UPDATE AS OF 11:30 A.M. EDT, MONDAY, APRIL 4:
Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continued searching Monday for sources of contaminated water leaking from the site into the ocean.
Attempts to seal a crack in a concrete enclosure for cabling in reactor 2 are ongoing after initial efforts failed. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) injected a color tracer into the enclosure in an effort to track the flow of water. That test confirmed the radioactive water is from multiple sources. TEPCO is planning to install underwater silt barriers near the intake for reactor 2 to help contain the contaminated water.
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and Nuclear Safety Commission both said it will take several months to restore permanent core cooling for the damaged reactors. NISA said it will take that amount of time to remove contaminated water from the turbine buildings and restore damaged plant equipment.
To free up storage space for highly radioactive water in a waste disposal tank, TEPCO is seeking approval to discharge 11,500 tons of low-level radioactive water into the ocean. The utility said the radiation level in the water to be discharged is very low. TEPCO estimated that someone eating fish and seaweed from the adjacent water every day for a year would receive a total exposure of 60 millirem, less than a quarter of the average annual exposure from natural radiation.
Workers continue to inject cooling water into reactors 1, 2 and 3. In addition, spent fuel pools for reactors 1-4 are sprayed with fresh water as needed to keep them cool.
Radiation dose rates at the Daiichi site continue to fall. Recent readings showed 12.4 millirem per hour at the main gate, 7.4 millirem per hour at the west gate and 78 millirem per hour on the side of the administration building facing the reactors.
Majority of Americans Think Nuclear Power Is Safe, Poll Shows
A Gallup survey shows that most Americans believe nuclear power is safe. In a poll conducted March 25-27, 58 percent of Americans said they think nuclear power plants in the United States are safe; 36 percent said they are not.
A Harris poll conducted March 23-25 found that 29 percent of Americans consider nuclear power plants “very safe,” with another 34 percent saying they are “somewhat safe.”