A water tank at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan apparently sprung a leak recently. The latest reports from the northern prefecture say that puddles have collected all around the plant, and the implication is clear. Fukushima has a whole new radioactive water problem.
The amount of radiation detected in the puddles is not insignificant. TEPCO measured the level at 100 millisieverts per hour, which the AFP describes as “extremely high radiation levels.” To put that into persecptive 100 millisieverts per year is enough to greatly increase the risk of cancer. While they clean up the mess, TEPCO denies that the water is leaking to the ocean. The specifics, however, are particularly unnerving since a Japanese official drank water from a puddle at Fukushima to prove that it was safe. That’s clearly no longer the case.
The extremely radioactive puddle problem does not appear to be linked to Fukushima’s radioactive groundwater situation. Radioactive water is leaking out of the facility at a troubling rate, enough for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the situation as an “urgent problem.” Officials are considering building a giant wall of ice to contain the contaminated groundwater, but as Monday’s leak makes clear, that won’t do anything against new leaks. It’s unclear what will. [AFP]