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

Posted by on April 27, 2011 0 Comment

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. Agencies

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