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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 August 21 - 27  > JCP Shiokawa early criticized flaw of toxic water tanks at Fukushima NPP
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2013 August 21 - 27 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

JCP Shiokawa early criticized flaw of toxic water tanks at Fukushima NPP

August 23, 2013
Japanese Communist Party Lower House member Shiokawa Tetsuya had urged the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, to take measures to prevent a leak of radioactive water from the tanks on the plant compound.

It has been brought to light that about 300 tons of highly radioactive water leaked out from one of the tanks and seeped into the ground. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Agency (NRA) announced on August 21 that the severity of the leakage accident is on par with a level-3 (serious incident) on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, which is the fifth worst in all eight grades.

The tanks holding contaminated water are built of steel plates, which were joined together with rubber packing and bolts. TEPCO installed the tanks in large numbers within the site because they can be built easily at a low cost.

In April at a Lower House economic and industrial committee meeting, Shiokawa questioned the administration about the structural strength of those tanks. He pointed out that in contradiction to the utility’s claim that those tanks are serviceable for 10 years, the life of the rubber packing is only five years, and that toxic water had been found to leak out at least four times from the seams connecting the plates. “What is needed is to carry out a general inspection of the tanks and get a clear grasp of the situation,” he stressed.

An NRA official replied, “We are concerned about age-related degradation materials. The NRA ordered TEPCO to come up with a maintenance and management plan taking into account the tanks’ deterioration with age.”

Although the operator decided to start monitoring the site, it failed to install a water gauge in each tank and left “under consideration” the method needed to detect water leakage.

The JCP lawmaker criticized the government for leaving the disaster response to the power company. He demanded that the government make every effort to bring the accident under control as soon as possible.
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