Tepco: No contaminated water leaking into Pacific

Tepco has been in the news in recent days as a result of a plea by its chairman to the Japanese government for ‘structural assistance’ in order to contend with the enormous costs associated with the clean-up of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

However the company says, despite some reportage to the contrary, contaminated water is no longer leaking from the facility.
Tepco engineers at Fukushima
Yukao Handa, corporate communications officer with Tepco, told Power Engineering International, “No water is leaking out of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors into the Pacific Ocean. It is controlled by keeping the water levels inside the reactors lower than those of surrounding groundwater, which allows the water only to flow into the reactors, not out of the reactors. The excess amount of water is pumped up out of the reactors.

“Some of the treated water is poured back into the reactors to cool the fuel inside and the other is further treated until containing only Tritium and securely stored in tanks on site. “

Tepco was responding to a query on whether contaminated water is continuing to be leaked into the ocean. According to a Reuters report in 2013, the reactors ‘continued to leak around 300 tonnes of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean every day.’ Other media outlets had continued to tout this information but the company’s spokesperson says this is not the case.

Handa said that water flowing around the reactors is kept from contact with the water retained in the reactors and does not flow into the Pacific.

“This water is either blocked by a large underground wall constructed along the port or pumped up, treated to a level safer than World Health Organisation (WHO) drinking water standards and then discharged into the protected port.”

“Rainwater that runs on the surface of the premises is collected in several drainage channels and discharged into the protected port. The port area is isolated by dikes from the Pacific Ocean and the seabed is paved to protect the surrounding environment. The water quality in the port and the surrounding ocean has been monitored every day and the measurement results show no significant levels of radiation.”

“Fuel in the reactors continues to be cooled below 35à¢â€žÆ’ by circulating cooling water. It is not due to the temperatures but the radiation levels why humans cannot stay long inside the reactors. Robots have been used to cover the work needed inside the reactors.”

To see the actual measurement data view here

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