Japan Crisis: More Radioactive Water Leaks

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 @ 02:05 PM gHale

Radioactive water that leaked into the sea earlier in May from a pit near a seawater intake of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant totaled 250 tons and contained an estimated 20 terabecquerels of radioactive substances, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

That level of radioactive substances is about 100 times the annual allowable limit for release outside the plant, TEPCO said.

The leak lasted for 41 hours starting 2 a.m. on May 10, TEPCO said based on its analysis of data showing changes in water levels in the pit.

The leak raised the concentration of radioactive substances within the port of the power plant, but the level outside the port did not change significantly, TEPCO said.

The leak from near the No. 3 reactor compares with about 500 tons of radioactive water with 4,700 terabecquerels of radioactive substances that leaked from near the No. 2 reactor from April 1 to 6.

TEPCO reported the latest finding to the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which wants the utility to take steps to prevent a recurrence.

The utility found out about the leak May 11 and stopped it by filling the pit with concrete and other substances that day.

Meanwhile, a large artificial floating island, which is capable of storing about 10,000 tons of water inside, berthed along the quay near the Fukushima plant Saturday morning.

The 136-meter-long, 46-meter-wide ‘‘megafloat’’ can store low contaminated radioactive water.

The floating island’s original use was in the city of Shizuoka as a park for sea fishing.

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