Decontamination system stopped second time at Japan nuclear plant

Decontamination system stopped second time at Japan nuclear plant

The operator of a damaged Japanese nuclear plant stopped a long-awaited water-treatment system soon after resuming its operation, news reports said Tuesday, dpa reported.

The system designed to decontaminate highly radioactive water was halted because of a water leak a few hours into full operation Monday at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 250 kilometres north-east of Tokyo.

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), was to look Tuesday into the cause of the leak from a hose installed to carry decontaminated water into the reactors from a storage tank, the Kyodo News agency reported.

Since the plant was hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, it has been leaking radioactive substances into the environment.

As TEPCO has continued to pump water in to cool the plant's overheating reactors, radiation-contaminated water has spilled over and inundated the reactor buildings.

On Monday, TEPCO managed to resume the water-treatment system so it could pump decontaminated water in to cool the reactors, a key step to bring the troubled six-reactor plant under control.

Water leaks and technical problems had also caused the system to stop five hours after the start of its operation on June 17.

About 110,000 tons of highly contaminated water has accumulated inside the turbine buildings of the reactors and nearby areas, causing TEPCO to fear the water could overflow into the sea again.

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