Tainted Fukushima groundwater in danger of reaching surface after Typhoon Malakas

Vehicles drive through a flooded street as Typhoon Malakas moves across Tokushima, Japan, on Sept 20, 2016.
Vehicles drive through a flooded street as Typhoon Malakas moves across Tokushima, Japan, on Sept 20, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - Heavy rain brought by Typhoon Malakas has caused contaminated groundwater at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to rise almost to ground level, raising fears of tainted water flooding out to the plant's port area, a report said, citing the radiation-hit plant's operator.

Workers at the plant were trying to pump up tainted groundwater at the Fukushima compound, while trying to measure the level of radioactive substances contained in the water, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc said in a press release quoted by the Japan Times on Wednesday (Sep 21).

Typhoon Malakas was downgraded to an extratropical depression at around 9pm on Tuesday as it moved along the coast of the Tokai region and swayed towards the Pacific, the report said.

It was the latest in a series of typhoons to hit Japan this season, causing serious damage to several regions from south to north. The previous typhoon, Lionrock, killed at least 17 people earlier this month.

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was battered by a massive 2011 earthquake-generated tsunami and is currently being decommissioned.

Groundwater taken from wells around the damaged reactor buildings at the plant is usually filtered and stored in numerous tanks built on the compound.