Friday, 27 May 2011

New leak seen at Japan quake-hit plant

An aerial picture of Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant (file photo)
A new leak of radioactive water has been found at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant, adding to the woes of the Asian country's nuclear crisis.


Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, said on Thursday that up to 57 tons of contaminated water has leaked from a storage facility, Reuters reported.

The environmental group, Greenpeace, has criticized the Japanese government's assessment of the contamination level, saying, “Radioactive hazards are not decreasing through dilution or dispersion of materials, but the radioactivity is instead accumulating in marine life.”

“Our data show that significant amounts of contamination continue to spread over great distances from the Fukushima nuclear plant,” the group added.

Greenpeace has also accused TEPCO of covering up the actual severity of the disaster in the Asian country.

More questions were raised on Thursday when TEPCO changed an initial report about how it tried to tackle the Japanese crisis.

The company said it continued to inject seawater into reactor number one immediately after the tsunami. Earlier, the firm had said they had stopped the injection under pressure from Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has launched a ten-day investigation into the nuclear crisis since Monday.

Kan told G8 leaders on Thursday that Japan will lessen its reliance on nuclear power and will instead increase its share of green energy to 20 percent of total power supply by 2020.

A 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck northeastern Japan on March 11, setting off a nuclear crisis by knocking out power to cooling systems of reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and causing radioactive leaks.

MA/GHN/HRF