Two years on from the tsunami that caused explosions at the plant, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has recorded two troubling incidents within the past week.
The latest event occurred when up to 120 tonnes of radioactive water is believed to have leaked from the Japanese plant. It comes a week after a rodent caused a short circuit, which led to critical cooling systems being shut down.
Owners, Tepco, say the water, which leaked into the soil, was a ‘small’ discharge, but it set up an emergency task force headed by Naomi Hirose, its president, to deal with the problem.
Also last week a cooling system for one of the spent fuel pools temporarily stopped working.
The incident demonstrates the difficulty Tepco continues to face in trying to safely store the huge volumes of water used to cool reactors and spent fuel at the plant.
The Financial Times reports that Tepco currently stores the contaminated water in seven underground pools lined with waterproof sheets that are supposed to prevent it seeping into the soil.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said it was unlikely that the leaked water had reached the sea, because the underground storage pools are 800 metres away from the shoreline.
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