TOKYO: The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said yesterday it had found new radiation hotspots near tanks storing radioactive water, but no new leaks.
Around 300 tonnes of toxic liquid is believed to have escaped from one of the tanks that hold polluted water, some of which was used to cool the broken reactors, in an episode dubbed the most serious in nearly two years.
Plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) warned some of it might have flowed into the Pacific Ocean.
And during inspections of around 300 other tanks of a similar design, TEPCO said while no more holes had been found, two areas were a cause for concern.
“We have confirmed two spots where radiation doses are high” near two other tanks, a company statement said.
But the levels of water in these two tanks have not changed since they were pressed into service to store contaminated water and the ground around them was dry, it added.
The inspections were prompted by the discovery of a leak that the company said may have carried radioactive materials out to sea, with the country’s nuclear watchdog voicing concerns that there could be similar leaks from other containers.
On Wednesday, nuclear regulators said the leak represented a level-three “serious incident” on the UN’s seven-point International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), raising the alert from level one, an “anomaly”.
The quake and tsunami-sparked meltdowns at the plant in March 2011 were ultimately categorised as level seven on the INES scale. AFP