Japan Times: Fukushima plant plagued by problems as radioactive material bleeds into Pacific — Radiation level in groundwater now 25,000 times higher than when year began

Published: September 20th, 2014 at 8:47 pm ET
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Japan Times, Sept 19, 2014: Tainted water problems still plague Fukushima, despite some positive signs — More than three years since [3/11] the Fukushima No. 1 power plant is still bleeding tons of toxic radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean… [It’s] developed into a wider problem that is stoking public concern… [Tepco] is still trying to find a way to deal with the plant’s utility trenches, which are filled with highly contaminated water. The trenches, which run beneath the plant, were built to house cables and pipes… installed to bring in seawater for cooling purposes… Leaving the tainted water in the trenches is risky. For instance, if another major quake hits and damages the trenches, the toxic water will escape and contaminate the groundwater. Tepco said the trenches… can’t be drained until the leaks from the buildings are plugged…

Asahi Shimbun, Sept 19, 2014: Local fishermen are crying foul over [TEPCO’s] latest plan to discharge processed contaminated water… into the ocean. TEPCO and the central government held the first explanatory briefing… Their explanation was apparently unconvincing. “I can’t believe anything TEPCO says,” one of the attendees said after the meeting… many members of local fisheries associations opposed the plan on the opening day of the briefing sessions… [Others] expressed concern over the plan’s safety. “If a critical problem should occur, (local fisheries) would be severely damaged,” [fisherman Yoshinori Sato] said. “They wouldn’t be able to recover.” Another member criticized the utility for burdening local fishermen with such proposals, asking, “How many times will we have to make a similar painful decision?”

While Japan’s media outlets are focused on the meetings between government/Tepco and the fishermen over the whether to allow ‘processed’ contaminated water releases, new Tepco data published September 18 reveals strontium-90 concentrations are at record levels in groundwater just 100 feet from the ocean. Gross beta has risen to 720 million becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m³) — and according to Tepco’s most recent strontium-90 tests released September 10 (4 months after the samples were taken), strontium-90 comprises over 95% of the total gross beta at this location — resulting in a Sr-90 concentration of 695 million Bq/m³. At the start of 2014, 28,000 Bq/m³ of gross beta was detected in groundwater from the same well — now 8 months later, the levels are over 25,000 times greater.

See also: Ocean hits record high for radioactive Strontium at all 6 locations near Fukushima reactors — Levels up to 20 times higher than reported last week

Published: September 20th, 2014 at 8:47 pm ET
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