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Toxic water level increases in Japan`s crippled N-plant

A govt panel said the reconstruction of towns & cities could take a decade.

Updated: Apr 26, 2011, 23:06 PM IST

Tokyo: The embattled operator
of Japan`s radiation-leaking Fukushima nuclear complex on Tuesday
said it is giving top priority to transferring "highly
contaminated water" from the No. 2 reactor after toxic water
level in two of the six reactors rose, hampering the critical
work of restoring its cooling functions.

The Tokyo Electric Company, the operator of the
troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said it is
giving top priority to transferring highly contaminated water
from the No.2 reactor.

Radioactive water in reactor buildings and other areas
of the plant is hampering work to bring the accident under
control.

It said the radiation level in a tunnel at the No.2
reactor is "especially high, and is transferring the water to
a temporary storage site."

But, it has also found high levels of radioactive
substances at the site of the No. 4 reactor. Last Thursday it
detected 8,100 becquerels of cesium 137 and 7,800 becquerels
of cesium 134 per cubic centimeter in the water in the turbine
building`s basement. The radioactive levels were about 250
times higher than a month before.

However, the power company said the water level in the
tunnel of the No. 3 reactor rose to 99 centimetres below the
surface last evening. That passes the level at which TEPCO
plans to remove the water, but it is yet to secure storage
space, national broadcaster NHK reported.

The water level in the basement of the No.3 reactor`s
turbine building also rose by 10 centimetres over 3 days, more
than a month after a magnitude-9 quake and tsunami left nearly
30,000 people dead or unaccounted for in Japan`s north east.

Earlier, a survey found an increase in the density of
radioactive substances in the water in the basement of the No.
4 reactor`s turbine building. The water level in the No. 4
reactor`s turbine building rose by 20 centimetres in 10 days.

TEPCO said the levels of cesium-134 and 137 increased
about 250-fold and iodine-131 increased about 12 times
compared with the levels one month ago.

Contamination of this level requires the TEPCO workers
to prioritise the transfer or disposal of the water.

TEPCO said the water being used to cool the No. 3
reactor could be leaking into No. 4 as their turbine buildings
are connected.

Meanwhile, a government advisory panel said the
reconstruction of towns and cities devastated by last month`s
quake and tsunami could take a decade.

Jun Lio of Japan`s Reconstruction Design Council said
the first three years would be needed for tasks like
rebuilding roads and constructing temporary housing.

Another four years may be necessary to rebuild towns.

PTI