Direct efforts to stem the toxic leak at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are to be made by the Japanese Government. 300 tonnes of radioactive water are currently being released into the Pacific daily, with the leak now classed by Japan as a “serious incident”.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it clear that the blocking operation will be taken out of the hands of plant operator the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), who have consistently denied the existence of the contaminating leaks. 400 tonnes of toxic groundwater is channelled off daily to hills surrounding the Fukushima plant.
It was announced on Monday by the Nuclear Regulation Agency (NRA) that the leak has been upgraded from a Level One to a Level Three problem on their seven point scale. It was also acknowledged that the situation is “in some respects” unmanageable for TEPCO.
NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka stated: “The current situation is at the point where more surveillance will not be enough to keep the accidents from happening. Our job now is to reduce the risk of these accidents becoming fatal.”
While TEPCO has been ordered to resolve the leak immediately, there is a growing understanding that little has been done to make safe the stricken reactors, and that further earthquakes or accidents during decommissioning could trigger new catastrophes.