Donnerstag, 22. August 2013

Mainstreaming Fukushima - The Truth is out there

“This time no one dropped a bomb on us … We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.” 
                                                                     Haruki Murakami, Japanese best-selling author and philosopher

Crippled reactor 4 - via Kyodo
The past  two weeks were a breakthrough for the awareness of the situation in Fukushima...internationally. Whereas International media are quite accurately depicting the worsening situation in Fukushima and quite correctly pointing out the high chance of an international decade long catastrophe, the Japanese Media are still in a total blackout. This ignorance peaked yesterday in the reopening of the beaches in Fukushima City when international experts warn of a possible thousand year long contamination of the food chain and life in the Pacific ocean.

What is leaking in the moment & What you need to know

Leak Problem 1: Storage Tanks for radioactive waters
2-3 tanks for storing used highly-radioactive waste water from exploitation and processing are currently leaking and having been classed by the operation firm (Tepco) as an INES-3 "serious accident"

"The leak, which has not been plugged, is so contaminated that a person standing 50 cm away would, within an hour, receive a radiation dose five times the average annual global limit for nuclear workers. After 10 hours, a worker in that proximity to the leak would develop radiation sickness with symptoms including nausea and a drop in white blood cells" (via Japan Today via Reuters)

Leak Problem 2: Underground Water & Quench/Cleaning Water leak
Water from clean up processes but also tsunami water continues to sink into the ground, thus poisoning the groundwater but also escaping in large amounts into the Pacific. This process cannot be stopped. We fail the technology to stop such processes. 
"Frankly, I don’t believe so. I think we will continue to release radioactive material into the ocean for 20 or 30 years at least. They have to pump the water out of the areas surrounding the nuclear reactor. But frankly, this water is the most radioactive water I’ve ever experienced. I work directly over a nuclear reactor cores during refueling outages. And the water directly over a nuclear reactor core when the plant is operating is a thousand times less radioactive than this water. (Arie Gundersen via"

Leak Problem 3: Ridiculous amount of Radiation released: 

The Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety(Japan) said the amount of the isotope that flowed into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant between March 21 and mid-July reached an estimated 27.1 quadrillion becquerels(Caesium-137). A quadrillion is equivalent to 1,000 trillion. [...]The report also said the Pacific was polluted at an exceptional speed because the plant stands in a coastal area with strong currents (Tepco via Kyodo-Agency via)

July, 2013: It is believed that more than 5,000 tons of radioactive water still remain in the pit ... and trenches after flowing from the No. 2 reactor building to the turbine building and, then, into the pit.
(Asahi-Media via enenews)
July 28 : A cable trench running under the turbine building of the No. 2 reactor [...] contained 2.35 billion becquerels [per liter] of cesium and 750 million becquerels of other, unnamed radioactive substances, including strontium, that emit beta rays. (Japan Today)
N.B the norm is 150bq !

Leak Problem 4: Fueltanks in miserable shape:
Like I have reported here previously, the leaks in the fuel tanks are still the biggest problem. Yesterday during recuperation of used fuel rods in the cooling fuel tanks a major reaction appeared as workers tried to pull out the radioactive rods. The momentary situation was very well resumed in yesterday's RT-Online article by Christopher Busby, European Committee on Radiation Risks, University of Ulster:

This showed that there would be some 200,000 extra cancers in roughly 10 million population in the 200km radius of the site in the next 10 years, and 400,000 over 50 years. (in 2011)
... Probably because it is now clear that the saturation of the ground from all the pumping water for cooling the several reactors and spent fuel pools has destabilized the foundations of the buildings, TEPCO is bringing forward its operation to try and deal with what is perhaps the most dangerous of the four sites, the spent fuel pond of Reactor 4. For this pond contains a truly enormous amount of radioactive material: 1,331 spent fuel grids amounting to 228.3 tons of Uranium and Plutonium buried inside a swimming pool which has already dried out once and exploded. That explosion blasted a significant, but unknown, quantity of lethally radioactive bits and pieces of fuel element around the site (where I heard they were bulldozed into the ground - who knows?), but it also blew the top off the building, covered the fuel elements under the water with rubble and pieces of crane machinery, and no doubt twisted and melted a large proportion of the remaining spent fuel. Then what happens? Not quite Armageddon, but as far as Japan is concerned, almost. I bet they have contingency plans to evacuate the northern island to Korea, China, anywhere. A lot of this radiation will end up in the USA, a long way downwind, admittedly, but then there is an awful lot of radioactivity involved. 

Leak Problem 5: It's illegal but the last option:

The mass dumping of highly radioactive water (measured at 7.5 million times the normal allowed levels) into the Pacific Ocean is not just an environmental disaster; it’s also a violation of international law. The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, passed in 1972, forbids nations and companies from dumping toxic wastes into the ocean. (See Maritime Convention on Prevention of Pollution by waste and toxic matter dumping also named London Convention or L72)

In a nutshell:
The Fukushima power plant is leaking unstoppably for the next decades from many ends, with the highest amount of radioactivity ever measured. The sheer amount and speed in which it is dispersed into the Pacific ocean and starts pollution the environment and food chain (P.S: Bluefin tuna in Californian Waters are already spiking high amounts of radioactive isotopes) is leading towards the biggest man-made environmental disaster which could lead to millions of casulties.

What needs to be done:
- Harm Reduction
- Try to stop leaks where possible (Groundwater leaks virtually impossible to stop)
- Dispatch Military forces to help with the cleanup, JDF & International Troops
- Start an immediate international fund for relief 
- Declare the North, Central and South-Eastern Pacific a fishing-free zone, monitor closely the situation
- Stop eating fishing and shellfish products from the pacific ocean

Further Reading and Sources:
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