PBS NewsHour’s ‘Return to Fukushima’, Aug 6, 2014: NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien [...] has traveled to Fukushima three times and six times entered the exclusion zone, which he described as a “post-apocalyptic landscape of abandoned towns, frozen in time.” We’ve stitched his latest reports together into this documentary-length video. They include his tour of the hazardous Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and a look at the health of marine life off the coast of Japan [...] Plus, a never-before-seen exclusive tour of Fukushima Daini, Daiichi’s sister plant, which narrowly escaped the same fate.
- 3:30 in – Miles O’Brien, PBS: 3 of [Fukushima Daiich's] cores are now melted down, still steaming hot, their steel containment structures breached. Engineers believe some of the nuclear fuel has melted right through the steel containment vessels on to a concrete basement floor, where it is exposed to groundwater. [...] Each and every day, about 100,000 gallons of fresh groundwater seeps into the basements of the plant, where it becomes contaminated with a witch’s brew of radionuclide. [...] No one disputes the plant is steadily leaking radiation-tainted water into the sea.
- 14:00 in – O’Brien: [Naohiro Masuda, leader of Fukushima Daiichi’s decommissioning company and head of Fukushima Daiini during 3/11] explained where the melted nuclear fuel has gone.
- 14:05 in — Masuda: Unfortunately, the fuel itself is exposed.
- 14:10 in — O’Brien: Melted through?
- 14:15 in — Masuda: Melted through the pressure vessel, and coming down to this room and it goes down to the floor.
- 17:30 in — Crystal Breier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: This is Fukushima water, this is from our cruise this past September. We found there’s still contamination. […] It’s been persistent, it hasn’t gone away. It’s indicating that the reactors are leaking out more cesium — and there is still a problem.
- 18:15 in – O’Brien: The plume of water tainted with radiation from Fukushima is only now reaching the other side of the Pacific. This has prompted an online tsunami of pseudoscience, blog rumors and wild accusations [...]
- 32:45 in – O’Brien: Of course local health officials have been following the evacuees in the Fukushima region and they say there have been more than 1,600 deaths attributed to stress. In the end, perhaps the biggest risk associated with nuclear energy might very well be the fear of nuclear energy. Thanks for watching.
- Watch the PBS broadcast here
Published: August 7th, 2014 at 2:36 am ET