Highly contaminated water at a reactor building in the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant must be moved to a waste disposal facility soon, Japan’s industrial minister said, according to a report on Sunday.

“We must move highly contaminated water at reactor number 2 and elsewhere to a radioactive waste processing facility as soon as possible without leaking it into the sea,” Banri Kaieda told reporters after his first visit to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Saturday. “The plant chief said it must be given the priority right now and I agree with him.” On Sunday, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which runs the plant, was to complete the release into the Pacific Ocean of relatively low-level radioactive water from the disposal facility at the plant, which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The measure was to free up space for the even more contaminated water that had been leaking into the sea. The massive amount of such contaminated water at the site had hampered work to stabilize the stricken plant.

The plant’s power was knocked down by the March disaster and its cooling functions failed, leading to fires, blasts and radiation leaks.

TEPCO started on Monday to dump relatively low-level radioactive water, with a density as high as 1,000 times the legal limit, into the Pacific Ocean. The amount of the release is expected to a total of 10,000 tons, compared with the initial plan of 11,500 tons, Jiji Press reported.

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