Fukushima nuclear accident
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, following a devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 which claimed nearly 19,000 lives. It is the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 and only the second disaster to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
Fukushima water decontamination system shutdown after chemical leak
A trouble-prone system used to decontaminate radioactive water at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant was switched off yesterday because of a chemical leak, its operator said.
Hydrochloric acid, used to neutralise alkaline water being decontaminated, was found seeping from a pipe joint, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said.
The joint was wrapped in a vinyl bag to contain the leakage, TEPCO said, adding it was investigating the cause of the trouble.
About one litre of hydrochloric acid was contained in the bag.
The leak was found at one of three Advanced Liquid Processing System units designed to remove radioactivity from contaminated water at the plant, where a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 sent nuclear reactors into meltdown.
The systems are expected to play a crucial role in treating huge amounts of toxic water accumulating at the plant.
The troubled system was one of two units that had been in trial operation and were scheduled to go into full operation Sunday.
In late September plastic padding clogged up a drain in the same system, causing it to shut down. In October, it was halted due to a programming mistake.
Thousands of tonnes of water, used since the meltdown to cool reactors or polluted by other radioactive material, are being stored in huge tanks at the site.
Setbacks including radioactive water leaks into the Pacific Ocean have eroded faith TEPCO can tame the world's worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.