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article imageDaiichi radioactive water levels see sharp rise, storm approaches

By Lynn Herrmann     May 30, 2011 in Environment
Tokyo - Conditions at Fukushima’s Daiichi nuclear facility are deteriorating, with a sudden rise in the contaminated water level in tunnels at No.1 reactor, a halt to the cooling system at No.5 reactor, and fear of radiation spreading by an approaching storm.
Japan’s Daiichi nuclear plant near Fukushima is facing yet more misfortune on Monday, with Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) saying a breakdown has occurred at the No.5 reactor at Daiichi.
A system used to cool the No.5 reactor and its fuel pool stopped working late Saturday causing core and fuel pool temperatures to rise. At a Sunday news conference, TEPCO noted the backup water-injection plan is in place, according to the Japan Times. A company official has stated the cooling breakdown would not lead to a rapid rise of temperatures which could endanger the reactor and its spent fuel pool.
TEPCO also said radioactive water levels at the No.1, 2 and 3 reactors‘ tunnels and basements have increased appreciably over the weekend, believed to have been caused by heavy rainfall.
During the 24-hour period from 7 a.m. on May 28, the basement water level at No.1 rose 1.1 centimeters, but the following 24 hours saw the water level spike 19.8 centimeters. Water at the No.2 reactor’s tunnel rose 6.2 centimeters during a 24-hour period over the weekend and the No.3 tunnel rose by 4.4 centimeters during the same period.
Company officials claim there are no immediate fears of marine environment contamination, according to the Mainichi Daily News.
Water injections used in an attempt to cool reactors at the melted down facility have been reduced at No.2 reactor and the company states it is transferring accumulated wastewater in the No.6 reactor building to a “temporary tank.”
Typhoon Songda has been downgraded to a tropical storm but there are growing fears of radioactive materials spreading further into the air and ocean from torrential rains and strong winds associated with the approaching storm.
ABC News reports TEPCO has apologized for being unprepared for the bad weather. The plant operator has been attempting to pour synthetic resins over the facility to prevent radioactive materials from pouring into the sea, but the project is far from completion.
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