Two small leaks forced Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday to briefly halt its problem-plagued water decontamination system at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
The system is a key part of Tepco’s efforts to cool down the crippled nuclear reactors.
Tepco said it found decontaminated water leaking from the two small holes in a 30-meter-long vinyl hose connecting a storage tank and a pump that sends water to the reactors.
Repeated troubles with the water treatment system have been keeping the utility from consistently cooling the reactors with the decontaminated water.
The system’s “circulation injection cooling” operation stopped Monday shortly after it commenced due to a water leak.
Faced with a looming overflow into the sea of highly radioactive water accumulating in the complex, and high radiation levels in the reactor buildings, the system’s continuous operation is vital for containing the crisis.
Tepco has also made little progress in injecting nitrogen into reactor 3’s containment vessel to prevent an explosion.
It began sending nitrogen into the No. 2 unit’s containment vessel Tuesday, but a high level of radiation within the No. 3 building is obstructing preparation work needed to send workers in.
Iwate reschedules poll
The election board of Iwate Prefecture said Wednesday it will hold on Sept. 11 gubernatorial and prefectural assembly elections that were postponed due to the March 11 disaster.
The board picked the date after all 34 municipalities surveyed earlier this month, including devastated Rikuzentakata and Otsuchi, said it would be feasible to hold the elections by the postponed deadline of Sept. 22. The decision will be made official at the board’s regular meeting slated for July 20.