The Fukushima nuclear plant leaked 5.5 tons of radioactive water, but it was contained inside the complex, said the operator of the Japanese plant, destroyed by the 2011 tsunami.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said workers in Fukushima, in northeastern Japan, detected the leak shortly before 9:00 am (11:00 pm on Tuesday in Lisbon), according to a statement released on Wednesday.

According to Japanese news agency Kyodo, the leak was detected in a device used to purify and treat wastewater, at a time when the equipment was being cleaned.

TEPCO said the water contains about 22 billion becquerels (a unit used to measure radioactive activity), a value a thousand times lower than that used in radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer.


However, the Fukushima operator estimated that it could contain up to 220 times the maximum level set by Japanese authorities of radioactive materials such as cesium-137 and strontium 90.

The Fukushima operator assured that the escape, which lasted around 20 minutes, had no repercussions outside the plant.

A TEPCO spokeswoman told the France-Presse news agency that “there has been no significant change” in radioactivity monitoring data around the plant.

The company isolated the area and collected the water, but admitted that some of it may have ended up underground, which will also be removed and analyzed.

In August, Tokyo announced that it would begin discharging 1.3 million cubic meters of treated and diluted wastewater from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean, under a plan approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and which could continue until 2050.

Second phase of discharge of treated water from Fukushima begins in Japan

The water contains tritium at a level that the IAEA considers to have a negligible impact on the environment and human health.

Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant melted after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, releasing enormous amounts of radiation in the area.


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