water leaks from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea daily.
The ministry says some 1,000 tons of groundwater flows from a mountainside into the plant premises every day.
Of the volume, 300 tons is tainted with radioactive substances when it flows through an area near wells before leaking into the sea. High levels of radioactive materials have been detected in the wells.
Some 400 of the remaining 700 tons flows into the basements of the plant's No.1 to No.4 reactor buildings. 300 tons of untainted water flows into the sea.
The plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Company has been solidifying an embankment of ground at the plant to prevent contaminated water leakage into the sea.
It is also paving the ground surface with asphalt to keep out rainwater.
The ministry expects some 60 tons of tainted water to continue leaking into the sea even after these steps.
It says the figures are based on water table data offered by the utility, not detailed analyses of various data.
The ministry also says it cannot rule out the possibility that contaminated groundwater started leaking into the sea just after the nuclear accident at the plant.