” The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says radioactive fallout that polluted the environment in mid-March of 2011 was likely caused by a leak directly from a containment vessel of the facility’s No.3 reactor.
Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, on Thursday reported their latest findings on what happened at the plant in northeast Japan during the 2011 crisis.
Workers at the plant repeatedly vented the vessel after the March 11th accident to release water vapor and reduce pressure in the container.
But TEPCO officials said data showed only a moderate drop in pressure after a third venting at 9 PM on March 13th, indicating that operations failed after that.
They concluded that radioactive contamination of the environment between the night of March 14th and the 16th was likely caused not by the vent operations but failure of the vessel.
They said the vessel likely lost airtightness due to heat from nuclear fuel, leading to the direct release of radioactive substances into the environment.
Studies to locate the exact cause of the pollution are still underway as some experts disagree with the TEPCO report. ”