Over the weekend, the Tokyo Electric Power Company announced that low-level radioactive water was leaking out of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station into the Pacific Ocean. Now, the latest news reports Monday say that TEPCO officials have now decided to do a controlled release of roughly 10,000 tons of radioactive water (classified as over 100 times more radioactive than legal limits) in an effort to drain the facility.
The new tactic arrives after days spent trying to plug up an estimated eight-inch crack in reactor No. 2. On Saturday, workers tried to pump concrete into the shaft but found that "by the end of the day the flow of water into the ocean had not diminished," The Los Angeles Times observed. On Monday, sawdust, shredded newspaper and an absorbent powder were tried, but those efforts also failed, The New York Times reported. Efforts to stop the leak having failed, apparently now the plan is to help the leak along a bit.
The reason for the planned release of the 10,000 tons of radioactive water into the ocean is that the facility at the plant designed to treat the water has been filled, company officials stated. But the low-level radioactive water won't just be released without a containment plan, it appears. Reuters reports that engineers are planning to build "a giant silt curtain in the ocean to stop the spread of more contamination" through the leak and the planned release.
Japan's top government spokesman, Yukio Edano, was quoted by Reuters as saying, "if the current situation continues for a long time, accumulating more radioactive substances, it will have a huge impact on the ocean."