Fukushima Water Leak Out of Control

August 11, 2013

Everything is going according to plan. All systems have functioned as designed. Every possibility has been considered. There are multiple safeguards. Our philosophy is “defense in depth”. Multiple redundancies will prevent highly unlikely events. These plants are really overbuilt  to consider every possibility.  Nothing can escape the containment vessels.

We’ve decided to build a 400 million dollar system to freeze the soil underneath the plant.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

National Geographic:

Q: What are the potential risks to humans, and who might be affected by the contamination?

This is a murky question, because it’s not that easy to determine whether health problems that may not show up for decades are caused by exposure to radioactive contamination. A report released in February by the World Health Organization, which was based upon estimates of radiation exposure in the immediate wake of the accident, concluded that it probably would cause “somewhat elevated” lifetime cancer rates among the local population. But figuring out the effect of years of exposure to lower levels of radioactive contamination leaking into the ocean is an even more complicated matter.

Minoru Takata, director of the Radiation Biology Center at Kyoto University, told the Wall Street Journal that the radioactive water doesn’t pose an immediate health threat unless a person goes near the damaged reactors. But over the longer term, he’s concerned that the leakage could cause higher rates of cancer in Japan.

Marine scientist Buesseler believes that the leaks pose little threat to Americans, however.  Radioactive contamination, he says, quickly is reduced “by many orders of magnitude” after it moves just a few miles from the original source, so that by the time it would reach the U.S. coast, the levels would be extremely low. (See related, “Rare Video: Japan Tsunami.”)

Q: Will seafood be contaminated by the leaks?

As Buesseler’s research has shown, tests of local fish in the Fukushima area still show high enough levels of radiation that the Japanese government won’t allow them to be caught and sold for human consumption—a restriction that is costing Japanese fishermen billions of dollars a year in lost income.  (But while flounder, sea bass, and other fish remained banned for radiation risk, in 2012 the Japanese government did begin allowing sales of octopus and whelk, a type of marine snail, after tests showed no detectable amount of cesium contamination.)

Buesseler thinks the risk is mostly confined to local fish that dwell mostly at the sea bottom, where radioactive material settles. He says bigger fish that range over long distances in the ocean quickly lose whatever cesium contamination they’ve picked up. However, the higher concentration of strontium-90 that is now in the outflow poses a trickier problem, because it is a bone-seeking isotope. “Cesium is like salt—it goes in and out of your body quickly,” he explains. “Strontium gets into your bones.” While he’s still not too concerned that fish caught off the U.S. coast will be affected, “strontium changes the equation for Japanese fisheries, as to when their fish will be safe to eat.”

Below, slightly more shrill item from RT.


12 Responses to “Fukushima Water Leak Out of Control”

  1. MorinMoss Says:

    This girl sounds like a rookie. The English division of Al-Jazeera are much more professional – I think they’re all ex-BBC staffers.

  2. Ask yourself the simple question, why is there such a huge volume of radioactive water? Simple. Its not in cold shutdown. If it were, they would not have to pump quantities of water far in excess of the amounts in the power plants 2 years later. The only reason for continuing to pump that much water is because the uranium and byproducts continue to fission and Tepco wants to prevent that from happening.

    The general concensus is:

    I do not think the RT report was strident. Lets not add to the blanket of denial or add to the false equivalency phenomena. Sticking to the facts:

    1. Tepco is incompetent and probably lying. (look at their agenda) avoiding the costs, etc.

    2. The Japanese government is not much better. (look at their agenda) restarting reactors, etc.

    3. Nobody really knows what is going on, because the molten mass of radioactivity in three cores is so radioactive, no one can get near to it, even with robots.



    In the second reference, I disagree with the last assessment that its all OK because the Pacific Ocean is big and the radioactive sources get dlluted. That is fantasy. If we lived underwater, no one would be saying that. Radioactivity spreads through the food chain underwater, just like it does on land, and in air. Currents can have strange results in distributing elements, just like aerosols and particulates can concentrate in plumes. Its just that we may know less about it, and we are now rolling the dice in an area we are ignorant. In fact, if no one ever looks, we may never know what the effects are. Out of sight, out of mind seems the wishful thinking. What could possibly go wrong here?

  3. Nick Carter Says:

    Where’s Arnie Gunderson these days. Wondering if he could also give some follow up.

  4. Nick – go over to Arnies’ site fairewinds.org for some commentary. I do find, however, that the rt reference above neatly summarizes the current state of affairs.

  5. […] 2013/08/11: PSinclair: Fukushima Water Leak Out of Control […]

  6. The aging nuclear power plants are decommissioning faster than they are built. We better hope they shut down rather than ignoring the increasing safety risks in favor of economics expediency. The Renaissance is over before it started.

    But Cooper said that nuclear facilities aren’t aging well as more of them hit their original 40-year licensing mark, and it’s more costly to fix or replace them than it is to fix or replace an aging natural gas or coal plant.

    “Nuclear power is uneconomic,” Cooper said, “and the aging reactors simply can’t compete.”

    Combining the high up-front costs to build nuclear plants with a useful lifespan that could be cut short means the so-called nuclear renaissance has failed, Cooper said.


    The Cooper Report lists 38 reactors at risk of shutdown due to age and economics.

    Click to access Nuclear-Safety-and-Nuclear-Economics-Post-Fukushima.pdf

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