Japan’s nuclear regulator said on Monday it may have to think about dumping contaminated cooling water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific.
There are over 1,000 tanks on-site containing the water, and one has already leaked 300 tons. Water near one tank has radiation levels 18 times higher than previously reported.
“As the detected radiation was Beta, or minimum radiation, it will not penetrate as long as there is a 5-10 millimetre-thick plastic shield or you wear leather shoes. It should be OK, even if you stand on it for a while,” said the Chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority Shunichi Tanaka on Monday.
Yet the water discovered near the bottom of the tank on Sunday was measured at 1,800 millisieverts an hour, deadly after just four hours exposure. Officials are unable to explain this radiation spike, and have belatedly confirmed 300 tons of water is seeping into the sea every day.
“We think that contaminated water management by your company has completely fallen apart,” Hiroshi Kishi, chairman of the Japan Fisheries Co-operative, told Tepco’s president, Naomi Hirose, during a meeting in Tokyo last week.