JAPAN | TEPCO considers new locations for storing contaminated water as overflow threatens

Posted on June 22, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 22 June 2011

In this June 1, 2011 file photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), workers inspect equipment inside the cesium absorption tower, part of the radioactive water processing facilities at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. (AP Photo/TEPCO)

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has begun considering new locations for storing contaminated water from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant as the water threatens to overflow, the utility announced on June 21.

Furthermore, on June 21 a system being used to treat the contaminated water was halted because of a problem with a French-made pump. The system had been in test operation, and with the new delay workers are now aiming for a resumption of full-scale operations in two to three days’ time.

The system has had stability problems since it was put into full-scale operation on June 17. A previous problem that occurred with a section of American-made equipment also caused a shutdown.

There are estimated to be over 100,000 cubic meters of contaminated water collected on the plant grounds. With the area having entered the rainy season on June 21, it is feared that the contaminated water could overflow within the month if nothing is done.

TEPCO is checking on the safety of tanks it is setting up to take water with low-level radioactive materials to see if they can store highly radioactive water.

In this May 27, 2011 photo released on June 2, 2011 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), temporary storage tanks for low-level radioactive polluted waters used for temporary cooling system in Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, are shown. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

In this May 27, 2011 photo released on June 2, 2011 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), temporary storage tanks for low-level radioactive polluted waters used for temporary cooling system in Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, are shown. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

“We can’t release the contaminated water into the environment,” said TEPCO spokesman Junichi Matsumoto at a press conference. “We will take every measure we can.”

Goshi Hosono, advisor to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, said, “We have a considerable number of tanks for storing low-concentration contaminated water. We apologize for the worry we have caused to the public. The government will support the response to this problem.”

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