TEPCO, the plant's operator, set up the silt fences in the harbor surrounding the plant to prevent sediment from spilling into the sea. The defective fence, it says, surrounds reactors that were not damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. And the plant's storage tanks -- which have also been doing a less-than-stellar job of containing its contaminated water -- aren't kept near that particular barrier. According to a TEPCO spokesman, the levels of radiation in the affected seawater are "very low."
Still, this new development isn't likely to do much to assuage fears that TEPCO is incapable of dealing with Fukushima's fallout. Visiting the plant last week, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the company that it needed to prioritize the containment of leaks over all else.