By Caroline Kennedy The radioactive waste from the nuclear plant in Japan has been stored in a steel packing boxes for at least 30 years.
The boxes were meant to hold radioactive waste for 30 years but were replaced in 2012 with a box containing the waste.
Now, scientists are calling for more scrutiny and more transparency over the box’s design and maintenance.
The box is made of steel and is intended to withstand the pressures of a reactor’s reactor core.
But the box has failed to last.
A recent inspection revealed that parts of the box were leaking and had been corroded by seawater, raising questions about the box and whether the safety of the containers is being kept at the forefront of the Fukushima disaster.
In addition to the leak, the leak of a wire that attaches the box to the reactor core was also discovered.
The radiation levels inside the box are now in the area where a leak has occurred, said Dr. Yoshiro Tanaka, an environmental toxicologist and lead author of the report on the leak.
The study was published in the Journal of the Nuclear Medicine Association.
“The nuclear power plant that we are in, which is under construction and has a 50-year lifetime of operation, is storing an extremely high level of radioactive material in its containers,” Tanaka said.
“So it is important that the safety issues are understood.”
Tanaka, who is a professor at the Tokyo University of Technology, said the leaks could cause more problems.
“It is very important that we understand exactly what happened, and the reason for the leaks,” he said.
Tanaka and his colleagues examined two boxes in which the waste was stored in 2012 and 2012-2013.
One of the boxes was a box made of stainless steel that was designed to withstand a reactor core explosion.
The other box was made of polyethylene that was meant to withstand radiation, but that didn’t work as well.
“We are still awaiting the results of the inspection in 2014,” Tanaka told Al Jazeera.
“When we have the results, we will be able to confirm if we have any leaks or if there are any other problems.”
The leak in the 2012-13 box occurred in the lower part of the top of the container, where the radiation levels were highest, and was not detected until the box was inspected a year later, the researchers said.
The two boxes that were tested had different types of corrosion and different levels of corrosion, Tanaka said, so the risk of any future leaks was low.
“There is a risk of contamination of the contents of the other box,” he added.
The researchers found that the box had an average of 1,000 leaks per year, but the number could be as high as 4,000.
“Even though the radiation level inside the other one is not as high, it still poses a danger to the workers inside,” said Tanaka.
In 2013, the boxes were replaced with one that was not leak-proof.
The new box had a higher radiation level than the older box and also had higher levels of radioactivity, but no radiation leaks, according to the researchers.
The number of leaks was higher than previous years, and more leaks were detected than ever before.
Tanaka said the new box could potentially be an issue in the future because of the amount of waste that is in the old box.
“I do not know if the risk is going to be the same with the newer one,” he told Al Jazeeras.
“But the risk will be there.”
Tanaka said that it was unclear how the new one would perform in the event of a meltdown of the nuclear power plants at Fukushima.
The experts said the Fukushima crisis has been one of the worst disasters in the history of Japan.
“In terms of the safety, the risk, it is very low,” Tanaka added.
“Our study is not conclusive that it is safe.
But it does indicate that the risk from a nuclear accident is very high.”
Tanaka’s study was part of a larger effort by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to investigate leaks of radioactive materials from the Fukushima power plants.
The report was prepared by researchers from the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the National Institute of Nuclear Energy.
The Fukushima disaster has exposed serious flaws in Japan’s nuclear industry and has led to a new generation of safety rules for nuclear power stations.
Tanaka’s report said that the most recent inspection showed that the problem was not confined to one of three locations where leaks were observed, but also a site near a nearby facility and a site with the same amount of radioactive waste.
The team was not able to determine which of the leaks was causing the problems.
In the report, the authors say that the risks to the health of workers were minimal, and that the new system was safe.
The government has said that all of the plants in Japan are operating safely and that it will consider whether to restart the reactors as soon as possible.