TEPCO Estimates 520-Ton Radioactive Water Leaked Into Sea, 10,000 Times More Than Three Mile Island

Tokyo Electric Power Company says radioactive substances that leaked into the sea at the damaged Fukushima plant over six days from April 1st are estimated at 4,700 terabecquerels. This is 20,000 times more than the annual allowable limit at the complex.

At a news conference on Thursday, Tokyo Electric said it calculated the total amount of leaked water assuming that the leak began on April 1st. The leak of contaminated water from a pit of the Number 2 reactor was found on April 2nd and was stopped four days later using liquid glass.

The utility firm said that 520 tons of the high-level radioactive water is likely to have leaked into the sea during the period.

The estimated level of radiation in the water is roughly one 100th of what the government announced on Tuesday of last week as the total amount of radiation released into the air from the Daiichi complex. The figure is about 10,000 times more than that released in the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

Levels of iodine131 were found to be 7.5 million times the safety limit on April 2nd near the water intake of the Number 2 reactor. Tokyo Electric has since set up underwater barriers near the intake to prevent the spread of radioactive water in the sea.

The radiation level of seawater in the area has been gradually falling and, as of Tuesday, the iodine level was 1,200 times the limit.

Tokyo Electric says radioactive water may possibly be still leaking out through unidentified routes. The firm is trying to determine the routes and to continue monitoring data and grasping the impact of the radioactive water on marine life and the sea.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 15:13 +0900 (JST)

Source: NHK

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