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Crisis at Fukushima Continues to Spiral With Hole in Radiation Barrier

Fence made of silt that sits in harbor has been breached, TEPCO admits, sparking further concern of ocean contamination

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on 17 April 2013. (Photo: Greg Webb / IAEA)In the latest in a series of mishaps to hit the crisis-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, a radiation-stopping "fence" around the reactors has developed a hole, plant operator TEPCO admitted on Thursday.

Fences made of earth and sand sit in the harbor next to the plant and were erected to help contain radioactive material from flowing into the ocean.  They "are suspended from floats and anchored with weights on the seafloor," the Japan Times explains.

One of the fences that sits next to still-intact reactors five and six was found to be breached, sparking further worry about the amount of radioactive contamination heading into the ocean.

TEPCO has struggled to contain the "emergency without end" at Fukushima since the disaster began to unfold in March of 2011. An unsustainable contaminated water-storage system plagued by a series of leaks, soaring radiation levels in groundwater that head into the ocean, and high levels of radiation found in fish have catalyzed widespread resistance to nuclear power and raised international alarm

As out of control as the situation seems, one expert has warned that it may actually be "much worse" than claimed.  Also, long-time anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman warned last week that a plan to "remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air" risked putting the "hand of global nuclear disaster... painfully close to midnight."

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