Fisheries ‘shocked’ at silence over water leak at wrecked Fukushima No. 1 plant

Kyodo, JIJI, Staff Report

Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture slammed Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday after it emerged that water containing cesium and other radioactive isotopes has been draining into the Pacific near the Fukushima No. 1 plant and that Tepco did nothing to prevent it despite learning of the leak last May.

“I don’t understand why (Tepco) kept silent even though they knew about it. Fishery operators are absolutely shocked,” Masakazu Yabuki, chief of the Iwaki fisheries cooperative, said at a meeting with Tepco officials.

Local fishermen have already given Tepco approval to dump groundwater into the ocean before it becomes tainted, to reduce the volume of water stored in tanks at the site. The operator is now doing this, pumping water from wells, monitoring it and piping it into the ocean.

The latest incident threatens to delay a second round of approval that Tepco wants the fishermen to provide.

The utility admitted Tuesday it failed to disclose leaks of rainwater containing radioactive substances from a drainage ditch at the stricken plant even though it was aware of high radiation in the water last spring.

The ditch receives runoff from the roof of the No. 2 reactor building, which is highly contaminated with radioactive substances such as cesium.

Tepco has said it recorded 29,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter in water pooled on the rooftop.

The water also contained 52,000 becquerels of beta-ray-emitting radioactive substances such as strontium-90. It also detected some 1,050 becquerels of radioactive cesium and 1,500 becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive materials per liter near an outlet leading to the sea.

Tepco said there is no major change in the concentration of radioactive substances in seawater it sampled about 1 km from the drainage outlet.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Tepco reported water contaminated with high levels of radiation was flowing into the ocean at the plant’s port through another drainage ditch.

Yuji Moriyama, a Tepco spokesman said the utility did not disclose the information because there is no evidence of environmental impact.

“We were aware that the levels of radioactive materials around the drainage ditch were higher than other places,” Moriyama said, adding that they have been investigating the sources of contamination since last spring.

  • Komakai Okane

    TEPCO sounds very casual about experimenting with the world’s water borne food chain. Intentional non-disclosure of a 10 month leak into the ocean. Has the government erased Minamata from the history texbooks as well? Japan seems to have no moral leaders.

  • Starviking

    “Failed to disclose”? Loaded words again.

    These leaks only became newsworthy when the levels spiked an order of magnitude. Before that they were higher than other areas, but certainly not high enough to be of concern. Given the effect on the sea, it could be said they still are not worth concern.

    If TEPCO had decided early on to provide weekly beirfings on the state of all the drainage in Dai-ichi, the reporters would have declare it a waste of their time and cried off.

  • bob

    Abe and company are not interested in settling or fixing this issue, for the moment the administration and shadow bosses are busy railing in and buildup of a military, agencies one piece at a time as in the old days, while also forming closer and closer ties to China as it secures its future.

  • Kirt Seth Cathey

    Another example of big government covering for big business to make a mockery of the masses.

  • Starviking

    Actually, let’s be honest here. These stories are orignialy of the form:

    TEPCO notices a problem.

    TEPCO takes prompt action to mitigate the problem.

    TEPCO identifies the source of the problem.

    TEPCO takes prompt action to deal with the source of the problem.

    Then it gets warped:

    TEPCO allowed a problem to occur.

    Prompt action to mitigate it does not matter, as they allowed it to occur.

    TEPCO identified the source of the problem? They should never have let it happen.

    TEPCO has dealt with the source of the problem? About time! Sheesh! losers – my grandma could have secured and remediated the site in a weekend!

  • Enkidu

    Something has gone horribly wrong in the first paragraph of this article. We knew about these “leaks into the sea” from the drainage ditches in December 2013 because TEPCO told us about them. Even back then, the “K” drainage area, the one being addressed in this article here, exhibited the highest numbers. (Please see the TEPCO report from December 13, 2013 entitled 構内排水路の状況について.)

    The only newsworthy item here appears to be that TEPCO found the source of the highest contribution to the radioactive load in this runoff.

  • dj_spellchecka

    “A Tepco spokesman said the utility did not disclose the information because there is no evidence of environmental impact.”

    considering their track record, i don’t find this particularly reassuring….

  • Richard Solomon

    Why be ‘shocked?’. This is just the most recent time that TEPCO has failed to inform residents that problems have been going on at one of its plants. It gets away with this because the government allows it to. Only when the Japanese people rise up and demand that the government remove TEPCO from the oversight of Fukushima will this situation change. Until then one can expect that these kinds of disclosures after the fact will continue. Perhaps the prefectural legislature in Fukushima ken should call for a no confidence vote regarding PM Abe? Somebody haa to get his attention!

  • robertsgt40

    What did people think was happening for the last 4yrs.
    Fukushima has had three reactors in meltdown for 4yrs. The reactors will not heal themselves. Ask the Russians.

  • Starviking

    Given Enkidu’s revelations below that TEPCO HAD actually reported the contamination in the channel in the past I want to address this question to the editors:

    Can we expect the Japan Times to stand true to its byline of “All the News Without Fear or Favor”?

  • Kriton

    Incompetence and deceipt are rampant in this world. Look at this:
    The Mob Is Secretly Dumping Nuclear Waste Across Italy and Africa

  • Kazuto Matsumura

    This article is a reminder: TEPCO lied on March 11, 2011, has been lying, and will continue to tell lies for ever. Radioactivity won’t go away in a few hundred years.

  • Carole Menninger

    all I can say is after reading this is OMG!!!!!!!! And as one reader says below, TEPCO sounds mighty casual about this DISASTER!!!!!!!
    This is one of the most frightening things I have read recently – why the hell has this not been shared with the world before now????