Japan to up measures amid Fukushima leaks

2013-08-07 08:03
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - Japan will accelerate efforts to prevent more radioactive groundwater from seeping into the ocean at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, government officials said on Wednesday, as critics slam its operator's handling of the issue.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to order his government later in the day to hand over public money to help foot the bill for ramped-up measures, the first time that Tokyo has committed extra funds to deal with the growing problem.

"Taking measures to contain contaminated water is an important part of the process towards decommissioning [the site]," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government's top spokesperson, told reporters.

"The prime minister is expected to instruct the industry minister to take measures as soon as possible."

In May, Tokyo ordered plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to build new barriers around the plant's reactors to contain toxic water that is used to keep the reactors cool, a measure that could cost up to $410m.

Tepco incapable

There have been growing fears that existing safeguards will soon be overwhelmed by the highly radioactive water.

"As this large-scale construction of walls is unprecedented in the world, we think the government should take a step forward and support the plan," Suga said.

The vast utility is already facing staggering clean-up and compensation costs over the March 2011 accident, the worst atomic crisis in a generation.

Suga's comments come after Fukushima operator Tepco last month admitted for the first time that radioactive groundwater had already leaked outside the nuclear plant, confirming long-held suspicions of ocean contamination from the shattered reactors.

The leaks have triggered alarm bells over the plant's precarious state and Tepco’s ability to deal with a long list of problems two years after it was swamped by a tsunami, sending reactors into meltdown.

The company has faced widespread criticism over its lack of transparency in making critical information public.

Tepco, which is in charge of clean-up of the plant, had previously reported rising levels of cancer-causing materials in groundwater samples taken from underneath the site itself, but maintained it had halted toxic water from leaking beyond its borders.

"The worsening leaks of contaminated water at the Fukushima nuclear plant prove Tepco is incapable of dealing with the disaster," Greenpeace said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Japan's authorities must now step in and ensure action is finally taken to stop the leaks," it added.

The country's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has said it plans to pull together two dedicated teams to investigate water contamination and its impact on the ocean's ecosystem, while on Friday it ordered Tepco to accelerate its containment plan.

Read more on:    greenpeace  |  tepco  |  shinzo abe  |  japan  |  tsunami  |  nuclear

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.