Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chloride ion detected at radioactive waste disposal site in Chiba Prefecture, Japan

KIMITSU, Chiba -- Highly concentrated chloride ion was detected in a water well at a disposal site for radioactive waste from areas affected by last year's March 11 disasters here, suggesting that water stored at the site may have leaked, it has been learned.

While chloride ion is not particularly harmful, the Chiba Prefectural Government is moving quickly to perform an analysis of the situation, not excluding the possibility that radioactive cesium in the disposed materials may have also leaked.

The Chiba Prefectural Government became aware of the incident in January of this year when it detected doses of 250 to 580 milligrams of chloride ion per liter of water stored at an examination well at a radioactive disposal site in the prefectural city of Kimitsu. The doses far exceeded the 26 to 31 milligrams per liter estimated by the site's operating company Arax Group last December.

The disposal site, which is the prefecture's biggest, is used to store radioactive materials, including drain mud and ash from regions affected by the March 11, 2011 disasters. According to the prefectural government, the bottom of the site is covered with water-blocking sheets that are preventing any potential leaks to the exterior of the facility. Read More