UK & World News
Fukushima Leaks Radioactive Water Into Pacific
A new leak of highly radioactive water is believed to be flowing into the Pacific Ocean from Japan's stricken nuclear plant after a storage tank overflowed.
A Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) official said workers at Fukushima detected the toxic fluid dripping from the top of a tank when they were patrolling the site.
Tepco estimates 430 litres of the water, which contains highly radioactive doses of strontium, has leaked outside a concrete barrier surrounding the tank.
"(The contaminated water) went into the drain and we cannot deny the possibility of it having reached the ocean," Tepco official Masayuki Ono said.
It is the second time in as many months that radioactive water has leaked from storage tanks surrounding the plant, which was heavily damaged by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
In August, toxic water was found to have leaked from another tank. Some of that contaminated water is also believed to have flowed into the Pacific Ocean.
Massive amounts of water have been used to cool the reactors and fuel rods since the earthquake and tsunami caused some of Fukushima's reactors to melt down.
Tepco said it had told the Japanese government about the latest leak.
The country's Nuclear Regulatory Authority has ordered the company to stem the flow and remove any contaminated soil, Kyodo reported.
Tepco, which faces huge clean-up and compensation costs, has struggled to cope with the disaster.
In July, the company admitted for the first time that radioactive groundwater had been leaking outside the plant.
However, it has so far disclosed no clear plan for disposing of the huge amounts of stored polluted water.