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This week, TEPCO announced yet another leak of radioactive water from a holding tank at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, site of the March 2011 nuclear disaster. This time, the leak affected an aboveground tank that had just been installed. In an ironic twist, TEPCO built the new tank (one of 38 installed in May) specifically to store contaminated water that was previously kept in leaking belowground storage pits.
A worker discovered radioactive water dripping from a seam approximately 4 meters from the ground. The tanks are 10 meters high and can hold 500 tons of water. Officials estimate that approximately one liter of water leaked over the course of four hours, and they note that groundwater levels remain below dangerous limits. But the event, one of numerous leaks that have occurred over past months, coupled with several power failures and other equipment breakdowns, once again has experts questioning whether TEPCO has the capacity to handle the ongoing crisis in the upcoming decades.
Nathaniel White-Joyal, Host: It’s clear that the west coast of the United States will be affected by the radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Akio Matsumura, Diplomat: Let me clarify. We are facing global disaster — catastrophe — occurring. From that perspective, over 40 years, 50 years, or maybe 100 years. We cannot escape from this fact. For that we have to keep in mind. […] This radioactive material, or contaminated water, any cases, reach out to your west coast as well. If you are counting on Japan, I can assure you now they do not take serious action.