Japan starts releasing 11,500 tons of low-radioactive water into sea

13:31, April 05, 2011      

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The operator of Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant has started releasing water containing low levels of radiation, in a bid to stabilize the facility. The move follows another failed effort to seal a crack, where highly radioactive water has been seeping into the sea.

An aerial view shows Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima in this March 17, 2011 file photo. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Tokyo Electric Power Company began on Monday to release more than 11 and a half thousand tons of contaminated water into the sea from Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The water had been used to cool overheated fuel rods.

It is about 100 times more radioactive than legal limits, but TEPCO says it is not harmful to humans. The move will clear space in a waste storage building to put even more highly contaminated water from the Number 2 Reactor Complex.

The government approved the operation, calling it an emergency measure to ensure the safety of the plant.

Yukio Edano, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, said, "We are already aware that the water at the Number 2 Unit is highly radiated. So as to prioritize to stop the leakage of this water into the sea at the earliest timing, we have to release the water stored in the exterior building of the unit, which also unfortunately contains radioactivity, but far lower than the highly contaminated water."

The biggest radiation threat is still from Reactor Number 2, where highly radioactive water is flowing directly into the sea. Engineers believe the water is coming from a crack in a concrete pit at the facility. But their efforts of mixing sawdust and newspapers with polymers and cement to seal has so far proved to be unsuccessful on Monday.

In order to determine the exact route of the contaminated water, engineers used bath salts to help trace the leak. But TEPCO says the white liquid did not flow into the pit, so the water must be following out through other routes.

As a temporary measure, the company is planning to set up a giant silt curtain in the sea off the nuclear plant to prevent the spread of more contamination.

The government has urged TEPCO to act quickly to stop the radiation leaking from the nuclear power plant.

Source: CNTV.cn
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