Fukushima Leak Estimated to Fill Bucket Not Swimming Pool

Tokyo Electric Power Co. lowered its assessment of a radioactive water leak at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant to about a large bucket from an initial estimate of a medium-sized swimming pool.

About 20 liters of radioactive water is estimated to have leaked into the soil, out of approximately 300 liters that escaped into waterproof sheets that lined the underground No. 2 storage pool, Tokyo Electric said yesterday in a statement. The utility earlier said about 120,000 liters of water may have leaked from the pool.

The No. 2 pit is among three storage pools where the company, known as Tepco, found leaks of radioactive water after a quake and tsunami in March 2011 crippled power and cooling systems at the nuclear plant, causing three meltdowns and radiation leaks into the air and the ocean. The quantity of water that leaked from the other two pits is estimated to be less than the No. 2 unit, Tepco said yesterday.

“We will not easily discharge water” into the ocean, President Naomi Hirose said yesterday at a press conference in Fukushima and broadcast on the company’s website. The utility will continue to cooperate with the government and the country’s nuclear-safety regulator to find ways to resolve the radioactive water issue, Hirose said.

An erroneous water gauge was responsible for the previous high estimate, the company said in the statement.

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