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Issue 42
, 2013
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Fukushima nuclear plant: radioactive water 'leak'

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Source: BBC, Date: , 2013

A fresh suspected leak of radioactive water has been detected at Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, its operator says.

The contaminated water may have leaked into the ground from one of the plant's storage tanks, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said.

The nuclear plant has suffered two power failures in the past month.

Separately, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it would visit the plant to conduct a review.

If confirmed, the leak at the underground storage pool would be the third leak discovered at the plant since Saturday.

The underground tanks store radioactive water that have been used in the plant's cooling systems.

'Tremendous worry'

The suspected leak was detected at the plant's number one pool, the destination for contaminated water from the number two pool, which was also leaking. The transfer has now been stopped.

"We understand that we have caused tremendous worry to the people of Fukushima and the wider public and we apologise for that," Tepco spokesman Masayuki Ono told reporters.

Tepco said that while water may have leaked into the ground, it did not believe the water had reached the sea.

It was "currently investigating the cause and countermeasures", said the company in a statement.

Meanwhile, the IAEA said it would send a team of experts to the site of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant from 15 to 22 April to review the government's decommissioning plans for the plant.

The visit had been requested by the Japanese government, the IAEA added.

In the past month, Fukushima nuclear plant has experienced two power outages that shut down some of its cooling systems for spent fuel ponds.

On 11 March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant. Waves knocked out cooling systems for the reactors, leading to meltdowns at three of them.

Engineers have since stabilized the plant but years of work lie ahead to fully contain the disaster and tackle its effects.