Severe rains stemming from Typhoon Etau have caused widespread flooding in Japan, and reports of the damage continue to mount. Most recently, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has announced that floodwaters have swept away at least 82 bags of contaminated waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. What impact that will have on the ocean and nearby wildlife may never be known.
The nuclear power plant was shut down in 2011, after it was hit by a tsunami caused by an earthquake. That storm caused what has been dubbed the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Bags of radioactive grass and other contaminated materials collected from the site had been stored in a nearby town, according to the Environment Ministry, when they were washed away in the flood. The Ministry went on to report that most of the bags had been recovered undamaged, but the local media contradicted that statement, saying that only 30 bags had been located.
This news comes just days after TEPCO, which is in charge of the nuclear power plant, revealed that hundreds of tons of radioactive water had leaked from the site when storm waters overwhelmed the site’s drainage system. TEPCO’s statement insists that the level of contamination was so low that there will be no lasting environmental impact from the leaked water. It’s unknown at this time what potential hazards could arise if the bags of radioactive materials are not located and cleaned up.
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