You Won't BELIEVE What's Going On At Fukushima Right Now.The Wall Street Journal notes that radiation levels outside the plant are likely higher than inside the reactor:
NRA [Nuclear Regulation Authority] officials said highly contaminated water may be leaking into the soil from a number of trenches, allowing the water to seep into the site’s groundwater and eventually into the ocean.How could it be more radioactive outside the nuclear reactors? The reactors have lost containment, and experts have no idea where the nuclear cores are.
Both radioactive substances are considered harmful to health. An NRA official said Monday that the very high levels were likely to be even higher than those within the reactor units themselves.
It was by far the highest concentration of radioactivity detected since soon after Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami ….
And the problems which have been detected at ground-level are only the tip of the iceberg. Japan Timespoints out:
Cesium levels in water under Fukushima No. 1 plant soar the deeper it gets, Tepco revealsYomiuri reports that highly-radioactive groundwater could start coming to the surface at the Fukushima plant:
Tepco found 950 million becquerels of cesium and 520 million becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances, including strontium, in the water from 13 meters [~43 feet] underground.
Water from 1 meter down contained 340 million becquerels, and a sample from 7 meters down contained 350 million becquerels.
Cesium, a metallic element, is subject to gravity.
TEPCO spokesman Noriyuki Imaizumi revealed the water level of the tainted groundwater in a test well located on the sea side of the No. 2 reactor has risen rapidly.Even Tepco admits that the groundwater problems are due to a lack of planning. NHK points out:
“If the water level continues to rise, it could reach the ground surface,” Imaizumi, an acting general manager of the company’s nuclear power-related division, said at a press conference Monday.
According to the company, the water level has risen about 70 centimeters over the past 20 days.
To prevent contaminated groundwater from leaking into the sea, TEPCO is working to reinforce the ground foundation of seawalls. The rising water level in the test well means the measures to prevent leakage have been working.
However, the company apparently failed to give much thought to the fact that the groundwater would have nowhere else to go ….
[Tepco] learnt on Wednesday that its efforts to prevent radiation-tainted groundwater from seeping into the sea are failing.In addition, a top expert says that radioactive water could be flowing beneath the seafloor … and could well up outside of the port “containment” zone:
TEPCO has been trying to solidify the embankment of the crippled power plant.
TEPCO says water levels in one of the contaminated wells have risen by about 1 meter since the work began in early July.
It says this is likely the result of its work to solidify the ground [to a depth of 16 meters], using chemicals.
The company says soil up to 2 meters below the ground cannot be hardened, and water may be seeping out.
Atsunao Marui, head of the Groundwater Research Group at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, said, “Groundwater also flows beneath the seafloor, so it’s possible that contaminated groundwater could spring up outside the port.”Reuters notes that the bolts in Fukushima’s tanks will corrode in just a few years, and a plant workers reveal — “Tepco says it doesn’t know how long tanks will hold”:
Marui added that water outside the port also needs to be carefully checked.
Experts say Tepco is attempting the most ambitious nuclear clean-up in history, even greater than the Chernobyl disaster ….Asahi writes:
Radioactive water that cools the reactors …]mixes with some 400 tonnes of fresh groundwater pouring into the plant daily.
Workers have built more than 1,000 tanks ….
With more than 85 percent of the 380,000 tonnes of storage capacity filled, Tepco has said it could run out of space.
The tanks are built from parts of disassembled old containers brought from defunct factories and put together with new parts, workers from the plant told Reuters. They say steel bolts in the tanks will corrode in a few years.
Tepco says it does not know how long the tanks will hold.
[Tepco's] appallingly shoddy handling of radioactive water that is leaking from the crippled plant into the sea.Yomiuri argues that the government agency overseeing Fukushima has no idea what’s going on:
At the No. 3 reactor, highly radioactive “mystery steam” has been spotted.
The fact that radioactive substances are still being released into the ground, the sea and the air is irrefutable proof that the nuclear disaster of March 2011 is not over. The responsible parties must take this situation gravely ….
The utility’s glaring ineptitude with crisis management was noted right from the start of the Fukushima disaster.
We have zero faith in the utility’s reliability as an operator of any nuclear power plant.In fact, allowing the company to handle nuclear energy is simply out of the question.
The entire company now needs to be focused on preventing radioactive substances from escaping into the environment.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority, which oversees safety management at the nuclear plant, decided to set up a working team to analyze conditions concerning contamination.As Enformable points out, top Japanese officials are finally calling for Tepco to be fired:
But the NRA’s actions have also been badly delayed. At a meeting Monday, an expert said the NRA “still can’t grasp the risks posed by the current situation.”
In case one hasn’t paid attention the constant stream of international experts who have called for TEPCO to be removed as the organization in charge of decommissioning the crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has also called for Tokyo Electric to be removed. “It is simply too big for one company to handle,” said Tanaka, at a press conference Wednesday. “Placing all the burden (of controlling the site) on them won’t solve the problem.”(Background.)
Remember, an official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster, caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design. And yet the Japanese government has allowed the culprit – Tepco – to oversee the “cleanup”, in the same way that the U.S. government allowed BP to oversee the “cleanup” of the Gulf oil spill even though BP’s criminal negligence caused the spill in the first place.
ABC Australia reports:
It’s taken about two-and-a-half years, but it seems the Japanese government is finally losing patience with the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The reason: its haphazard approach to stabilising the complex. Last week it was unexplained steam rising from the shattered remains of the building housing the melted reactor number three. This week it’s TEPCO’s admission that radioactive water from the plant has probably been leaking into the Pacific for the last three months.Indeed, Asahi notes:
The operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant sat on its hands for more than two years despite having pledged to seal a leaking hole in a turbine building ….NHK writes:
[Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide] Suga told reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the government views this as a grave matter.Tepco’s own advisors are also blasting the operator of the stricken nuclear plant. AFP points out:
Foreign nuclear experts on Friday blasted the operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, with one saying its lack of transparency over toxic water leaks showed “you don’t know what you’re doing”… “appears that you are not keeping the people of Japan informed. These actions indicate that you don’t know what you are doing … you do not have a plan and that you are not doing all you can to protect the environment and the people.” [said Dale Klein, Former NRC Chairman and Tepco advisory committee member]Nuclear expert – and former high-level nuclear industry executive – Arnie Gundersen says that Fukushima has“contaminated the biggest body of water on the planet”, and that the whole Pacific Ocean likely to have cesium levels 5-10 times higher than at peak of nuclear bomb tests.
How could this happen? Doesn’t the ocean dilute radiation to the point it is rendered harmless? No, actually:
Fukushima … seems to lurch from one problem to the next ….The chairman of the NRA also says (via the New York Times):
When the situation is so bad that Shunichi Tanaka, the NRA chairman, is stating in a press conference, with regard to water leaks, that “if you have any better ideas, we’d like to know,” it should be clear that Fukushima No. 1 still requires the upmost attention.
Considering the state of the plant, it’s difficult to find a solution today or tomorrow… That’s probably not satisfactory to many of you. But that’s the reality we face after an accident like this… We don’t truly know whether that will work….Indeed, technology doesn’t currently even exist to stabilize and clean up Fukushima, and Tepco – with no financial incentive to actually fix things – has only been pretending to clean it up. And see this. - Zero Hedge.
State Of Emergency At Fukushima, Radioactive Water Likely Breached Barrier.Radioactive groundwater at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has likely risen above an underground barrier meant to contain it, presenting an "emergency" that the plant's operator is not sufficiently addressing, a regulatory watchdog official said on Monday.
This contaminated groundwater is likely seeping into the sea, exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, and a workaround planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co will only forestall the growing problem temporarily, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority task force, told Reuters.
"Right now we have a state of emergency," Kinjo said, saying there is a "rather high possibility" that the radioactive wastewater has breached the barrier and is rising towards the ground's surface, Kinjo said.
A Tepco official said the utility was taking various measures to prevent contaminated water from leaking into the bay near the plant.
It was not immediately clear how much of a threat the possible increase in contaminated groundwater could cause. In the weeks following the 2011 disaster that destroyed the plant, the Japanese government allowed Tepco to dump tens of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water into the nearby Pacific Ocean in an emergency move.
The toxic water release was heavily criticised by neighbouring countries as well as local fishermen and the utility has since promised it would not dump irradiated water without the consent of local townships. -Reuters.
Huge Leak Of Tritium Feared, As Toxic Water Entering Sea For Years Tainting Ocean Life.Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday that an estimated 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of tritium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have flowed into the Pacific Ocean since May 2011.
The utility reported the estimate Friday to the Nuclear Regulation Authority after recently admitting that toxic water from the emergency cooling system set up after the nuclear crisis began on March 11, 2011, is leaking into the sea.
Nevertheless, Tepco said the size of the release is roughly in the allowed range of 22 trillion becquerels a year but acknowledged it didn’t take place in a controlled manner. Tritium has a half-life of about 12 years.
Since it doesn’t know when the leak began, the utility has assumed the beginning was in May 2011, after it attempted to stop the toxic water from entering the ocean when it was discovered in April 2011.
The constant injection of water that is needed to keep the damaged reactors cool after the core meltdowns of March 2011 are generating a new radiation crisis at the plant that officials appear unable to solve without tainting the ocean and marine life. - Japan Times.