The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Friday ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to bring under control the massive amount of radioactive water gushing from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex, including by boosting worker numbers on-site.
Summoning Tepco President Naomi Hirose after a series of recent spills at the crippled power plant, Katsuhiko Ikeda, head of the NRA secretariat, tore into the utility for “rudimentary mistakes” that caused the toxic water problem and said its management in the field was “significantly deteriorating.”
“I want you to implement on-site management appropriately even if it requires bringing workers from Tepco’s other nuclear power plants,” Ikeda warned Hirose.
With concerns growing over the toxic water problem at Fukushima No. 1, Ikeda also urged Tepco to report whether it can ensure the safety of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa atomic plant in Niigata Prefecture, two of whose seven reactors the utility seeks to restart.
Hirose, in turn, said he will “devote all the company’s resources” to managing the toxic water problem. Tepco will also undertake all necessary procedures for restarting reactors 6 and 7 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, he told reporters afterward.
Later Friday, Ikeda said he expects Tepco to submit a report on how it plans to deal with the water fiasco in about a week.
Radioactive water continues to build daily at Fukushima No. 1 because groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings and mixing with water being used to cool the three crippled reactors. Contaminated water is stored in around 1,000 tanks at the complex, and Tepco is struggling to plug leaks.
On Thursday, Tepco said some 430 liters of radioactive water had poured out of one tank the day before, and some of it flowed into the Pacific. The leak was caused when workers tried to inject water into the tank, which was nearly at full capacity. The tank was not equipped with a water-level indicator and had not been set up on level ground, issues Tepco was fully aware of.
ALPS halted again
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday it had to again suspend the water treatment system at the wrecked Fukushima No. 1 power plant after an alarm was triggered at 6:40 a.m.
No leakage of contaminated water has been detected so far, the utility reported.
Following a previous suspension Sept. 27, Tepco resumed operation Monday of the advanced liquid processing system (ALPS) after determining that a rubber sheet left in a nearby water tank had obstructed a drain outlet.