The operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant started paying “condolence money” yesterday to victims of the nuclear crisis, while it kept pouring radioactive water into the sea.
In desperation, engineers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant have turned to what are little more than home remedies to stem the flow of contaminated water. Yesterday, they used “liquid glass” in the hope of plugging cracks in a leaking concrete pit.
The operator of the plant said yesterday it had found water there with 5 million times the legal limit of radioactivity as it struggles for a fourth week to contain the disaster.
Underlining the concern over spreading radiation, the government said it was considering imposing radioactivity restrictions on seafood for the first time in the crisis after contaminated fish were found in seas well south of the damaged nuclear reactors.
Workers are struggling to restart cooling pumps — which recycle the water — in four reactors -damaged by last month’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.
The workers’ problem is that until those are fixed, they must pump in water from outside to prevent overheating and meltdowns. In the process, that creates more contaminated water that has to be pumped out and stored somewhere else or released into the sea.
There is a total of 60,000 tonnes of highly contaminated water in the plant after workers frantically poured in seawater when fuel rods experienced partial meltdown -after the tsunami hit northeast Japan on March 11.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) was on Monday forced to start releasing 11,500 tonnes of low-level radioactive seawater after it ran out of storage capacity for more highly contaminated water. The release will continue until Friday.
Radioactive iodine of up to 4,800 times the legal limit has been recorded in the sea near the plant. Cesium was found at levels above safety limits in tiny kounago fish in waters off Ibaraki Prefecture, south of Fukushima, local media reported.