Radioactive water removal hits snag, high iodine detected in sea

Posted: March 30, 2011 in World News

KYODO News
March 30, 2011

Efforts to remove radiation-contaminated water filling up at a troubled reactor building and an underground trench connected to it at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have hit a snag, casting a shadow on restoration of the vital cooling functions at the site, the government’s nuclear safety agency said Wednesday.

The evolving nuclear crisis also showed no signs of abating, as the agency said the same day the highest concentration of radioactive iodine-131 was detected Tuesday in a seawater sample taken near the plant’s drainage outlets in the Pacific Ocean. The density was 3,355 times the maximum level permitted under law.

Workers rushed to pump out radiation-polluted water that has been filling up the basement of the No. 1 reactor’s turbine building and the tunnel-like trench connected to it, but they found out Tuesday a tank accommodating the water from the building had become full, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

The engineers also newly spotted water polluted with low-level radiation at a building designed for radioactive waste disposal at the plant, where the trench water is meant to be transferred. They nonetheless finished laying hoses to discharge the trench water, according to the agency.

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