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October 22, 2021

Race at Japan plant to identify path of radiation leak

Tokyo – Tokyo’s main electric power company plans to release thousands of tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean tomorrow. Workers at Japan’s quake-hit nuclear plant are using dye to try to trace the route of highly radioactive water flowing from a reactor into the sea, the BBC informs. The source of the leak was identified at the weekend as a 20cm (8in) crack in a concrete pit at reactor 2. Earlier efforts to plug the hole using a highly absorbent polymer failed. Meanwhile, the plant’s operator, Tepco, says it has no choice but to dump 11,500 tonnes of much less contaminated water at sea from Tuesday. The move is to free up storage space at the Fukushima Daiichi facility for water with much higher levels of radioactivity. Workers must keep spraying water on the reactors to stop them overheating, but pools are building up at the power plant. The water to be released into the sea contains 100 times the legal limit of radiation – a relatively low level, our correspondent says. The government says there will be no effect on human health. Japan’s top government spokesman said the leak from reactor 2 must be stopped “as soon as possible”. The cumulative effects of a possible long-term leak “will have a huge impact on the ocean”, Yukio Edano told a news conference on Monday.

As a temporary measure, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is considering building embankments of silt near reactor No 2 to stem the leak into the ocean.

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