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Crippled Fukushima Reactor Springs Another Mysterious Leak

Tepco said the amount of radioactive material in the just-found leak is unknown because the radiation in the reactor building is already so high

- Common Dreams staff

Uncontained: Water possibly tainted with radiation pours into a drain (lower right), on Saturday on the first floor of reactor No. 3 at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant. (Photo: KYODO)Japanese media is reporting yet another mysterious and previously undetected leak inside one of the crippled nuclear Fukushima reactors this weekend.

According to Asahi Shimbum, citing an announcement from the Tokyo Electric Power Company, a "new water leak, possibly from the effort to cool a crippled reactor, has been detected on the first floor of a reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant."

It remained unclear whether the leak was coming from water coolant pipes being pumped into the containment unit or if radioactive water from the cooling pools themselves was leaking out.

As the Japan Times reports:

The camera of a rubble-removing robot operating inside the No. 3 building has captured images of a 30-cm-wide water leak, the beleaguered utility said Saturday. It also claimed that none of the water has leaked outside the building so far.

Tepco, as the utility is known, is perpetually pumping water into reactors 1 through 3 to keep their melted cores cool, but leaks have been spotted in parts of No. 3′s containment vessel. Tepco is investigating whether the water spotted by the camera is actually the coolant.

The radiation level on the first floor of the No. 3 reactor is a relatively high 30 millisieverts per hour. Tepco said the amount of radioactive material in the just-found leak is unknown because the radiation in the reactor building is already high.

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