Try not to panic everyone, but radioactive water is like, pooling around the site of the tsunami weakened nuclear plant, Fukushima.
The leak was discovered Sunday night by workers, and the Los Angeles Times notes the scary circumstance “counteracts assurances that the Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, has largely controlled damage at the coastal nuclear plant.” Fukushima is about 220 miles northeast of Tokyo, and the paper also notes that some of the radioactive water may have already leaked into the Pacific ocean. The tsunami devastated Japan on March 11th, and the plant was among areas hit heavily by the deadly waves and flooding. Since the waters receded, the plant’s cooling system was destroyed and several reactor-core meltdowns have occurred.
Workers have been flooding the reactor with water to cool it since the fall, which unfortunately results in radioactive water. 45 tons of the water leaked this weekend alone, and the utility acknowledged that some may have reached the Pacific already. The Times quoted one plant official:
“I felt I could do nothing. Other operators appeared anxious, and said, ‘When we cannot control [the reactors] and are helpless, is there any point in us staying here?’ ” the chief of the reactors’ central control room is quoted as saying in the utility’s internal investigation report released Friday. “So, I bowed my head and asked them to stay.”
Another worker said, quite terrifyingly, during the investigation:
“I heard some big weird popping sounds … and when I tried to start working … my black rubber boots melted [because of the heat].”
Fukushima employees used sandbags to contain the leaks.