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Fukushima clean-up turns toxic for TEPCO

29 Comments
By Antoni Slodkowski and Mari Saito

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29 Comments
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"TEPCO’s claims that radiation levels in the water would be negligible."

Hopefully the prison term to these executives will not be a negligible amount. What a bunch of greedy b...!!!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

TEPCO apologized while President Naomi Hirose took a pay cut as a result.

Well, that absolves him of all blame then, doesn't it? Don't worry about the lying and polluting the ocean. As long as he is sorry it makes everything OK. Why hasn't anyone had criminal charges brought against them and, why are these clowns still in charge of the cleanup?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Awesome !!!! NOT !!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"TEPCO was incompetent rather than intentionally withholding information, said Dale Klein"

I could not disagree more with that. That card was played a long time ago, maybe it worked the first 10 times but even I can see the pattern here. Manipulating public opinion is their primary goal if not the only goal right now!!!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Even an elementary schooler could answer some of these questions

Why the plant intermittently emits steam;

Water used to cool the reactor is leaking. Duh!

how groundwater seeps into its basement;

Most of Japan is below sea level, and there are lots of earthquakes which means that cracks in basements are inevitable. Whatever genius at TEPCO designed a basement in a building in Japan deserves to be sacked.

whether fixes to the cooling system will hold;

They aren't holding right now. Look, steam! Steam means water from the cooling system is escaping, i.e. the cooling system is ALREADY leaking.

how nearby groundwater is contaminated by radioactive matter;

How about the leaking cooling system and the cracked basement? Is this seriously even a question?

how toxic water ends up in the sea

Rivers (even underground ones) flow out to the sea. Radioactive ground water becomes radioactive sea water. Did these overpaid TEPCO chaps never study geography at elementary school????

and how to contain water that could overwhelm the facility’s storage tanks.

How about recycling the stuff you have? Any elementary schooler will tell you that recycling is the way to go.

Run it through filters to remove the radioactive material. Reverse osmosis and activated carbon filters should remove most, but the results don't need to be perfect, just enough to make the water reusable to cool the reactor again. It would sure beat their current approach of contaminating billions of litres of water and then trying to store it (a stupid solution if ever there was one... what do they plan to do with all that water??).

... I am forced to conclude that most of TEPCO's "experts" didn't even pass elementary school.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The government really should call in international experts and make this a worldwide effort at containing this continuing disaster.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@Frungy

Most of Japan is below sea level,.......

No it isn't; and then you go on to say

Did these overpaid TEPCO chaps never study geography at elementary school??

Did you?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It is very regrettable that the outside world misunderstands TEPCOs pathetic mismanagement of the greatest N- Disaster ever known. Please understand they just want to make a profit. They have bills to pay and would really like everyone to not be interested in that situation north of Tokyo.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Most inhabited areas of Japan are below sea level,

They are not. Please show a source. For example, which parts of Tokyo's land surface are below sea level?

After the earthquake parts of Fukushima did drop and an increased area is now below sea level.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/oshadavidson/2011/04/29/japan-earthquake-drops-land-below-sea-level/

Houses with basements are not popular in Japan for many reasons but not only Japan. However, there are many commercial buildings, hospitals etc. in Tokyo and Osaka for example with up to 4 floors of basement parking.

hence the "step up" in many ground floor apartment buildings) because otherwise they'd be below sea level and the building would collapse in a few decades because of water seepage.

The "step up" is not there because of ground water, it's there to stop surface water coming in and to allow for ventilation under the floor if not solid and can be seen all around the world. Many apartment buildings have basement car parking and are of course waterproofed against groundwater, not because they are below sea level. Certainly some buildings have basements which are partially below sea level but only those close to the sea / bay.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TEPCO disclosed the estimate on August 2 showing the amount of tritium in the contaminated water that leaked since May 2011 to be between 20 to 40 trillion becquerels. TEPCO will also estimate the total amount of radioactive strontium that has leaked from the plant.

All the nuclear power plants in the country have leaked some level of tritium into the ocean.

TEPCO have said the steam spotted on the upper level of the No3 reactor building is leaking out of the reactor safety plug which I think is just another name for the reactor cap? Either way, I have some problem with that because at the end of 2011, TEPCO and the gov't claimed reactors 1-3 were in a state of "cold shutdown" meaning that the temperature inside the reactor containment vessel was below 100 °C. Since then TEPCO have stated the temperatures have fallen below 60 °C. If the steam is leaking from the No3 reactor then the temperature would have to be high enough to produce it. That could only mean the cooling water level inside the containment vessel is not high enough to cover what remains of the nuclear fuel assemblies inside the reactor. Also, according to TEPCO, the containment vessel is suppose to be filled with nitrogen to prevent any further hydrogen explosions.

The radiation levels inside the No1-3 reactor buildings is too high for workers to spend anytime inside, especially the No3 reactor building. The radiation levels are up to 15 SIEVERTS/hour. The level on the upper level where the steam is leaking is 2 SIEVERTS/hour. Except for the containment vessels which are above 75 SIEVERTS/hour, the highest levels are in the Torus Rooms. There are air locked doors to the Torus Rooms but the No3 one is jammed open from the earthquake or explosions? The radiation levels around the site remain high, up to 10 SIEVERTS/hour in places. The level at the water observance holes on the dock area is 200 millisieverts/hour which limits the number of hours a single worker can be there. About 50 hours max before reaching the maximum allowed exposure.

TEPCO are making very little progress at the plant which is costing the public funds trillions. It seems unable to stop the groundwater leaking into the basements of the reactor buildings which in turn leaks into the turbine hall basements and some of that out into the ocean.

TEPCO have been trying to recycle the water, by removing all the radiation except for tritium, which is can't remove. But its stopped using the two cleaning units, one built by a French company and another built by an American company basically because they just kept breaking down? TEPCO is using a third unit and building a fourth one due to operate in the autumn.

TEPCO needs to find a way to stop or divert the groundwater before it reaches the area of the plant. The groundwater is contaminated from the radiation on the surrounding mountains but at a much lower level than when it reaches the reactor basements.

Instead of reading about TEPCO's steady successes we are being fed a daily diet of their failures. With the current level of progress and working practices another major event at the plant remains a possibility.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

There is more than leaks of radioactive waste.....there has been massive airborne explosions dispersing toxic radioactive materials with harmful half lives lasting hundreds of years....as it fills the atmosphere across the northern hemisphere. There have already been limited revelations of infant death spikes from the time of the explosions. There have been extremely hot radioactive readings as far south as YokoHama. The dust continues to move on the winds and feet and plants and trains passing through the contaminated areas. The North Pacific has been shown on computer model to be completely covered within 5 years, that's fish, islands and ace an bottoms. This is bigger than nations care to report or resolve for some reason. Please listen to the alternative sources as the media and governments minimize and lie about what needs to be done. Demand action to save this planet.....more than a Cove....more than an earthquake, more than a tsunami ore than a radioactive airburst.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Frungy - Fukushima NPP was originally designed to be at a higher location on a hill overlooking the current site, but the hill was partially removed and the plant relocated to the current position, to avoid the higher costs of pumping cooling water uphill to the plant. Another 'cost-saving' that came back to bite them badly...

An ex-Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) executive testified that the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 1966 was built at 10 meters above sea level, 10 meters lower than the original design at 20 meters above sea level, to cut costs. This change of placing profit before safety has resulted in the serious damage following the tsunami on March 11 and the ensuing serious nuclear disaster.

Construction of No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima NPP began in December 1966 and General Electric Company undertook everything from producing and installing the reactor to designing and constructing the reactor building. TEPCO at that time had no experience with nuclear reactors, and put everything in GE’s hands.

GE’s initial plan was to lower the construction site from the natural 35 meters above sea level to 20 meters above sea level and place the reactor building at this level. If this plan had been realized, damage from the 15m-high tsunami would have been averted.

The ex-TEPCO executive said, “We left everything concerning the reactor and the reactor building to GE, but rejected the 20m above sea level plan and had the level changed to 10m above sea level. The reason for the change was that the original plan would have required extra costs to operate the reactor.”

An ex-TEPCO advisor who took part in the construction of the facility gave further details: “An enormous amount of sea water is required to cool down a nuclear reactor. 25 tons of sea water per second is needed to be pumped up for just the No.1 reactor. Pumping up sea water to 20 meters above sea level would incur extra costs. I remember executives at that time were reminding us that power companies are producers, not users, of electricity.”

There is a record of a meeting which reveals that ex-TEPCO vice president Toyoda Masatoshi, who was in charge of constructing the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, outspokenly talked about TEPCO’s real intentions about NPP, at a closed study meeting in 1994. He said, “The most important point is to reduce the construction cost of nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities, and to raise their operating rates. The economy of nuclear power generation is always at the center of our attention.”

TEPCO not only lowered the level of the construction site to cut costs but also neglected to take measures against the potential of tsunami damage. The Japan Society of Civil Engineers in 2002 compiled tsunami assessment data at NPPs. Based on this, TEPCO reviewed its safety ratings against tsunamis, by supposing a tsunami caused by an earthquake of magnitude 8.0, with the maximum height of tsunami at 5.7m and the maximum fall of water level at minus 3.0m.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

When people look back a couple hundred years from now, on the collapse of Western Society, Fukushima is going to figure prominently.

"Yes, while the governments were busily destroying their economies, people all over the world were dying from radiation poisoning, and didn't even know it!"

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Michael P Monahan

There is more than leaks of radioactive waste.....there has been massive airborne explosions dispersing toxic radioactive materials with harmful half lives lasting hundreds of years....as it fills the atmosphere across the northern hemisphere

According to radiation readings at monitoring points across the whole country, the level of radiation in most places is only at background level. There's still contamination in the ground and there are still many locations with hot spots or locations near the nuclear disaster which will remain too high to allow people to return for many decades. But its not the grim reaper picture that you have painted.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Until the govt stops to finance and cover-up what TEPCO is doing it will be no rest and no improvement at Fukushima and Japan image will be attached to TEPCO's one. A real civilized and progessive govt would have stop TEPCO, launch criminal investigation, consult worldwide for building a team of professional to handle how to contain the crisis and take care of all the victims, a huge number of new houses could have been built for the victims with the money TEPCO received from the govt, this is unbelievable and where are we now ? Spent hundreds and hundreds of billion yen in TEPCO and basically back to square 1. It is so obvious that TEPCO is kept above the law by the same that are taking advantage of it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I have to say that I felt totally confident that TEPCO and the Japanese government would handle this disaster smoothly and quickly. It is beginning to appear that my confidence was misplaced ...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The inability of the utility to get to grips with the situation raises questions over whether it can successfully decommission the Fukushima Daiichi plant

wash, rinse, repeat

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"The inability of the utility"... Nuff said. Pretty much summarizes TEPCO.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

and the " inutility " of the utility.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It seems like there are still a lot of unknowns and some areas are too hot and we don't have the required technology to find out everything. Hopefully this will drive innovation quickly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I know this is off topic and will probably be deleted, but why does the Japanese government tolerate the Yakuza, the crime gangs, the destroyers of imagination?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I simply, as all of us here, do not, will not, can not comprehend how they are still allowed, never mind think that they can, continue to lie, lie, lie. Absolutely shameless and amoral. And why WHY was this:

http://www.kantei.go.jp/saigai/pdf/20130730siji_fukushima.pdf

Not released to the general public? Not run as headline new? Because THEY LIE.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If the Rokkasho reprocessing plants becomes operational it will release 18 trillion becquerels of Tritium into the ocean every year.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2013/08/tritium-in-perspective-if-rokkasho-ever.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i wonder why they dont re-use the radioactive water for cooling - this will solve the issue that they run out of storage space

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Listen up folks,

The water holding capacity is 85% full. What do you think is going to happen? DEATHCO is going to get religion real quick, or they're going to have a large accident and leak thousands of tons of highly radioactive water into the Pacific?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan's government raises the minimum radiation levels to a level that was once not tolerated. Even little children of Japan make a game out of what their radiation level in their bodies are and the government has changed those levels to safe what once was considered death. An now the allow an incompetent TEPCO handle a doomed set of reactors as if the massive levels of radiation and more lands contaiminated as an every day occurrence.

The site needs to be incased in a lead/concret mixture and sealed before all of Japan is no longer livable.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Today, if anyone believes that TEPCO, the company owns the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant crippled by earthquake and tsunami, has done its best, in light of truthfulness, to protect Japanese people and Japanese precious environments, he or she could be mentally blind.

After the radioactive water has been leaked to the ocean for two and a half years, God knows what degree of the damages have been done to the environments so far. Many long term adversary affects could still emerge in years to come, not to mention the disruption of many Japanese fisherman's livelihood right now.

Here is a thing, the leakage is keeping running to the sea without any effective containment as we are speaking.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

some truly excellent posts on here! thank you all! very informative!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi - " With the current level of progress and working practices another major event at the plant remains a possibility."

Like what for example? What is the worst case scenario?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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