Radioactive water continued to seep into the sea Monday after a failed attempt to seal the leak at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant using an absorbent polymer, sawdust and shredded paper.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials think the leak has been coming from an 8-inch crack in the concrete pit holding power cables near reactor No. 2. On Monday, Tepco said it would use a dye to try to trace the path of the leak, Kyodo News reported. Radiation levels in the pit water are an estimated 1,000 millisieverts per hour, a high but not immediately lethal dose, Los Angeles Times reports.
Japanese officials are trying new ways to plug the leak and met Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive officer of General Electric Co., to discuss technical support to contain the crisis at reactors based on the U.S. company's design. The leak itself may not pose a severe threat, said Kathryn Higley, professor of nuclear engineering and radiation health physics at Oregon State University.
"You're likely to have a footprint in the soil and the sands and sediments as that material leaks out, but the impact is likely to be pretty minimal," Higley said yesterday in a telephone interview. "Even if it does get out into that marine environment, that area around there has been pretty badly torn up, so there's not a lot of life to be impacting," BusinessWeek says.