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Japan plugs radioactive leak at Fukushima plant

Reuters

Workers at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant have stopped a leak that resulted in highly radioactive water being released into the ocean, it was reported on Wednesday. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said it had injected chemical agents to solidify soil near a pit where the contaminated water had been escaping into the Pacific.

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The pit, which has a 20-centimetre crack in its wall, is linked to the plant's No 2 reactor, one of several that had their cooling systems disabled by an earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.

Several unsuccessful attempts had been made to try to stop the leak, including an effort to seal the crack with cement.

Despite Wednesday’s success, Tepco said it was concerned that a build-up of hydrogen gas at a different reactor could cause another explosion.

Tepco shares fell by 6.9 per cent on Wednesday, closing at a record low of 337 yen (2.8 euros).

The company, whose shares have lost around 85 per cent of their pre-earthquake value, said it may need state help to meet compensation claims that some analysts say could reach 10 trillion yen (82 billion euros).

Meanwhile, in the wake of the earthquake, Honda will temporarily halve car output at its British plant from next week due to a shortage of parts from Japan.

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