Small Leak Is Discovered at Plant in Fukushima

פורסם: 6 במאי 2013, 12:50 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 6 במאי 2013, 12:50 ]

TOKYO — Efforts to remove highly contaminated water from a leaking underground storage pool at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant were delayed on Sunday when the plant’s operator said it had found yet another leak, this time in the pipes that would be used to move the water to above-ground storage containers.

The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, said it has found that almost six gallons of water leaked from a junction in the pipes that are currently used to move water between other storage pools. The company is struggling to find space to store the huge amounts of toxic water that are created by makeshift efforts to cool reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which was damaged two years ago by a large earthquake and tsunami.

Since then, the operator has been essentially pouring water onto the melted reactors and nearby fuel storage pools to keep them from overheating again.

While small, the newest leak will force Tepco to postpone removal of water from the No. 2 storage pool for several days while the company repairs the faulty pipe junction. The pool has spilled some 32,000 gallons of radioactive water, and appears to still be leaking.

Some of that water may have been trapped in the multiple layers of lining in the pool, but an undetermined amount reached the soil below, Tepco said.

The newest leak adds to a series of mishaps that have raised questions about Tepco’s ability to safely manage the stricken plant. That included the temporary loss last month of power for the vital cooling systems after a rat apparently short-circuited part of the electrical system.