National

Tepco finds source of water leak in reactor 3

Kyodo

Tepco has found the exact place where radioactive water is leaking from the primary containment vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Using a camera survey, Tokyo Electric Power Co. found the water leaking near a pipe joint that penetrates the containment vessel, officials said Thursday.

The vessel still contains water because the cooling of the plant’s crippled reactors must continue daily.

The leak is probably occurring because the level of the water in the containment vessel is higher than the area where the pipe joint is, Tepco said.

Nailing down the area is an important process in Tepco’s plan to scrap reactors 1, 2 and 3, which suffered meltdowns during the early stage of the crisis in 2011.

The damaged vessel is likely leaking water that is being injected as coolant.

But, to remove the melted fuel, the utility wants to first plug the leak and fill the container with water, which serves as a shield against radiation.

Based on the latest findings, Tepco plans to calculate the amount of water that is leaking and study ways to stop the leak.

The survey was conducted after Tepco found in January that water was pouring into a drain on the first floor of the building housing the No. 3 reactor.