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Typhoon Forces Dumping of Radioactive Water at Fukushima

TEPCO officials indicate measures were taken to avoid worse disaster, but it remains unclear how much water was pumped into ocean

Common Dreams staff

As Typhoon Man-Yi crashed into Japan on Monday with heavy winds and rain, the owners of the Fukushima nuclear power plant were forced to hurriedly pump rising levels of stored radioactive water into the ocean in order to fend off the threat of a further disaster.

Ahead of the storm's landfall, fears were that high winds and rising waters could further destabilize the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, which sits on the coast northeast of Tokyo.

Though the storm battered southern prefectures of the island nation, sparking flash floods and mudslides in Saitama, Fukui, and Kyoto—Fukushima did not take a direct hit as was feared over the weekend.

However, as heavy rains continued throughout the day, the water storage areas that blanket the area around the Fukushima plant came under threat.

And as Channel NewsAsia reports:

[TEPCO] workers were pumping out water from areas near tanks storing radioactive water, from which leaks are believed to have seeped into groundwater.

"But we decided to release the water into sea as we reached a conclusion that it can be regarded as rainfall after we monitored levels of radiation," TEPCO spokesman Yo Koshimizu said.

According to the spokesman, one litre of the water contained up to 24 becquerels of strontium and other radioactive materials -- below the 30 becquerel per litre safety limit imposed by Japanese authorities for a possible release to the environment.

However, it was unknown how much water was released to sea under the "emergency measure," Koshimizu said.

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