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Fukushima apocalypse: Years of ‘duct tape fixes’ could result in ‘millions of deaths’

Even the tiniest mistake during an operation to extract over 1,300 fuel rods at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan could lead to a series of cascading failures with an apocalyptic outcome, fallout researcher Christina Consolo told RT.

Fukushima operator TEPCO wants to extract 400 tons worth of spent fuel rods stored in a pool at the plant's damaged Reactor No. 4. The removal would have to be done manually from the top store of the damaged building in the radiation-contaminated environment.

In the worst-case scenario, a mishandled rod may go critical, resulting in an above-ground meltdown releasing radioactive fallout with no way to stop it, said Consolo, who is the founder and host of Nuked Radio. But leaving the things as they are is not an option, because statistical risk of a similarly bad outcome increases every day, she said.
RT: How serious is the fuel rod situation compared to the danger of contaminated water build-up which we already know about?

Christina Consolo: Although fuel rod removal happens on a daily basis at the 430+ nuclear sites around the world, it is a very delicate procedure even under the best of circumstances. What makes fuel removal at Fukushima so dangerous and complex is that it will be attempted on a fuel pool whose integrity has been severely compromised. However, it must be attempted as Reactor 4 has the most significant problems structurally, and this pool is on the top floor of the building.

There are numerous other reasons that this will be a dangerous undertaking.

- The racks inside the pool that contain this fuel were damaged by the explosion in the early days of the accident.

- Zirconium cladding which encased the rods burned when water levels dropped, but to what extent the rods have been damaged is not known, and probably won't be until removal is attempted.

- Saltwater cooling has caused corrosion of the pool walls, and probably the fuel rods and racks.

- The building is sinking.

- The cranes that normally lift the fuel were destroyed.

- Computer-guided removal will not be possible; everything will have to be done manually.

- TEPCO cannot attempt this process without humans, which will manage this enormous task while being bombarded with radiation during the extraction and casking.

- The process of removing each rod will have to be repeated over 1,300 times without incident.

- Moving damaged nuclear fuel under such complex conditions could result in a criticality if the rods come into close proximity to one another, which would then set off a chain reaction that cannot be stopped.

What could potentially happen is the contents of the pool could burn and/or explode, and the entire structure sustain further damage or collapse. This chain reaction process could be self-sustaining and go on for a long time. This is the apocalyptic scenario in a nutshell.

The water build-up is an extraordinarily difficult problem in and of itself, and as anyone with a leaky basement knows, water always 'finds a way.'


'Trivial in light of other problems at Fukushima, water situation could culminate in the chain reaction scenario'


At Fukushima, they are dealing with massive amounts of groundwater that flow through the property, and the endless pouring that must be kept up 24/7/365 to keep things from getting worse. Recently there appears to be subsidence issues and liquefaction under the plant.

TEPCO has decided to pump the water out of these buildings. However, pumping water out of the buildings is only going to increase the flow rate and create more of these ground issues around the reactors. An enormous undertaking - but one that needs to be considered for long-term preservation of the integrity of the site - is channelling the water away, like a drain tile installed around the perimeter of a house with a leaky basement, but on an epic scale.

Without this effort, the soils will further deteriorate, structural shift will occur, and subsequently the contents of the pools will shift too.

The damage to TEPCO's No.1 Fukushima nuclear power plant's third reactor building in the town of Okuma, Fubata district in Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo)


Any water that flows into those buildings also becomes highly radioactive, as it is likely coming into contact with melted fuel.

Without knowing the extent of the current liquefaction and its location, the location of the melted fuel, how long TEPCO has been pumping out water, or when the next earthquake will hit, it is impossible to predict how soon this could occur from the water problem/subsidence issue alone. But undoubtedly, pumping water out of the buildings is just encouraging the flow, and this water problem needs to be remedied and redirected as soon as possible.

RT: Given all the complications that could arise with extracting the fuel rods, which are the most serious, in your opinion?

CC: The most serious complication would be anything that leads to a nuclear chain reaction. And as outlined above, there are many different ways this could occur. In a fuel pool containing damaged rods and racks, it could potentially start up on its own at anytime. TEPCO has been incredibly lucky that this hasn't happened so far.


'One of the worst, but most important jobs anyone has ever had to do'


My second biggest concern would be the physical and mental fitness of the workers that will be in such close proximity to exposed fuel during this extraction process. They will be the ones guiding this operation, and will need to be in the highest state of alertness to have any chance at all of executing this plan manually and successfully. Many of their senses, most importantly eyesight, will be hindered by the apparatus that will need to be worn during their exposure, to prevent immediate death from lifting compromised fuel rods out of the pool and placing them in casks, or in the common spent fuel pool located a short distance away.

Think for a moment what that might be like through the eyes of one of these workers; it will be hot, uncomfortable, your senses shielded, and you would be filled with anxiety. You are standing on a building that is close to collapse. Even with the strongest protection possible, workers will have to be removed and replaced often. So you don't have the benefit of doing such a critical task and knowing and trusting your comrades, as they will frequently have to be replaced when their radiation dose limits are reached. If they exhibit physical or mental signs of radiation exposure, they will have be replaced more often.

The stricken Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima daiichi No.1 nuclear power plant reactor number three (L) and four (R), with smoke rising from number three at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo)

It will be one of the worst, but most important jobs anyone has ever had to do. And even if executed flawlessly, there are still many things that could go wrong.

RT: How do the potential consequences of failure to ensure safe extraction compare to other disasters of the sort - like Chernobyl, or the 2011 Fukushima meltdown?

CC: There really is no comparison. This will be an incredibly risky operation, in the presence of an enormous amount of nuclear material in close proximity. And as we have seen in the past, one seemingly innocuous failure at the site often translates into a series of cascading failures.


'The site has been propped up with duct tape and a kick-stand for over two years'


Many of their 'fixes' are only temporary, as there are so many issues to address, and cost always seems to be an enormous factor in what gets implemented and what doesn't.

As a comparison: Chernobyl was one reactor, in a rural area, a quarter of the size of one of the reactors at Fukushima. There was no 'spent fuel pool' to worry about. Chernobyl was treated in-situ...meaning everything was pretty much left where it was while the effort to contain it was made (and very expeditiously I might add) not only above ground, but below ground.

At Fukushima, we have six top-floor pools all loaded with fuel that eventually will have to be removed, the most important being Reactor 4, although Reactor 3 is in pretty bad shape too. Spent fuel pools were never intended for long-term storage, they were only to assist short-term movement of fuel. Using them as a long-term storage pool is a huge mistake that has become an 'acceptable' practice and repeated at every reactor site worldwide.

A destroyed building of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi (No. 1) atomic power plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo)

We have three 100-ton melted fuel blobs underground, but where exactly they are located, no one knows. Whatever 'barriers' TEPCO has put in place so far have failed. Efforts to decontaminate radioactive water have failed. Robots have failed. Camera equipment and temperature gauges...failed. Decontamination of surrounding cities has failed.


'If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people'


We have endless releases into the Pacific Ocean that will be ongoing for not only our lifetimes, but our children's' lifetimes. We have 40 million people living in the Tokyo area nearby. We have continued releases from the underground corium that reminds us it is there occasionally with steam events and huge increases in radiation levels. Across the Pacific, we have at least two peer-reviewed scientific studies so far that have already provided evidence of increased mortality in North America, and thyroid problems in infants on the west coast states from our initial exposures.

We have increasing contamination of the food chain, through bioaccumulation and biomagnification. And a newly stated concern is the proximity of melted fuel in relation to the Tokyo aquifer that extends under the plant. If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people from the greater metropolitan area. As impossible as this sounds, you cannot live in an area which does not have access to safe water.

The operation to begin removing fuel from such a severely damaged pool has never been attempted before. The rods are unwieldy and very heavy, each one weighing two-thirds of a ton. But it has to be done, unless there is some way to encase the entire building in concrete with the pool as it is. I don't know of anyone discussing that option, but it would seem much 'safer' than what they are about to attempt...but not without its own set of risks.

And all this collateral damage will continue for decades, if not centuries, even if things stay exactly the way they are now. But that is unlikely, as bad things happen like natural disasters and deterioration with time...earthquakes, subsidence, and corrosion, to name a few. Every day that goes by, the statistical risk increases for this apocalyptic scenario. No one can say or know how this will play out, except that millions of people will probably die even if things stay exactly as they are, and billions could die if things get any worse.

Workers spraying resin on the ground near the reactor buildings to protect the spread of radioactive substances at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo)

RT: Are the fuel rods in danger of falling victim to other factors, while the extraction process is ongoing? After all, it's expected to take years before all 1,300+ rods are pulled out.

CC: Unfortunately yes, the fuel rods are in danger every day they remain in the pool. The more variables you add to this equation, and the more time that passes, the more risk you are exposed to. Each reactor and spent fuel pool has its own set of problems, and critical failure with any of them could ultimately have the end result of an above-ground, self-sustaining nuclear reaction. It will not be known if extraction of all the fuel will even be possible, as some of it may be severely damaged, until the attempt is made to remove it.

RT: Finally, what is the worst case scenario? What level of contamination are we looking at and how dire would the consequences be for the long-term health of the region?

CC: Extremely dire. This is a terrible answer to have to give, but the worst case scenario could play out in death to billions of people. A true apocalypse. Since we have been discussing Reactor 4, I'll stick to that problem in particular, but also understand that a weather event, power outage, earthquake, tsunami, cooling system failure, or explosion and fire in any way, shape, or form, at any location on the Fukushima site, could cascade into an event of that magnitude as well.


'Once the integrity of the pool is compromised that will lead to more criticalities'


At any time, following any of these possible events, or even all by itself, nuclear fuel in reactor 4's pool could become critical, mostly because it will heat up the pool to a point where water will burn off and the zirconium cladding will catch fire when it is exposed to air. This already happened at least once in this pool that we are aware of. It almost happened again recently after a rodent took out an electrical line and cooling was stopped for days.

Once the integrity of the pool is compromised that will likely lead to more criticalities, which then can spread to other fuel. The heat from this reaction would weaken the structure further, which could then collapse and the contents of the pool end up in a pile of rubble on the ground. This would release an enormous amount of radioactivity, which Arnie Gundersen has referred to as a "Gamma Shine Event" without precedence, and Dr. Christopher Busby has deemed an "Open-air super reactor spectacular."

This would preclude anyone from not only being at Reactor 4, but at Reactors 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, the associated pools for each, and the common spent fuel pool. Humans could no longer monitor and continue cooling operations at any of the reactors and pools, thus putting the entire site at risk for a massive radioactive release.


'At least the northern half of Japan would be uninhabitable, and some researchers have argued that it already is'


Mathematically, it is almost impossible to quantify in terms of resulting contamination, and a separate math problem would need to be performed for every nuclear element contained within the fuel, and whether or not that fuel exploded, burned, fissioned, melted, or was doused with water to try to cool it off and poured into the ocean afterward.

Workers using a German-made pump to pump water from the spent fuel pool in Unit 4 at Fukushima No.1 (Dai-Ichi) nuclear power plant in the town of Okuma in Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo)

Some researchers have even ventured to say that other nuke plants on the east coast of Honshu may need to be evacuated if levels get too high, which will lead to subsequent failures/fires and explosions at these plants as well. Just how profound the effect will be on down-winders in North America, or the entire northern hemisphere for that matter, will literally depend on where the wind blows and where the rain falls, the duration and extent of a nuclear fire or chain-reaction event, and whether or not that reaction becomes self-sustaining. At least the northern half of Japan would be uninhabitable, and some researchers have argued that it already is.

This is already happening to the nuclear fuel in the ground under the plant, but now it would be happening above ground as well. There is no example historically to draw from on a scale of this magnitude. Everything is theory. But anyone who says this can't happen is not being truthful, because nobody really knows how bad things could get.

The most disturbing part of all of this is that Fukushima has been this dangerous, and precarious, since the second week of March 2011. The ante will definitely be upped once the fuel removal starts.


'The mainstream media, world governments, nuclear agencies, health organizations, weather reporters, and the health care industry has completely ignored three ongoing triple meltdowns that have never been contained'


An obvious attempt to downplay this disaster and its consequences have been repeated over and over again from 'experts' in the nuclear industry that also have a vested interest in their industry remaining intact. And, there has been a lot of misleading information released by TEPCO, which an hour or two of reading by a diligent reporter would have uncovered, in particular the definition of 'cold shutdown.'

Over 300 mainstream news outlets worldwide ran the erroneous 'cold shutdown' story repeatedly, which couldn't be further from the truth... [it was] yet another lie that was spun by TEPCO to placate the public, and perpetuated endlessly by the media and nuclear lobby.

Unfortunately, TEPCO waited until a severe emergency arose to finally report how bad things really are with this latest groundwater issue...if we are even being told the truth. Historically, everything TEPCO says always turns out to be much worse than they initially admit.


'Unfortunately there is no one better qualified to deal with this than the Russians, despite their own shortcomings'


I think the best chance of success is... that experts around the world drop everything they are doing to work on this problem, and have Russia either lead the containment effort or consult with them closely. They have the most experience, they have decades of data. They took their accident seriously and made a Herculean effort to contain it.

Of course we also know the Chernobyl accident was wrought with deception and lies as well, and some of that continues to this day, especially in terms of the ongoing health effects of children in the region, and monstrous birth defects. Unfortunately there is no one better qualified to deal with this than the Russians, despite their own shortcomings. Gorbachev tried to make up for his part in the cover-up of Chernobyl by opening orphanages throughout the region to deal with the affected children.

Underwater silt fence with orange floats being set in the sea near the drain of TEPCO's Fukushima nuclear power plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo)


But as far as Fukushima goes, the only thing that matters now is if world leaders and experts join forces to help fix this situation. Regardless of what agendas they are trying to protect or hide, how much it will cost, the effect on Japan or the world's economy, or what political chains this will yank.

The nuclear industry needs to come clean. If this leads to every reactor in the world being shut down, so be it. If the world governments truly care about their people and this planet, this is what needs to be done.

Renowned theoretical physicist Michio Kaku stated in an interview a few weeks after the initial accident that "TEPCO is literally hanging on by their fingernails." They still are, and always have been. The Japanese have proven time and time again they are not capable of handling this disaster. Now we are entrusting them to execute the most dangerous fuel removal in history.

We are extremely lucky that this apocalyptic scenario hasn't happened yet, considering the state of Reactor 4. But for many, it is already too late. The initial explosions and spent fuel pool fires may have already sealed the fate of millions of people. Time will tell. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest, because there is just no way to know.

homepage: homepage: http://rt.com/news/fukushima-apocalypse-fuel-removal-598/


Update 19.Aug.2013 08:43

enenews

Aboriginal people in British Columbia who rely on Skeena River sockeye are facing some extremely difficult decisions as sockeye salmon returns plunge to historic lows.

Lake Babine Chief Wilf Adam was on his way to Smithers, B.C., on Monday for a discussion about whether to entirely shut down the food fishery on Lake Babine, something he said would be drastic and unprecedented [...]

Last month, the department noted returns for the Skeena River sockeye run were dire. [...]

[Mel Kotyk, North Coast area director for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans] said department scientists don't know why the return numbers are so low. "[...] we think something happened in the ocean."

"[...] We've never seen anything like this in all these years I've done this. I've asked the elders and they have never seen anything like this at all." [said Chief Wilf Adam]

More: "The sockeye runs way up north in the Skeena are low. The [fish] out of Bristol Bay, Alaska is down 30 to 35 per cent over last year. Russia has got a limited number of fish in the market. They are down about 40 per cent over all their salmon fisheries."

Gundersen: We are going to see top of the food chain animals like tuna and salmon and things like that that bioaccumulate [...] I am concerned that the FDA is not monitoring fish entering the United States [...] I am thinking by 2013 we might see contamination of the water and of the top of the food chain fishes on the West Coast.

Gundersen: Federal and state agencies are not measuring this... I've been working on the West Coast and I've been trying to get the people of Oregon to demand of their state, the people of Alaska to demand of their state: Check the salmon, it is not difficult.

Update 19.Aug.2013 23:11

enenews

Just In: Growing alarm as 25 trillion becquerels of radioactive material leaks at Fukushima in past few hours — Kyodo News Advisory: Exact source of extreme contamination unknown; Tank missing 300,000 liters

Update 20.Aug.2013 11:35

enenews

Fukushima Governor: This is a national emergency — Massive radioactive leak causes top officials to hold emergency meeting — Tepco: Leakage believed to be continuing Tuesday

Aug 20, 2013: Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato has urged the central government to take the initiative in dealing with the wastewater leak at Fukushima Daiichi [...] The prefecture's top officials held an emergency meeting on Tuesday following Monday's revelation of a massive leak of radioactive water from a storage tank. The governor described the situation as a national emergency [...] Senior Fukushima prefectural official Shoji Furuichi [...] asked [Tepco] to quickly find out whether the leak has contaminated the environment. Furuichi called the leak extremely regrettable [...]


All β = 80,000,000 Bq/liter
Total Cesium = 146,000 Bq/liter
Cobalt-60 = 1,200 Bq/liter

AFP, August 20, 2013: TEPCO reports worst radioactive leak from tank at Japan's Fukushima [...] Some 300 tonnes of radioactive water is believed to have leaked from a tank at Japan's crippled nuclear plant, the worst such leak since the crisis began, the operator said Tuesday. [TEPCO] said the leak was believed to be continuing Tuesday at Fukushima and it had not yet pinpointed the source of it. [...] But the latest leak was the worst from a tank in terms of volume, the TEPCO spokesman said. TEPCO admitted the toxic water might contaminate groundwater and flow into the Pacific Ocean "in the longer term" [...] So far four tonnes of the spilled water had been retrieved since Monday evening [...]

Update 20.Aug.2013 11:39

enenews

Tokyo Professor: Ground beneath Fukushima reactors becoming increasingly unstable — "Potential catastrophe unfolding in plain sight"

Expert commentary, including from the METI Nuclear Accident Response Director, has warned that the constant flow of water may lead to further structural instability of the buildings. Keep in mind that the risky fuel-rod removal is likely to take a good deal longer than the year projected [...] 1000 tonnes of water per day runs down from the surrounding hills, further softening the ground under the facilities (which sits over an aquifer) [...]

[...] the crisis is potentially more a threat to national security than anything the North Koreans are up to.

So, here we have a potential catastrophe unfolding in plain sight, in that the flow of water, its contamination, the constraints on storage capacity, and other factors are generally understood by the overseers. They know - or certainly should know - that they are drifting into ever more risky circumstances, as the volumes of water increasingly render the ground underneath the reactors unstable. All parties also know that Tepco is prepared to start removing fuel rods from November, in an operation made highly dangerous by the high levels of ambient contamination, the subsidence of the ground, poor coordination of human resources on the site (including multiple chains of command which prevent or at least greatly impair implementation of decisions), among other factors. [...]

Given the implications of a mishap in fuel-rod removal, as well as the myriad other problem areas at the plant, the word "shameful" seems hardly strong enough. To help bolster the Abe administration's incentives, perhaps the IAEA, the global nuclear village, and others keen to promote nuclear power in the face of Fukushima, might take a long, hard look at the facts and provide leadership to resolve what is unraveling on site. Each crisis at Fukushima costs them too, and a catastrophe would render all their efforts for naught.


---------


Japan Times: Land under Fukushima reactor buildings at risk of turning into liquid -- Area near sea could become like mud

[Tepco] is also trying to do this as cheaply as possible, because even though it is a nationalized entity (as of July 25 of last year), any financial assistance it receives from public coffers is deemed a loan that it has to pay back. So it is doing everything with an eye on costs, including constructing the storage tanks for contaminated water out of the cheapest materials possible. Apparently, some of these containers have already begun leaking (according to statements from former workers at the site). And it is almost certain that there will be significant leakage as the months go by

We Are So Fuckt 20.Aug.2013 13:00

blues

There are about 107 reactors in the U.S.A. They do not produce any electric power when all energy inputs are added up. No Additional Energy!

The ONLY THING they really produce is Plutonium.

The electricity that powers your home does not come one bit from atomic reactors!

In fact "THEY" are building tokamak fusion reactors that can not ever produce 10% more energy than they take in, only because they generate fast neutrons that produce new Plutonium (old Plutonium generates helium, which rips it apart, so the bombs fizzle).

THEY will let us all die so they can continue playing this game.

Update 20.Aug.2013 14:48

enenews

Japan Times: Fukushima Daiichi radioactive water problems seem 'uncontainable' — Believed to be wreaking environmental havoc upon Pacific Ocean


[Tepco] has radioactive water problems at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant that seem uncontainable, as seen in the latest case to beset the utility: tanks used to store highly tainted water that was used to cool its melted reactors but now must be safely stored are leaking. [...]

The tank leaks come as Tepco struggles to halt the flow, some 300 tons a day, of highly radioactive groundwater into the Pacific, where it is believed wreaking environmental havoc. [...]

[Kazunari Yoshimura, an expert in water-related matters, who runs Global Water Japan, a water-consulting company] said if a another big quake hits the Fukushima plant, there is a risk that the highly radioactive water that is presently flooding the basements of the reactor buildings could flow out and further contaminate the groundwater. [...]

Update 20.Aug.2013 15:18

enenews

Anonymous Official: Tank at Fukushima may have leaked tons of highly radioactive liquid every day for a month... "We didn't detect it for as long as 30 days" — Spokesman: Leakage is continuing... Other tanks may be affected


Japan Times, Aug 20, 2013: On Tuesday, Tepco said the water level in tank No. 5 had dropped by 3 meters, meaning about 300 tons of contaminated water had been lost. From Monday to Tuesday, about 10 tons were lost, indicating this amount may have leaked every day over the past 30 days, a senior Tepco official told The Japan Times. "So far, we had four similar (tank) leakage cases. The problem this time is that we didn't detect it for as long as 30 days," the official said.

Xinhua, Aug 20, 2013: Masayuki Ono, spokesman of TEPCO, told a press conference Tuesday that the leakage is continuing and leaked water has most likely seeped into ground but not run into the sea. TEPCO is now trying to prevent the spread of radioactive water and remove the contaminated soil. However, they have not checked yet whether there are still leakage in other tanks, said Ono.

Update 21.Aug.2013 01:30

enenews

Reuters: Crisis deepening at Fukushima nuclear plant; Upgraded to 'Level 3 Serious Incident' — Represents a 100-fold increase in "severity of a radiological release" — Tepco says highly radioactive leakage continues, but unknown where from


Reuters, Aug 21, 2013: Japan to issue gravest Fukushima nuclear warning in two years-agency [...] Japan will dramatically raise its warning about the severity of a toxic water leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant, its nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday, its most serious action since the plant was destroyed [...] The deepening crisis at the Fukushima plant will be upgraded from a level 1 "anomaly" to a level three "serious incident"' [...] That will mark the first time Japan has issued a warning on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) since three reactor meltdowns [...] The leak [...] has not been plugged [...] Each one-step INES increase represents a tenfold increase in severity [...]

The Guardian, Aug 21, 2013: Japan is to issue its gravest warning about the state of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant since the facility suffered a triple meltdown [...] The Nuclear Regulation Authority has now said it will dramatically raise the incident's severity level from one to three on the eight-point scale used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for radiation releases. Each single-digit increase in the scale actually represents a tenfold increase in the severity of a radiological release, according to the IAEA. [...] Tepco has admitted it has yet to identify the cause of the leak [...] The leak from the tank, which can hold up to 1,000 tonnes of water, has yet to be stemmed, according to Japanese media reports.

AP, Aug 21, 2013: Tokyo Electric Power Co. hasn't figured out how or where the water leaked, but suspects it did so through a seam on the tank or a valve connected to a gutter around the tank.

AFP, Aug 21, 2013: TEPCO said the leak was believed to be continuing on Wednesday and it had not yet pinpointed the source of it [...]

Update 22.Aug.2013 08:43

enenews

Fukushima "much worse than we've been led to believe, much worse" says nuclear expert — Contaminated water is leaking out all over site


A nuclear expert has told the BBC that he believes the current water leaks at Fukushima are much worse than the authorities have stated.

He says water is leaking out all over the site and there are no accurate figures for radiation levels. [...]

"The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic," said Mycle Schneider, who has consulted widely for a variety of organisations and countries [France, Germany] on nuclear issues.

"What is the worse is the water leakage everywhere else - not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that. [...]

"It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse," said Mr Schneider, who is lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports.

Update 22.Aug.2013 10:11

enenews

(I think this statement of a 'worst case scenario' is in the context of water leaking from the hundreds of tanks. A massive explosion of one of the fuel pools would be a far worse scenario.)


"Fukushima plant is approaching a worst case scenario" — Top Japan Nuclear Official: "This is what we have been fearing"


The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority said the cascading series of radioactive water leaks from the Fukushima plant is approaching a worst case scenario.

[Tepco] warned there may be hundreds more tanks like [the one leaking] on the site of the 2011 meltdown.

"We cannot waste even a minute," [Chairman of the Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority Shunichi Tanaka] said. "This is what we have been fearing." [...]

Atsunao Marui, director of research at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, said the situation is likely to get worse.

"It's important to think of the worst-case scenario," he said.

Update 22.Aug.2013 20:59

enenews

Local Official in Canada: Test fish for Fukushima contamination — "It's a very, very important issue and quite frightening" — Concern over radioactive pollution growing


Nuclear meltdown's effect on B.C. fish unclear
Concern is growing that radioactive water from a damaged nuclear plant in Japan could affect fish in B.C.

Karla Robison, Ucluelet's manager of environmental and emergency services, wants Ucluelet council to ask senior levels of government to support a study of chemicals in fish.
"We could work with local folks who are out fishing to get tissue samples and make sure there are no problems with the fish," said Robison [...] "It's a very, very important issue and quite frightening," she said. [...]

Robison wants to see an ecotoxicologist work on a study with local First Nations [...]

"Given the thousands of kilometres between Japan and Canada's west coast, any radioactive material that might have been carried eastward via wind currents was dispersed and diluted over the ocean long before it reached Canada," Health Canada said. [...]


That last statement I would take with a grain of salt because radiation bio-accumulates as it goes up the food chain. Bio-accumulation is especially important because it was not just one leak 2 1/2 years ago but radiation has been continually leaking the entire time. The amount of radiation entering the ocean is increasing and is likely to continue for years.

Update 23.Aug.2013 21:31

enenews

Gundersen: Ocean already contaminated from deluge of Fukushima toxic water — Will stop eating fish from west coast — Cesium at 1,000% normal levels in middle of Pacific


According to [Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education], who says this is the last year he's eating west coast fish, the deluge of toxic water into the Pacific has already contaminated the ocean.

He says that halfway across the Pacific, scientists are measuring cesium levels that are 10 times higher than normal. [...]

"Of course, scientists will say that is still a low level but it's such a big ocean and there are so many organisms that rely on it... so it's a concern and it's a concern that's getting worse because the plant continues to leak."


"Migratory pattern doesn't include the waters near Japan"? Here we see the sockeye salmon's range includes Hokkaido, Japan. More on Canada's recent sockeye problems here: Sockeye salmon at dire historic low on Canada's Pacific coast — "We think something happened in the ocean" — "The elders have never seen anything like this at all" — Alaska and Russia also affected
But according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, the director of public health emergency management for the B.C. Centres for Disease Control, the size of the ocean creates a dilution effect, protecting humans not immediately in the plant's area from any health risks.

"The dilution factor and time factor means that there are no concerns of health risks in B.C.," said Dr. Henry.

She added that the Pacific salmon that's commonly eaten in Canada are not exposed to the contaminated water from the crippled Dai-ichi plant because its migratory pattern doesn't include the waters near Japan. [...]



If Arnie Gundersen is going to stop eating pacific fish...

Update 24.Aug.2013 00:12

enenews

Nuclear Expert: Fukushima melted fuel is drifting in ocean and onto land, lacking any containment — It ends up on coastline and blows into communities — People get an exceptional dose — Health harm will go on for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years (AUDIO)


John Large, Nuclear consultant: [...] What happened is the intensely radioactive fuel is beginning to migrate into the water. And the water is seeping and migrating out of the containment.

[... ] In the immediate ecosystem, of course it moves beyond that. Once it comes out of the groundwater into the marine environment, then tides and currents will take it along — and the whole scenario's rather like this: You get these very fine oxide particles of fuel, each intensely radioactive, being carried along the coastline. The tide taking it in, [... ] it dries out. The onshore breeze that comes everyday blows the radioactive dust — these very fine particles — onto local communities, and those communities receive an exceptional dose.

[... ] It's pretty active, pretty intense, and out of control. [... ]

[Tepco] didn't think ahead, and of course they're left with an in-addressable situation. There's not much you can do when it gets out to the marine environment. [... ]

It looks like we're in for a long term here. Remember 3 reactors went down, each reactor had about 120-130 tons of fuel. That's lacking any containment. It's beginning to drift into the marine and terrestrial environment. The situation is the radiation and the radiological effect in terms of health harm for that fuel will go on for hundreds, thousands, if not tens of thousands of years.