To Plug Nuke Leak, Workers Try Newspaper, Sawdust

Workers still struggling to trace, plug leak
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2011 3:22 AM CDT
A TEPCO worker points to a crack in the crippled Fukushima reactor. Workers are mixing newspaper and sawdust in with concrete and plastic resins in an attempt to plug a leak there.   (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

(Newser) – Desperate workers continued to stuff sawdust and newspapers mixed with resin and concrete into a major fissure at a Fukushima nuclear reactor as the breach threatened to continue pumping radioactive water into the ocean from months to come. Meanwhile, workers used powdered bath salts to turn the water a milky color, to trace the exact location of the worst of the leak, reports Reuters. Early reports today indicate the efforts are not working, reports the New York Times. Some seven tons an hour of radioactive water are escaping from the pit where the 6-foot crack was discovered Saturday. The pit is next to the seawater intake valves of the No. 2 reactor at Fukushima.

If efforts to plug the leak continue to fail, officials said they would try to hang some sort of curtain in the ocean, to prevent the radioactive water from spreading. The radioactive water "will have a huge impact on the ocean," warned the government's chief cabinet secretary, and officials fear the problem could continue for "several" months. "We need to stop the spread into the ocean as soon as possible. With that strong determination, we are asking Tokyo Electric Power Co to act quickly," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference.

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