TEPCO Admits Delaying Radiation Leakage Report, Fukushima Leak Sees 70x Increase In Radiation

While faith in Japanese ‘economics’ is starting to falter (borne out by the split in the BoJ and endless macro data disappointments), trust in TEPCO and its governmental operators must be about to hit a new record low. Having promised and given up on the ice-wall strategy to stop radioactive water leaking into the ocean, Bloomberg reports TEPCO officials have admitted that it’s investigating the cause of a spike in radiation levels (23,000 becquerels/liter vs the legal limit of 90) in drainage water that it believes subsequently leaked into the Pacific ocean from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant. The bigger problem, as NBC reports, TEPCO failed to report the leak for 10 months!

The radioactivity increase was ‘reported’ on Sunday, the company said in an e-mail yesterday, and as Bloomberg reports,
No workers were exposed and tests of radiation levels in sea water in the port adjacent to the plant showed no significant increase, the company said.
Ocean water tests will be increased to daily sampling from weekly as it investigates the leak, it added.
Rainwater is believed to have become contaminated through contact with radioactive substances and then flowed into drainage ditches, a spokesperson for the Tokyo-based company said today by phone, asking not to be named because of company policy. The company is unable to estimate the size of the radioactive water leak, the person said.
Tepco, as the company is known, detected 23,000 becquerels per liter of cesium 137, from rainwater accumulated on the roof of the No. 2 reactor building, the utility said yesterday in a statement. The legal limit for releasing cesium 137 is 90 becquerels per liter.
Tepco has had repeated failures in stemming radioactive water leaks at the plant since it had three reactor meltdowns almost four years ago following an earthquake and tsunami.
But the fact that a massively radioactive leak occurred is not the worst of it.. As NBC News reports,
The operator of Japan’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plantadmitted it failed to report a radioactive rainwater leak from the facility for about 10 months.
The company noticed a spike in radiation levels in the plant’s drainage system, particularly after rainfall, in April, according to a Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) official who spoke at a televised press conference on Tuesday.
“This was part of an ongoing investigation in which we discovered a water puddle with high levels of radiation on top of the Reactor No. 2 building, and because this also happens to be one of the sources for this drainage system, we decided to report everything all at once,” the unnamed official said to explain why the findings weren’t reported immediately.
The governor of Fukushima Prefecture Masao Uchibori criticized TEPCO’s withholding of information.
“It is extremely regrettable the swift release of information and the importance of that awareness — these basic things were not carried out,”he said in comments carried by Nippon TV.
 Highly radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is creating an “emergency” that the operator is struggling to contain, an official from the country’s nuclear watchdog said on Monday.
This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, told Reuters.
Countermeasures planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co are only a temporary solution, he said.
Tepco’s “sense of crisis is weak,” Kinjo said. “This is why you can’t just leave it up to Tepco alone” to grapple with the ongoing disaster.
“Right now, we have an emergency,” he said.
If you build a wall, of course the water is going to accumulate there. And there is no other way for the water to go but up or sideways and eventually lead to the ocean,” said Masashi Goto, a retired Toshiba Corp nuclear engineer who worked on several Tepco plants. “So now, the question is how long do we have?”
Contaminated water could rise to the ground’s surface within three weeks, the Asahi Shimbun said on Saturday. Kinjo said the three-week timeline was not based on NRA’s calculations but acknowledged that if the water reaches the surface, “it would flow extremely fast.”
The admission on the long-term tritium leaks, as well as renewed criticism from the regulator, show the precarious state of the $11 billion cleanup and Tepco’s challenge to fix a fundamental problem: How to prevent water, tainted with radioactive elements like cesium, from flowing into the ocean.

 

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Good luck at The Olympics… though we suspect it will be hard to run in a lead vest?
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