Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has announced that a leak has been found at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
In a brief statement released on Monday, the company said, “At around 10.40am today (on August 19), a Tepco employee on patrol found water leaking from a drain valve of a tank dike in the H4 area in Fukushima Daiichi NPS.”
The incident, which had been ranked as level one of seven on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (Ines), is the second of its kind in three weeks where radioactive water is reported to have leaked.
At the beginning of August, Tepco was criticised by Japanese government officials, who said its “sense of crisis [was] weak”. They added, “This is why you can’t just leave it up to Tepco alone [to handle the situation]”, after a national emergency was declared following a radioactive spill.
Speaking to news agency Reuters, Masayuki Ono, general manager of Tepco, said, “We found a radiation level strong enough to give someone a five-year dose of radiation within one hour.”
The incident dates back to 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami at the power plant sparked the meltdown of three nuclear reactors. The incident claimed the lives of almost 17,000 people but devastated many more.
Rianne Teule, nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace International, recently said, “There’s still a long road ahead before the Fukushima nuclear disaster is fully contained and the Japanese people continue to pay the price.”
There has been much global opposition to nuclear power, with protests in China halting the construction of further nuclear power plants.
It emerged earlier this month that radioactive water could have been leaking for as long as three years at a power plant in Taiwan. Meanwhile in France, activists broke into a nuclear plant and demanded its closure in July.