Radioactive water emergency at Fukushima 'beyond Tepco's control'

Japan’s devastated nuclear plant at Fukushima is facing a new emergency due to radioactive water underground that is threatening to rise to the surface. The operator Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is struggling to contain water that is seeping into the Pacific Ocean. It has released a video of a probe from one of the reactors. The country’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority says a barrier has already been breached and the leak could accelerate rapidly. “The situation is already beyond Tepco’s control. Otherwise they’d already have taken proper measures. They are doing everything they can but but there are no perfect solutions,” said Masashi Goto, a retired nuclear engineer who worked on several Tepco plants. The operator says it is taking steps to prevent the leak, but the regulator argues the measures are only temporary. The water is thought to have become contaminated after being pumped into the plant to cool reactors. Japan shut down all but two of its 50 nuclear reactors following the tsunami in March 2011, but is reportedly considering restarting some. Japan’s government-affiliated Institute of Energy Economics said on Tuesday that the country may have as few as four reactors operating by March 2015.