A Japanese official says the Fukushima nuclear plant is leaking some 300 tons of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean per day.
On Wednesday, an unnamed official said the Japanese government believes the contaminated water has been leaking into the ocean for two years, Reuters reported.
The statement comes after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to step up government efforts to solve the problem.
Abe ordered Japan’s minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry to deal with the crisis and to make sure the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) appropriately handles the cleanup process, which is expected to take more than 40 years.
The cleanup process is also expected to cost USD 11 billion.
Meanwhile, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) Shinji Kinjo said the leaking contaminated groundwater is “creating an emergency.”
Reports also say the amount of contaminated water seeping into the Pacific Ocean could rise soon.
The official also said that Tokyo plans to reduce the leakage amount to 60 tons a day by December.
On March 11, 2011, a nine-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that inflicted heavy damage on the six-reactor Fukushima plant. The cooling systems of the plant’s reactors were knocked out, leading to meltdowns and the release of radioactive material.
On July 24, TEPCO admitted that the Fukushima site’s reactors were leaking highly contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, after steam was seen at one of the reactors.
Last July, a Japanese parliamentary panel found that the incident at the Fukushima nuclear plant had been a “man-made disaster” and not only a result of the tsunami. The report criticized the “government, regulatory authorities and Tokyo Electric Power” for being devoid of “a sense of responsibility to protect people’s lives and society.”
By Press TV
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