via / Aug. 25, 2013 / The operator of Japan’s wrecked nuclear plant has attributed this week’s massive leak of contaminated water to deteriorated seams and a possible contortion of a storage tank. Tokyo Electric Power, or Tepco rushed to reassemble the tanks after the triple meltdown in March 2011.

The quick fix was designed to last till 2016 until it worked out a more permanent solution, but has failed three years early.

“When we moved the tank from the depressed land to the current location, we inserted a rubber seam inside the tank. The seam could have halted the leakage. But, as time passed, the rubber seam could have decayed and caused the leakage. This is one possible cause to the leakage.” Noriyuki Imaizumi, Spokesperson of TEPCO said.

Imaizumi added that the company is further investigating the cause. Three hundred tonnes of highly radioactive water leaked from one storage tank on Monday, making it the fifth and worst breach since the earthquake and tsunami.

Nuclear regulatory officials have raised concerns over a design flaw of the rubber seam tanks and urged a switch to more durable welded-seam tanks. Tepco did not act on such a concern. The company believes that most radioactive water has seeped underground while a small amount of has gone into the Pacific Ocean.


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