Tokyo: About 12 tonnes of radioactive water
has leaked at Japan`s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with the facility`s operator saying on Thursday that some may
have flowed into the Pacific Ocean.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said the leak was found early
on Thursday from a pipe attached to a temporary decontamination
system, and the water had already gone through some of the
The water, once it has been used to cool the reactors,
contains massive amounts of radioactive substances and is put
into the water-processing facility so it can be recycled for
use as a coolant.
"Our officials confirmed that cooling water leaked at a
joint in the pipes," a TEPCO spokesman told AFP, adding that
"it is possible that part of the water may have flowed outside
the facility and poured into the ocean".
The leak has since been plugged, the spokesman added,
saying the utility was probing the cause of the accident and
how much, if any, water flowed into the Pacific.
The accident was the latest of several leaks of
radioactive water at the troubled plant, undermining the
government`s claim made in December that the shuttered
Fukushima reactors were now under control.
In one incident last month, about 120 tonnes of
radioactive water leaked at the plant`s water decontamination
system and about 80 litres (21 gallons) seeped into the ocean,
according to TEPCO.
The plant about 220 kilometres (135 miles) northeast of
Tokyo was crippled by meltdowns and explosions caused by
Japan`s massive earthquake and tsunami in March last year.
Radiation was scattered over a large area and made its way
into the sea, air and food chain in the weeks and months after
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their
homes around the plant and swathes of this zone remain badly
polluted. The clean-up is proceeding slowly, amid warnings
that some towns could be uninhabitable for three decades.