Leaky cisterns to be emptied ASAP

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to remove all of the highly radioactive water from sunken reservoirs at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant by early June, the utility’s president said after Tepco said at least three of the seven cisterns are leaking.

Tepco will build more above-ground tanks to transfer the tainted water to, and the process will be completed as soon as early June, President Naomi Hirose said Wednesday at the firm’s office in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture.

It was the first news conference Hirose has held since Tepco announced on April 5 that radioactive water had leaked from one of the sunken reservoirs at the crippled nuclear plant.

Hirose apologized for the leaks, adding he is especially sorry for evacuees who had been planning to return to their homes.

On Wednesday, Tepco started removing soil from the area around reservoir No. 2, where the leaks were first discovered, to identify the cause of the problem. All seven cisterns are triple lined, have coamings that keep their edges higher than the ground around them, and have surface coverings.

Hirose said Tepco is unlikely to use the sunken reservoirs again, even though it previously said it would keep using some.

Tepco plans to start transferring a total of 7,100 tons of tainted water stored in reservoirs No. 1 and 2 to above-ground tanks Sunday and complete the transfer in early May.