Entries in Radiation Leak (8)


More Radioactive Water Spotted Leaking from Japan's Fukushima Plant

STR/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Radioactive water from Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has leaked into the Pacific, yet again.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says workers spotted water spilling out of a broken pipe connected to the wastewater treatment system on Thursday.

The water contained high levels of the radioactive material strontium, and TEPCO estimates tons have already leaked into the ocean.

The company has struggled to control contaminated water leaks at the Fukushima plant since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami triggered nuclear meltdowns last March.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Radioactive Leak Feared after Explosion at French Nuclear Plant

Picture taken on Aug. 31, 1973 of the French nuclear power plant of Marcoule. STF/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- A nuclear power plant in southern France was rocked by an explosion Monday, raising concerns of a potential radioactive leak, according to local media reports.

French TV network France 3 says the blast at the Marcoule plant killed at least one person and left three others wounded.

Officials at France's atomic energy commission told ABC News the explosion occurred in a furnace used to melt waste with low to very low radioactive levels.  The blast was contained completely in the furnace.

France's government nuclear safety body, the ASN, released a statement hours after the incident reporting that there did not appear to be any radioactive leak.

"This is an industrial accident, not a nuclear accident," said a spokesperson for the energy firm EDF, which operates the plant.

The Marcoule nuclear facility does not house any active nuclear reactors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Leak at Japan's Crippled Nuclear Power Plant?

DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- There are new fears Thursday that radioactive water may be leaking from Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after a drop in water level was discovered at a wastewater disposal building.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, said the latest leak was discovered amid efforts to transfer highly contaminated water from reactors two and three to an improvised storage facility.

The company said the water level in the facility dropped nearly two inches in just 20 hours, meaning nearly 60 tons of water may have leaked from the facility.

The utility has been pumping massive amounts of water in an effort to cool three of Fukushima's reactors, a process TEPCO has said would be completed in three months.  Large leaks have already been reported in reactors one and two, and news of this latest leak marks yet another setback in the effort to stabilize the reactors.

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, Greenpeace released new data on the impact these radiation leaks are having on marine life.

After running tests on samples collected near the nuclear power plant, the environmental group found that radiation levels in seaweed were 50 times higher than official limits.  It also discovered higher levels of radioactive iodine and caesium in fish and shellfish.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Leaks Detected at Japan's Nuclear Power Plant

STR/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- In yet another setback to gaining control of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency announced Tuesday that radioactive water was detected leaking from the containment vessel of reactor number one.

NISA said American robots will be sent into the reactor to assess the situation.

The leak wasn’t detected by robots when they initially went into reactor number one on April 17 to check for radiation levels there, but NISA said they detected the problem while examining data from the nitrogen injections, which were done to prevent hydrogen explosions.

The new leakage is expected to slow down efforts to flood the reactor’s containment vessel with water to cool it down.  Once the water is cool, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company hopes to achieve a "cold shutdown" at the nuclear plant -- within the next nine months.

On another note, TEPCO announced Monday it would be cutting pay to stay afloat financially.  The company plans to cut executive salaries by half, managers' salaries by 25 percent and salaries for lower-level employees by 20 percent.  TEPCO also announced it would freeze hiring next year.

The pay cuts come as the company begins paying initial compensation to victims affected by radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Japan's Fish Supply in Danger of Mass Contamination

DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Worries in Japan are mounting that its fish supply has been contaminated by radioactive fallout from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

It was already announced by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company that highly radioactive water from the damaged reactors has spilled into the sea from an uncontrolled leak.

On Tuesday, samples of tiny fish taken from the waters off Japan's Pacific coast revealed they were tainted with high levels of radioactive materials.  What is particularly worrisome is that the fish were caught about 50 miles south of the reactors, well beyond the 12-mile evacuation zone set up by the Japanese government.

This development could prove catastrophic on a number of levels, since Japan largely depends on fish for food and commerce, not to mention what the environmental damage could be to local marine life.

The discovery also seems to belie TEPCO's claims that the water seeping from the reactors into the sea posed no immediate threat to humans or the environment.  Officials also announced Wednesday that the leak of fluids containing radioactive materials had stopped.

Meanwhile, TEPCO is dealing with another controversy: the dumping of 11,500 tons of low-level radioactive water into the sea last Monday.  The company says it was necessary to make room for storage space for more contaminated water it's draining from the reactors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Radiation Leak Halts Work at Damaged Japanese Reactors

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- Work to stabilize the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was halted early Wednesday because radiation leaking from the units made the situation unsafe, Japanese officials said.

Radiation levels started to rise sharply after steam was seen escaping from unit 3 at the plant, which was damaged first by the powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan Friday, and then by an explosion in the reactor.

There have been explosions in two other reactors at the plant, and two fires at a fourth unit, which was being used as a storage facility for radioactive material.

A Japanese government official also indicated for the first time that the containment vessels of all three of the reactors at the plant that exploded may be leaking, raising worries of dangerous radiation leaks.

Both the release of steam and the work stoppage came after firefighters extinguished a fire at the plant's unit 4.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that radiation dose rates of up to 400 millisievert (mSv) per hour had been reported at the Fukushima plant site immediately following one of the explosions. A typical chest X-ray exposes an individual to about 0.02 mSv.

However, after the steam was observed escaping from unit 3, radiation levels rose sharply, a government spokesman said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said there was a reading of 1,000 millisieverts before the level began falling again to 600-800 millisieverts per hour, which is still considered unsafe.

"So the workers cannot carry out even minimal work at the plant now," Edano said. "Because of the radiation risk, we are on standby."

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged those living from 12 to 19 miles around the plant to stay indoors. The 140,000 people living within 12 miles of the plant have been evacuated. So far, 150 people from that area have tested positive for radiation exposure.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Japanese Officials Warn People to Stay Inside as Radiation Threat Grows

DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The threat of radiation exposure was heightened in Japan Tuesday following an explosion and fire at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant which later prompted officials to warn people in a 30-kilometer (19-mile) radius to stay indoors.

"Please do not go outside," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano through a translator. "Please stay indoors.  Please close windows and make your homes airtight.  Don't turn on ventilators.  Please hang your laundry indoors."

"These are figures that potentially affect health. There is no mistake about that," Edano added.

The explosion, which occurred at 6:10 a.m. local time Tuesday came shortly after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were shut down.

While the previous explosions at Fukushima Daiichi reactors 1 and 3 were hydrogen blasts caused by a buildup of steam in the reactor units, the new blast at reactor No. 2 has officials very concerned.

This time, the roof did not blow off and it's now believed the trapped pressure cracked the containment vessel around the reactor's core, allowing radioactive material to seep out.

"It is likely that the level of radiation increased sharply due to a fire at Unit 4," Edano said.  "Now we are talking about levels that can damage human health.  These are readings taken near the area where we believe the releases are happening.  Far away, the levels should be lower."

Edano said that "there could be a high level of concentration among the debris from the explosion," and nearly 800 workers were told to leave the plant as a result.  For the workers who remain, Edano advised them that they "have to be very cautious when working."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Japan Earthquake: Radiation Leaking After Fukushima Nuclear Plant Explodes

STR/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Radiation has spread from damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following an explosion at one unit and a fire at another, Japanese government officials said early Tuesday.

A spokesman for the government said radiation levels at areas around the plant are high enough to pose a health risk.

The explosion at unit 2 and the fire at unit 4 of the plant, where units 1 and 3 also have exploded since the powerful earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on Friday, have Japanese officials "freaked out," a senior U.S. official said.

"The level seems very high, and there is still a very high risk of more radiation coming out," Prime Minsiter Naoto Kan said.

Kan said most people have left the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the plant, and he advised people within a 30-kilometer (19-mile) radius to stay indoors to avoid possible radiation poisoning.

"Now we are talking about levels that can damage human health," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. "These are readings taken near the area where we believe the releases are happening. Far away, the levels should be lower."

While the previous explosions at Fukushima Daiichi reactors one and three were hydrogen blasts caused by a buildup of steam in the reactor units, the new blast at reactor number two has officials unsure of the cause.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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