MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - Tokyo Electric Power Company, also known as TEPCO, may miss an important deadline binding it to clean radioactive water stored inside the Fukushima nuclear plant, Bloomberg reported Monday.
TEPCO's attempt at removing toxic cancer-causing substances from the reactor's waters may exceed the stated deadline. Earlier, TEPCO's president pledged to terminate the filtering process by the end of March 2015.
The country’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga confirmed the deadline to journalists. The official, though, did not clarify the penalties TEPCO face if it failed to meet the target date.
The isotope Strontium-90 is believed to cause cancerous diseases. It has a half-life of about 30 years and can be deposited in fish bones. The fear of the radioactive substance's presence in the water has already become the reason for South Korea’s ban on seafood imports from Japan.
As of July 29, the site had more than 370,000 tons of water contaminated with radiation, with its levels rising at a rate of 400 tons a day. The measures taken by TEPCO included the launch of the so-called ALPS filtration system, capable of cleaning about 500 tons of water daily. The system is set to be expanded to process more than 600 tons a day additionally starting September. Also, another system to filter about 425 tons daily is to be launched in October.
However, even with the use of additional facilities, such as the U.S.-based Kurion Corporation’s truck-mounted filtration system, Bloomberg expects tens of thousands of tons of toxic water to remain at the site by the imposed deadline. Familiar with Bloomberg’s data, TEPCO's spokesperson has said: "We are doing everything we can do."
The meltdown of reactors at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011 was the second-largest nuclear disaster in history after the Chernobyl catastrophe. Although nobody died from short-term radiation exposure, some 300,000 people have fled the area. Cleaning the toxic waste from the abandoned nuclear plant has become one of the principal tasks of the Japanese government and TEPCO.