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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Newspaper and sawdust being used to plug leak at Japanese nuclear power plant

There are more desperate attempts to plug the leaks of radioactive material with officials now saying they plan to release contaminated water into the sea.

The damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
The damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
Image: Japan Ministry of Defense/Kyodo/AP

WORKERS AT THE stricken nuclear plant operator plan in Japan will release water with lower levels of radioactivity into the sea, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

The contaminated water to be released into the sea is not harmful to human health, according to officials.

A fishing ban is in place 12 miles out from the northeastern coast of Japan where an earthquake and tsunami destroyed much of the area and killed as many as 25,000 people on 11 March.

Reuters reports that the crisis  at the Fukushima plant is still months away from being brought under control as engineers used bath salts to help trace a leak from one of the reactors.

Before restoring the cooling system, workers must rid the plant of the pools of radioactive water that have collected under each of the three troubled reactors’ turbine buildings and have spilled into various trenches around the complex.

Workers are also reported to be using newspaper and sawdust, mixed with polymer, to block pipes which are leaking radioactive substance into the water around the plant which is in turn running off into the sea, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Until all the pools of contaminated water are pumped to storage tanks and the cooling system restored, the makeshift methods of pumping water into the reactors and allowing it to gush out wherever it can are the only way to bring down temperatures and pressure in the reactor cores.

Within the cores, fuel rods continue to produce massive amounts of heat even though nuclear reactions have stopped.

Radioactivity has spewed from the plant since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake last month.

Up to 25,000 people are believed to have died in the disaster, and tens of thousands lost their homes.

Thousands more were forced to flee a 20 kilometre radius around the plant because of the radiation.

- additional reporting from AP

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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