Tokyo, Apr 4 :Amid the failure to plug dangerous leakages in the quake-crippled Fukushima plant, workers today were forced to release contaminated water into the sea in a desperate attempt to create room for the storage of highly radioactive substance leaking at the Japanese nuclear reactor.
Japanese engineers began dumping of 10,000 tonnes of contaminated water from the nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean as they pumped coloured powder in a desperate measure to trace source of dangerous leakages in the complex.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which operates the nuclear plant northeast of the capital Tokyo, began disposing of 10,000 tonnes of water containing low-level radioactive substances in the Pacific Ocean from the power plant.Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said it was the only available option."There is a need to release already stored water in order to accept the additional waste water," officials said.
"So as to prioritise to stop the leakage of this water into the sea... we will release the water stored in the exterior building of the unit, which also unfortunately contains radioactivity but far lower than the highly contaminated water," Edano said.
The government said it poses no risk to human health.Separately, TEPCO also said it plans to release 1,500 tonnes of groundwater, also containing radioactive materials, near the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors.
The dumping of the water that was about 100 times more radioactive than legal limits will help make room to store more highly polluted water filling the No. 2 reactor turbine building as it was hampering the plant's restoration work,TEPCO said.
The plant operator poured 13 kilograms of milky white dye into an underground trench to find the source from where radioactive water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean, according to Kyodo news agency.The move came after workers' effort to block the leakage from a cracked seaside pit connected to the No. 2 reactor turbine building showed no effect, it said.
Edano said the leak must be stopped "as soon as possible". "We must prevent radioactive water from spreading in the sea as soon as possible," he said, adding the longer the leakage continued, the larger the impact on the sea would be, even if radioactive materials were diluted.
The TEPCO is also considering installing "silt fence" barriers in areas where radioactive water is suspected to be flowing into the sea, Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the government's nuclear safety agency told reporters."We would like to set up these fences as soon as possible," he was quoted as saying by the Kyodo. He said it would likely take "several days" to complete the work.
Japanese engineers have been struggling for more than three weeks to regain control of the nuclear plant after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.
Nearly 28,000 people have been killed or missing, the highest number of deaths in Miyagi Prefecture -- 7,431 -- followed by 3,558 in Iwate Prefecture and 1,126 in Fukushima Prefecture. PTI