TEPCO Curiously Avoids Prosecution On Contaminated Water Leak

A court case that went after TEPCO for causing a major contaminated water leak, part of which leaked to the sea, was dismissed last week. Prosecutors claimed there was no proof contaminated groundwater leaked to the Pacific.

The water that did immediately reach the sea did so through the existing drainage canal systems at the plant. After Japan’s NRA slapped an INES disaster rating on the leak, TEPCO then took steps to control and monitor the discharge of these canals. It was this tank leak to the sea that caused the NRA to finally make TEPCO address the drainage canal system and install control systems to prevent further leaks of contaminated water to the sea.  This 2013 illustration shows the drainage canal leak path that was widely reported at the time. These tank leaks were caused by faulty used bolt together tanks TEPCO installed soon after the initial disaster to deal with contaminated water. Those tanks were continually used even after that initial phase. Loose bolts and failing gaskets caused these tanks to leak.

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