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Groundwater radiation problems at Fukushima No 1 nuclear complex

Tepco again corrects water radiation level JAPAN TIMES , 14 JUNE 13 KYODO Tokyo Electric Power Co. has issued another correction for groundwater radiation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex and now says that it’s only a tenth of what it announced earlier this month.

The correction Wednesday was the second the beleaguered utility has issued for groundwater data. Tepco is locked in a battle with water and is desperately seeking fishermen’s consent to divert or dump the least-tainted portions of it into the Pacific Ocean to prevent it from mixing with highly radioactive water accumulating in the reactor buildings.

When it runs out of storage space, the tainted water will flood the premises and the environment, making the decommissioning process incredibly difficult.

Tepco said in May that the level of radioactive cesium in a sample of Fukushima No. 1 groundwater was so low it could not be detected. On June 3, however, the utility said the sample contained 0.61 becquerel per liter. This was then reversed Wednesday to a maximum of 0.055 becquerel. Other radioactive substances were not mentioned.

All of the figures are below Tepco’s upper limit for releasing groundwater: 1 becquerel per liter.

But the latest correction could deal another blow to Tepco’s efforts to dump the water by further damaging its already low credibility.

The radioactive water accumulating at the plant is a natural result of the makeshift cooling apparatus set up to keep the fuel from melting again. The water perpetually injected into the three reactors is leaking through holes created by the crisis and flooding each building.

Attempts to drain the water will be limited by Tepco’s rapidly shrinking storage space, and the penetration of the groundwater is only exacerbating the situation. ….

June 14, 2013 - Posted by | Fukushima 2013

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