TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese government official said an estimated 300 tonnes of contaminated water is leaking into the ocean each day from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged on Wednesday to step up government efforts to stem radioactive water leakage.
Abe ordered the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry to urgently deal with the water situation and ensure the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, takes appropriate action to deal with the cleanup, which is expected to take more than 40 years and cost $11 billion.
The ministry official also said the utility would begin pumping out groundwater to reduce leakage and had aimed to be removing 300 tonnes per day by December, but would end up 60 tonnes short of that goal. Removing 300 tonnes of groundwater, however, would not necessarily halt leakage into the sea, he said.
(Corrects last paragraph to show 60 tonnes is shortfall in groundwater pumping goal, not expected leak volume.)
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and Kentaro Hamada; Editing by Edmund Klamann)