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Japan announces emergency funds to stem nuclear leak

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Japan announces emergency funds to stem nuclear leak
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Tokyo: Japan said on Tuesday that it would spend over ¥47 billion ($470 million) in an effort to reduce the amount of radioactive water leaking from the site of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, Kyodo News Agency reported.

¥20 billion will come from reserve funds under the fiscal 2013 budget, Kyodo quoted a government spokesman as saying.

The funds may go towards a plan the government is considering to build a 1.4-kilometre underground water barrier, by freezing the ground around reactors 1-4 on the site, the report said. The barrier would be designed to stop around 400 tonnes of groundwater entering the site each day and becoming contaminated.

The severity of the crisis at Fukushima was raised last week after plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said about 300 tonnes of radioactive water that had been used to cool the plant’s damaged reactors leaked from a storage tank.

The incident level was raised from one to three, the most serious since the start of the nuclear disaster.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Tepco cannot deal alone with the crisis at Fukushima, which began when the plant was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

There are growing concerns that a failure to deal with the damaged plant could affect Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Kyodo reported. The venue for the Olympics is due to be decided on September 7.

DPA

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