News / Asia

    TEPCO 'Losing Faith' in Leaking Fukushima Water Pits

    FILE - An aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, March 11, 2013.
    FILE - An aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, March 11, 2013.
    Reuters
    The company that runs a Japanese nuclear power plant destroyed by a tsunami two years ago said on Tuesday it was losing faith in temporary storage pits for radioactive water - but it doesn't have anywhere else to put it.

    Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it had found a new leak at one of the pits at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Three out of seven storage pits are now leaking, compounding clean-up difficulties after the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

    "We cannot deny the fact that our faith in the underwater tanks is being lost," TEPCO General Manager Masayuki Ono told a hastily arranged news conference.

    FILE - TEPCO General Manager Masayuki Ono speaks during a news conference at the company's head office in Tokyo, March 19, 2013.FILE - TEPCO General Manager Masayuki Ono speaks during a news conference at the company's head office in Tokyo, March 19, 2013.
    x
    FILE - TEPCO General Manager Masayuki Ono speaks during a news conference at the company's head office in Tokyo, March 19, 2013.
    FILE - TEPCO General Manager Masayuki Ono speaks during a news conference at the company's head office in Tokyo, March 19, 2013.
    "We can't move all the contaminated water to above ground [tanks] if we opt not to use the underground reservoirs," Ono said. "There isn't enough capacity and we need to use what is available."

    A tsunami crashed into the power plant north of Tokyo on March 11, 2011, causing fuel-rod meltdowns at three reactors, radioactive contamination of air, sea and food and triggering the evacuation of 160,000 people.

    The fresh leak was found in the No. 1 storage pool where contaminated water from the leaking No. 2 pit was being transferred. TEPCO has halted the transfer of the contaminated water.

    Ono said on Monday TEPCO did not have enough tank space should it need to move the water out of the storage pits, which were dug into higher ground away from the damaged reactors and lined with waterproof material. The company has stepped up construction of the sturdier tanks, he said.

    TEPCO said over the weekend about 120,000 litres (32,000 gallons) of contaminated water leaked from the No. 2 and 3 pits. The plant's cooling system has also broken down twice in recent weeks.

    The government instructed TEPCO to carry out a "fundamental" review of the problems at the plant, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Monday.

    TEPCO's president, Naomi Hirose, was also summoned to the Industry Ministry to explain the leaks and got a public dressing down from the minister, Toshimitsu Motegi.

    Immediately after the explosions at the plant, TEPCO released some radioactive water into the sea, prompting protests from neighboring countries. Many nations put restrictions on imports of Japanese food after the disaster.

    It was the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

    Last month, a senior TEPCO executive said the company was struggling to stop groundwater flooding into the damaged reactor buildings and it may take as long as four years to fix the problem.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Patrick McFadden from: Phillipsburg NJ USA
    April 09, 2013 9:36 PM
    For 2 years now I've watched in amazement as the world sits by and does NOTHING about Fukushima except let a utility company try and fix a disaster of biblical proportions. During this time the brain drain has been accelerated leaving only an overwhelmed group of undertrained employees to try an fix a plethora of highly dangerous problems that have begun,and will continue to, plague this earth for thousands of years into our future.
    I beg of you, plead with you, Japan, please bring in all the worlds resources to try and stop this madness that is only getting worse. The world needs you to open up your doors so that we all do not die a slow and awfull death. All life on earth depends on this to happen.
    PLEASE !!!!! Patrick

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.