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Japan must release Fukushima water into sea: U.S. adviser

39 Comments
By Kevin Krolicki and James Topham

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39 Comments
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Bravo for this man! I support what he says about touden and other things 100%

3 ( +14 / -10 )

I applaude this man, he's thinking of the future. He doesnt want anything to be sugar coated.

3 ( +13 / -9 )

Is Mr. Barrett "looney-tunes!"?

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

"He said concerns raised by South Korea and China over the continued leaks of radiated water at Fukushima “political posturing.”

It was only a suspicion on my part until now. He called it like it is and Japan should listen. Deal with the painful part now before it gets worse.

2 ( +12 / -9 )

TEPCO should understand Fukushima fishermen's feelings about it. When such tons of water is released, it should be released from Tokyo Bay, not from Fukushima. These water belong to Tokyo, not Fukushima.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

But Barrett, who has said he would feed his grandchildren fish caught off the Fukushima coast if the clean-up proceeds as planned, said TEPCO has lost its credibility to reassure a jittery public. “When TEPCO says: ‘Trust me, this water is safe,’ that’s not enough,” he said.

... True, but TEPCO is paying Barrett, so why should I trust him either? No offense Barrett, but just because you're from overseas doesn't mean you're immune to the old adage, "he who pays the piper calls the tune".

3 ( +11 / -8 )

TEPCO is really untrustworthy about such release of the water. If a third international organization check the level, then should be no problem for releasing but not from Fukushima.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Hey, didn't Abe just say the gov't was taking over the water issue "with a new sense of urgency?" Why do we have another TEPCO expert ala bonus foreign mouth-piece making these "should do" statements? Abe, keep at least one pledge and get to work on this task.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Barrett is yet another opportunistic "consultant" hired by TEPCO who is cheerleading the past and current reckless behavior that has earned TEPCO an international hated reputation. Barrett has no solutions or ideas and just pushes that same BS that the public must "accept" their fate so TEPCO can keep on being an international menace and not bother investors with any pesky losses. So far Barrett's solutions are to get some welded tanks and dump everything in the sea. Ultimately taxpayers in Japan are paying for this guy's "expertise". This guy is not some high ranking technical expert, he's a consultant that has been feeding off the US dept of energy consultant trough. Now he is doing the same in Japan. Put him in the same category as the utterly useless Barbara "Mrs. Burns" Judge who did the same thing. Showed up and went to work trying to BS people rather than actually providing solutions. Disband TEPCO, let the banks take their lumps for investing in them. Turn the disaster site over to the NRA and keep all the reactors turned off. Time for Japan's govt. to grow up and start acting like adults.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I agree with this retired Government employee, but something no one in Nuke industry knows is sulfur, yellow dirt, can sulfate the radioactive material into harmless poop. Pub Med and the NIH, neither retired nor duped into thinking radiation is a new deal, Miso sea cucumbers sulfur and iodine which saved the Japanses from the fallout of our first attempt to wipe out the Japanese, look to GE for the fault, look to the periodic table of element for a solution. Got sulfur? Nukes are foolish as long as the Sun shines.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

So let me understand this. He was hired by TEPCO, so his boss is TEPCO who pays him for his advice. And the first thing he says about South Korea and China's concerns about TEPCO releasing radioactive water into the sea is "political posturing"? Did he really say that, or did TEPCO or Japanese government told him to say that? Is it really only South Korea and China who are concerned about released radioactive water into the ocean? You don't think any country has no right to be concerned about ecological damage and the damage to the fishing industry?

Color me skeptical. I'll tell you my reasons why. Because based on the devious lies told by Japanese government and TEPCO in the past, I can't believe anything they say.

The Japanese government and TEPCO are criminally responsible for all the lies, cover ups (including a nuclear melt down 30 years ago at the same plants!), blackmails/threats/dismissals/persecutions against whistle blowers, shoddy construction, taking shortcuts to save on costs, plain incompetence, manufacturing thousands of false safety data and documents, and lies upon more lies. All these happened even before the earthquake/tsunami hit Fukushima in 2011. They were warned by many people about serious flaws but all ignored and covered up through mountain of systematic lies. Watch the German documentary with English subtitles that was produced last year, "Fukushima Lies". It's all still true to this day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGsYdDpUSzg

0 ( +9 / -8 )

Barrett is yet another opportunistic "consultant" hired by TEPCO who is cheerleading the past and current reckless behavior that has earned TEPCO an international hated reputation.

Whether true or not, that is the problem with taking on a single advisor. They screwed that one up badly.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sounds like his main job is to be a PR man for TEPCO.

Also note he said a few months when TEPCO can be trusted by the public. That assumes that the tanks will hold the water and that TEPCO comes up with a workable way to reduce the radiation in the water, both ground water and stored water. That is a lot of questionable ifs in my opinion. Past experience of watching TEPCO casts large doubts on any of it happening.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

He says the crisis is well under control and that this nuclear crisis is a big nothing! Exactly what is his real agenda, is he really independently advising Tokyo, or is Tokyo telling him what to say?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/13/japan-fukushima-cleanup_n_3919731.html

I already posted that he's a mouth piece, a token foreigner, when the news of his hiring was first printed at Japantoday. So no surprise there. The Japanese fishermen are upset but is that also political posturing? I want to see him and his family eat the Fukushima fish and stand by his own words.

-3 ( +5 / -7 )

I guess it's time to Reboot Godzilla, et. al.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Any advice should only be given by independent advisers.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Would the US advisor be giving the same advise if the disaster were in the US?? Hmmm...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan should...once it regains public trust...

a very long time, i think!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

He would feed the seafood from Fukushima to his grandchildren, he says. But he won`t because they do not live there. All just talked sponsored by your friendly, neighbourhood TEPCO (aka SNAFU).

0 ( +4 / -4 )

NNnnoooo! I don't want it released in to the ocean no matter what country it is coming from. It will kill the eco system in the fishing waters around fukushima... and countless others as well. There is no to know what will happen if TEPCO is allowed to do this. Store it and work on the Tec needed to dispose of it safely. Stop creating more of the stuff, cap it and wait for the technology.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

So Mr Barrett would feed his grandchildren did caught off Fukushima?

That's enough for me to instantly dismiss this man as being credible......

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Adviser (mouthpiece) seems more irresponsible than tepco, Fukushima disaster warrants international expertise and serious attention (earliest possible).

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Good lapdog already barking his masters voice. Hardly an impartial view considering his source of income. How about he sit up and beg as well. Have a treat Mr Barrett!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

You just have to listen to the message carefully.

once it (TEPCO) regains public trust

won't happen in my lifetime

can confirm the water has only low levels of radiation

they can't confirm much of anything at the moment

... groundwater would have to be released into the sea along with water that had been treated to remove most radiation - by a system designed by Toshiba Corp

this is the system that is still being tested

But Barrett, who has said he would feed his grandchildren fish caught off the Fukushima coast if the clean-up proceeds as planned...

that's a big "if."
2 ( +4 / -2 )

Anyone who works with pro-nuclear organizations such as the Department of Energy’s Office of Civilian Nuclear Waste Management and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission had better say sweet things about the nuclear-power industry because that is their bread and butter. If they say anything bad they are bad-mouthing the organization and the people they work for.

Therefore, like it or not, I get the feeling that Mr. Barrett is just another con-man who is trying to soothe our uneasiness about the destroyed nuclear power plant at Fukushima.

Pumping contaminated groundwater into the open sea doesn't sound logical. And Mr. Barrett doesn't have to worry about his grandchildren eating fish from that area. I doubt if they will ever settle down there and chow away on the fish. It is we, the residents of Japan, who will have to eat the fish from that area. I don't like the idea of somebody telling me to go ahead and eat questionable food, then have that person return to the safety of his overseas home.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Somebody tell the clueless writer of this article that there is no such thing as "radioactive water". Once a piece contains drivel like this, what is the point of even reading on.

Moderator: Incorrect.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

" The utility is pumping 400 tons of highly radioactive water out of the reactor buildings "

Read no further. Anybody who believes that there is such a thing as "radioactive water" needs to take some basic science classes.

The water they are talking about contains radioactive pollutants. Water itself can not be radioactive. (Take note, JT censors.)

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japan must release Fukushima water into sea: U.S. adviser

Surprizing that fellas such as Barrett and his financiers are not regarded as criminals and held to account or charged for promoting global eco-terrorism...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

“This is healthwise a big nothing,”

But he criticizes TEPCO for saying, "Trust me, this water is safe". Hmmmm...

-1 ( +3 / -3 )

With all of the usual comments about Barrett being a stooge, conman, puppet mouthpiece, etc... some seem to have missed this piece from the article:

Barrett said he urged Hirose to make TEPCO more open to expertise from overseas. Foreign contractors and consultants have been largely excluded from the clean-up.

“I recommend they integrate foreign expertise within the Japanese system,” he said. “It’s something where they know they have to do better.”

Or did I just imagine he said that?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not the Brightest idea as it is already going into the sea if they want to do that why not pump it into a active volcano to get rid of it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Is there a step-by-step plan until completion, or are they going to keep digging storage pits and making above-ground tanks until they finally run out of space?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Tepco hired exactly the sort of foreign mouthpiece they wanted. It was probably an easy pick. He, other so-called experts, has a professional stake in nuclear power. Dumping radioactive water into the ocean is an act of desperation and proof the crisis is not under control.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is there a step-by-step plan until completion, or are they going to keep digging storage pits and making above-ground tanks until they finally run out of space?

Yes, the plan depends on the Toshiba (i think) system of removing most radioactive materials from the water in the tanks, and then releasing the water into the ocean. Groundwater may use the same system, or be released directly into the ocean. Meanwhile, they hope to do something about the fuel rods without making anything go boom.

If the Toshiba system doesn't work, they are stuck. I think the new system is called Alta, but I liked the previous system, called Sarry, because it allowed for some nicer puns.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I live in York, Pennsylvania U.S. of A. This is less than 20 miles from TMI (Three Mile Island). I actually laughed out loud when I read above that Mr. Barrett who "led the clean-up operations after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant" said "he would feed his grandchildren fish caught off the Fukushima coast if the clean-up proceeds as planned" and "This is healthwise a big nothing".

Researchable facts related to the partial meltdown of TMI:

-Birth defects sky rocketed after 1979 in the surrounding area. One particular mutation was infants being born without anal openings. This required surgery within days of birth to prevent septic death. My own kid sister was one of these.

-Virtually every year the Susquehanna River (which Three Mile Island sits in the middle of) is rated the "Dirtiest River in America". Believe me.....that is a competitive race in my country. The scariest part is it doesn't even look it. As a kid we would catch fish that looked "normal" but when we would cut them open they would have multi-fingered lesions inside or the organs would not be where expected.

-In 1979 when the partial meltdown of TMI occurred the U.S. of A. government had to raise the bar on what was considered "safe exposure" to radiations........so they could say we were safe. Enough said on that.

In summary: There is no way Mr. Barrett or any government should be trusted with this. For all I know there may be no way to safely handle this or maybe it is not considered practical or cost effective to do so. For the world's sake though I would suggest that none be accepted as honest in this debacle and every concern of the citizen be held in the highest priority.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wow, the amount of uninformed, even borderline hysterical, comments here is nearly as discouraging as the mess itself. Lots of comments previously whining about not having foreign expertise and now lots immediately dismissing a first step as just another fraud. Thunderbird2 noted something that most here seem to have just dismissed out of hand. Sure this thing has been bungled enough that scepticism is reasonable, but immediate outright dismissal is just another uncritical knee jerk response.

What Barrett is saying is in fact what several experts (including Per Peterson at UC Berkeley) have been saying almost from the start. The water that has been treated (and much of it currently being stored has been) so that all radio-nucleotides havie been removed (with the exception of tritium) is at or below international standards, so releasing it is reasonable and the safer approach - otherwise you are wasting storage that could be used for to be treated water and clearly going down an unsustainable path (you can't build enough non leaking storage to hold all possible water!) Indeed water of this quality is released often enough from various points in France and other processing facilities. Would it be best if none of this existed so no need to release anything? Of course, but we are not in that ideal world at the moment. And while the tritium aspect sucks, it is worth noting that it would be a small fraction of that release by air testing during the '50s and '60s

Lastly, Peterson and others have noted, the real problem is getting the cores taken care of otherwise you are never going to get a handle on this mess, and fooling around with water issues will be the least of your worries. And this fixation on these water issues has delayed that work and the longer they sit in corrosive salt water the harder that task is going to be.

Yes, this whole mess sucks and is discouraging. And yes, nukes should be off the table for energy needs; Fukushima is just to strong an example of how the risk is just too great. This is particularly true for Japan as it has the potential to satisfy all its (electrical) energy needs several times over with Geothermal. Here you are sitting on the very thing that causes major problems (earthquakes & tsunamis) which could be used to more than solve other major problems (energy needs, climate issues, import imbalance).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

GODZILLA will born again soon. This time he will bring MINILLA with him.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, there's surely a lot of criticism about the appointment of the US adviser to TEPCO. I would suggest that you have a problem, with no such ghastly nuclear accident having previously occurred in Japan.

US waste disposal expert, Lake Barratt, did after all, have experience in the disposal of nuclear wastes and the cleanup of the relatively milder accident at Three Mile Island (which involved a PWR, not BWRs as at Fukushima, which are quite a different reactor type). He also had ten years with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Complaints that he is only concerned with the interests of the nuclear industry are both unfair and disingenuous.

As your very, very own system has so clearly proved, you can't have incompetents in charge of your nuclear power programme - how is it that you have so easily forgotten that lesson? You must have advisers who are experienced in the relevant aspects of nuclear power plants. After all, common sense tells us that only perverse activists would take on a job in the nuclear power industry with the objective of trying to destroy all credibility in the technology, so workers in the industry are obviously going to be sympathetic towards the technology. But if any of you are unwilling to accept such a pragmatic approach, so be it.

Yes, the Fukushima disaster has indeed been a terrible shock to the people of Japan, who obviously had so much faith in the safety of their nuclear power programme. And this could still have remained the situation if only TEPCO had taken serious note of your own geologists, who had predicted the possibility of a very high tsunami in that region some years previously, and TEPCO did nothing about it.

The problem with some of the criticisms, as I see it, is that someone so obviously has the wrong and/or exaggerated story, and there are so many people about who, not unreasonably, know little or nothing about nuclear power, who jump on the bandwagon, no matter how inaccurate the original opinions they are repeating were, or may have been.

But as a matter of common sense, who else would you expect to appoint as an adviser than an individual who is knowledgeable about relevant aspects of nuclear power, in this case dealing with nuclear radwastes and regulatory aspects? Such an individual would be the ideal individual to choose, I would have thought.

It is obviously a great pity that no one advised TEPCO that to construct radwaste water storage tanks from panels bolted together with rubber seals between the joints would be disastrous. The sealing has miserably failed, although I am curious why it has occurred. But not to have had steel tanks welded in situ was presumably chosen by TEPCO because the former were cheaper.

So, this radioactive water is leaking out at a rate of about 30 tonnes (= ~30 cubic metres) per day, as I understand, and accumulating by pumping at about 400 tonnes per day. That's a lot of radioactively contaminated water to process and decontaminate and, hopefully, leave with a solid or paste of radwaste to eventually dispose.

But in the meantime, before the leakages can be stopped, what is to be done with the leaking water once it has got into the ground water, and before the vast ground freezing system becomes operational? Like it or not, it has got to be dealt with, and the most elegant way is to allow it to run into the sea.

And here, of course, is where all the problems arise with claims that this leaking radioactive water will contaminate the seabed and fish will end up being radioactive. TEPCO are attempting to find out exactly how serious these concerns are. But such work takes time to get results and assess the data and formulate sensible conclusions.

What would seem to have been overlooked is that the sea is vast, and there are continual movements of it through the tides, plus continuous mixing of the seawater with consequent dilution of whatever it is carrying both as particulates and what is dissolved in it. This dilution is the real factor which eventually reduces the concentration of whatever radionuclides were originally present at the time of its discharge into the sea to a minuscule concentration, which eventually no longer presents any radiological hazard to individuals eating fish that have been caught.

I am not suggesting for one moment that it's in any way satisfactory as a permanent solution to run the overspill radioactive water into the sea, but the main point is that this discharge is not intended to be long term, only transient until all the necessary technological considerations and construction works have been dealt with and completed.

Concerning some of the comments that Lake Barratt is alleged to have made, there's a lot of difference between the Japanese and English(US) languages, and has he either been misquoted, or has some aspect of the translation process gone awry? Oh, yes, of course I appreciate that he would have spoken in English! But what about the translation into Japanese, and then that translation being retranslated back into English? Just a thought.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How much has he been paid to say such a stupid thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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