The good news is that TEPCO is making progress on cleaning up the site at Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear reactors
wrecked by the earthquake/tsunami of March 2011. The first three links
below give some details- most noteworthy is that the appallingly
precarious fuel pool atop unstable reactor 4 has been emptied of used
fuel rods, on schedule. This is a huge relief. The next two articles
speak of technologies that have not yet been applied, but seem hopeful.
The bad news falls into several categories.
1) The site itself is far from under control. No one knows where the
melted cores of reactors 1, 2, and 3 are located. What's clear is that
they have burned through their containers, and are in immediate contact
with groundwater. This water is now heavily contaminated
with radioactive isotopes, including plutonium, strontium 90, and other
life-threatening elements. It flows freely into the ocean and connects
with nearby aquifers that supply drinking water to northern Japan,
including Tokyo. The recent typhoons made this problem worse, and the
site is in a high earthquake and typhoon zone, so will continue to be damaged by nature.
2) Japan continues to suppress information about health consequences and
spread of radiation. The new secrecy law, which gives steep penalties
for breaches of national security- undefined, but including information
about Fukushima- hasn't gone into effect yet- this happens next
month. It's scary to think of what will happen to brave Japanese
doctors and journalist who speak out once it's implemented.
3) The creatures of the Pacific ocean are sick or missing altogether- radiation from Fukushima must play a major role. If life in the oceans dies, what happens to life on dry land?
TEPCO's efforts are laudable, but inadequate. International resources
must be mobilized to stop the flood of radiation issuing daily from
Fukushima Daiichi. Please sign and spread these two petitions:
Peace, Carol Wolman, MD
http://www.tcetoday.com/latest news/2014/november/kurion begins test to treat fukushima tritium.aspx#.VF4-IWc0-3O
The first of four sets of spent nuclear fuel rods has been
removed from a damaged reactor building at Japan's Fukushima power
plant, scoring a major success in an effort to dismantle the quake
and tsunami-wrecked facility.
November 03, 2014 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
IRVINE, Calif. & TOKYO & HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kurion, Inc., an innovator in nuclear and hazardous waste management,
announced that it received a grant of one billion Japanese Yen
(approximately 10 million USD) from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade
and Industry (METI)
to demonstrate the company's cost-effective tritium-removal technology
for possible deployment at Fukushima.
(This is significant, because until now, TEPCO has not even attempted to remove tritium from the wastewater.)
UOZU, Toyama Prefecture--A machinery maker here has developed a
"crawling" robot capable of penetrating hard-to-reach areas for
decontamination work at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power
plant. (no mention of its ability to withstand radiation or heat).
1) SITE PROBLEMS
Nuclear Expert: Fukushima is a pretty close approximation of
The China Syndrome; Melted fuel cores burned through
containment vessels and material is below reactor structures
mixing with groundwater. Essentially it' s a machine that's
washing radioactivity into the sea.
[TEPCO] says it has found high levels of radioactive cesium
in groundwater in the compound. Officials at TEPCO say a recent
typhoon may be the cause. TEPCO officials say water taken on
Wednesday from a well had 460,000 becquerels of cesium per liter
(Bq/l). another well contained 424,000 becquerels. Officials say
those levels are 800 to 900 times the previous peak. The wells
are several meters west of the No. 2 reactor. The utility plans
to treat the tainted groundwater and discharge it into the
ocean, but local people strongly oppose the plan.
These typhoons come along and dump 10 inches of rain in a very
short time. In addition to the 300 tons [a day] that s normally
leaking, now there s a lot more. All of the trenches that
connect different parts of the plant are now overflowing and
leaking into the ground. The plant is continuing to bleed
directly into the Pacific, day in and day out. Whenever you get
an excessive rainfall, essentially it pops an artery and flows
even more 100s of tons into the Pacific. It 's not a problem
that s going to go away. Fukushima is so radioactive; no one has
gotten near [the reactor cores] yet. We don' t even know where
the nuclear reactor core is, " let alone try and stop it leaking
into the groundwater. It s a real mess.. It s not just cesium,
cesium is bad enough. but because the nuclear cores melted down,
what we' ve got now is strontium, which is a really bad chemical
" it s a bone seeker that causes all sorts of cancers " but also
plutonium. The nuclear reactor has breached and we re getting
plutonium in the groundwater. essentially pieces of the nuclear
fuel. the reactor has been breached and the reactor containment
has been breached. Most of that breach is in the form of liquid
radiation leaking out.