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IAEA backs controlled discharge of tainted water into sea from Fukushima plant

48 Comments

The U.N. nuclear watchdog has urged Japan to consider "controlled discharges" into the sea of contaminated water used to cool the crippled reactors at Fukushima.

The proposal was among recommendations outlined in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency after its latest inspection of the worst nuclear accident in a generation.

"The IAEA team believes it is necessary to find a sustainable solution to the problem of managing contaminated water," the 72-page report said.

"This would require considering all options, including the possible resumption of controlled discharges to the sea."

Dealing with radiation-tainted water has been one of the most contentious issues arising from the accident as the plant's embattled operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), struggles to store vast amounts of sea water used to cool the reactors.

The IAEA report warned that the vast utility must assess potential dangers of releasing contaminated water, and win approval from local communities wary of atomic power.

"TEPCO is advised to perform an assessment of the potential radiological impact to the population and the environment arising from the release of water containing tritium and any other residual radionuclides to the sea," the review said.

"It is clear that final decision making will require engaging all stakeholders, including TEPCO," and nuclear authorities, central and regional governments and local communities, it said.

The water is currently stored in huge tanks at the plant, but there is no permanent solution and TEPCO has warned it is running out of space.

Most experts agree that it will eventually have to be released into the ocean after being scoured of its most harmful contaminants, but local fishermen, neighboring countries and environmental groups all oppose the idea.

The 19-strong IAEA mission was in Japan in December to examine the company's efforts to contain the site, where reactors were went into meltdown after a huge quake-sparked tsunami crashed ashore in March 2011.

Its review looked at dangerous work faced by plant workers such as removing nuclear fuel assemblies from reactors, and a future clean up of radioactive debris.

In November, TEPCO began removing fuel rods from a storage pool -- the trickiest process since the runaway reactor cores were brought under control over two years ago.

The agency also called for a careful assessment of the company's plan to create a subterranean "freeze wall" to prevent radioactive groundwater from leaking into the ocean -- an ongoing problem that has stoked fears about dangers posed to marine life and the food chain.

The roadmap toward decommissioning the Fukushima plant envisages a process that is likely to last three or four decades.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

48 Comments
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Wow, the IAEA has urged Japan to consider "controlled" discharge of highly contaminated water into the sea, while recommending a subterranean "freeze wall", to stop it?? I guess we will have to Google this 72 page report to understand the logic behind this recommendation.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The U.N. nuclear watchdog has urged Japan to consider “controlled discharges” into the sea of contaminated water used to cool the crippled reactors at Fukushima.

As opposed to the current uncontrolled discharges into the sea.

The IAEA report warned that the vast utility must assess potential dangers of releasing contaminated water,

Better late than never.....

TEPCO is advised to perform an assessment of the potential radiological impact to the population and the environment arising from the release of water containing tritium and any other residual radionuclides to the sea,

....................... A little late for this

In November, TEPCO began removing fuel rods from a storage pool—the trickiest process.

Make work if the No.4 SPF storage pool was in No Danger of anything.

since the runaway reactor cores were brought under control over two years ago

Define "brought under control" because I do not see it. I see the boron and seawater combo being hampered by " an underground lake " " rainwater runoff " whichever, it has diluted their calculations of boron to water ratio.

The agency also called for a careful assessment of the company’s plan to create a subterranean “freeze wall” to prevent radioactive groundwater from leaking into the ocean

A Freeze Wall to prevent Highly contaminated water from continuing to leak into the ocean, with radioactive fuel and debris landing and drying on the coastline to be spread with the wind in low tide. This has been happening since the accident and some of it was intentional with the initial dumping of contaminated water by TEPCO & also the accidental leaks into the ocean.

an ongoing problem that has stoked fears about dangers posed to marine life and the food chain.

Fears???? It is a reality.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The process is called dilution. It's a big ocean out there.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

As you have underlined:

• a "controlled discharge" is controlled

• "subterranean leaks" are not

Besides, while there are mentions of discharge of "tainted water," I see no mention of discharging specifically "highly contaminated water" into the sea. I believe they might have dilution in mind.

It is sad we have to resort to such extreme measures, but discrediting the rare experts in the field that are actually trying to find solutions to a very real problem is not very constructive. The IEIA is not TEPCO, and, call me naive if you may, I believe their target is safety rather than profit here.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

How far has the food chain been tainted? How much further will it be tainted? Are there results from testing? Dilution means sea life absorbers these isotopes. Are people eating this toxic fare?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Mike Will

Radioactive Isotopes Does Not Dilute they Contaminate. The ocean is not big enough just ask California at least there, there is testing.

Cricky, Here are tests from a year ago

Fish with cesium near gov’t limit caught hundreds of miles from Fukushima

http://enenews.com/fish-with-cesium-near-govt-limit-caught-hundreds-of-miles-from-fukushima

First Time’: Radioactive rice with more than double gov’t cesium limit found outside Fukushima Prefecture

http://enenews.com/first-time-radioactive-rice-with-more-than-double-govt-cesium-limit-found-outside-fukushima-prefecture

5 ( +8 / -3 )

So it's in our food chain before these controlled contaminations begin. The population are being poisoned with the full knowledge of the Government! Got to be a film in there somewhere. Sadly it's not unbelievable at all. Thanks for the links I was sus about this but it's not mentioned very much.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yeah, reports on testing in Japan lately seems to be regulated. Cause I can not find the latest 2014 testing

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Xinef

The IAEA been in and out of Daiichi for YEARS........

IAEA to send 12 experts to help with Fukushima decontamination National Oct. 05, 2011 - 12:00PM JST

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/iaea-to-send-12-experts-to-help-with-fukushima-decontamination

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“The IAEA team believes it is necessary to find a sustainable solution to the problem of managing contaminated water,”

That IS an easy one. Stop the production of electricity using uranium isotopes as a fuel... you IDIOTS.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

More like "let us know how much is leaking this time guys!"

This whole thing is an absolute farce.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The IAEA team believes it is necessary to find a sustainable solution to the problem of managing contaminated water.

Read: Finally someone is being practical and saying what needs to be said. Storing this increasingly massive amount of water is not feasible. Realistically, the only sustainable "solution" is to scrub it as far as possible and release it to the sea.

It is clear that final decision making will require engaging all stakeholders, including TEPCO.

Read: TEPCO must finally come to terms with their massive financial obligations. "Stakeholders" include those who depend on fisheries in the area. While on the grand oceanic scheme of things such releases will have almost no measurable effect, locally, the fisheries will vanish. TEPCO will thus be responsible for providing fair compensation to those whose livelihoods have been destroyed.

On a positive note, Japan has long needed a marine sanctuary off limits to all fishery activity to allow badly needed recovery of its marine resources. It now seems to have one.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The NRA have started inspections at TEPCO's Niigata plant where there are 23 fault lines under the reactors but a report by TEPCO claims they are not active. The NRA has requested an independent investigation which TEPCO have said would take another year when it was trying to restart its reactors by July which their financial planning is based on. TEPCO should be banned from ever running any nuclear plant again.

The nuclear disaster site is never going to stop leaking water into the plant and out into the ocean. Likely to go on for tens of decades.

Different thinking would be just for TEPCO to pump out the water and load it onto sea tankers to remove it to a new site run by a new company which can then clean the water.

There again, I think its time for the gov't to take TEPCO out of the nuclear disaster by forming a new agency to deal with it.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Laguna

Realistically, the only sustainable "solution" is to scrub it as far as possible and release it to the sea.

I think TEPCO scrapped the scrubbing a.k.a.water decontamination last year with all the radioactive water leaks the piping of the machine was having. ( Vinly bags and Duct tape " Real Safe " ) article expired on JT

Glitch hits water decontamination system at Fukushima plant

<http://www.trunews.com/glitch-hits-water-decontamination-system-fukushima-plant/

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wow, the IAEA has urged Japan to consider "controlled" discharge of highly contaminated water into the sea, while recommending a subterranean "freeze wall", to stop it??

It is not highly contaminated water. And the "freeze wall" is to stop or minimize further water from entering the site, but there is still hundreds of tons of water that already exists and needs to be dealt with.

That IS an easy one. Stop the production of electricity using uranium isotopes as a fuel... you IDIOTS

The water they are talking about already exists you IDIOT. If every nuclear plant in the world had shut down on 3/11/11 this water would still exist and have to be dealt with.

I think TEPCO scrapped the scrubbing

No they are currently still scrubbing the water and hope to get approval for full production on the ALPS system. The problem is that it is virtually impossible to remove all radioactive atoms from the water.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

If TEPCO is still decontaminating the water, Why on earth would they need approval????

show a link or two

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is already known ever since TEPCO started the radioactive water decontamination

The problem is that it is virtually impossible to remove all radioactive atoms from the water

Who is building the freeze wall??? Nuclear Gypsies???

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Utrack,

Radioactive Isotopes Does Not Dilute they Contaminate. The ocean is not big enough just ask California at least there, there is testing.

That makes no scientific sense at all. As for California, I assume you are talking about the beach that has higher than normal naturally occuring radioactivity?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The world is not Japan's to pollute as it sees fit! The radioactive contamination of present and future generations that is already occurring from this nuclear crime will condemn the people of the 21st century as misguided ignorant fools.

It is time to find a solution to this problem before we wipe ourselves out.......

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It seems that those so called experts are now deeply in the pockets of TEPCO's pay-offs for even the common person knows that you can not dilute radioactive isotopes from anything.

TEPCO and the government, untill stoped, will continue to buy the favorable reports from anyone just to get the Olympics.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Nuke Village unveiled, finally!

The full disposal can start. The experts said. Let's go!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The water is probably all gone by now.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Wow, the IAEA has urged Japan to consider "controlled" discharge of highly contaminated water into the sea, while >recommending a subterranean "freeze wall", to stop it?? I guess we will have to Google this 72 page report to understand >the logic behind this recommendation.

The big difference is Sea Water vs Ground Water - the later being fresh water stored deep underground within rocks and commonly used as drinking water. Obviously if this becomes contaminated it can have greater consequences as it will be contaminated forever. Sea water isn't used as drinking water so the main danger will be contaminated fish (pretty serious problem itself but less of an immediate danger vs ground water contamination).

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Radioactive particles are heavier than water, so they would propably pile up on bottom of the ocean. This means that some fishes can't be eaten for decades. Some fishes should be ok. Contamination doesn't mean that all fishing have to be banned, it only means that there must be trustworthy monitoring of the contamination.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sure, just change the name of the procedure to "controlled" and it's all hunky dory. No need to do anything though just let it continue leaking out 24/7

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A strange song and dance continues between TEPCO and Governor of Niigata Hirohiko Izumida over restarting the Niigata NPP.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Star-viking

Radioactive Isotopes Do Not Dilute when they land on or are combined with anything be it water, soil, human. They Contaminate whatever it comes into contact with. Take the radioactive cedar pollen being 250,000 Bq now when this stuff lands on the ground, a stream anywhere the level of Bq it has is not diluted. The radioactive cedar pollen will contaminate whatever it touches.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Bear 27840

I suspect optimistic propaganda on JT by some posters maybe they are newer than myself and have a lack of fore knowledge as to the ins and outs of things.. Yeah, I thought the IAEA would do something substantial back in 2011 But Not Anymore. TEPCO owned and Operated by J Govt is not any better than what it was before the buyout "bailout". They have more money is the only change. The Evacuees are still waiting and so are those who have been keeping themselves abreast of the situation....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ultrack

Sorry but your understand is wrong. Radioactive particles will dilute just the same as any other substance. Radioactive cedar pollen will dilute as it is spread, just like non-radioactive cedar pollen dilutes as it is spread.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

more like controlled BS !

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sorry Mike O'Brien

Why are there Hot Spots where radioactive particles land??? In 1955 a study was done on the effects of Tuna that may swim through such Hot Spots even in the Atlantic Ocean. So the Dilution theory is just that Theory.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-pacific-ocean-will-not-dilute-dumped-radioactive-water/31200

1955 memo from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission regarding concerns of the British government over contaminated tuna, “dissipation of radioactive fall-out in ocean waters is not a gradual spreading out of the activity from the region with the highest concentration to uncontaminated regions, but that in all probability the process results in scattered pockets and streams of higher radioactive materials in the Pacific. We can speculate that tuna which now show radioactivity from ingested materials

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sorry Ultrack

Any liquid or finely divided particles dumped in the ocean will be diluted.

It would require a pretty weak mind to believe that there are chunks of water roaming the ocean that never mix with other water. I mean it only violates common sense and a number of laws of physics.

Now it is true that due to the way currents work things won't immediately spread out evenly through the ocean, there will be 'streams' with higher concentrations, but the concentration will be slowly decreased as the material is diluted.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It would require a pretty weak mind to believe that there are chunks of water roaming the ocean that never mix with other water

Yes it would...... Because when radioactive particles come into contact with non radioactive elements those non radioactive elements become radioactive. Say if one would touch bare handed a radioactive particle that emitted a beta frequency of 250 microsieverts the rate of decay is around 7700 CPM. you in turn will be contaminated with the same. It is the same way with water in the ocean. If from fallout or the dumping of water containing radioactive particles with the same frequency as stated above will in turn contaminate what it comes into contact with

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Therefore you will have hot spots even in the ocean. Since radioactive particles do not land everywhere evenly and the concentration of the contamination will never be even. It all depends on what radioactive particles are in the water be it radioactive fuel, fallout or the access dumping of water that contain radio isotopes through contact.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In the whole country of Nihon only J Govt has access to the Nuclear Reactor Radiation Emergency Kits, they have been stockpiling since October 2010. They can pay for and have internal radiation testing done with there salaries being so high and they have access to the medicines in those Emergency Kits no one else has access too.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Mike O'Brien I have a pretty weak mind. The elements in water dilutes very well horisontally, but not so well at all vertically. The difference of temperature causes the water density (and concentration of salt and oxygen) to be different on bottom and the top of the ocean. (Therefore we have dead zones in the oceans.) Of course entropy still happens and the layers of water mix, but it is slow process. The particles in the bottom of the ocean don't dilute at all. (That is why we have oil.) It doesn't mean that we are safe to eat fish, because there live mud dwellers on the bottom and some radioactive particles accumulate to living tissues.

@Utrack Well no. Radioactive particles don't cause the other particles to become radioactive. (This is not always true, but for the sake of the clarity let's just pretend it is.) Radioactivity causes cell damage and that is living tissue contamination. To become radioactive yourself you have to eat, drink or breath radioactive particles inside you, but if these particles are somehow removed, you are not radioactive any more. (The imaginary rad-away medicine in Fallout game series.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Alpha particles have to be ingested in order to have an affect. Beta, Gamma and Neutrons go right through you and yes they have an affect. See the chart on linked page.

http://www.nucleartourist.com/systems/rad.htm

1 ( +2 / -1 )

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Leaked all β of “300m3 leakage accident” was also underestimated / INES level might be increased

The samples about 300m3 leakage accident was also mis-analyzed, according to Tepco. The spokesman stated in the press conference of 2/12/2014.

They found the major leakage of highly contaminated water in August of 2013. 300m3 of contaminated water was assumed to have leaked, and it possibly contained 24,000,000,000,000 Bq of β nuclide to include Strontium-90. (cf, [Tank leakage] 300m3, 24,000,000,000,000 Bq of all β nuclide released / still keeps leaking

http://www.tepco.co.jp/tepconews/library/movie-01j.html

Based on Tepco’s explanation, the wrongly analyzed data can be less than 1/10 of the actual readings. Thus the total volume of leaked all β nuclide can be over 240,000,000,000,000 Bq/m3.

In the end of August, NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority) classified the accident as INES Level. 3 in addition to Level. 7 of Fukushima accident itself.

Having the fact that they underestimated the leaked volume of all β nuclide clear, it is becoming likely that Fukushima accident may be classified as Level.7 + more than 3.

http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/02/leaked-all-%CE%B2-of-300m3-leakage-accident-was-also-underestimated-ines-level-might-be-increased/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mike O Brien

The element containing radioactive isotopes be it air, soil or water, the radioactive isotope has a half life. After the half life and near the end the radioactive isotope is forming what is called the daughter nuclide which in most times is also radioactive except in its final stage wherein the radioactive isotope becomes non radioactive. During its radioactive period it can contaminate elements it comes into contact with via the wind, rain, soil, snow and contaminate animal and man.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Plant life too. The sea vegetables can not be fairing to well....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Radioactive particles do not change non-radioactive particles they come in contact with into radioactive particles. If this were true then a single radioactive particle would ultimately spread to make evrything on the planet radioactive.

If something comes in contact with radioactive contamination it can pick up some of the radioactive particles, just like touching a dusty shelf can transfer dust to your hand. But in both cases after the transfer the suface would then have less dust or radioactive contamination.

And yes there are currents and layers in the ocean that slow mixing, but the mixing still occurs. Just like putting a drop of food coloring into a pitcher of water, ultimately radioactive contamination entering the ocean will get diluted.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

TEPCO photo of the top floor of the No3 reactor the most seriously damaged from the nuclear disaster.

The photo shows the reactor shield plug and in good condition. The cooling pool to the right with the wrecked fuel handling machine still in it.

Since Sept 2012, TEPCO have been removing debris from the top of the reactor building. and from Dec 2013 it started to remove debris from the spent pool.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-hdwYkk3-5P4/UwLiS4ex-oI/AAAAAAAAGvk/Wjhy2E3svSg/s1600/R3OpeFloor2-14-2014-1.jpg

Hand Out http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2014/images/handouts_140214_04-j.pdf

3 ( +4 / -1 )

To add to what Mike O'Brian was saying, under most circumstances radioactive matrials will not create more radioactive materials - one exception that comes to mind is reactor materials which become radioactive due to the strong neutron radiation in the core of nuclear reactors.

As for ocen mixing, recent climate change research shows that increased trade wind activity in the Pacific over the last 20 years has led to increasing vertical mixing, thus bringing more heat down into the deep ocean. Preumably this will have some effect on radioisotopes.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It take 110 days of cesium playing havoc with your cells through the process of its re-absorption these contaminates are re-absorbed through the intestinal track for 110 days and that is if you receive no further contact with cesium. If other incidents of contact occurs the whole process starts all over again.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Your body doesn't re-absorb cesium. And cesium-133, which is not radioactive, has the exact same 110 day biological half life. Also every person on the planet has had a measurable level of radioactive cesium in their bodies since before 3/11/11 and even before Chernobyl.

-2 ( +2 / -3 )

Don't be fooled. Half life only means that the radioactivity is half as effective. Cesium lasts for 30 years. And it gets accumulated in your bones.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

No half life means that half of it is gone in that time. The 110 days is the BIOLOGICAL half-life, the time it takes for 1/2 to be removed from the body. And cesium is analogous to potassium and does NOT concentrate in the bones.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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