Following the powerful magnitude 7.4 earthquake that shook northeastern Japan on 22 November, water leakages have been detected from the spent fuel pools of both the crippled Fukushima Daiichi and the nearby Fukushima Daiini NPP.
Puddles of radioactive water, estimated at 500 litres, were found inside the buildings of units 2, 3 and 4 at the Fukushima Daini plant, where the quake led to temporary stoppage of a cooling system pump. The puddles “have probably been formed from water that sloped out of used fuel pools during the earthquake,” according to a spokesperson for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). However, Tepco said there was no risk of the radioactive water migrating out of the three buildings.
At the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which suffered reactor core meltdowns following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in 2011, a smaller puddle measuring two by three metres, was found beside the common used fuel pool. It is still not know what damage the November quake may have done to the underground “ice wall”, which was built to prevent further contamination of the groundwater at the site.