TOKYO, May 21 (RIA Novosti) – Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima-1, has announced dumping of low-level groundwater to reduce its accumulation in underground premises of the crippled nuclear plant.
The first water released totals around 560 tons. The company started dumping it through the pipes into the ocean after measuring radiation levels. TEPCO expects to get rid of 1.000 tons of groundwater daily.
The problem of radioactive water remains one of the unsolved at Fukushima-1. The underground areas and the tanks had accumulated about 440.000 tons of water with high levels of radiation. The service tunnel of the station may contain 15.000 tons more. The amount of contaminated water underground is growing on a daily basis due to groundwater coming from the elevated plain.
One way to solve the problem was a plan for drawing off the groundwater before it flows under emergency power units and mixes with highly radioactive water there. The pumping and dumping of groundwater into the ocean will allow the operator to reduce the accumulation of radioactive water at the plant by 100 tons a day.
Last August saw the worst radioactive water leak at the crippled Fukushima plant since the 2011 disaster, after 300 tons of water with strontium levels equaling 80 million becquerels per liter leaked from a storage reservoir into the Pacific Ocean. The leak was then classified as a level three incident on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES).
In March 2011, Japan was hit by a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, claiming more than 15,000 lives and causing a number of explosions at the Fukushima plant.
In what has been dubbed the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, three of the plant’s reactors underwent a partial meltdown as radiation leaked into the atmosphere, soil and seawater.