22 Août 2013
TEPCO: 30 trillion becquerels leaked to sea
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says 30 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium and cesium may have leaked into the sea since May 2011.
The figure is dozens of times higher than agreed limits, despite excluding the first 2 months of the crisis, when discharges were highest. The crisis was triggered by the March 11, 2011 tsunami and earthquake.
The new estimates are included in a Tokyo Electric Power Company report on the ongoing leak of contaminated groundwater into the sea. The report was released on Wednesday.
The company says up to 10 trillion becquerels of strontium and 20 trillion becquerels of cesium have leaked into the sea since May 2011.
The total is hugely beyond TEPCO'S in-house annual emission limit of 220 billion becquerels -- under normal circumstances.
The company says the calculation was based on radioactive levels detected within the plant's bay and on the assumption that the leaks have been ongoing.
The figure is expected to grow since TEPCO has failed to completely stop the flow of contaminated groundwater into the sea.
The utility warns it's difficult to determine the exact amount of leaked cesium and strontium because they are easily absorbed into soil. It says it will further assess the situation by consulting experts.