Tokyo Electric Power Co. estimates that thanks to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, water containing as much as ten trillion becquerels (units used to measure radioactivity) of radioactive strontium and 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137 has been flowing into the Pacific Ocean since May of 2011.
The combined 30 trillion becquerels is entering through deep ocean trenches located under the damaged reactors’ turbines, the Japan Times reports.
The three reactors primarily responsible for the original meltdown are currently being flooded with cooling water to keep the leaking units stable, but the water is still leaking from the reactors, mixing with ocean water and seeping through the walls of the 40-year-old facility.
The plant was built on a maze of trenches that guide the cables and pipes needed to carry electricity and water. These pipes lead to the ocean because the plant needs sea water to prevent it from over-heating.
The 30 trillion is roughly 100 times more than the amount of radiation present in the sea before the disaster.
According to the Times, the containment fences set up in the plant’s harbor are thankfully keeping the radioactive water from reaching the greater Pacific.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., however, did confirm last month that roughly 300 tons of radioactive water flows daily into the Pacific.
This water is mixed with the 300 tons of filtered water from the plant’s storage tanks that have also escaped. The filtered water doesn’t have cesium, but does contain other harmful material such as tritium.
TEPCO announced the tank leak on Monday after seeing traces of water running from the tank to a drainage channel. 96 millisieverts per hour of radiation were detected in the air near it.
The Times reports that Nuclear Regulation Authority officials said Wednesday that if 10 tons of radioactive water were to flow out over 30 days, there is a strong possibility it would go unnoticed.
Via: Japan Times, Photo Courtesy: WENN