“Highly radioactive water leaked from a treatment machine at the tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but no one was injured and radiation monitoring shows no impact to the outside environment,” the utility operator mentioned on February 8.
“A plant worker found the leak on Wednesday morning (February 7) during valve checks at a SARRY treatment machine designed to mainly remove cesium and strontium from the contaminated water,” the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Holdings mentioned. The machine has been idled for upkeep work.
“An estimated 5.5 metric tonnes (6 tonnes) of radioactive water — enough to fill two ordinary backyard swimming pools — leaked out through an air vent, leaving a pool of water on an iron plate outside and seeping into the soil around it,” TEPCO mentioned, however no radioactive water escaped the compound.
“Radioactivity of the leaked water was 10 times the legally releasable limit,” TEPCO mentioned. “The pool of water had been wiped off and the contaminated soil is being removed,” TEPCO spokesperson Kenichi Takahara mentioned.
It’s not clear when the machine started leaking, however TEPCO mentioned that no issues had been detected in an inspection on February 6.
“The leak may have been caused by valves left open while workers flushed the machine with filtered water — a process intended to reduce radiation levels before the maintenance work,” Mr. Takahara mentioned.
TEPCO mentioned that 10 of 16 air valves that ought to have been closed had been left open in the course of the flushing, and the leak stopped when the valves had been closed. Radiation ranges across the plant and inside gutters on the compound have confirmed no improve.
The filtering machine is a part of TEPCO’s controversial wastewater discharge undertaking, which started in August. The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered triple meltdowns following the 2011 quake and tsunami.
The discharges, that are anticipated to proceed for many years, have been strongly opposed by fishing teams and neighbouring international locations, together with China, which instantly banned imports of all Japanese seafood.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a each day briefing on February 8 mentioned the most recent incident highlighted administration issues at TEPCO and questioned its skill to soundly perform the decades-long handled water discharge.
Mr. Wang urged Japan to answer the considerations of the worldwide group and deal with the discharge responsibly whereas cooperating with an unbiased and long-term monitoring system involving neighbouring international locations and different stakeholders.
The newest leak comes solely months after one other unintentional leak at a separate remedy facility referred to as the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS.
In that accident, 4 employees had been sprayed with radioactive liquid waste whereas cleansing the ALPS piping. Although two of them had been briefly hospitalised for pores and skin contamination, none confirmed signs of poisoning.