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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Gov't planning countermeasures asap

August 29, 2013


Govt. to bolster tainted water treatment equipment



Japan's industry ministry plans to craft a set of far-reaching measures next month to address the growing problem of radioactive water at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Workers at the plant found in July that highly radioactive water was flowing with groundwater into the sea. They also discovered this month that more than 300 tons of contaminated water leaked from one of the storage tanks. Some of the water may have escaped into the sea.

To tackle the situation, a panel of experts at the industry ministry plans to compile a number of countermeasures at the earliest possible date in September. The steps will include preventing tainted water from leaking into the sea and blocking groundwater from entering areas near reactor buildings. Groundwater is mixing with radioactive water in the basement of the reactor buildings.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, plans to restart a trial run of a system to remove radioactive substances from toxic water as early as mid-September. The operation ran into problems previously.

The expert panel will consider beefing up the treatment equipment to reduce the increasing amount of contaminated water at the plant, including more than 300,000 tons of tainted water stored in tanks.

Meanwhile, TEPCO announced that its workers at the Fukushima plant were exposed to radiation earlier this month due to contaminated dust spread by debris removal work nearby.

A total of 12 workers were exposed to radiation on August 12th and 19th in front of the head office for efforts to decommission the damaged reactors.

TEPCO says the tainted dust came from the rooftop of the No.3 reactor, southeast of the headquarters building. Workers recently removed large pieces of rubble from the rooftop, possibly making it easier for toxic dust underneath to spread.

TEPCO will widen the areas where it tries to prevent dust from spreading when debris is removed. It will also cover the headquarters' entrance with sheets.

TEPCO initially blamed the exposure on a misting machine designed to prevent heatstroke. But it has since found that exposure occurred even when the machine was not in use.

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