National › Typhoon forces TEPCO to release tainted water into sea - ( J44P44NN )

Monday, September 16, 2013


The typhoon that hit central and northeast Japan on Monday forced the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to release rainwater with low levels of radiation into the ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) workers pumped out water from areas near tanks storing radioactive water, from which leaks are believed to have seeped into groundwater.

“We decided to release the water into sea as we reached a conclusion that it can be regarded as rainfall after we monitored levels of radiation,” TEPCO spokesman Yo Koshimizu said.

According to the spokesman, one liter of the water contained up to 24 becquerels of strontium and other radioactive materials—below the 30 becquerel per liter safety limit imposed by Japanese authorities for a possible release to the environment.

However, it was unknown how much water was released to sea under the “emergency measure,” Koshimizu said.

The typhoon also forced the operator to cancel part of outdoor operations scheduled for Monday, although there was no damage to the plant following the typhoon, he added.

Around 300 tons of mildly contaminated groundwater is entering the ocean every day having passed under the reactors, according to TEPCO.

The typhoon, which was downgraded to a tropical storm late Monday, left three people dead, five missing and 128 injured in 22 prefectures.

© 2013 AFP