Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are rushing to fill a crack with fresh cement to keep highly-radioactive water from leaking into the Pacific ocean. The Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters that water from the concrete-lined basin was seen leaking into the ocean. CNN reports the leaking water had a measured radiation level of "1,000 millisieverts per hour, which is more than 330 times the dose an average resident of an industrialized country naturally receives in a year." Recently, the water measured 330 meters off the plant showed levels of iodine-131 measuring 4,385 times above average and cesium-137 at 527 times above average, and officials believe the leak in the basin is the cause of the contamination.
Workers are trying to drain the excess water out of the maintenance basin, but are struggling to figure out where to contain it. Some of the water is being stored on barges. “The more water they add, the more problems they are generating,” Satoshi Sato, a consultant to the nuclear energy industry and a former engineer with General Electric, told the Times. “It’s just a matter of time before the leaks into the ocean grow." However, is the focus on the Fukushima plant taking away from getting help to those affected by the earthquake?
Natori resident Megumi Shimanuki said Prime Minister Naoto Kan isn't spending enough time with people on the ground. "The government has been too focused on the Fukushima power plant rather than the tsunami victims,” said Shimanuki, 35. “Both deserve attention." However, Kan said he would do everything possible to help. “We’ll be together with you to the very end,” he told the destroyed town of Rikuzentakata. “Everybody, try your best."