The situation at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant remains grim: Workers tried unsuccessfully on Sunday to plug a large crack in the plant’s pit that experts say is dumping a shocking seven tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean each hour. After an attempt to bury it in concrete failed, workers tried makeshift putty made of 120 pounds of sawdust, three garbage bags of shredded newspaper, and about nine pounds of a highly absorbent polymeric powder. The leaking water contains about 10,000 times the radioactive idione normally found in water at nuclear facilities, and represents the big downside of the efforts to cool the plant by flooding it with thousands of tons of seawater. The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns the plant, says it has no choice but to keep up the flooding, because the plant’s cooling system was destroyed by the earthquake that hit Japan last month.
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