Highly radioactive water likely leaked from a pipe hole in the containment vessel surrounding the crippled No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Jan. 20.
TEPCO officials said the leak, which was discovered Jan. 18, appears to be water that was used to cool the melted nuclear fuel. It was found forming a stream on the ground floor in the No. 3 reactor building near the containment vessel.
The containment vessel has a hole in its wall for a pipe that sends vapor from the reactor toward a turbine.
TEPCO officials said the water level in the containment vessel is about as high as the hole itself, and the contaminated liquid likely spilt through the opening.
The company has not determined how much water has leaked and when the problem started, the officials added.
“We hope to investigate the matter without any preconceptions,” a TEPCO official said.
Workers are unable to approach the site of the leak because of dangerously high radiation levels.
The leak was discovered by a remote-control robot that entered and photographed the site.
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