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Wednesday, 7th August 2013
In General Japan News,

Govt makes contaminated Fukushima water priority

The Japanese government has today ( 7th August) committed to taking further action towards stabilising the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, following a report that an estimated 300 tons of contaminated water leak from the complex per day.

At a press conference, prime minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed previous promises to restore the power plant and added that government efforts will be stepped up.

"Stabilizing the Fukushima plant is our challenge," Abe is reported to have said during a meeting with the disaster taskforce. "In particular, the contaminated water is an urgent issue which has generated a great deal of public attention."

The ministry official who released the report that carried the 300 ton figure claimed the measures currently in place to remove 300 tons of groundwater per day by December could well fall short by around 60 tons.

He added that the removal of the contaminated water would also not necessarily stop leakage from the complex into the sea.

In an attempt to deal with the crisis, Abe has ordered the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry to review the cleanup operation directly and committed funds from Tokyo to ensure the matter will be dealt with.

It is the first time he has offered government money to help the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in the clean-up operation following the monstrous 2011 tsunami that damaged the plant in the first place.

Stabilising the plant and restoring the area following the crisis is expected to take more than 40 years and comes with a price tag of $11 billion (£7.1 billion).

Kotaro Ohga, research fellow at Hokkaido University and groundwater expert, has confirmed the sheer difficulty of the task facing the government.

"It is incredibly difficult to completely block the groundwater like this," he explained. "It would be better if they could pump clean water before it reaches the plant."

Written by  Graham McPherson

Related news stories:
Fukushima avoids tsunami after 7.4-magnitude quake (22nd November 2016)
Draft bill issued to overcome future disasters (6th October 2011)
Government ban on Fukushima food widened (23rd March 2011)