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FUKUSHIMA HAS AN EMERGENCY WITH TOXIC WASTE- WATER SEEPING INTO SEA

7 Aug 2013

In Tokyo, Shinji Kinjo, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) (SUPPOSED NUCLEAR WATCH-DOG) said to Reuters on Monday 5 Aug 2013, that highly radioactive water continues seeping into the Pacific Ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and creating an “emergency” that Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is struggling to contain.  Mr. Kinjo said: “This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface, and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, countermeasures planned by TEPCO are only a temporary solution”. He he added with an obvious sense of preoccupation that:   “TEPCO’s sense of crisis is weak …This is why you (SAY WHO ?) can’t just leave it up to TEPCO alone to grapple with the ongoing disaster…Right now, we have an emergency ! YES!- A CONTINUING NUCLEAR EMERGENCY WITH GLOBAL CONSEQUENCES, AND THE Japanese government does not give a SH-T!  SHAME ON THEM! 

BOTH, TEPCO, AND THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT HAVE ACTED IRRESPONSIBLY, ON THIS TRAGEDY SINCE ITS BEGINNING.  TEPCO has been globally condemned for its failure to harden their NPP’s against  the massive Mar. 2011 tsunami and earthquake that devastated its Dai No. 1 NPP in Fukushima; additionally , lambasted for its untimely/inept response to the reactor meltdowns, and worse: for covering –up the extent of the tragedy, and its ramifications.  Every repair, plan, and other actions taken to date has seemed like an effort to “look good”, rather than a long-range well planned effort to prevent the continuing large dumping of highly radioactive contaminated waste water into the sea.  Following the meltdowns, the Japanese government allowed TEPCO to dump tens of thousands of metric tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean in an emergency move.  It was not immediately clear how much more of a threat the contaminated groundwater could pose.  PROBLEM IS: the toxic water dumping is huge, and THE EMERGENCY CONTINUES WITH NO END IN SIGHT.

THE WORLD, AND JAPAN’S FISHERY INDUSTRY CONDEMN, THE TOXIC WATER  RELEASE; specially after TEPCO has often promised it would not dump radioactive water without the consent of local townships.  Mitsuo Uematsu at the University of Tokyo, said:”Until we know the exact density and volume of the water that’s flowing out, I honestly can’t speculate on the impact on the sea. We should also check what the levels are like in the sea water (YES, BUT WHO IS “WE”);  If  it’s only inside the port, and it’s not flowing out into the sea, it may not spread as widely as some fear.” TEPCO told Reuters, it is taking various measures to prevent contaminated water from leaking into the bay near the plant.  A company spokesman said TEPCO deeply apologized to residents in Fukushima prefecture, the surrounding region, and the public at large, for causing inconveniences, worries and trouble.

THE PROBLEM  IS, WATER GOES WHERE IT WANTS TO GO.  TEPCO pumps out some 400 metric tons a day of groundwater flowing from the hills above the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the basements of the destroyed buildings, which mixes with highly irradiated water that is used to cool the reactors to a stable condition below its boiling point (100 degrees Celsius).  Water just goes under, over, or around any obstacles in its path to lower ground. TEPCO is trying to prevent groundwater from reaching the plant by building a “bypass”, but recent spikes of radioactive elements in sea water has prompted TEPCO to finally admit that toxic water is reaching the sea.  In a typical half-measure way to prevent further leaks into the bay, and the Pacific Ocean, plant workers created an underground  barrier by injecting chemicals to harden the ground along the shoreline of the No.1 reactor building; however, that barrier is only effective to a depth of approximately two (2) meters below the surface.  By breaching the barrier, the water can seep through the shallow areas of earth, and into the nearby sea.  A break in the ground hardened barrier would accelerate the outflow, similarly to a break in a dam.  Masashi Goto, a retired Toshiba Corp nuclear engineer who worked on several TEPCO plants, said: “If you build a wall, of course the water is going to accumulate there. And there is no other way for the water to go but up or sideways and eventually lead to the ocean (COMMON SENSE TELLS US SO)…So now, the question is how long do we have?” It has been estimated that contaminated water could rise to the ground’s surface within three (3) weeks, TEPCO official said on 5 Aug 2013 the company plans to start pumping out a further 100 metric tons of groundwater a day by the end of the week.  Mr. Kinjo of the The NRA concluded the obvious: …new measures are needed to stop the water from flowing into the sea that way,” The NRC task force overseeing the measures at the Fukushima Dai No.1, NPP met on 2 Aug 2013, concluded that a cumulative 20 to 40 trillion  becquerels of radioactive tritium had probably leaked into the sea since the tragic triple meltdown 12 Mar 2011.  TEPCO said this was within legal limits. Tritium is far less harmful than cesium and strontium, which have also been released from the plant. TEPCO is scheduled to test strontium levels next (THIS HAS NOT BEEN DONE YET ? COME-ON !) the admission on the long-term tritium leaks, as well as renewed criticism from the NRA, show the decaying state of the now $11 billion cleanup, and TEPCO’s failure to date to fix a fundamental problem: How to prevent water, tainted with radioactive elements like cesium, from flowing into the Pacific ocean.

OUR VIEW AND COMMENTS

THE FUKUSHIMA Dai No.1  NPP TRIPLE – MELTDOWN TRAGEDY CONTINUES. Twenty eight months after the events of 12 Mar 2011, It continues to unfold like a Kabuki Play.  Its protagonists are different, but the plot is the same, while the faceless assistants in dark-clothing,  and musicians play-on.  There is very little that is a new development in today’s story from the posts referenced below, and dating back to soon after the events. Missing in the news now, are any further efforts at filtering the cooling water and re-circulating it to minimize the quantity of toxic water produced.  An ominous, but anticipated development, is the continuing downward movement of the molten uranium masses (or mess ?) which now has reached the water table thus enabling long-life transuranic elements to migrate to more distant parts of the Province, and no one knows where.  It is disheartening to see the apathy in high Central government circles.  It seems all they want to do is to “re-start” their 50 (or so) idled NPPs.

JAPANESE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT DUMB, OR GREEDY ?  It is difficult to gage whether Japan’s Central government officials are ignorant, or plain greedy; Perhaps both.  One thing is certain, about 80% of the Japanese people have vociferously expressed a distinct desire to abolish or shut down NPPs.  In another perplexing note, the Central government has allowed a French shipment of MOX (Mixed Oxide) nuclear spent fuel containing about 9% Plutonium shipped from France, apparently with the intension of using it in Japanese NPPs.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO TRANSURANIC WASTE-WATER IN THE FUKUSHIMA BAY ?.  It seems likely that since transuranic elements are very heavy, the toxic water will deposit them in the Fukushima bay.  There they will lie in wait for centuries(if necessary) for another tsunami to deposit them back on shore.  The victims of the 2011 tsunami recall the heavy stench of the bay water when the tsunami washed its bottom mud into the land well ahead of the main waves. On the mean time, all bottom feeding fish in Fukushima bay will certainly carry radioactivity up the food chain. Like it or not, such an event will be both stinky and highly radioactive, and is not a matter of “If”, but “when”.

IT IS STILL ALL ABOUT COOLING THE MELTED NPPs, AND THEIR SPENT-FUEL REPOSITORIES.  At least that is the way Mr. Shinji Kinjo, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) sees it:  as an “emergency”.  PROBLEM IS: the situation has continued to get worse by the day, and there remain at least 10 more years of “cooling it”.  What is needed is immediate governmental, and TEPCOs willingness to make permanent (not temporary) improvements in their cooling technology and geological/seismological studies to see where the radioactive plume is going now in land air and sea for the sake of its people, flora, and fauna.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

RELATED PAST ARTICLES – A FEW OTHERS ON THIS THEME EXIST – JUST SCROLL  BACK, AND CLICK AT BOTTOM LEFT OF EVERY PAGE.

http://energymaters.com/?page_id=16  18 Jun 2011 – PRODUCTION AND TREATMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WATER STILL MAJOR WORRY AT FUKUSHIMA

http://energymaters.com/?page_id=36  24 Jun 2011 – NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED AT FUKUSHIMA DAI NO. 1 – SITUATION STILL CRITICAL

http://energymaters.com/?page_id=61 -28 Jun 2011- VERY GRADUAL IMPROVEMENT ON THE CRITICAL FUKUSHIMA DAI NO.1 SITUATION

http://energymaters.com/?p=843 18 May 2012- JAPANESE NUCLEAR NEWS BLACKOUT CONTINUES TO HURT JAPAN’S IMAGE

http://energymaters.com/?p=876     16 Jun 2012 – IN JAPAN, THE POWER OF DEMOCRACY TO BE TESTED IN Oi NUKES RE-START

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August 7, 2013 at 1:03 AM
2 comments »
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