AP: Over 30 million tons of nuclear waste in Fukushima alone — Smoking mounds of disaster debris, possibly from spontaneous combustion

Published: March 10th, 2013 at 6:46 am ET
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Title: Japan’s cleanup lags from tsunami, nuke accident
Source: AP
Author: MARI YAMAGUCHI and ELAINE KURTENBACH
Date: Mar. 10, 2013

[...] It will leave Fukushima, whose huge farm and fisheries industry has been walloped by radiation fears, with 31 million tons of nuclear waste or more. Around Naraha, huge temporary dumps of radioactive waste, many football fields in size and stacked two huge bags deep, are scattered around the disaster zone

The cleanups extend beyond Fukushima, to Iwate in the north and Chiba, which neighbors Tokyo, in the south. And the concerns are not limited to radiation. A walk through areas in Miyagi and Iwate that already were cleared of debris finds plenty of toxic detritus, such as batteries from cell phones, electrical wiring, plastic piping and gas canisters.

Japan has the technology to safely burn up most toxins at very high temperatures, with minimal emissions of PCBs, mercury and other poisons. But mounds of wood chips in a seaside processing area near Kesennuma were emitting smoke into the air one recent winter afternoon, possibly from spontaneous combustion.

Workers at that site had high-grade gas masks, an improvement from the early days, when many working in the disaster zone had only surgical masks, at most, to protect them from contaminated dust and smoke. [...]

See also: Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida condemns disposal of disaster debris from Iwate Prefecture as general waste as a “criminal act”

Published: March 10th, 2013 at 6:46 am ET
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6 comments

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6 comments to AP: Over 30 million tons of nuclear waste in Fukushima alone — Smoking mounds of disaster debris, possibly from spontaneous combustion

  • Sickputer

    From the AP article: "the cleanup of a 20-kilometer (12-mile) segment of an expressway whose worst contamination exceeds allowable radiation limits by 10 times will cost 2.1 billion yen ($22.5 billion), said Yoshinari Yoshida, an Environment Ministry official.

    "While decontamination is a must, the government is bearing the burden. We have to consider the cost factor," said deputy Environment Minister Shinji Inoue as he watched workers pressure wash the road's surface, a process Yoshida said was expected to reduce contamination by half."

    SP: The other "half" is merely washed into drinking water and soil to be blown in the wind for centuries. The myth that you can incinerate or wash off radiation will bankrupt Japan.

    Decontamination does not work unless the removed isotopes are stored in containment. They would be better to stay away from the worst areas and stop all major decontamination efforts. They are just pushing radioactive particles from Spot A to Spot B.

    It's just public propaganda to convince the public the land can be reclaimed without paying permanent reparations. But like the old fallacy of putting butter on a fresh third degree burn, these politicians are simply ignoring scientific facts… radiation out of the reactor vessel is an absolute ecological nightmare with no solution except for prompt evacuation for centuries.


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    • We Not They Finally

      Burning ALSO "just pushes radioactive particles from Spot A to Spot B." And there is no "safely" burning at all. "Spot B" becomes the atmosphere itself. Then again, we're asking sociopathic criminals like TEPCO to suddenly act reponsible?


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    • hbjon hbjon

      Since the exact status of the 6 plants is unknown by us, imagine a scenario where the the china syndrome's have combined and formed a mega china syndrome. Temps are reaching critical levels and water has no affect on it. Would they evacuate or try to blame the explosion on a suicide bomber that was able to swim undetected into the harbor? Let's ratchet up our star wars defenses. Be dilligent at sea. Create a 50 mile no-mans land around Fukushima. China syndrome is not like ordinary waste, it does have ongoing fission. This is why it continues to travel through rock and sand. Perhaps the only thing that can stop uncontrolled fission would be a massive explosion. Then you would get ordinary waste. I'm gonna take me an aspirin.


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  • I don't think 'imagine' is needed – the isotopes will have 'chromatographed' down to where the heaviest & hottest are all at the same depth. A 'mud' explosion is quite possible. As North Korea's little nukes produce 5 Richter, something that's churning out 100 Hiroshimas a day may well make Fukushima an inland sea..


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  • Usefulbreather

    Why not stop the bleeding by creating a large cavern beneath the reactor site, using tunnel boring machines. Once completed, they could trigger a collapse and create a giant sinkhole for the entire mess to fall into. They could then dump lead, earth, and concrete into the mess until it stops emitting airborne isotopes. Once it is buried, they can focus on land reclamation, until then they are just putting on a show for the public…a very unbelievable show.


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    • hbjon hbjon

      We don't know the status of the fuel. Is any of the fuel accessible to machines or people? Any fuel that can be removed, should be removed before demolition. There really are no mitigating circumstances in the F word situation. The disaster is being observed and things are learned, but that knowledge is being kept close to the vest. Two years and situation remains as hopeless as ever. We all share a huge scientific interest in the status of the china syndromes, but I'm afraid (understandably) we will remain mushrooms for the duration. Peace and good luck to all.


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