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Fukushima: more contaminated water leaking into the Ocean?

Worrying reports regarding the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are unfortunately back in the news.

The plant that suffered meltdowns in three of the nuclear reactors following the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, was seen between July 18th and August 7th occasionally spewing vapour from the number three reactor building, with TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co) later revealing that about 300 tons of radioactive water that was being stored in temporary storage units had leaked.

The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant later said that they had found elevated readings of tritium in groundwater near the leaking tanks, with the contaminated water "likely" to had made its way into the subterranean canals and then to the Pacific Ocean.

And this despite reassurances from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who just four days ago speaking to to the Olympic chiefs in Buenos Aires - before their decision award the 2020 games to Tokyo - had said, “ there was nothing to worry about at the plant” and “let me assure you, the situation is under control”

Tepco is struggling to pump out, treat and store the massive amounts of the contaminated water, said that the level of radioactive tritium at one of the wells rose to 130,000 becquerels per liter, which is more than twice the amount that the government says can be released into the sea.

Following the reports, South Korea extended its ban on Japanese fish products not only from Fukushima but from seven other prefectures - Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi, Chiba and Aomori.

The company has increased the numbers of monitors to check the radioactive materials in groundwater near the tank, while Tokyo announced earlier this month a $500 million plan to stem the radioactive water leaks, including the creation of a wall of ice underneath the plant.

Decommissioning the plant is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars and last around 40 years.

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