14 Sep 2013

Leaks of radioactive water not a major concern at Fukushima

1:51 pm on 14 September 2013

A nuclear expert from the United States who is advising on the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan says leaks of radioactive water are not a major concern.

It's believed 300 tonnes of contaminated water are seeping into the ocean every day.

The ABC reports the Tokyo Electric Power Company brought in Lake Barrett, who spent several years dealing with the Three Mile island nuclear accident in the United States.

In Tokyo after inspecting the site, Mr Barrett said the leaks were being managed but TEPCO needed to better explain what is going on at the plant to the Japanese public.

"This is not finished," he said. "But I don't believe there's anything of major concern and they do have an adequate leak control system there, but it needs to be better addressed.

"It needs to be explained much better than it's been explained."

While Mr Barrett acknowledged contaminated groundwater is leaking into the ocean, he said it is not a threat.

"The levels that are 'moving' are very small and very low risk and you know water flows towards the sea so where's it going? It goes towards the sea," he said.

"But as far as any radioactivity of concern, in my opinion, it is being adequately controlled."

TEPCO said on Friday the plant remained stable, with sensors in and around it showing no increase in levels of radioactive release.

TEPCO also said the temperature of the tanks is now stable but they need to be kept cool to prevent them running out of control again.

The ABC reports the Japanese government is to spend $US470 million on a scheme to freeze the soil around the reactors to form a wall of ice they hope will direct groundwater away from them.