TEPCO announced today that contaminated water was found in deep groundwater 25 meters (82 feet) below the unit 4 reactor well. NHK reported this but did not elaborate how TEPCO had tapped a well so deep beneath the building.
“In a water sample taken on Tuesday of last week, 6.7 becquerels per liter of Cesium 137 and 89 becquerels per liter “
Unit 4 was under maintenance to replace the shroud at the time of the disaster and did not have any fuel in the reactor. TEPCO may have begun checking under unit 4 first assuming it would be the least problematic unit to drill beneath.
This new finding raises concerns that there could be contamination in the deep groundwater and that could be leaking out to sea in ways that would not be blocked by the current efforts to seal up the sea front at the plant. This could also indicate the existence of melted fuel outside of containment or the reactor buildings, sometimes referred to as “china syndrome”. More investigation will need to be done to make any concrete conclusions.
image credit | 500px.com Carla Francisco
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