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article imageDamaged Fukushima reactors leaking coolant after last earthquake

By Karen Graham     Feb 21, 2021 in World
Two reactors at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan have begun leaking cooling water following last weekend’s 7.3 magnitude earthquake, indicating that the existing damage to TEPCO’s Unit 1 and 3 reactors has worsened.
According to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) spokesman Keisuke Matsuo, "the cooling water level fell as much as 70 centimeters (27 inches) in the primary containment chamber of the Unit 1 reactor and about 30 centimeters (11 inches) in Unit 3.
TEPCO hasn't been able to determine if the Unit 2 reactor was leaking because indicators have been taken out to prepare for the removal of melted debris, reports Natural Blaze.
The Associated Press reports it is believed the leaked water has remained inside the reactor buildings as there is no indication of any outside impact from the earthquake.
In 2011, a powerful magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima plant's cooling systems, causing three reactor cores to melt and nuclear fuel to fall to the bottom of their primary containment vessels.
Damaged buildings are seen in Fukushima on February 13  2021 after a strong 7.3-magnitude earthquake
Damaged buildings are seen in Fukushima on February 13, 2021 after a strong 7.3-magnitude earthquake
-, JIJI PRESS/AFP
The resulting massive explosion spewed radioactive material as far as Idaho, where drinking water samples showed trace amounts of nuclear isotopes following the disaster.
Since the 2011 disaster, water has been leaking constantly from the primary containment vessels in the basements of the three reactor buildings. This issue has required that more water be pumped into the reactors to cool the melted fuel which remains inside of them.
However, the latest increased drop in water levels indicates that more water is leaking following the most recent earthquake, according to TEPCO, which initially reported no abnormalities.
With the need to pump more water into the leaking reactors, it will result in even more contaminated water that needs to be treated and stored in huge tanks at the plant. TEPCO is saying they have the capacity to store an additional 1.37 million tons of contaminated water before they run out of space by next summer.
An observatory room shows  unit 1 to unit 4 reactor buildings and storage tanks for contaminated wat...
An observatory room shows unit 1 to unit 4 reactor buildings and storage tanks for contaminated water at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant
Behrouz MEHRI, AFP
On Friday, the Tokyo High Court ruled that the Japanese government and TEPCO were responsible for the 2011 nuclear disaster, ordering that both pay 280 million yen ($2.6 million) in compensation to over 40 plaintiffs who were forced to evacuate Chiba, an outskirt of Tokyo.
The High Court decision reversed a previous ruling by the Chiba district court which exempted governments from liability. High Court Judge Yukio Shirai, however, said that the government should have prepared for such a disaster following a long-term assessment of seismic activities conducted in 2002.
“The case raises the question of whether we should tolerate a society that prioritizes economic activities over people's lives and health,” said Izutaro Mangi, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
More about fukushima, Earthquake, Reactors, leaking cooling water, TEPCO
 
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