NYTimes: 400 tons of highly radioactive water going into Pacific each day from Fukushima plant, says Tepco — Top Nuclear Regulator: This is a crisis

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
By Paul Martin

August 7th, 2013

Title: New Leaks Into Pacific at Japan Nuclear Plant
Source: New York Times
Author: Martin Fackler, Matthew L. Wald
Date: August 6, 2013 at ~11:00p ET
Emphasis Added

Tons of contaminated groundwater from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have overwhelmed an underground barrier and are emptying daily into the Pacific, creating what a top regulator has called a crisis.

The water contains strontium and cesium […]

“Tepco lacks a sufficient sense of urgency for this crisis,” Shinji Kinjo, a high-level official at the country’s nuclear regulatory watchdog, said Tuesday in an interview. […]

Tepco now says the groundwater is emptying into the plant’s man-made harbor at a rate of 400 tons a day […] While the company did not specifically say how much of the water was contaminated, it offered a calculation for the amount of tritium being released that assumed all of the water was contaminated.

[…] experts agree with Tepco’s assessment that the amounts of radioactive material released into the Pacific have been too small to pose a risk to human health. Still, some critics contend that the plant has emitted far more radioactive materials than it is saying, based in part on levels of contaminants discovered in the harbor, which are well above safe levels in some places. […]

Mr. Kinjo […] said that the levels of contamination in the water that had collected in the reactor buildings was too low to account for the radiation levels seen in the groundwater now flowing into the ocean, so the water at the reactors was unlikely to be the source of the latest leaks.

The most likely source appears to be pools of highly radioactive water that collected in the plant’s maze of underground conduits […]

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