Operator of tsunami stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP) admitted on Monday, July 22, 2013 that contaminated water had been seeping from damaged reactors into the Pacific (NYT). Though this was long suspected by experts, this is the first time officials have acknowledged the problem.
In the press conference of 7/22/2013, Tepco admitted the seawater is coming up and down to the plant area.
They announced the seawater level (1m shift) and groundwater level (20 cm shift) are in sync.
Now it’s clear that seawater and the contaminated groundwater are freely traveling.
The seawater contamination and the rainfall are also in sync. Contaminated groundwater is obviously coming out to the sea.
On Tuesday, July 23, another steam was reported coming out from crippled facility, though again, officials claim radioactivity did not rise. This is the second time operator reported it in last 7 days.
Meanwhile, strong earthquakes are occurring around the plant.
A 5.3 magnitude earthquake was registered at 03:02 UTC at shallow depth of only 6.1 km (USGS). JMA registered this earthquake also as M 5.3 but measured depth at 10 km. The epicenter was about 30 km from Fukushima NPP.
At 10:58 UTC (19:58 JST) JMA registered another earthquake with same location as previous M 5.3. This was probably an aftershock as it was registered as M 3.6 at depth of 10 km. USGS has no records of this one.
Earthquakes at this locations are fairly common, yet it is very disturbing to realize nuclear power plants were built on such highly seismic area. Below is a map of nuclear power plants in Japan and a map with locations of devastating Tohoku earthquake and its aftershocks from March 11 - 14, 2011.
Since 1900, three great earthquakes occurred off Japan and three north of Hokkaido. They are the M8.4 1933 Sanriku-oki earthquake, the M8.3 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake, the M9.0 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the M8.4 1958 Etorofu earthquake, the M8.5 1963 Kuril earthquake, and the M8.3 1994 Shikotan earthquake.
Map of nuclear power plants in Japan. Author: Roulex_45
Map of the Sendai Earthquake 2011 and aftershocks until March 14, 2011 at 11:20. The size of the circles is a function of magnitude, and the color indicates the date: light green: March 11; yellow: March 12; orange: March 13; red: March 14. Author: demis.nl
Featured image: Map of nuclear power plants in Japan. Author: Roulex_45