You knew this was coming…
From the NYT: Highly radioactive water is leaking directly into the sea from a damaged pit near a crippled reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, safety officials said Saturday, the latest setback in the increasingly messy bid to regain control of the reactors.
Although higher levels of radiation have been detected in the ocean waters near the plant, the breach discovered Saturday is the first identified direct leak of such high levels of radiation into the sea.
The leak, found at a maintenance pit near the plant’s No. 2 reactor, is a fresh reminder of the dangerous consequences of the strategy to cool the reactors and spent fuel storage pools by pumping hundreds of tons of water a day into them. While much of that water has evaporated, a significant portion has also turned into runoff.
Three workers at the plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company, have been injured by stepping into pools of contaminated water inside one reactor complex, while above-normal levels of radiation have been detected in seawater near the plant.
Some experts in the nuclear industry are now starting to question the so-called “feed-and-bleed” strategy of pumping the reactors with water, because so much contaminated water is injuring workers and escaping into the ocean.
“The more water they add, they more problems they are generating,” Mr. Sato said. “It’s just a matter of time before the leaks into the ocean grow.”
Plant workers discovered a crack about eight inches wide in the maintenance pit, which lies between the No. 2 Reactor and the sea and holds cables used to power seawater pumps, Japan’s nuclear regulator said.
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