More bad news from Fukushima

B. McPherson
Basically, Japan has this radioactive mess and doesn't know how to clean it up.

The nuclear power station at Fukushima Daiichi disaster has faded from the front pages, elbowed aside by new disasters, wars and disease but it is still festering on the coast of Japan.

The nuclear power station was devastated three years ago when a one-two punch of earthquake and tsunami hit it. The privately owned electrical company Tokyo Electric Power Company has been pilloried ever since for their failure to fully disclose the extent of the danger to the workers in the plant and to those in the surrounding areas.

A judicial panel has requested that an indictment proceed against three former executives of TEPCO – chairman and two vice-presidents – for their failure to act to mitigate the damages resulting from the radioactive releases.

The cleanup of the radioactive site has been a litany of worker exposures, shoddy work, repeated releases of radiation and rumours that organized crime syndicates are profiting from the disaster. Today we are given the news that after three years, TEPCO spokespersons are saying that the meltdown in reactor 3 is worse than previously thought.

Quoting from the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbum:

“As the core meltdown is now believed to have started earlier than was previously thought, the amount of melted nuclear fuel that passed into the containment vessel through the pressure vessel is considered to have been greater, making it technically more difficult to extract the melted fuel and dispose of it,” the newspaper stated. RT

Today, August 7, TEPCO has announced that it will start to pump water that has been contaminated by radiation into the Pacific Ocean. They propose that they will remove most of the radioactive material before releasing it.

Many will wonder how effective their removal programme will be. Earlier the company announced that it would install an ice barrier to prevent ground water from reaching the ocean. Now they are announcing that they will install an iron barrier to do that job. With the clean up of the ruined plant expected to take many years, I wonder how long it will be before the contaminated water manages to eat through the iron.

The Japanese government in conjunction with TEPCO has tried to assure the Japanese people that radiation is not so bad and that the worst effects are from fear of radiation itself. That may be, but when research shows abnormalities in the blood of the iconic macaque monkeys(the ones that bathe in the hot springs) and new evidence shows agricultural land contaminated over a wider area than previously disclosed, trust becomes a rare commodity.


Japan Times              

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