JAPAN | Rainy season adds to troubles at Fukushima plant

Posted on June 22, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | Wednesday, June 22, 2011 11:23 +0900 (JST)

Tokyo Electric Power Company is stepping up efforts to prevent possible overflows of highly radioactive water building up at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as the region enters the rainy season.

More than 110,000 tons of highly contaminated water is believed to have accumulated in the basements of reactor and turbine buildings at the plant. The water is increasing by about 500 tons a day, as fresh water must be injected into reactors to cool them down.

The annual rainy season began on Tuesday in the region where the nuclear plant is located, raising concerns that the wastewater could overflow. If 100 millimeters of rain falls over the complex, it may raise water levels in the basements of the turbine buildings by about 50 to 70 millimeters.

TEPCO has been trying to operate a crucial system to decontaminate the highly radioactive water so that it can be recycled to cool the reactors. But as a series of problems has surfaced, it may take 2 more days to finish test runs on the system before full-scale operation.

In an effort to slow down the increase of contaminated water as much as possible, TEPCO decreased water injection into troubled reactors by up to 1.5 tons per hour each from Tuesday.

The company also piled up sandbags around building entrances to prevent rainwater from pouring in. But the measure may have only a limited effect, as some of the buildings had their roofs blown off by explosions.

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Posted in: JAPAN