Senior Scientist: Chernobyl was nothing with potential of Fukushima right on ocean — No way to contain all this radioactive water — You can’t stop groundwater flow — Every bit of news we’re getting is radioactivity numbers are going up

Published: August 22nd, 2013 at 5:47 pm ET


BBC News, Aug 22, 2013: Dr Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who has examined the waters around Fukushima. “It is not over yet by a long shot, Chernobyl was in many ways a one week fire-explosive event, nothing with the potential of this right on the ocean.” “We’ve been saying since 2011 that the reactor site is still leaking whether that’s the buildings and the ground water or these new tank releases. There’s no way to really contain all of this radioactive water on site.” “Once it gets into the ground water, like a river flowing to the sea, you can’t really stop a ground water flow. You can pump out water, but how many tanks can you keep putting on site?” […] “Our biggest concern right now is if some of the other isotopes such as strontium 90 which tend to be more mobile, get through these sediments in the ground water,” said Dr Buesseler. “They are entering the oceans at levels that then will accumulate in seafood and will cause new health concerns.”

National Geographic, Aug 22, 2013: Buesseler said he was concerned that the high level of radiation from the leaking tank might just be a harbinger of what is to come if more of the other temporary tanks begin to fail.  But he’s even more worried by revelations of leaks and other problems at the plant, which lately have been coming with dismaying frequency. “There is still a lot of contamination at Fukushima—in the land, in the buildings, and now from these tanks,” Buesseler said. “Every bit of news that we’ve been getting is that the [radioactivity] numbers are going up.” “I’m becoming less confident that [TEPCO] can contain the problem,” he said.

See also:

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Published: August 22nd, 2013 at 5:47 pm ET


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15 comments to Senior Scientist: Chernobyl was nothing with potential of Fukushima right on ocean — No way to contain all this radioactive water — You can’t stop groundwater flow — Every bit of news we’re getting is radioactivity numbers are going up

  • weeman

    In many respects he is right, but radioactive isotopes have a very long life, so it may take a long time but the ground water that is contaminated beneth Chernobyl will slowly but surely make its way to the ocean and contaminate everything in its path.

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    The danger of tritium:

    Tritium has a specific activity of 9,800 curies per gram of the pure isotope. Comparatively speaking, the specific activity or rate of decay of toxic radioactive isotopes such as strontium-90 is 140 curies per gram and for cesium-137 88 curies per gram. These two radioactive isotopes are common to atomic bomb fallout and are known to pose significant human health consequences.

    Tritium is clinically shown to be more effective at damaging and destroying living cells than gamma rays.

    Precisely because tritium is identical to the hydrogen atom, it is able to incorporate itself at the most intimate biological levels where it effectively delivers its short ranged biologically destructive energy. Tritium rapidly exchanges with hydrogen atoms in nature including within the biological make up of all organic life.

    From ZeroHedge

    • Mack Mack

      Also, 62TBq (terabecquerel = trillion Becquerel) of Strontium is reported to have been released into the Pacific Ocean from the meltdowns. (This number must be even higher now with all of the leaks)

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Water surrounds all of Japan. Hope a nuclear scientist comes up with a solution for this.

  • mairs mairs

    “There is still a lot of contamination at Fukushima—in the land, in the buildings, and now from these tanks,” Buesseler said.


  • Sickputer

    March 11, 2011 – August 26, 2013:
    Fukushima: 900 Days to Doomsday

    Blast from the past:

    "Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools.

    They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP).

    The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daiichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel)."

    SP: So if all the nuclear payload of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disperses by air and sea…that poison exceeds 40 years of 2,000 nuclear bomb tests, all of Chernobyl, and all of the "normal" radioactive emissions emitted by the over 500 reactors that have operated since 1951.

    30 days ago Japanese power brokers were licking their chops in hopes of restarting the 48 idled nuclear plants. Only two restarted since 311…any bets on their hopes for the idled 48? 🙂

    • Jebus Jebus

      Actually the two that are running will shut down next month

      Japan to go nuclear-free during safety checks

      Kansai Electric Power, which runs both reactors at the Oi nuclear plant in western Japan, said the units will go offline on September 2 and 15 respectively for an indefinite duration.

      Japans last chance to go free of nuclear into the samurai sunset…

      They are flat broke and outa time, it's over…

      Can anyone give one valid reason to restart any of them?

    • Sickputer

      BTW…just to show you the nuclear liars are not exclusive to Japan:

      Despite the fact all 50 of the Japanese reactors were shut down after March 11, 2011 and only 2 are operating 896 days later(6 were at Fukushima Daiichi and we know at least three at Daiichi are experiencing catastrophic meltdowns/melt-throughs/melt-outs) the European Nuclear Society official website acts like they are all still operating normally:

      Japan 50 44,215 (MW production)

      SP: Liar, liar, pants on fire.

      And if any of the Euro nuclear scientists were sitting on the ledge at Reactor 2 at Daiichi their DNA would literally be cooked inside from the intense nuclear fires in about 10 minutes.

      The water pollution at Daiichi is indeed terrible. But if the truth were really told about the air releases of poisonous micro particles rising into the Jetstream and traveling around the globe…896 days of nuclear fires at Fukushima…you can compare that to 11 days at Chernobyl.

      They are not effectively cooling the coriums…the plant is totally out of control and they know it. It's just a holding action for the benefit of world bankers. Slowing the inevitable collapse of the Japanese economy.

  • starspire starspire

    Hi Weeman,

    Gorbachev ordered miners to build an under-reacotr "dam" after the event, and this took them 30 days, per the following video:

    You should watch this, because it shows just how seriously the Gorbachev took their crisis, and just how unseriously we are taking Fukushima.


    • MoonlightEmpire MoonlightEmpire

      Yes, that video is very good. It, and many like it, help people to put Fukushima in perspective because they can see the human response to Chernobyl as compared to Fukushima. The Russians didn't beat around the bush; they knew what happened, and they knew what would happen if they did nothing. They got to work right away.

      As far as what Weeman said above about the radionuclides in Chernobyl reaching the oceans, he is very correct. Many people who watch the video you posted about Chernobyl think that all is well there because the corium supposedly stopped, and didn't make it to the aquifer. The key thing to know, though, is that Russian officials stated directly that the aquifer under the plant supplied drinking water to most/all of Russia and much of Europe, yes?

      That corium will stay where it is until the sarcophagus above it turns to dust and blows away in the radioactive wind…all the while, rainwater will be seeping through the holes and cracks, leeching the corium into the aquifer. It is inevitable. All this, and there was very little water used by the Russians…

      Whatever is left of the splattered Coriums on the Daiichi site are constantly getting flushed with water, directly into the soil and the ocean.

      Fukushima is a high-speed train wreck in slow motion, in fast-forward.

  • ftlt

    Betcha they pipeline it off shore to an deep ocean trench..

    Not saying that is the best fix…. Just think that is what they do with it…

    They burnt the stuff… Why not treat the ocean a nuclear sewer… It would not be the first time!!!

  • Kassandra

    Note the bandwagoning around Tepco's incompetence. Now Buesseler is joining in.

    I hope it means there is a plan in place to bring in an emergency response group to try and stop the criticalities.

    I truly thought the plant might explode again on August 20th when the emissions were frightening in their volume and color and when the bright lights flared with unprecedented brightness.

    Please, please evacuate people in Japan still located near the reactors and please start testing food and water everywhere directly downwind.

    • ftlt

      Kass: Yeah, this is all about finding a fall entity while everyone one else scrambles for deep cover..

      Chelsea Manning is the bad guy poster child for the Iraq war now not the perps…

      Snowdon and Wikileaks are the hunted bad guys for telling the truth and not the perps…

      Something is far beyond broken…

      Our so called leaders will address nothing that they are told not to by their handlers..

      We're screwed and FUFU is just the last nuke to go… Wonder where the next one will be at (close to home??) or the next war for that matter or quiet genocide or oil spill or super storm or pandemic or famine…

      All are preventable to one degree or another – even pandemics…

      In the word of Kurt Vonnegut, "And so it goes"

  • nedlifromvermont

    I don't understand why TepCo acts like the only land for its storage tanks is land they already own??? What, they don't want to spend any government money buying up the vacated industrial and farm land stretching for miles in every direction around the plant??? They don't think they could get a good price for that vacated real estate in Futuba?? Huh?

    Or maybe they still think the people are going to be able to move home in a year or two million? Nice place to raise jellyfish children is what I'm hearing!!

    Thanks be to GE.

  • jec jec

    Good for you, Dr. Ken. Thank you for your 'ships of opportunity' efforts, testing of potential contamination locations, and so on.All against the main stream! I do not think people understand the difficulty of going against the majority, even when you are CORRECT! We, the various cruisers of the oceans, thank you. We know you have been facing a difficult, and UNFUNDED effort.