Fukushima leak enough radioactive water to fill an Olympic swimming pool.


Cooler King
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Reuters) - Japanese officials are readying a new approach to stabilizing a reactor at a nuclear plant crippled by an earthquake and tsunami after discovering a leak from the containment vessel of enough radioactive water to fill an Olympic swimming pool.

The discovery has forced officials to abandon their original plan to bring under control the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. That plan would have entailed cycling a more limited volume of water across uranium fuel believed to have gone into meltdown.

Despite the setback, Japanese nuclear safety officials and the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), plan to stick to a target of stabilizing the plant and bringing its reactors to a state of "cold shutdown" by January.

"We want to preserve the timetable, but at the same time we're going to have to change our approach," Goshi Hosono, an adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, told a television talk show on Sunday.

Outside experts have questioned whether the initial timetable for Fukushima was too optimistic. The 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami that followed unleashed the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986.
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