TEPCO starts pumping up contaminated water

August 10, 2013

By SHUNSUKE KIMURA/ Staff Writer

Tokyo Electric Power Co. started pumping up groundwater at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Aug. 9 to stop the spread of water with high levels of radiation leaking into the Pacific Ocean.

The work was being done at a well near a quay wall at the harbor.

TEPCO on July 22 admitted that radioactive water was leaking into the sea.

Officials said that around 13 tons of contaminated water had been pumped up from a newly dug well on the east side of the turbine building for the No. 2 reactor by 8 p.m.

However, all the contaminated water in the ground cannot necessarily be collected through pumping operations. Therefore, TEPCO will need to build more wells to continue the job.

The pumped-up radioactive water is transferred to a pit between the turbine building, which is connected to the pit, and the quay wall. Contaminated water stored in the reactor building and turbine building is put in on-site storage tanks after being treated.

But with so much water being stored, managing the operation is expected to be difficult.

The government’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy estimated that 300 tons of groundwater contaminated with radioactive materials are leaking into the sea daily from the nuclear plant.

TEPCO began constructing underground walls in early July to prevent the contaminated water from reaching the Pacific Ocean. However, water levels in the well rose sharply due to the accumulation of groundwater.

There were also fears that contaminated water could overflow from the well.

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced Aug. 9 that it is ready to offer support on the crisis if it is asked, according to a wire report.

By SHUNSUKE KIMURA/ Staff Writer
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