Fukushima a Long Way From Clean Up

B. McPherson
This is not the latest release of tonnes of radioactive water, nor will it be the last.
The Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan continues to bleed radiation into the Pacific Ocean. In spite of assurances from the top politicians and TEPCO executives, the situation at the wrecked electrical plant is still not under control. Mistakes and coverups continue to shake the public’s faith in their proclamations.
President Abe, in the frenzy to obtain rights to the 2020 Olympic extravaganza assured the selection committee that the situation in Fukushima was under control.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touched on the Fukushima problem in Tokyo’s final presentation and said the government would never put Tokyo in harm’s way, saying, “The situation is under control. Tokyo 2020 will offer guaranteed delivery.” The Japan Times

The short reply to that is, it is not. Now the people tasked with the multi-year clean-up are admitting it publicly. The manager of the project, Akiro Ono expressed to the press his embarrassment at still not having full control of the nuclear site. The vexing water leakage problems are still ongoing. Huge quantities of water are pumped over the radioactive piles to prevent a catastrophic critical reaction. The radioactive water resulting has to be stored. Shoddy workmanship and careless maintenance have resulted in massive amounts of radioactive water being spilled into the ocean and groundwater.

A scheme to freeze the ground between the plant and the ocean to prevent ground water from finding its way to sea level has been proposed. The electricity required to keep the ice barrier intact is daunting.

It has been over three years since the TEPCO owned electrical facility was wrecked by a combination of earthquake and tsunami. Many clean-up workers have reached their maximum radiation exposure and must leave the site. Increasingly recruiters are combing the disadvantaged to work on the site. Many have little to no experience.

Mistakes are made with big consequences. The latest reported one is that workers mistakenly flooded basement areas of the reactor with 20 tons of radioactive water.

It is estimated that if progress were steadily made, it would still take 30 to 40 years to finish the job. In spite of this, the Japanese government is going ahead with reopening its other nuclear stations, many of which are on the coastline and vulnerable to earthquake, tsunamis and ocean level increases.

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