Tepco puts off removal of radioactive groundwater at Fukushima No. 1 plant

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that a shortage of water storage tanks has forced it to postpone removal of radioactive groundwater at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station.

The postponement would allow radioactive groundwater to continue to flow beyond soil hardened with chemicals between reactors 2 and 3 and into the sea.

Early this month, about 6,000 becquerels per liter of strontium-90 and other beta ray-emitting radioactive substances were detected in groundwater in an observation well between the two reactors, far exceeding the standard for water to be released into the sea.

The plant’s water storage capacity was 27,700 tons as of Tuesday, according to Tepco.

Meantime, the company plans to begin work next month at the earliest to remove large chunks of rubble from a spent fuel pool in the reactor 3 building, according to officials.

The decommissioning timetable adopted by the utility and the government calls for starting the removal of fuel assemblies from the reactor 3 pool in the April-September first half of fiscal 2015.