Tokyo Electric Power Co. has issued another correction for groundwater radiation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex and now says that it’s only a tenth of what it announced earlier this month.
The correction Wednesday was the second the beleaguered utility has issued for groundwater data. Tepco is locked in a battle with water and is desperately seeking fishermen’s consent to divert or dump the least-tainted portions of it into the Pacific Ocean to prevent it from mixing with highly radioactive water accumulating in the reactor buildings.
When it runs out of storage space, the tainted water will flood the premises and the environment, making the decommissioning process incredibly difficult.
Tepco said in May that the level of radioactive cesium in a sample of Fukushima No. 1 groundwater was so low it could not be detected. On June 3, however, the utility said the sample contained 0.61 becquerel per liter.
This was then reversed Wednesday to a maximum of 0.055 becquerel. Other radioactive substances were not mentioned.
All of the figures are below Tepco’s upper limit for releasing groundwater: 1 becquerel per liter.
But the latest correction could deal another blow to Tepco’s efforts to dump the water by further damaging its already low credibility.
The radioactive water accumulating at the plant is a natural result of the makeshift cooling apparatus set up to keep the fuel from melting again. The water perpetually injected into the three reactors is leaking through holes created by the crisis and flooding each building.
Attempts to drain the water will be limited by Tepco’s rapidly shrinking storage space, and the penetration of the groundwater is only exacerbating the situation.
Electricity reform bill clears Lower House
The Lower House on Thursday approved by a majority vote a bill to achieve the first step of a planned major reform of the electricity sector, which has long been dominated by regional monopolies.
The bill to revise the electricity business law will now be sent to the Upper House, setting the stage for its passage during the ongoing Diet session through June 26.
Under the current plan, the government intends to reform the power sector in three stages, starting from the creation of an independent entity that will be in charge of coordinating power supply and demand nationwide by around 2015.
In the next stage, new entrants will be allowed into the electricity retail market for households around 2016.