” Three workers at the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant were hurt during an operation to set up a coolant tank for contaminated water. A 13-meter-high steel construction collapsed on them.
One of the workers has been left in critical condition after being knocked unconscious. He was transported to the hospital from the plant by helicopter, according to a TEPCO spokesman, AFP reported.
A second worker has a broken leg, while the third did not sustain any major injuries.
The plant has been facing the worrying issue of contaminated water leaking into the Pacific Ocean. It is looking into ways to clean the water to later release into the ocean without risk.
Russia is among the countries who have had a hand in the development of a filtering system for the plant.
TEPCO is currently also in the midst of what has been called the most risky stage of the earthquake-battered plant’s decommissioning process: the removal of spent nuclear fuel rods from their tanks. It managed to remove 400 tons of spent fuel since the start of the week, bringing the total to 1,331 in all.
The plant operator has faced a number of very serious hiccups during the radioactive cleanup since the March 2011 tragedy. These included worker contamination, water leakages, structural collapses and radiation spikes.
The amount of radioactive water near the Fukushima nuclear plant has risen to record levels after a typhoon passed through Japan this October. This has been a recurring problem to which no solution has yet been found.
Nearby volcanoes have also been deemed a safety threat.
Worker safety has likewise been a peristent problem, with inadequate protection against the radiation.
The problems faced by TEPCO and Japan are numerous.
There is no doubt that the radioactive fallout from the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 will affect the Fukushima prefecture and the country as a whole for decades to come.
TEPCO itself has come under harsh criticism, both at home and internationally – which forced the Japanese government to step in with more funds directed at the cleanup operation.
While the country on Friday gave the go-ahead to restart its first nuclear reactor since the disaster, mass rallies of protesters against a return to nuclear power are continuing. ”