The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has found that a coolant solution, used to create an ice wall halting the seepage of groundwater into reactor buildings, has leaked from two storage tanks.
The leakage has had no impact on the wall or environment, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said.
Still, it underscores the unpredictable challenges in the cleanup of the site, nearly 11 year after an earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan’s northeastern coast, causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986.
Only last year, the Japanese government approved the release of more than 1 million tonnes of irradiated water from the site after treatment, starting in the spring of next year.
TEPCO last month said it would build a tunnel reaching into the sea for the operation.
On Sunday, TEPCO spokesman Tsuyoshi Shiraishi said that about 4 tonnes of a calcium chloride solution used to maintain the ice wall had leaked in what was the eighth such leakage.
“We’re now confirming the reason,” Shiraishi said.
The last leak, in December 2019, led to a spill of 16 tonnes, likely due to metal fatigue resulting from vibrations caused by construction vehicles, Shiraishi said.
There was no immediate impact on the wall’s function as it takes several months for the wall to thaw in the absence of coolant, he said.
Separately, six men and women are planning to on Thursday file a lawsuit against TEPCO claiming that they developed thyroid cancer due to exposure to radiation from the Fukushima disaster, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.
The plaintiffs, who were minors living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the 2011 disaster, are seeking ￥616 million (US$5.42 million) in compensation from the electricity provider, the newspaper said.
If the complaint was served, TEPCO would respond in good faith after hearing the contents of the claims and arguments in detail, the firm said in a statement.
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