” Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sept. 21 it will check for radiation contamination in seawater near its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after heavy rain from Typhoon No. 16 brought tainted groundwater to the surface.
The water reached the top of wells at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and there is a possibility that some of it spilled into the sea.
“We will analyze the seawater because we cannot determine whether groundwater containing radioactive materials has actually leaked,” a TEPCO official said.
The official added that the company believes most of the water that may have poured into the sea was rainwater that had not seeped into the ground.
The utility constantly monitors groundwater levels in wells around the reactor buildings at the plant to prevent overflows.
TEPCO said groundwater in wells on the seaside area of the nuclear complex reached the surface around 10 p.m. on Sept. 20 amid the heavy rain brought by the approaching typhoon. The water kept rising despite workers’ efforts to lower the level using makeshift pumps and septic tank trucks.
The groundwater level remained the same as of 7 a.m. on Sept. 21 before it finally dropped to about 3 centimeters from the surface two hours later, the company said.
According to TEPCO, about 575 millimeters of rain fell in the area of the nuclear plant from Aug. 1 to Sept. 20. ”
by Kohei Tomida