KGW (NBC channel in Portland, OR), Mar 7, 2016 (emphasis added): Crisis continues 5 years after Fukushima — Radiation in the Pacific Ocean near Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is at levels as high, or higher, than has been measured in the past three years, as the crippled plant continues to bleed contamination into the sea, new results from a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution research cruise show. “We think it’s related to the ongoing leaks,” said Ken Buesseler, a Woods Hole chemical oceanographer… “It’s a little surprising and contrary to claims they’ve stopped all flow. So we’re not out of the woods yet.”… Unlike Chernobyl, however, this crisis played out slowly, and continues today, on both sides of the Pacific… In October 2015, Buesseler’s team took new samples from as close as a half-mile away from the nuclear power plant. Levels there remain elevated, he said, confirming continued releases from the plant… “The fact that it’s still leaking is always of concern.”
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mar 7, 2016: Fukushima Site Still Leaking After Five Years, Research Shows… Buesseler [sampled off Fukushima] in October 2015… his analysis of cesium and strontium indicate releases from the plant are not yet “under control,” a statement that has been used by the Japanese government to describe the situation… [C]esium levels have remained relatively constant… “we are not seeing the steady decrease we would expect to see off Fukushima if all sources had stopped; rather, we are finding values are still elevated, which confirms that there is continued release from the plant.”… The highest level of cesium Buesseler’s team found in a sample taken off Japan in October 2015 measured 200 Becquerels per cubic meter… Strontium, too, is not falling as expected… [Scientists] have found that strontium is not decreasing as fast as cesium. Whereas there was approximately 40 times more cesium than strontium in the waters off Japan in 2011, by 2013, there was approximately 10 times more cesium than strontium The concern lies in the thousands of tons of strontium still stored in tanks at the nuclear power plant and accumulated in buildings and soils, some of it still leaking into the ocean.
Scientific American, Mar 8, 2016: Crippled Fukushima Reactors Are Still a Danger… [M]ajor questions still loom today… [S]ome scientists are complaining that important questions about the disaster’s impact are not being addressed. Authorities, they suspect, are subtly discouraging certain kinds of scientific research, possibly because they fear findings that could further alarm the public… This February, the company reported a spike in strontium levels at the plant site… Remarkably, research on Fukushima’s impact on the marine ecosystem is even more scarce [than on land]—even though the disaster represented the single largest pulse of radioactivity ever injected into an ocean… [T]he cesium concentration… many kilometers off Fukushima remains well above pre-accident levels… Another concern is radioactive strontium. Scientists say levels in seawater near the plant are not declining, possibly because of recurrent leaks from the on-site tanks. “You could actually see in the ocean when one of these tanks would leak—you’d get a big spike in Strontium-90,” Buesseler notes… Indeed, unanswered questions abound… The Japanese government seems to be cutting off funds for monitoring radionuclides in water alongside Fukushima, Buesseler says… [A]nother Japanese scientist, who asked not to be named, claimed that whereas grants are readily available for researchers whose projects are unlikely to discover significant impacts from the disaster, they are exceedingly scarce for others… Buesseler reports [an] experience [when Japanese scientists who aided in research asked not to be credited in its published papers, fearing adverse impacts on their careers]…
CapeCod.com, Mar 8, 2016: Buesseler says that releases of radioactive cesium from the plant are still not under control…”we are finding values are still elevated, which confirms that there is continued release from the plant.”
NY Times, Mar 10, 2016: Fukushima has become a place… where they struggle to control radiation-contaminated water and must release it into the sea… [T]he plant also releases 2,000 tons of the water into the ocean every week after a process that removes most, but not all, of the radioactive particles… it is a public-relations nightmare for the government…
Published: March 16th, 2016 at 6:29 pm ET