Fukushima nuclear plant operator says another tank is leaking toxic water

Reuters

TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - The operator of Japan's crippledFukushima nuclear plant on Thursday said another tank holdinghighly contaminated water is leaking, and that some of theliquid may have reached the Pacific Ocean, the second suchbreach in less than two months.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco, said the waterthat leaked contained 200,000 becquerels per litre ofbeta-emitting radioactive isotopes including strontium 90. Thelegal limit for strontium 90 is 30 becquerels per litre.

Tepco has been relying on hastily built tanks to hold excesscooling water flushed over damaged reactors at the FukushimaDaiichi site, where three units suffered nuclear meltdowns andhydrogen explosions after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The breach was discovered in a tank holding area away fromwhere 300 tonnes of toxic water escaped in August. In the latestleak, one of the huge tanks was found to be tilted, with watersloshing out of the top, a spokesman said by phone.

Recent mishaps at the site have returned Tepco to thespotlight and called into question its ability to carry out acomplex cleanup that is widely expected to take decades. Amidmounting international alarm, Japan's government stepped in andsaid it will fund efforts to improvement water management at theplant.

Tepco has been pumping hundreds of tonnes of water a dayover the Fukushima reactors to keep them cool and storing theradioactive wastewater in tanks above ground.

It has also found high levels of radiation just above theground near other tanks, suggesting widespread structuralproblems with the tanks.

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