A leaking underground storage pool that holds radioactive water at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant continues to provide problems as the pipes that would help remove the water to above ground storage containers are now leaking.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) found almost six gallons of water leaked from a junction in the pipes currently used to move water between other storage pools. The company is struggling to find space to store the huge amounts of toxic water created by makeshift efforts to cool reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which suffered severe damage two years ago by a large earthquake and tsunami.
Since then, the operator has been essentially pouring water onto the melted reactors and nearby fuel storage pools to keep them from overheating again.
While small, the newest leak will force TEPCO to postpone removal of water from the No. 2 storage pool for several days while the company repairs the faulty pipe junction. The pool has spilled some 32,000 gallons of radioactive water, and appears to still be leaking.
Multiple layers of lining in the pool may have trapped some of that water, but an undetermined amount reached the soil below, TEPCO said.
The newest leak adds to a series of mishaps that have raised questions about TEPCO’s ability to safely manage the stricken plant. That included the temporary loss last month of power for the vital cooling systems after a rat short-circuited part of the electrical system.