Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear plant has been discharging batches of treated radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean for six months. A new report, however, has brought to light a newly discovered leak that caused tons of contaminated water to seep into the ground.
Local media Kyodo News reports that on Wednesday morning – at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear power plant – workers found water leaking from an exhaust port on the outer wall of a high-temperature incinerator building.
According to the plant operator, TEPCO, the contaminated water treatment equipment connected to the exhaust vent inside the building was being cleaned, and water containing radioactive materials leaked out.
TEPCO estimates that 5.5 tons of water, with over 22 billion becquerels of radioactive material, leaked into the soil outside the building.
The leak brings to mind the large amounts of radioactive wastewater accumulated at the facility since the plant was damaged in 2011 by a massive earthquake and tsunami. Since August, TEPCO has been releasing treated radioactive water into the ocean, which is expected to take decades.
Local fishing groups and neighboring countries, including China, have been concerned about the dischargers. Beijing has banned all imports of Japanese seafood.