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. [...]
- 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