More leaks of contaminated water discovered at Fukushima nuclear plant

June 21, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Two more leaks of radioactive water found at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant suspended desalination operations and will likely further delay the full-scale use of a decontamination system, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

TEPCO on June 21 confirmed that 360 liters of highly contaminated water spilled from one of the three desalination units in a temporary warehouse at the plant, but the water did not flow outside.

A worker found the water under the desalination unit around 3 a.m. on June 21. The water stopped leaking after the worker shut down the equipment, TEPCO said.

It was the 11th water leak confirmed in the desalination system.

An analysis of the leaked water showed radioactivity levels of strontium and other substances at 26 million becquerels per liter. That level is almost the same as that of untreated highly-contaminated water. Strontium tends to accumulate in human bones.

Almost no radioactive cesium was detected in the water, TEPCO said.

The desalination system removes salinity from water used to cool the reactors at the nuclear plant.

TEPCO said it is investigating the cause of the latest leakage.

On June 20, the company said radioactive water was found leaking from a small fracture on a storage tank in the decontamination system at the plant.

It was the second leak discovered in the Alps multinuclide removal equipment.

TEPCO confirmed on June 16 that radioactive water was leaking from a different tank in the Alps equipment and suspended the system’s operations.

The Alps system, which can remove 62 radioactive substances, including strontium, from water, comprises three decontamination units, each using two tanks to store untreated water.

The two leaking tanks are part of the same unit.

TEPCO planned to finish trial operations of the Alps equipment by the end of July, but the leaks will likely delay that schedule.

The company said it has visually checked the other two units and found no problems.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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The Alps water decontamination system at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Provided by TEPCO)

The Alps water decontamination system at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Provided by TEPCO)

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  • The Alps water decontamination system at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant (Provided by TEPCO)

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