RADIOACTIVE WATER FOUND SEEPING INTO SEA IN JAPAN
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Tokyo/Fukushima, Apr 2: Highly radioactive water was found seeping into the sea from a crack in a containment pit of the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant, as Japanese Premier Naoto Kan promised full support to the tsunami-hit people of the northeast in his first visit to the region.
The operator of the stricken nuclear complex said it has discovered a 12-inch crack in a wall of the No.2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from where highly radioactive water appears to be seeping into the sea, while the IAEA termed the situation as "very serious".
Kan, who had earlier flown over the region after the devastation struck, today inspected the tsunami-hit northeast for the first time and also gave a pep talk to the workers who are working overtime to minimise the damage caused by the country's worst nuclear crisis.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said water was leaking from the crack in the wall of a 2-metre deep pit that contains power cables near the water intake of the reactor, and the level of radiation has been measured at over 1,000 millisieverts per hour, national
broadcaster NHK reported.
TEPCO said it is preparing to pour concrete into the cracked pit to stop the leak of radioactive water.
The radiation detected in water in the basement of the turbine building at the No.2 reactor was about 100,000 times the normal level.
The discovery, officials said, likely explains the rising radiation levels in sea water near the plant.
"... We have been trying to confirm the reason why, and in that context, this could be one source," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
The developments came as Kan visited an operation base in Fukushima Prefecture to encourage Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel and other workers, three weeks after the monster magnitude-9 quake and tsunami struck the country's northeast leaving nearly 30,000 people dead or unaccounted for.
"By all means, the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant needs to be put under control with your collective efforts," Kan told the workers, thanking them for their "hard work" under "harsh conditions".
"We have to work hard until we reach a point where we can say our country has overcome the quake and the tsunami disaster," he was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.
Before visiting the base situated 20 km from the nuclear plant, the Prime Minister flew into Rikuzentakata city in Iwate Prefecture, which was devastated by the twin disaster, on a military helicopter from Tokyo and met evacuees there.
"The government fully supports you until the end," he told people gathered at an evacuation centre.
The International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano, meanwhile, warned of a prolonged battle against the nuclear crisis in quake-hit Japan.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Apr 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Apr 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Apr 2011 00:00:00 IST
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