TOKYO, October 9 (Itar-Tass) - Six workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi (Fukushima 1) nuclear power plant on Wednesday were doused with radioactive water with a high content of strontium 90-and cesium. This is the first such incident since March 2011, the NPP operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported.
Workers accidentally disconnected a pipe to the facility and caused the leak that continued for over 50 minutes in the morning, it said, adding that six of the 11 workers were found to have come into contact with radioactive substances. They were likely covered with the tainted water, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said. About 10 tonnes of water may have leaked, the utility said, noting the pipe contained some 37 million becquerels per liter of radioactive substances that emit beta rays such as strontium-90 in a reading in August, against the legal limit of 30 becquerels for strontium-90. But “All of the water is kept inside a barrier (to prevent the spread of the contamination),” the company said in a press release.
The radioactive water leaks have now become a major issue at the Fukushima 1 NPP. TEPCO continues to face difficulties in managing a massive quantity of toxic water created as a result of continuing water injections into the three reactors that have suffered meltdowns during the nuclear crisis that erupted in 2011, the Kyodo news agency reported. Water used to cool the reactors passes through facilities that reduce radioactive cesium and remove salt before it is stored in tanks. The water that leaked has undergone the cesium-reduction process, but is believed to still contain about 2,000 becquerels of cesium, and was due to be desalinated. This August, 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water leaked from the NPP’s ground storage tank.