Japan Stops Flow of Irradiated Water from Plant

April 5, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

A general view shows the Onagawa nuclear plant in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture on April 5, 2011.  (Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images)
A general view shows the Onagawa nuclear plant in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture on April 5, 2011. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images)
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said on Tuesday they have stopped the flow of irradiated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactor into the Pacific Ocean.

The company’s attempts to seal cracks that caused the highly radioactive water to leak were met with failure in the past.

However, the company injected “liquid glass,” otherwise known as sodium silicate, as well as another substance into the bedrock and stopped the flow of water.

Kyodo News reported that 1,500 gallons of the substance was dumped onto the leak near the seaside pit where the radioactive water was coming out.

Japan is facing its worst crisis since World War II after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and accompanying tsunami leveled the northern part of the country on March 11. The quake damaged the Fukushima Daiichi complex, throwing the island nation into the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl melted down 25 years ago.

Workers have been frantically trying to spray four of the beleaguered reactor cores in an attempt to cool down heated uranium fuel.

The water seepage was discovered on Saturday coming from a concrete container. The water’s radiation level was measured at 1,000 millisieverts per hour. The irradiated water has apparently contaminated the nearby marine environment, Kyodo reported.

Seawater samples taken near the plant’s No. 2 reactor showed that the levels of iodine-131 were 7.5 million times higher than the maximum level allowed under regulatory standards.

On Monday, the plant dumped 11,500 tons of low level contaminated water into the sea. Most of it was water stored in a runoff tank to make room for storage of the highly radioactive water.

Kyodo said highly contaminated water has been filling up a basement under the No. 2 reactor turbine facility as well as a connected trench.