According to the Japan Times, Tepco discovered 4 hot spots at its Fukushima plant near its water storage tanks. One of these hot spots was emitting 1.8 sieverts of radiation per hour, enough to kill a human being after 4 hours of exposure. While investigating the cause, Tepco discovered a pipe connecting 2 storage tanks was leaking. The leak was promptly stopped.
The plant contains hundreds of these storage tanks and adds another every 2.5 days. Recently one of the tanks leaked 300 tons of water, causing Japan to upgrade the situation at the plant as serious.
I am no expert on nuclear power or nuclear plants, but it seems obvious that a better solution needs to be found to Fukushima’s water storage problems. The plant is going to need to continue pumping water into the reactors for quite some time to come, causing these storage tanks to continue to proliferate. These tanks are not sturdy structures and may not withstand another earthquake. Some have even suggested using super tankers to store the water. There is no easy solution to this problem, but the current situation seems extremely risky with tanks already leaking without another quake.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Abe, a strong advocate of nuclear power, is just returning from a trip to Africa and the Middle East, where he was promoting the export of Japanese nuclear technology. One wonders if he was accompanied by representatives from Chernobyl.