Japan's government has agreed to spend nearly half a billion dollars to contain a radioactive leak at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, in an attempt to avert what industry watchers have described as a looming nuclear crisis.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday a total of 47 billion yen ($473 million) will be set aside, including 21 billion yen in emergency reserve funds from this year's budget.
(Read more: Fukushima nuclear leak 'can get a lot worse')
He said the money will be used to build a wall of ice by freezing the earth around tanks at the plant, which are reported to be leaking contaminated water, and to improve treatment systems meant to drastically reduce radiation levels in the water.
The measures come as frustration builds over the inability of operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to resolve the crisis. The Fukushima plant was crippled by the devastating tsunami more than two years ago, and TEPCO said over the weekend that radiation near a tank holding the toxic water has spiked 18-fold.