Archive for the ‘TEPCO’ Category

TEPCO may have to evacuate Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant

March 29, 2014

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nsnbc , - Radiation levels at the boundary of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have risen to the eightfold of the government set standards of 1 millisievert per year, reports TEPCO. Additional monitoring devices have been installed in towns and villages in the affected region. Water decontamination shall reduce the amount of stored, X-ray emitting water. Should any of the tanks burst during an earthquake, TEPCO would have to evacuate the workers and it is uncertain if they could return, said a German nuclear engineer.

Click on image to enlarge

On 10 January, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) held a meeting to discuss possible countermeasures for a southern area which long has been a source of problems, reports the Japanese dailyAsahi Shimbun.

The newspaper quotes TEPCO officials as saying that a level of eight millisieverts per year was estimated as of December, near an area with many storage tanks containing highly radioactive water.

TEPCO reports that the main factor behind the increase in radiation levels was X-rays from the storage tanks. Beta rays, released from radioactive strontium and other substances in the water reacted with iron and other elements in the storage tank containers to generate the X-rays, said TEPCO officials.

Highly contaminated water on the surface and permeating the underground has beenrunning into the Pacific Ocean since the disaster struck the nuclear facility in 2011.

Contamination of the Pacific Ocean water has according to statements by independent observers and scientists already led to a catastrophic collapse of Pacific Ocean ecosystems and private individuals reported localized, highly elevated radiation levels in the United States, Canadian and Mexican West Coast. It was only in 2013, two years after the disaster struck, that TEPCO reported that some 300 tons of contaminated water are running into the Pacific ocean per day.

Immediately after the disaster in 2011, TEPCO ordered flange storage tanks as an emergency solution, because the production of welded tanks would have taken longer time. The flange tanks, which are constructed of metal elements which are bolted together and sealed with rubber fittings are not fit for the corrosive ocean environment and risk bursting in the event of an earthquake. TEPCO continues, until today, to store water in ever more of the (cheaper) flange tanks and never ordered double hull, welded tanks which would be a much safer option.

TEPCO is attempting to neutralize the stored water, using a system known as Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). The ALPS consists of 14 steel cylinders with filter systems of varying permeability. The end product is meant to be a slurry containing radioactive particles and “relatively” low radioactive water, which TEPCO ultimately plans to pump into the Pacific Ocean.

Depleted Uranium Damages

With regards to the final storage of the highly radioactive slurry, which is stored in steel containers, the reality is that there is none. So far, there has not been found any final disposal solution for any of the radioactive waste that has been produced over the last 60 + years, anywhere,although some of it is being disposed of in the form of depleted uranium munitions and with disastrous humanitarian consequences.

The Japanese government’s decommissioning plan for the Fukushima Daiichi power plant outlines that radiation levels at the boundaries of the crippled nuclear facility should not exceed one millisievert per year to minimize the impact of radiation outside the plant.

In response to the recent reports of radiation levels of eight millisieverts, the NRA has decided to set up an additional 400 monitoring devices in 12 cities, towns and villages around the power plant, including the evacuation zone.

JAPAN_Radioactivity_forestThe results of a study on the accumulation of radioactivity in Japanese forests, published in December, showed that the levels of the radioactive isotope cesium in forests, in a radius of 120 km around the power plant have almost doubled within one year.

The monitoring results from the previously installed and the newly added monitoring stations in the region around the power plant are available via the NRA’s website at http://radioactivity.nsr.go.jp/en/ .

The reliability of the published results, however, is questioned by many, referring to the fact that both TEPCO and the Japanese government have been withholding and censoring information to the public since 2011.

nsnbc international has spoken with a German nuclear engineer who has been working at nuclear research reactors for the better part of two decades. On condition of anonymity, fearing professional repercussions, the expert said that TEPCO is in a race against time.

Japan_Quake_map

Earthquakes of a magnitude of five on the Richter scale are a common, if not daily then a weekly occurrence in the region around Japan, and the likelihood of an earthquake above the magnitude of seven on the Richter scale in Japan within a one year period is estimated to be above seventy percent, said the German nuclear engineer who has been monitoring the situation in Fukushima closely since 2011.

The engineer stressed, that most of the flange tanks, containing the highly contaminated water, are located uphill from the reactors where the spent fuel rod removal and cleanup operation proceeds, adding, let alone the fact that building four could collapse; If any, of the storage tanks undergoes a catastrophic failure during an earthquake, TEPCO would have to evacuate the facility and it is unlikely that the fuel rod removal operation, or for that sake the controlling of the water levels in the spent fuel pool could continue.

Ch/L - nsnbc 11.01.2014

Read our extensive coverage of the situation in Fukushima, Japan, and related issues in nsnbc international. 

About the Author

 - nsnbc international is a daily, international online newspaper, established on 25 February 2013. nsnbc international is independent from corporate, state or foundation funding and independent with regards to political parties. nsnbc international is free to read and free to subscribe to, because the need for daily news, analysis and opinion, and the need for independent media is universal. The decision to make nsnbc international freely available was made so all, also those in countries with the lowest incomes, and those inflicted by poverty can access our daily newspaper. To keep it this way however, we depend on your donation if you are in a position to donate a modest amount whenever you can or on a regular basis. Besides articles from nsnbc’s regular contributors and staff writers, including it’s editor and founder, Christof Lehmann, it features selected articles from other contributors through its cooperation with media partners such as Global Research, The 4th Media, Aydinlik Daily, AltThaiNews Network and others.

Water decontamination system halted at Fukushima plant

March 19, 2014

NATIONAL MAR. 19, 2014 – 04:20PM JST ( 15 )

Water decontamination system halted at Fukushima plantMedia and TEPCO employees visit the suppression chamber area in the basement of the Number 5 reactor building at the Fukushima power plant on March 10, 2014AFP

TOKYO —

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Wednesday it has temporarily shut down a decontamination system that scrubs radiation-tainted water used to cool damaged reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said it had discovered a defect in its Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) and switched it off on Tuesday for repairs.

It is not the first time the utility has shut down the system, which has been hit by a series of glitches since trial operations began a year ago.

“We don’t know yet when we can resume operating the system as we have not detected the cause of the defect yet,” a TEPCO spokeswoman told AFP. “But we still have room to store toxic water so there is no immediate concern.”

TEPCO is struggling to handle a huge—and growing—volume of contaminated water at the tsunami-damaged plant. There are about 436,000 cubic meters of contaminated water stored at the site in about 1,200 purpose-built tanks.

Many experts say that at some point the water will have to be released into the sea after being scoured of the most harmful contaminants. They say it will pose a negligible risk to marine life or people, but local fishermen and neighboring countries are fiercely opposed.

© 2014 AFP

Fukushima nuclear plant workers rally against TEPCO

March 15, 2014

NATIONAL MAR. 15, 2014 – 06:25AM JST ( 20 )

Fukushima nuclear plant workers rally against TEPCOFukushima nuclear workers and their supporters shout slogans outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Friday.AFP

TOKYO —

Fukushima nuclear plant workers rallied outside the headquarters of operator Tokyo Electric Power on Friday, complaining they were forced to work for meager pay in dangerous conditions.

The group of about 100 demonstrators shouted and pumped their fists in the air as they railed against being cheated by contractors hired to find recruits to clean up the shattered site and surrounding area.

“Workers at the Fukushima plant have been forced to do unreasonable tasks with no decent safety measures,” said one man in his 30s, who declined to give his name.

He said he was laid off after several months in the job due to heavy radiation exposure.

“Workers are forced to handle contaminated water in such grim working conditions, where any human being should not be put to work,” he said.

“They tend to make easy mistakes under the pressure, but it’s not they who are at fault—it’s the conditions that force them to do terrible tasks.”

Three years since a towering wall of water plunged the Fukushima nuclear plant into darkness on March 11, 2011 and sent reactors into meltdown, plant workers have yet to even start dismantling the crippled reactors.

The decommissioning process is expected to stretch over decades.

Several thousand employees at the plant are locked in a daily—and dangerous—scramble to keep the site as safe as possible, making myriad repairs and building tanks for the vast amounts of water contaminated after being used to cool reactors.

The country’s 50 atomic reactors have been shuttered in the wake of the worst nuclear accident in a generation.

On Thursday, Japan moved closer to restarting a pair of reactors in the southern part of the country, with the nuclear regulator saying it would conduct safety checks.

But winning the backing of local officials and an atomic-weary population will be a major hurdle to re-starting the plants.

On Friday, demonstrators also rallied outside the office of Maeda Corp, one of the contractors hired to run clean-up operations at the plant and in surrounding areas.

Questions have swirled about the working conditions created by the web of Fukushima contractors and sub-contractors.

Some demonstrators said they received far less pay than promised as various layers of bosses docked money for supplying meals, transportation and other expenses.

They also said many had not received a 10,000 yen daily premium for decontamination work.

“Most people are working for small pay without getting the special compensation,” said a 51-year-old man, who said he was doing clean-up work near the plant.

Maeda Corp did not immediately respond to a request for comment about working conditions in the stricken area.

© 2014 AFP

 

Japan Physician: Parents should evacuate children from Tokyo; Danger from Fukushima radiation — “The threat has seemed to be spreading” — “I’ve seen a lot of patients badly affected”

February 15, 2014

Latest Headlines from ENENews

 

Professor on PBS: “Consolidated mass” of radioactive water “moving in unison” across Pacific to West Coast — Study: Fukushima nuclear material stays “confined to a narrow band” in ocean — “Very little dispersion” (MAP & AUDIO)

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 08:03 PM PST

 

Japan Physician: Parents should evacuate children from Tokyo; Danger from Fukushima radiation — “The threat has seemed to be spreading” — “I’ve seen a lot of patients badly affected”

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 03:33 PM PST

 

Study: Fukushima airborne plumes “caused significant deposition of radioactivity over North America” — Especially for West Coast and eastern U.S. — Around 13% of all radioactive iodine released into atmosphere was deposited over USA and Canada (MAP)

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 10:03 AM PST

 

Officials: ‘Hot’ materials with 7 billion Bq/kg of cesium found 15 km from Fukushima plant — “Most likely” came from Unit 3 — Over 7,500 Bq/kg of Plutonium and Americium (PHOTOS)

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 06:26 AM PST

Revealed: TEPCO hid dangerous Fukushima radiation levels for months

February 15, 2014

Published time: February 13, 2014 15:37

AFP Photo / Kimimasa MayamaAFP Photo / Kimimasa Mayama

Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is again in the midst of controversy for failing to timely report on record radiation levels at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. It is now blasted for holding back strontium measurements since September.

TEPCO on Wednesday revealed that it detected 5 million becquerels per liter of radioactive Strontium-90 in a groundwater sample taken some 25 meters from the ocean as early as last September, Reuters reports. The legal limit for releasing strontium into the ocean is just 30 becquerels per liter.

Although the reading was alarmingly five times the levels taken at the same spot two months prior to that, TEPCO decided not to immediately report it to the country’s nuclear watchdog. That is despite Strontium-90 being considered twice as harmful to people as Cesium-137, which was also released in large quantities during the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011 caused by powerful earthquake and tsunami.

According to a TEPCO spokesman cited by Reuters, the decision was due to“uncertainty about the reliability and accuracy of the September strontium reading,” which prompted the plant’s operator to reexamine the data.

However, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) officials say no data came up until now despite repeated demands to TEPCO.

“We did not hear about this figure when they detected it last September. We have been repeatedly pushing TEPCO to release strontium data since November. It should not take them this long to release this information,” Shinji Kinjo, head of the NRA taskforce on contaminated water issues at Fukushima, told the agency.

Top NRA officials, including the watchdog’s chairman, have lashed out at TEPCO for “lacking a fundamental understanding of measuring and handling radiation”while responding to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“This is not an appropriate way to deal with the desire of the public [for transparency] and in particular, the regulator, which is now very closely regulating issues related to public health, the environment and so on,” Martin Schulz, a senior research fellow at the Fujitsu Research Institute, has said.

On Thursday, fears of new leaks surfaced in Japanese media, as Asahi Shimbun reported two cracks in a concrete floor of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 facility near radioactive water storage tanks. Some contaminated water from the melting snow may have seeped into the ground through the cracks stretching for 12 and 8 meters, TEPCO said.

Earlier last year, TEPCO came under criticism for letting radioactive water leak from a tank at Fukushima and also concealing the fact for some time.

Days before Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games last September, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed that contaminated water at Fukushima was “under control” and vowed to provide some $500 million to help contain it.

__________________________

Comment: Data withheld after Abe’s safety assurance and Tokyo Gubernatorial Election?

 

Radioactive cesium levels “never seen before” at Fukushima — New record as amount in groundwater nearly doubles in 24 hours — Officials admit ‘may be new leak’ — IAEA urges ‘resumption’ of dumping contaminated water in ocean; ‘All options’ need to be on table (VIDEO)

February 14, 2014

TEPCO took months to release record strontium readings at Fukushima

February 14, 2014

By Mari Saito

NATIONAL FEB. 14, 2014 – 06:59AM JST ( 21 )

TOKYO —

The operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant knew about record high measurements of a dangerous isotope in groundwater at the plant for five months before telling the country’s nuclear watchdog, a regulatory official told Reuters.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said late on Wednesday it detected 5 million becquerels per liter of radioactive strontium-90 in a sample from a groundwater well about 25 meters from the ocean last September. That reading was more than five times the broader all-beta radiation reading taken at the same well two months earlier.

A TEPCO spokesman said there was uncertainty about the reliability and accuracy of the September strontium reading, so the utility decided to re-examine the data.

Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) taskforce on contaminated water issues at Fukushima, told Reuters he had not heard about the record high strontium reading until this month. “We did not hear about this figure when they detected it last September,” he said. “We have been repeatedly pushing TEPCO to release strontium data since November. It should not take them this long to release this information.”

Strontium-90, which has a half-life of around 29 years, is estimated to be twice as harmful to the human body as cesium-137, another isotope that was released in large quantities during the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011. The legal limit for releasing strontium into the ocean is 30 becquerels per liter.

TEPCO has been heavily criticized for its inept response to the 2011 disaster at Fukushima, including delays in releasing radiation data. The NRA’s chairman said on Wednesday that TEPCO still lacks a fundamental understanding of measuring and handling radiation.

“This is not an appropriate way to deal with the desire of the public (for transparency) and in particular, the regulator, which is now very closely regulating issues related to public health, the environment and so on,” said Martin Schulz, a senior research fellow at the Fujitsu Research Institute.

TEPCO, which was taken over by the government in 2012, came under criticism last year after highly radioactive water leaked from a holding tank at Fukushima.

Japan’s government vowed to provide half a billion dollars to help contain contaminated water at Fukushima last September, just days before Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the International Olympic Committee then that contaminated water at Fukushima was “under control”.

Abe is scheduled to visit towns around the Fukushima plant later this week.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

 

U.S. Sailors Sick From Fukushima Radiation File New Suit Against Tokyo Electric Power

February 13, 2014
ENERGYINSIGHTSNUCLEAR

 | February 9, 2014 1:23 pm | Comments

hwassermanCiting a wide range of ailments from leukemia to blindness to birth defects, 79 American veterans of 2011’s earthquake/tsunami relief Operation Tomadachi (“Friendship”) have filed a new $1 billion class action lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power.

The suit includes an infant born with a genetic condition to a sailor who served on the USS Ronald Reagan as radiation poured over it during the Fukushima melt-downs, and an American teenager living near the stricken site. It has also been left open for “up to 70,000 U.S. citizens [who were] potentially affected by the radiation and will be able to join the class action suit.”

Now docked in San Diego, the USS Reagan’s on-going safety has become a political hot potato. The $6 billion carrier is at the core of the U.S. Naval presence in the Pacific. Critics say it’s too radioactive to operate or to scrap, and that it should be sunk, as were a number of U.S. ships contaminated by atmospheric Bomb tests in the South Pacific.

Now docked in San Diego, the USS Reagan’s on-going safety has become a political hot potato. The $4.3 billion carrier is at the core of the U.S. Naval presence in the Pacific. Critics say it’s too radioactive to operate or to scrap, and that it should be sunk, as were a number of U.S. ships contaminated by atmospheric Bomb tests in the South Pacific.

The re-filing comes as Tepco admits that it has underestimated certain radiation readings by a factor of five. And as eight more thyroid cancers have surfaced among children in the downwind region. Two new earthquakes have also struck near the Fukushima site.

The amended action was filed in federal court in San Diego on Feb. 6, which would have been Reagan’s 103rd birthday. It says Tepco failed to disclose that the $4.3 billion nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was being heavily dosed from three melt-downs and four explosions at the Fukushima site. The Reagan was as close as a mile offshore as the stricken reactors poured deadly clouds of radiation into the air and ocean beginning the day after the earthquake and tsunami. It also sailed through nuclear plumes for more than five hours while about 100 miles offshore. The USS Reagan (CVN-76) is 1,092 feet long and was commissioned on July 12, 2003. The flight deck covers 4.5 acres, carries 5,500 sailors and more than 80 aircraft.

Reagan crew members reported that in the middle of a snowstorm, a cloud of warm air enveloped them with a “metallic taste.” The reports parallel those from airmen who dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima, and from central Pennsylvanians downwind from Three Mile Island. Crew members drank and bathed in desalinated sea water that was heavily irradiated from Fukushima’s fallout.

As a group, the sailors comprise an especially young, healthy cross-section of people. Some also served on the amphibious assault ship Essex, missile cruiser Cowpens and several others.

The plaintiffs’ ailments parallel those of downwinders irradiated at Hiroshima/Nagasaki (1945), during atmospheric Bomb tests (1946-1963), and from the radiation releases at Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986). Among them are reproductive problems and “illnesses such as Leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removals, brain cancer, testicular cancer, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, thyroid illnesses, stomach ailments and a host of other complaints unusual in such young adults.”

One 22-year-old sailor declared to the court that “Upon my return from Operation Tomodachi, I began losing my eyesight. I lost all vision in my left eye and most vision in my right eye. I am unable to read street signs and am no longer able to drive. Prior to Operation Tomodachi, I had 2/20 eyesight, wore no glasses and had no corrective surgery.” Additionally, he said, “I know of no family members who have had leukemia.”

Plaintiff “Baby A.G.” was born to a Reagan crew member on Oct. 15, 2011—seven months after the crew members exposure—with multiple birth defects.

The suit asks for at least $1 billion to “advance and pay all costs and expenses for each of the Plaintiffs for medical examination, medical monitoring and treatment by physicians,” as well as for more general damages.

Both Tepco and the Navy say not enough radiation was released from Fukushima to harm the sailors or their offspring. But neither can say exactly how much radiation that might have been or where it went. The Navy has discontinued a program that might have tracked the sailors’ health in the wake of their irradiation.

After its four days offshore from Fukushima the governments of Japan, South Korea and Guam refused the Reagan port entry because of its high radiation levels. The Navy has since exposed numerous sailors in a major decontamination effort whose results are unclear.

Now docked in San Diego, the Reagan’s on-going safety has become a political hot potato. The $6 billion carrier is at the core of the U.S. Naval presence in the Pacific. Critics say it’s too radioactive to operate or to scrap, and that it should be sunk, as were a number of U.S. ships contaminated by atmospheric Bomb tests in the South Pacific. There are also rumors the Navy is considering deploying the Reagan to a port in Japan, where protests would be almost certain.

Filed on Dec. 12, 2012, the initial suit involved just eight plaintiffs. It was amended to bring the total to 51.

That action was thrown out at the end of 2013 by federal Judge Janis S. Sammartino on jurisdictional grounds.

A January deadline for re-filing this second amended complaint was delayed as additional plaintiffs kept coming forward. Attorneys Paul Garner and Charles Bonner say still more are being processed.

The suit charges Tepco lied to the public—including Japan’s then Prime Minister Naoto Kan—about the accident’s radioactive impacts. Kan says Unit One melted within five hours of the earthquake, before U.S. fleet arrived. Such news is unwelcome to an industry with scores more reactors in earthquake zones worldwide.

The Plaintiffs say Tepco negligently leveled a natural seawall to cut water pumping expenses. The ensuing tsunami then poured over the site’s unprotected power supply, forcing desperate workers to scavenge car batteries from a nearby parking lot to fire up critical gauges. Tepco belatedly dispatched 11 power supply trucks that were immediately stuck in traffic.

Similar reports of fatal cost-cutting, mismanagement and the use and abuse of untrained personnel run throughout the 65-page complaint.

Attorney Bonner will explain much of it on the Solartopia Radio show at 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

Some 4,000 supporters have signed petitions at nukefree.orgmoveon.orgAvaaz and elsewhere.

Feb. 11—like the eleventh day of every month—will be a worldwide fast day for those supporting the victims of Fukushima’s deepening disaster.

The future of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the nuclear power industry and a growing group young sailors tragically afflicted by Fukushima’s secret fallout will be hanging in the balance.

Visit EcoWatch’s FUKUSHIMA page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Harvey Wasserman edits www.nukefree.org, where petitions calling for the repeal of Japan’s State Secrets Act and a global takeover at Fukushima are linked. He is author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth.

Reporters reveal “blast ruined inside of containment vessel” at Fukushima Unit 4 — Walls ‘destroyed’ — Explosion was ‘believed’ to have been outside reactor (PHOTO)

February 13, 2014

Latest Headlines from ENENews


Highest cesium levels ever measured from groundwater well at Fukushima — Broke record that had stood since last summer

Posted: 13 Feb 2014 12:47 AM PST

Japan Times: Sources reveal Fukushima radiation cover-up — ‘Massively high levels’ hidden since last July — Nuclear Official: “Something like this cannot happen”

Posted: 12 Feb 2014 06:36 PM PST

Reporters reveal “blast ruined inside of containment vessel” at Fukushima Unit 4 — Walls ‘destroyed’ — Explosion was ‘believed’ to have been outside reactor (PHOTO)

Posted: 12 Feb 2014 02:50 PM PST

NPR: Scientists test for Fukushima plutonium being transported in Pacific — Study: Plutonium particles found to have “high environmental mobility” — Expert: Fuel materials may be flowing from plant, “What is actually contained in releases?” (AUDIO)

Posted: 12 Feb 2014 12:29 PM PST

Newspaper: U.S. scientists worried about Fukushima radioactive plume — Expert: West Coast our top priority, even over Japan — Alaska Hunter: “We are concerned about our health” — Senator: Testing necessary, but money ‘tight’

Posted: 12 Feb 2014 10:21 AM PST

‘Massive cracks’ found at Fukushima plant; 2,100 Bq/liter of strontium-90 detected from snow blanketing area — Asahi: Cracks up to 40 feet in concrete near tanks of radioactive waste

Posted: 12 Feb 2014 09:15 AM PST

Nuclear regulator raps TEPCO over Fukushima radiation readings

February 13, 2014

By Mari Saito

NATIONAL FEB. 13, 2014 – 07:00AM JST ( 20 )

TOKYO —

Japan’s nuclear regulator has criticized the operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for incorrectly measuring radiation levels in contaminated groundwater at the site.

Almost three years since the reactor meltdowns at the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) still lacks basic understanding of measuring and handling radiation, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said on Wednesday. The utility has been widely criticized for an inept response to the March 2011 disaster.

TEPCO said last week that groundwater drawn from a monitoring well last July contained a record 5 million becquerels per liter of dangerous radioactive strontium-90 – more than five times the total beta radiation reading of 900,000 becquerels per liter recorded in the well, which is around 25 meters from the ocean.

TEPCO said there was a calibration mistake with one machine measuring strontium levels of well water at the plant, and it had also found an error with devices that decipher all-beta radiation.

“Something like this cannot happen … This (data) is what becomes the basis of various decisions, so they must do their utmost to avoid mistakes in measuring radiation,” Tanaka told reporters, though he added the mistake did not pose a serious safety risk at the plant.

The legal limit for releasing strontium 90, which has a half life of around 29 years, into the sea is 30 becquerels per liter.

A TEPCO spokesman said the utility will re-check all-beta radiation readings of groundwater in light of the record strontium levels.

Last year, radiation leaks, power outages and other mishaps sparked international concern and prompted Japan’s government to step in with more funds and support. As part of a turnaround plan approved by the government last month, TEPCO hopes to re-start its biggest nuclear station, Kashiwazaki Kariwa, this summer.

Tepco in November began the hazardous process of removing hundreds of brittle spent fuel rods from the damaged No. 4 reactor building at Fukushima. It said last week it had removed about 9% of more than 1,500 unused and spent fuel assemblies in the reactor’s storage pool.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

 


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