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Fukushima Nuclear Plant Reports Serious Leak
August 23, 2013

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The Japanese government is again under pressure to fix the ongoing problems at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, after new reports of toxic water leaking out of storage tanks. In addition, new spots of high radiation have been reported.

The Sendai Earthquake and subsequent tsunami, triggered on March 11, 2011, caused so damage at the nuclear power plant that a meltdown ensued, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom will never go back to their homes. That incident was a maximum on a severity scale devised by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The latest leakage has been deemed a 3 on the 7-point scale.

The radioactive water is in the surrounding land and groundwater and, in all likelihood, has reached the ocean, Japanese officials said. The Tokyo Electric Power Company is continuing to monitor the cleanup, but critics have called anew for a different set of hands, perhaps even an international task force, to manage the ongoing crisis.

Only two of the country's dozens of nuclear power plants are still online. Both are at the Oi nuclear power plant, and both are scheduled to go offline in September for routine maintenance. At that time, the country will again be entirely without nuclear power, a situation that severely taxed the country's power grid in 2011 and resulted in extensive calls for power conservation and rolling blackouts.

Asiana Airlines, the second-largest airline in South Korea, has canceled flights from Seoul to Fukushima from October.

The events come in the wake of a renewed call from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to return the country to more reliance on nuclear power, to ease the need for importing electricity.

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