Title: Exclusive: Japan nuclear body says radioactive water at Fukushima an ‘emergency’
Author: Antoni Slodkowski and Mari Saito; Additional reporting by Kentaro Hamada; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Raju Gopalakrishnan
Date: August 5, 2013
Highly radioactive water [is] seeping into the ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant [...]
This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier [...] Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, told Reuters. [...]
“Right now, we have an emergency,” he said.
[...] Tepco deeply apologized to residents in Fukushima prefecture, the surrounding region and the larger public for causing inconveniences, worries and trouble. [...]
[Kinjo] acknowledged that if the water reaches the surface, “it would flow extremely fast.”
Tepco is struggling to contain the highly radioactive water that is seeping into the ocean near Fukushima. The head of Japan's NRA, Shinji Kinjo exclaimed, "right now, we have an emergency," as he noted the contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier and is rising toward the surface - exceeding the limits of radioactive discharge. In a rather outspoken comment for the typically stoic Japanese, Kinjo said Tepco's "sense of crisis was weak," adding that "this is why you can't just leave it up to Tepco alone" to grapple with the ongoing disaster. As Reuters notes , Tepco has been accused of covering up shortcomings and has been lambasted for its ineptness in the response and while the company says it is taking actions to contain the leaks, Kinjo fears if the water reaches the surface "it would flow extremely fast," with some suggesting as little as three weeks until this critical point.
Japan's nuclear watchdog has said the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is facing a new "emergency" caused by a build-up of radioactive groundwater.
A barrier built to contain the water has already been breached, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority warned.
This means the amount of contaminated water seeping into the Pacific Ocean could accelerate rapidly, it said.
There has been spate of water leaks and power failures at the plant, devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), has been criticised heavily for its lack of transparency over the leaks.