A Japanese government-appointed expert panel believes that the current measures implemented to curb radioactivity levels in water near the Fukushima nuclear plant are not effective and has called for extra efforts to reduce water contamination in the area.
The panel, consisting of officials at the Industry Ministry, also warned that if mitigation efforts are not stepped up the Fukushima plant will run out of space to store radioactive water in approximately two years' time. The preliminary report was presented to ministers and reporters at a meeting where proposals to tackle the problem were discussed. Some of the suggestions included covering the ground with asphalt to minimize rain inflow and constructing new giant tanks for water storage. The final report is expected to be released later this month.
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The draft report was based on an analysis of 780 comments and recommendations sent from across the world in response to the Japanese government's call for international expertise. Experts say that dealing with the large amount of radioactive water accumulated at the plant should be a top priority because it is a major obstacle for decommissioning the facility.
Contaminated water has been leaking from Fukushima's reactors ever since the destructive earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Radioactive elements present in the water have been mixing with groundwater. Some experts suggested that the amount of groundwater should be reduced, but if this happens it may cause some areas of the plant compound to sink in and cause further damage, the Associated Press reported.