The Fukushima plant has been leaking radioactive water into the sea. Officials have confirmed what others have speculated for over two years. An earthquake and tsunami caused serious damage to the nuclear power plant in 2011, sparking concern about contamination.
As reported by CBC, samples from ground water and the sea have shown elevated levels of radiation. However, Tokyo Electric Power Company continued to deny any leakage.
Officials with TEPCO have now admitted that the Fukushima power plant has leaked radioactive water into the sea. They contend that the leaking water is limited to a small area surrounding the plant.
As reported by Reuters, it is suspected that the damaged plant has been leaking radioactive water since the initial disaster in 2011.
TEPCO’s general manager, Masayuki Ono, apologized for delaying the admission:
“We would like to offer our deep apology for causing grave worries for many people, especially for people in Fukushima.”
Fukushima officials explained that the contamination has not breached retention walls. A seawall, composed of silt and sodium silicate, was built to prevent spread of contamination. Officials have stated that they will continue to reinforce the wall.
The 2011 earthquake triggered a shutdown of the nuclear power plant reactors. Damage from the quake, and an eventual tsunami, destroyed generators that were designed to provide power to cooling pumps.
As reported by Brave New Climate, the cooling pumps continued to operate under battery power for about eight hours. However, when the pumps stopped, concern about a meltdown continued to escalate.
As temperatures rose to dangerous levels, radioactive material started leaking into the water.
The amount and extent of the leakage is unknown. TEPCO has admitted that radioactive material has leaked into the sea. However, they deny that it has spread beyond the perimeter of the plant.
Others have criticized TEPCO for trying to cover up the extent of the damage.
Officials in Fukushima have been dealing with the earthquake’s aftermath for over two years.
[Image via Flickr]