By Harvey Wasserman,scoop.co.nz – ,
Just when it seemed things might be under control at Fukushima, we find they are worse than ever.
Massive quantities of radioactive liquids are now flowing through the shattered reactor site into the Pacific Ocean. And their make-up is far more lethal than the “mere” tritium that has dominated the headlines to date.
Tepco, the owner/operator–and one of the world’s biggest and most technologically advanced electric utilities–has all but admitted it cannot control the situation. Its shoddy performance has prompted former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Dale Klein to charge: “You don’t what you are doing.”
The Japanese government is stepping in. But there is no guarantee–or even likelihood–it will do any better.
In fact, there is no certainty as to what’s causing this out-of-control flow of death and destruction.
Some 28 months after three of the six reactors exploded at the Fukushima Daichi site, nobody can offer a definitive explanation of what is happening there or how to deal with it.
The most cogent speculation now centers on the reality that, simply enough, water flows downhill.
Aside from its location in an earthquake-prone tsunami zone, Fukushima Daichi was sited above a major aquifer. That critical reality has been missing from nearly all discussion of the accident since it occurred.
There can be little doubt at this point that the water in that underground lake has been thoroughly contaminated.
In the wake of the March 11, 2011, disaster, Tepco led the public to believe that it had largely contained the flow of contaminated water into the Pacific. But now it admits that not only was that a lie, but that the quantities of water involved–apparently some 400,000 gallons per day–are very large.
Some of that water may be flowing from the aquifer. Much of it also, simply enough, flows down Japan’s steep hillsides, through the site and into the sea.
Until now, the utility and regulatory authorities have assured an anxious planet that the contaminants in the water have been primarily tritium. Tritium is a relatively simple isotope with an 8-day half-life. Its health effects can be substantial, but its short half-life has been used to proliferate the illusion that it’s not much to worry about.
Reports now indicate the outflow at Fukushima also includes substantial quantities of radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium. That, in turn, indicates there is probably more we haven’t yet heard about.
This is very bad news. More…
Radioactive water overruns Fukushima barrier – TEPCO
RT News – Contaminated groundwater accumulating under the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has risen 60cm above the protective barrier, and is now freely leaking into the Pacific Ocean, the plant’s operator TEPCO has admitted.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which is responsible for decommissioning the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, on Saturday said the protective barriers that were installed to prevent the flow of toxic water into the ocean are no longer coping with the groundwater levels, Itar-Tass reports.
The contaminated groundwater, which mixes with radioactive leaks seeping out of the plant, has already risen to 60cm above the barriers – the fact which TEPCO calls a major cause of the massive daily leak of toxic substances. More…
Fukushima Nuclear Plant Leaking 300 Tons Of Tainted Water Daily
NPR – The Japanese government has announced that radioactive groundwater is leaking from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. To try and stop it, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns the plant, has proposed building an underground wall of frozen earth around the reactors. The ice wall is supposed to keep groundwater from flowing in and radioactive water from leaking out, but nobody knows for sure whether it will work. Listen…
Tensions are rising in Japan over radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a breach that has defied the plant operator’s effort to gain control.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday called the matter “an urgent issue” and ordered the government to step in and help in the clean-up, following an admission by Tokyo Electric Power Company that water is seeping past an underground barrier it attempted to create in the soil. The head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority task force told Reuters the situation was an “emergency.” (See Pictures: The Nuclear Cleanup Struggle at Fukushima.”)