Japan's Fukushima atomic energy facility spilled 100 metric tons of water containing large amounts of radioactive contaminants, Reuters reports.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant operator said the radiation-tainted liquid probably did not reach the ocean -- located nearly half a mile away from the site of the spill -- due to the absence of any nearby outlet. The water flowed out of a massive container on Wednesday, when workers accidentally left transfer piping open and permitted more fluid to escape between parts of the damaged complex than intended.
"We are taking various measures, but we apologize for worrying the public with such a leak," Tokyo Electric Power spokesman Masayuki Ono said.
The Fukushima facility's overseers have struggled to control massive volumes of radioactive water at the site since March 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami led to meltdowns in three of the facility's six reactors. International Atomic Energy Agency experts last week pressed Japan to consider authorizing further "controlled discharges" of water from the seaside complex, enabling the nation to release fluid containing lower concentrations of harmful materials.
Water in the latest spill is nearly eight times more contaminated than fluid the operator can legally dump into the ocean.
The 2011 disaster prompted the shutdown of Japan's other atomic reactors for safety checks, and their possible reactivation has been subject to domestic controversy. One insider, though, said the country's government now plans to reference the value of atomic generators in a forthcoming power strategy for coming years, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Japanese Cabinet officials are expected to endorse the plan next month, according to the wire service.