AP: Experts fear giant underground reservoir of extremely contaminated water on verge of entering Pacific at Fukushima — In contact with melted nuclear fuel? A race against the clock — Nobody knows when this will end

Published: August 23rd, 2013 at 3:44 pm ET
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Title: Radioactive Groundwater at Fukushima Nears Pacific
Source: Associated Press
Author: MARI YAMAGUCHI
Date: Aug 23, 2013
h/t Anonymous tip

Deep beneath Fukushima’s crippled nuclear power station, a massive underground reservoir of contaminated water that began spilling from the plant’s reactors after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been creeping slowly toward the Pacific.

Now, 2 1/2 years later, experts fear it is about to reach the ocean and greatly worsen what is fast becoming a new crisis [...]

[...] experts believe the underground seepage from the reactor and turbine building area is much bigger and possibly more radioactive [than highly contaminated water in storage tanks with 80 million Bq/liter], confronting [Tepco] with an invisible, chronic problem and few viable solutions. [...]

To keep the melted nuclear fuel from overheating [funnels] water into the broken reactors [which] leaks into the reactor basements during the cooling process — then through cracks into the surrounding earth and groundwater. [...]

[...] According to a Japan Atomic Energy Agency document, the contaminated underground water is spreading toward the sea at a rate of about 4 meters (13 feet) a month. [...]

The Experts

  • Atsunao Marui, underground water expert at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and member of a government committee studying Fukushima Daiichi’s contaminated water problem: “The water from that area is just about to reach the coast [...] We must contain the problem as quickly as possible.”
  • Toyoshi Fuketa, Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioner: “This is a race against the clock.”
  • Ken Buesseler, marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts: “Any contamination in the groundwater would eventually flow into the ocean. That is very difficult to stop even with barriers.”
  • Masakazu Yabuki, isherman in Iwaki (40 km south of plant): “Nobody knows when this is going to end.”

From Yesterday: Wall St. Journal: They don't know where Fukushima's melted fuel cores are, or in what state -- Expert: "It's important to think of worst-case scenario"... Even greater levels of contamination may be on the way -- Plant "built on a river"

UPDATE: New Scientist: Dump all Fukushima nuclear waste in Pacific, no risk to U.S. -- "They have to make people understand low levels of radiation don't matter" -- "None of this is going to do anything health wise"

Published: August 23rd, 2013 at 3:44 pm ET
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Related Posts

  1. Gov’t: Extremely radioactive tunnels at Fukushima must be drained — Contamination is from melted fuel — Nuclear material going through gravel and into ocean? (VIDEO) July 30, 2013
  2. Japan TV: ‘State’ of Fukushima melted fuel unknown — Asahi: They “still do not know exactly what is going on inside” — U.S. NRC: Increased radioactive leaks at plant are “traveling underground to sea” (VIDEO) January 13, 2014
  3. ‘China Syndrome’? Former Japan Official: Underground rumblings heard in Fukushima plant area night of March 14, 2011 — “Caused by melted fuel underground” (VIDEO) June 22, 2012
  4. Nuclear Engineer: “Very huge catastrophe” for melted fuel to burn into ground — Radioactive material “will go all around the world” once in underground water — Chernobyl made cement barrier below reactor, #Fukushima did not (VIDEO) February 1, 2014
  5. Japan TV: It gets worse every minute at Fukushima plant, groundwater mixing with melted fuel — Gundersen: There’s no end in sight because the nuclear core is in contact with groundwater (VIDEO) January 17, 2014

60 comments to AP: Experts fear giant underground reservoir of extremely contaminated water on verge of entering Pacific at Fukushima — In contact with melted nuclear fuel? A race against the clock — Nobody knows when this will end

  • 21stCentury 21stCentury

    Add more breakwaters in concentric rings around the existing one, and quickly begin processing the outflow with graphene, electrowinning, etc..

    The existing seawall/breakwater is small compared to other seawalls in Japan, it should soon be the biggest protected zone.

    Extra seawalls are an absolute immediate necessity, just as important as upland tank storage.

    –repeat–

    Extra seawalls are an absolute immediate necessity, just as important as upland tank storage.

    –repeat–

    Extra seawalls are an absolute immediate necessity, just as important as upland tank storage.–repeat–

    Extra seawalls are an absolute immediate necessity, just as important as upland tank storage.–repeat–

    Extra seawalls are an absolute immediate necessity, just as important as upland tank storage.–repeat–

    Extra seawalls are an absolute immediate necessity, just as important as upland tank storage.–repeat–

    Extra seawalls are an absolute immediate necessity, just as important as upland tank storage.


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    • We Not They Finally

      And now that they have ACKNOWLEDGED that there was a 50-fold spike in radiation in the ocean just recently, who gets to build the seawalls? Who gets anywhere NEAR this place?I don't even understand what they do there from day to day. They have mostly unskilled, underpaid workers for limited periods of time. There seems to be NO proposed plan they have even followed through on. They could not even build storage tanks that did not immediately start falling apart.

      You obviously feel passionately about your suggestion. (Unless you pressed a repeat button by accident?) And that's a GOOD thing. But as has been pointed out, holding the water IN the plant also saturates the ground there to the point that whatever is left standing collapses. It's a real "damned if you do, damned if you d'ont."


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  • MCBEKRL

    BEKRL knows when it'll end: "Never!" and you can quote BEKRL on that. The other day I had a great discussion about how unbelievably stupid nuclear physicists can be with practical matters. I could have found a homeless person in Yoyogi park that would have managed this disaster better than TEPCO.

    Better yet – anyone without a PhD in nuclear physics (and its coressponding god complex) would have realized that the blueprints for Fukushima Daiichi would become a ticking time bomb, all along.

    When do people start going to jail for this?


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  • razzz razzz

    Now we know why TEPCO was in such a hurry to build these underground barriers on the seaside of the reactors, they knew all along what was happening underground.


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  • ruppert

    It's probably already been flowing into the Pacific Ocean but they do this pretend game where we tell you this horrible thing that could happen and guess what? We find out later it has already happened and it's even worse.

    This is the TEPCO style of releasing information to the public.

    Of course they will bow and say how "Really….Really" sorry they are.

    How many times are we are gonna go through this?


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    • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

      As long as we put up with the lies and continue to shop at Walmart, buy cars, and act like everything is fine.


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    • We Not They Finally

      ruppert, "probably already" — bingo!!

      And although it is GOOD that it is getting more coverage, many reporters still seem clueless. Like there is not even any mention of CORIUMS and MELT-THROUGHS. It's presented like, let's just go solve the engineering problem. Painful to watch. And it will be even more painful when they finally DO grasp the magnitude.


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  • Lacsap Lacsap

    I found/posted a while back following article and it needs a repost:

    Deep below the beds of Siberia's giant man- made Lake Karachai, a thick layer of highly radioactive salt in the underground water supply is leaching its way, slowly but surely, towards open rivers and ultimately the outside world.

    Lake Karachai, in the Chelyabinsk region, has served as a dump for liquid radioactive waste formed by the Mayak Production Association. The Mayak facilities, located near the city of Chelyabinsk, was the largest production site for weapons grade plutonium in the Soviet Union during the Soviet era.

    The 'plume' of salts, irradiated by decades of top secret Soviet era nuclear waste dumping at Lake Karachai in the southern Urals, is creeping its way through rock and soil at a speed of 80 metres a year. At present it is within 1.5 to 2 kilometers of the most dangerous zone.

    Fed by a lake as radioactive as the cloud of debris that shadowed Europe after the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, if the plume reaches the River Techa and the Arctic, the effect on the precious eco- systems of Western Siberia and further afield could be devastating..


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  • rockyourworld

    JUST DONT HURT THE ECONOMY! LOL


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  • weeman

    I don't know when it will end, but I do know how it will end up, with the elimination of 99.9 of the life forms on this plant, that amount of radioactivity entering the ocean is not sustainable and if we do not find a way of preventing ocean contamination, we are done for as the bioaccumulation intensifies, right up the food chain to you.
    Please try to understand that they cannot put the genie back in the bottle, as it is out of mankind control and knowledge, the best we can hope for is mitigation, so sad.
    all in the name of boiling water, kind of ironic since we came from the ocean and water will be our demise.


    Report comment

    • We Not They Finally

      Obviously, it was never done just to have more efficient boiling of water for electricity. It was never more efficient, cheap, or anything less than deadly dangerous.

      It's just so demoralizing too. We grew up in a world where WWII was supposed to be the war to end all wars. But that segued right into the 70-year-old lie that is now dooming us without a military shot being fired. The enemy is apparently all of us now, including the innocent animals and plants.


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  • ftlt

    A race against the clock????

    We need to find some "product" that eats radioactive particles that does not do harm to other things… A magic wand like tool..


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    • AntonButler

      How about the sun of our solar system,have you tried that?
      The sun emits enough power to
      raise the temperatures of all earths oceans to 100celcius,
      and to convert it all to steam,
      IN 4.5 seconds !!!!!!!!!
      somebody somewhere has some serious muscles.


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      • We Not They Finally

        You must be kidding. We cannot even protect ourselves from an outrageous spike in deadly UV-B radiation (not UV-A which is what we used to call "normal sunshine")because of holes in the ozone layer.

        Humanity did not even cause ALL of that (just "a lot"!) — the whole solar system is warning — Jupiter has lost rings, Mercury's ozone layer is damaged, Venus is warmer, etc.

        I don't know that we will be looking to the Sun for help any time soon!


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    • We Not They Finally

      fttt, the only place I've seen such an invention was a brilliant scientist named Radha Roy (now deceased) — a genius from India who wound up at the University of Arizona — who invented a method of shooting out a neutron stream which did not destroy radiation per se — but it stripped electrons off of molecules, so that radioactive elements became NON-radioactive. Like plutonium got turned into non-radioactive lead.

      What's scary though, is that there seems to be no record of PATENTS. It is possible that his patents were simply STOLEN, then reserved for nefarious use — like help the privileged and let the rest of us die(??)

      Understand, I have NO hard info about that! — it's just very strange that there seems to be no record of patents for the one thing that actually might help!!


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Yep, this "massive underground reservoir" story makes sense, vs the "tank with leak" one. Something big is going on underground, and has the government freaked out.


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  • SS4U SS4U

    If you are expecting justice, don't hold your breath.
    You see, the destroyers do as they please without consequences. Truth be told, they are rewarded for their destruction of the environment and people's lives. If you have any doubts, take a look see at Wall Street and the Gulf Of Mexico.
    They no pay. Not now. Not ever.


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  • SS4U SS4U

    Do what's going on underground ?
    The corium is going to hit the water. No stopping it.
    Massive explosions will release radioactivity into the atmosphere.
    Meanwhile, radioactive water is flowing into the Pacific.

    They knew this would happen. We here knew it, too.
    Peace and love to all innocent people and creatures of our planet.
    And to the nuclear criminals ? You are screwed too


    Report comment

  • Mats

    When will it end?

    I have some friends believing in astrology and they´ve showed me that the Uranus walks in the sign of Aries at…11.3.2011.

    "Uranus plays an important role as the provocateur, the bringer of the cosmic wake-up call for both individuals and the collective as a whole. Just when we relax into our comfortable, stable lives, Uranus disrupts the scene."

    And Aries is the cardinal sign of fire, the spark.

    "Because Uranus stays in one sign for SEVEN years, it is often the planet that is considered the testing ground of the "disciples". Often the experiences, during a SEVEN year cycle of Uranus in a particular sign, bring in the same type of challenges over and over again, regardless of what we do, and regardless of the efforts to thrust change. It is as if the events are not connected to our actions at all, but instead are occurring to see how we "respond" to the events. This is especially true in those events that are seemingly unfairly set against us. These type of events are the tell-tale sign of this SEVEN year testing ground for disciples of Truth."

    > http://planetwaves.net/astrologynews/369055638.html


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  • Wynd Wynd

    Saddest fact of all.
    Nothing has been done that could be done.
    No factual specifics have emerged.

    Now we're swimming in endless worries about the water.
    What about the plutonium.

    Shimatsu is worried about the coriums he says there is a way to fix it. If what he describes is doable it's both simple and effective.
    YET not one bit of energy or direction to fix anything.

    http://bit.ly/12gVGfg and http://bit.ly/152YNxX

    the water issue is so unsolvable…how about they get things
    done before it sinks into the sea.


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    • We Not They Finally

      Shimatsu is a good guy. Didn't even know that he said that. But WHEN did he say it? I don't know that he thinks that now at all.

      NOBODY seems to know how to even GET TO the coriums. And the whole plant is sitting on an aquifer!!


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  • rockyourworld

    someone shouldve started a clean up fund for fukushima. obviously tepco cant afford to do what has to be done.


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    • We Not They Finally

      The TEPCO crowd needs to be personally bankrupted of every penny of their own money. That's just the tiniest baseline if you want to raise money. Don't care if they personally wind up in a dungeon with nothing to eat. They are responsible for what will be the ongoing death of millions.

      "TEPCO can't afford…" Please. Don't even say that. it's too upsetting.


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  • rockyourworld

    maybe a telethon to save the world from fuku and dont put a politician in charge of handling the money


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  • rockyourworld

    anyone watching? is that fog or smoke? possibly heavy black smoke?


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  • rockyourworld

    tbs/jnn either it was a quick moving fog, smoke or steam. it came and went quickly


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  • We Not They Finally

    "Leak"? "Seepage?" "Creeping slowly?" Are they out of their f-ing minds??


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  • FXofTruth

    What is it about, "we are screwed" that people seem to not understand?
    There's no technology to deal with any of this.

    Even the oceans are finite…you can't endlessly pump water on these 3 meltdowns indefinitely. Thousands of years…many thousands of pumps will eventually fail fighting this disaster. The pumps will have to be changed every few years by someone still alive 100, 300, 500, 800, 1500, 2500, 5,000 years from now! Sounds absurd doesn't it?

    Nuclear Power has brought Mankind to the end of it's existence on Earth. Billions of people are unaware or ignoring facts that their "end of life" is fast approaching.

    We are witnessing the unfolding Armageddon of a nuclear war where no country will survive this slow moving enemy that is and will cover every square foot of the planet, in time. All animals, all sea life, and all human life will either die or be irreparably damaged.

    It's over.
    The only thing left is to wait for the sicknesses to overwhelm each of us.


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  • Gasser Gasser

    Think about this folks; there will come a day in a few years, when container ships, food/oil inter island supply barges, transportation ferries, military ships, Sub’s, and any ocean fishing boat will become so contaminated they will be rendered absolutely useless. Mark my words I could logically factually see this coming two+ years ago.

    Fortunately I’m 72 with no family, only off road and street motorcycles I race that hopefully may take me out at any time doing what I love to do before I get to contaminated and weak~~~Go fast take chances~~~Gasser


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  • Sol Man

    Money, PM's, whether you have them in quantity or none at all it doesn't matter one iota. What about ELE is it that you are not comprehending? Now you all with the nine castles, mountain top hideouts, islands and monster mega-pleasure craft you are the ones that could have done something to change the course of humanity- but you never did because it was all about you. Where's that next castle your going to build?


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