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Japanese Government Will Help TEPCO Clean Up Radioactive Mess


Japanese Government officials declared that Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) will most likely receive support from state funds in order to deal with the worsening crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant 220 kilometers (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo. The radioactive water leaks at the nuclear plant that was critically hit by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 reached the emergency level in the last few days.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to order the government to strengthen its response to the buildup and leakage of water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactor after the industry ministry sought budget funds to address the problems.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which regulates Tepco and other power utilities, has requested an allocation to help address the water problem, an official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The Nikkei  newspaper said the funds could be used to freeze the soil to prevent groundwater from leaking into the reactor buildings. The project is reportedly estimated at a cost of  40 billion yen ($410 million).

The residue radioactive water at the Fukushima nuclear plant has become “an emergency”, the authorities said earlier this week. The situation is even more serious as a barrier built to contain the water has already been breached, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority warned.

Japan’s nuclear regulator ordered Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to drain all underground radioactive water from the underground tunnels of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The measure is taken after the authorities made public the fact that radioactive water leaked into the sea at the Fukushima nuclear plant site.

High levels of radioactivity have been detected in wells in the plant site and an adjacent port since May. The operator said it would start injecting chemicals into the gravel layers to block the water and that it would also decontaminate the water in the tunnels from September by circulating it through a purifier.

The water sample taken at the time from a trench contained 750 million becquerels of cesium-134 and 1.6 billion becquerels of cesium-137 per liter, while 750 million becquerels of other radioactive substances were detected, according to TEPCO, quoted by Kyodo.

The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant admitted for the first time, two weeks ago that the radioactive underground water leaked into the ocean. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was studying radioactive water in its monitoring wells since May and recently observed a drop in the radioactivity. This can only mean that the tainted water leaked into the Pacific Ocean.

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