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

More radioactive water seeps into the ground

April 12, 2013



Another leak found at Fukushima plant during water transfer



The Asahi Shimbun




Tokyo Electric Power Co. on April 11 confirmed another leak at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, this time from a pipe being used to transfer contaminated water between underground storage tanks.

TEPCO earlier this month confirmed radioactive water had leaked from its No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 storage tanks.

According to TEPCO officials, the most recent leakage was found at the part connecting the No. 3 tank's transfer pump with the outlet pipe. The officials said about 22 liters of contaminated water leaked during eight minutes when workers tried to transfer radioactive water from the No. 3 tank to the No. 6 tank around 2 p.m. on April 11. The water leaked into soil around the No. 3 tank.

TEPCO has suspended the water transfer, but plans to resume the operation as early as April 12 after fixing the pipe connection.

In response to the string of water leakages, the nuclear industry watchdog and the energy agency have decided to enhance their cooperation to support and monitor TEPCO.

Katsuhiko Ikeda, secretary-general of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, met with Ichiro Takahara, director-general for the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, on April 11. It was their first meeting since the Nuclear Regulation Authority was formed in September last year.

During the meeting, they agreed to regularly hold director-general-level meetings to discuss decommissioning of the plant's reactors. They intend to use those meetings to enable the NRA secretariat to advise TEPCO in earlier stages, when the plant operator draws up work plans.

They have also decided that officials of the energy agency should participate in the NRA's expert panel meetings held to monitor and consider the safety of TEPCO's decommissioning operations.

(This article was written by Shunsuke Kimura and Jin Nishikawa.)


April 12, 2013

More radioactive water leaks during Tepco transfer effort at Fukushima No. 1




There were further leaks of radioactive water during work to transfer water from a leaking sunken reservoir at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power station, Tepco said Thursday.

About 22 liters of radioactive water apparently leaked from a joint between a pipe and a pump used to send water from the problematic reservoir No. 3 to another reservoir, it said.

The incident happened just after the utility announced Wednesday a plan to move all radioactive water currently stored in the sunken reservoirs to above-ground tanks once they are available. The latest leak may affect the plan, which was drawn up to stop the contamination of the environment by the leaked water.

Work to transfer water from reservoir No. 3 started at 2 p.m. but was halted due to the leak from the pipe-to-pump fitting three minutes later. The water seeped into soil near the reservoir, according to Tepco officials.

Reservoir No. 3 holds some 10,400 tons of water containing strontium and other radioactive materials, releasing 290,000 becquerels of radiation per cubic centimeter.

After discovering a leak Sunday, Tepco decided to transfer some 2,000 tons of water to reservoir No. 6 for temporary storage.

On Thursday, no water was transferred to or from reservoirs No. 1 and 2, which have also suffered leaks, Tepco said.

April 11, 2013
Radioactive water leak from pipe confirmed at Fukushima plant



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Another radioactive leak was detected at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday while workers were pumping out contaminated water from one of the troubled underground tanks, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

Around 22 liters of radioactive water has leaked from a junction of the piping for transferring liquid, not from the tanks themselves. The water seeped into the soil covering the upper part of the tank, but has not spread outside the site, TEPCO said.

The incident occurred only a day after the utility announced a plan to remove all the highly radioactive water stored in the underground tanks to more reliable containers by the end of June to address the risk of further leaks from the tanks.

TEPCO spokesman Masayuki Ono told a press conference that it will not take long to solve the piping problem and the overall plan to transfer more than 20,000 tons of water is unlikely to be significantly affected.

The leak in the piping was detected only minutes after workers started transferring the content of the No. 3 tank to the No. 6 tank on Thursday afternoon. It was the first time that the equipment in question was used, Ono said.

Up to 6.4 billion becquerels of radioactive substances are estimated to have seeped into the ground, but TEPCO plans to remove the soil in the area.

TEPCO has seven underground tanks and some of them store part of the huge amount of radioactive water resulting from continuing water injections into the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors, which experienced meltdowns during the 2011 nuclear crisis.

The water in the underground tanks has passed through a water-processing facility for the removal of cesium, but it is still contaminated with other radioactive substances.

Three of the tanks have already been found to be leaking and TEPCO plans to eventually stop using the cisterns.

To determine the cause of the leaks, TEPCO has started work to visually check the condition of the No. 2 tank, which was the first found to be leaking radioactive water.

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