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News & Politics News & Politics

WHY? HOW? Is this NOT making U.S. national news???

Posted by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 2:05 AM
  • 24 Replies

 Japan's radioactive water leaks: How dangerous?

New revelations of contaminated water leaking from storage tanks at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant have raised alarm, coming just weeks after Japanese officials acknowledged that radioactive water has been seeping into the Pacific from the plant for more than two years. The government announced this week that it would contribute 47 billion yen ($470 million) to build an underground "ice wall" around the reactor and turbine buildings and develop an advanced water treatment system. A look at the problem, and the potential risks to fish and the humans who eat them.

By MARI YAMAGUCHI

Associated Press

TOKYO -

New revelations of contaminated water leaking from storage tanks at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant have raised alarm, coming just weeks after Japanese officials acknowledged that radioactive water has been seeping into the Pacific from the plant for more than two years. The government announced this week that it would contribute 47 billion yen ($470 million) to build an underground "ice wall" around the reactor and turbine buildings and develop an advanced water treatment system. A look at the problem, and the potential risks to fish and the humans who eat them.

Q: How much radiation-contaminated water is leaking into the sea?

A: Experts estimate at least 300 tons every day. And that's just from one of two major sources: groundwater that flows through contaminated maintenance tunnels and pits on site. Water with even higher levels of radiation is believed to be escaping through cracks in the basements of the damaged nuclear reactors and their turbines and slowly making its way through the ground to the sea. Exactly how much is unknown. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, even says there is no clear evidence of any leaks, though it acknowledges that possibility.

Q: That sounds like a lot of water, but the ocean is big. How dangerous is it?

A: The main health concern is the impact on fish near the nuclear plant. Scientists have long believed that contaminated water was reaching the ocean, based in part on continuing high levels of radioactive cesium found in fish living at the bottom of the sea. A rise in strontium-90 and tritium levels in the past few months needs to be watched, said Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Strontium in particular accumulates in fish bones and remains longer than cesium in fish and the humans that eat them. The fisheries off Fukushima are currently closed.

Q: Why is there so much radioactive water?

A: The 300 tons per day is simply part of the underground water that runs down from surrounding mountains and through the nuclear complex on its way to the sea. In addition, nearly 400 tons of cooling water is pumped into the plant every day to keep the remaining fuel from overheating, and that water eventually spills into the basement. Another 400 tons of groundwater seeps into the basement through cracks, and mixes with the contaminated water. Water is constantly pumped out of the basements, but some of it escapes through other cracks. Half of the pumped-out water is re-used to cool the fuel, and the rest is stored in tanks.

Q: What about the leaks in the tanks?

A: So far, that's a smaller problem, but there are fears it could become more widespread. The largest leak to date was 300 tons, and all the water in the tanks has been treated to remove cesium, one of most dangerous of the radioactive elements. The plant has more than 1,000 tanks holding 335,000 tons of contaminated water, and TEPCO plans to increase capacity up to 800,000 tons over the next three years.

Q: Is this problem ever going to end?

A: Ice walls aside, the most realistic solution is to purify water to safe levels and release it into the sea. A water treatment unit intended to do that failed during a test run and is being repaired. The government is planning to fund the development of a more advanced unit over the next two years. There is no technology to remove tritium, however, so that could become a risk if levels continue to rise.

by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 2:05 AM
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Replies (1-10):
143myboys9496
by Gold Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 2:14 AM
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 Japan has applied to host the 2020 Olympic games. After a nuclear meltdown? And leaking radiation into the Pacific Ocean? Effectively polluting the U.S.'s western seaboard?

Let's see...Chernobyl..1986..still NOT inhabited.

And Japan will be clean and inhabitable in 7 years for the Olympics?

There were only 2 nuclear disasters classified as level 7..

Take a guess on which 2....

4kidz916
by Gold Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 7:40 AM
1 mom liked this

I did see a small report on this on NBC news I think.  They kind of down played it saying that it would be greatly diluted by the time it reached the US.  But I'm thinking even greatly diluted it doesn't sound safe. 

JanuaryBaby06
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:44 AM

i have read about this in the paper...scary!

-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:53 AM
1 mom liked this

I've been keeping up with this on the internet. Scary.

-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:58 AM
1 mom liked this

The chief of Japan’s nuclear watchdog chided the operator of the Fukushima plant Thursday for its inability properly to explain problems, which he said was inflating fears around the world.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said information given by Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) on the level of radioactive contamination was “scientifically unacceptable”.

He also lashed out at media coverage of a series of water leaks, saying reports were giving a misleading impression of the seriousness of the situation at the stricken plant.


Fukushima has leapt into the international spotlight as a series of setbacks have coincided with the final stages of Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, where it faces off against Istanbul and Madrid this weekend.

Tanaka’s comments come after TEPCO announced it had detected a hotspot with a reading of 2,200 millisieverts per hour.

“What TEPCO is talking about is the level of contamination,” said Tanaka. “Describing it with the unit ‘millisieverts per hour’ is scientifically unacceptable.

“It’s like describing how much something weighs by using centimetres,” he said, adding the unit “becquerel” was more appropriate.

TEPCO has confirmed that a reading of 2,200 millisieverts per hour would be enough to kill a person in a matter of hours.

But experts point out that this reading is taken very close to the source of the radiation. It drops dramatically — to 40 millisieverts per hour — just 50 centimetres (20 inches) away.


And the kind of radiation being emitted is very low energy, which means it is not able to penetrate the body easily.

That means while the dose could be fatal to a naked person immersed in the toxic liquid, it would do little to a worker wearing even rudimentary protection at a normal distance.

Tanaka said the media covering Fukushima needed to pay attention to the impact of what they reported.

“You should avoid the situation that Japan gets criticism from abroad because of misleading information,” he told reporters.

He said fears of an environmental catastrophe from leaks of radioactive water were overblown.

“From what we can see from existing data… so far there is no meaningful effect” on the Pacific.

Thousands of tonnes of radioactive water are being stored in temporary tanks at Fukushima, 220 kilometres (135 miles) north of the Japanese capital. Much of it was used to cool molten reactors wrecked by the tsunami of March 2011.

The discovery of leaks from some of these tanks or from pipes feeding them, as well as radiation hotspots on the ground even where no water is evident, has created a growing sense of crisis in the public mind.

Independent scientists generally agree with Tanaka on the importance of distinguishing between the level of contamination in radioactive hot spots and their impact on the surrounding environment.

“The radiation leaks at the Fukushima site are very worrying… but so far the releases to the Pacific Ocean have been much smaller than those seen during the accident,” said Jim Smith, Professor of Environmental Science at Britain’s University of Portsmouth.

“I think significant damage to marine life is unlikely, except perhaps in a very localised area around the plant,” he said.

Paddy Regan, Professor of Nuclear Physics at the University of Surrey, said the toxic water contains “beta” radiation that is weaker than “gamma” radiation.

“Workers can get close to the source of beta radiation without a significant radiological hazard,” Regan said.

Tanaka said TEPCO did not have the expertise in radiation monitoring that they needed for the current situation, and admitted that as specialists, his watchdog would have to help.

“Perhaps we have to take them by the hand and teach them step-by-step,” he said.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/05/japan-nuclear-agency-says-fukushima-water-leak-risk-exaggerated/

LIMom1105
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:58 AM
I don't understand why we don't hear more about this either. It's very scary!
Cafe Steph
by Head Admin on Sep. 5, 2013 at 9:05 AM
1 mom liked this

I saw it on the local news, national news, and even on GMA. They hope the ice wall will help stop the leaking, but I wonder if the ice wall would hold up to future quakes and/or tsunamis?

Ednarooni160
by Eds on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:41 PM

It boggles my mind that a country with HOW many faults would build HOW many reactors on those faults?  And for the world environmentalist groupies out there..(and yes..I am concerned on many levels)...why didn't they say something before it was built.  Even I said to hubby.."why would anyone build that on or by one fault let alone 2 or 3 .  And Idaho did a similar thing dealing with nuclear things... Sometimes you have to wonder if one supposedly "good" idea could create a "thousand" bad things..and it doesn't take a nuclear physicist to know that faults can cause damage.

Clairwil
by Gold Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 4:44 PM
Quoting Ednarooni160:

It boggles my mind that a country with HOW many faults would build HOW many reactors on those faults?

Nuclear power plants in California


link

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