Officials have warned of a deepening crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant as they described the latest leak of radioactive ]apanese water as a “serious incident” – the highest rating issued in two years. Workers for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) were frantically checking 1,000 storage tanks for similar leaks after an employee discovered 300 tonnes of toxic water gushing into the ground from a tank at the crippled plant on Monday. A Tepco official was quoted as saying that the tank had been leaking for 30 days. The leak, the fifth this year, was repeatedly missed by workers employed to carry out twice-daily patrols to monitor tanks storing contaminated water. The amount of radioactive materials being emitted by the water reached 80 million becquerels per litre, compared with the international level of 150 becquerels per litre, Tepco said. Company officials have said that the radiation emitted in one hour was equivalent to five years of the maximum annual exposure permitted for nuclear workers, raising the likelihood of radiation sickness and cancer.
(The Times 22nd/23rd August 2013)
The owners of the plant admitted yesterday that they need international help to bring it under control….