Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Contaminated Water Release Possible at Japan Plant

Potential setbacks in installing a mechanism to remove radioactive contaminants from water at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant could result in more radiation-tainted liquid flowing into the Pacific Ocean, Tokyo Electric Power said on Friday (see GSN, June 1).

The plant operator has battled to prevent radioactive contaminants from escaping the site following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which left more than 20,000 people dead or missing in Japan. Radiation releases on a level not seen since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster have already forced the evacuation of about 80,000 residents from a 12-mile ring around the facility.

Slightly less than 110,000 metric tons of significantly contaminated water have collected at the facility, Reuters quoted Tokyo Electric Power as saying on Friday in a report to the Japanese government. The company has poured water into the site for months in an effort to prevent components from overheating and potentially releasing radioactive materials. An annual, one-month period of heavy precipitation in the region threatens to exacerbate the threat posed by radioactive water at the site, which is nearing its capacity to contain the fluid. (read more)

This post was reader contributed.