Another leak found at Fukushima plant during water transfer

April 12, 2013


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.)

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