The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, located in the towns of Okuma and Futaba in Japan, gained international attention on March 11 of this year when the country was ravaged by earthquake and subsequent tsunami. After months of effort to prevent a nuclear meltdown at the site, the power plant has, according to NPR, “leaked about 45 tons of highly radioactive water from a purification device over the weekend, its operator said, and some may have drained into the ocean.”
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (also known as TEPCO) has pledged to shut down the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant by the end of the year amidst much criticism about its construction and handling of the meltdown.
NPR reports that TEPCO released a statement on its website indicating that “a pool of radioactive water was discovered midday Sunday around a decontamination device” and that “after the equipment was turned off, the leak appeared to stop. Later, workers found a crack in a concrete barrier leaking the contaminated water into a gutter that leads to the ocean.”
The power company has estimated that approximately 300 litres leaked out from the power plant before a crew was able to plug a hole and stop the leak. The concern is that radioactive water containing the harmful Celsium-137 may be released into the ocean and impact the seafood in the water that many fisherman and citizens rely on.
TEPCO is utilizing purification devices “to decontaminate water that has been cooling the reactors. Three of the plant’s reactor cores mostly melted down when the March 11 tsunami knocked out the plant’s cooling system.”