New Leak at Japanese Nuke Plant

Friday, May 27, 2011 @ 01:05 PM gHale

Radioactive water may now be leaking from a wastewater storage facility on site of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said Thursday nearly 60 tons of radioactive water may have spilled out, raising further concerns about the utility’s ability to handle the worst nuclear crises since Chernobyl.

Officials discovered the latest leak amid efforts to transfer highly contaminated water from the number 2 and number 3 reactors to an improvised storage facility. TEPCO said the water level in the facility had dropped nearly two inches in just 20 hours, suggesting a leak.

The utility has been pumping water in an effort to cool three of Fukushima’s reactors, a process TEPCO has said would wrap up in three months. There are large leaks reported in reactors 1 and 2, and this latest leak is another setback in the effort to stabilize the reactors.

More than two months after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami killed about 240,000 people and crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi, TEPCO is struggling to bring the plant under control. Earlier this week, the company said all 3 reactors had gone into a state of “meltdown” within 3 days of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami that followed, confirming what nuclear experts suspected.

The melted fuel remains covered in water, and temperatures inside the containment vessel are below dangerous levels, officials said.

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