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April 5th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Radioactive leak at plant reduced, utility says

CNN Wire Staff

Tokyo (CNN) - An attempt to plug a leak of highly radioactive water from a Japanese nuclear reactor has shown a "significant difference," despite the material not setting as hoped, officials said late Tuesday.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said the injection of a silica-based polymer dubbed "liquid glass" had reduced the amount of highly radioactive water that was leaking into the ocean.

The utility's assessment comes after the country's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that the substance had not hardened as expected. The material had been pumped from below into the leaking shaft at the plant's No. 2 reactor.

Though water continued to pour into the ocean, photographs released by TEPCO showed a thinner, less powerful stream. The company says it has no estimate of the rate of the leak, however, so the amount of reduction was unclear.

It was a bit of good news amid a series of setbacks Japanese authorities faced Tuesday, with the detection of radiation in a fish and news that the water gushing into the Pacific had radiation levels more than millions of times above the regulatory limit.

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