Wall St. Journal: They appear to be losing the battle at festering Fukushima plant — Leaks sprouting above and below ground — Response is frantic, desperate, and dangerously haphazard

Published: September 15th, 2013 at 9:56 am ET


Title: If Nuclear Disaster Strikes, Steer Clear of Japan’s Playbook
Source: Wall St. Journal
Date: Sept. 12, 2013

[…] the government’s belated call to arms showed how dangerously haphazard the response to [the festering Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster] has been.

We now watch as tons of contaminated water spill daily into the sea off Fukushima. It’s a new phase of the crisis. It’s a danger to Japan. […]

[…] [Tepco] is frantically trying to halt hundreds of tons of groundwater that flow into the site daily. A large amount is washing through the broken buildings, picking up radioactive material and carrying it into structures or out to sea.

Tepco is pumping the contaminated water into an ever-expanding mushroom field of containment tanks—some 1,000 to date. As the world watches, the utility appears to be losing the battle. Leaks above and below ground are sprouting. Now Tepco and the government want to freeze a mile-long stretch of earth in an unparalleled experiment to block water before it reaches the site. Construction will take two years.

Sound desperate? […]

See also: [intlink id=”nbc-nightly-news-urgent-situation-after-frightening-discovery-at-fukushima-mile-long-ice-wall-shows-tepco-is-grasping-at-straws-and-cant-stop-plant-from-leaking-like-a-sieve-now-almost-90″ type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: September 15th, 2013 at 9:56 am ET


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40 comments to Wall St. Journal: They appear to be losing the battle at festering Fukushima plant — Leaks sprouting above and below ground — Response is frantic, desperate, and dangerously haphazard

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    They lost control on day one, and have never been in control ever.

    • "As I watched the tsunami power into the reactor complex at Fukushima on March 11, 2011, I realized the world would never be the same again."

      😉 "Within hours the intensely hot radioactive cores in units one, two and three started to melt."

      "As they melted, …exploded …with overwhelming intensity …releasing huge amounts of radioactive elements"
      – Dr Helen Caldicott

      These words are from a prior article, but I thought they fit well here.

      • Sickputer

        "As I sat at my workplace and watched on web cam the China Syndrome nuclear steam envelop the entire Fukushima Daiichi complex, I knew Tokyo was finished.

        It's just a matter of time before they comprehend their personal danger."

        —SP June 10, 2011

        SP: That time is rapidly approaching. 2020 Olympics be damned…the Tokyo Flight will soon widen from a trickle to a flood. Intellectuals are voting with their feet and others will follow. Those fancy Tokyo Bay condos will in ten years look like San Francisco Bay in On the Beach.

    • We Not They Finally

      That's correct, Anne. Since Day One. The world catches up slowly. Three days prior to the event, my husband was just sitting lost in thought and suddenly said, "Something terrible is about to happen. It's the beginning of the end." And we knew that this was "it" since Day One. It just doesn't make it easier to face. Thanks for your excellent informative posts.

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks


    • dharmasyd dharmasyd

      Anne…That one, short, simple sentence is absolutely correct! TY

  • Wooster

    I'm glad to see the American media finally giving Fukushima the attention it deserves.

    It will, after all, affect them directly, particularly if things go wrong with the removal of the fuel rods from the spent fuel pool in November.

    Perhaps Tepco might want to cancel that idea and bring in the most experienced people on the planet to tackle it?

  • jec jec

    Do they have TWO YEARS?

    • We Not They Finally

      Likely not. Maybe for the rest of us, but not them. But nothing they plan follows through anyway. They did apparently build a supposedly "impermeable" wall, but that got breached above, below and around, fairly quickly.

  • hbjon hbjon

    It was to be expected. Metal water tanks to store this type of material was experimental. Everything that is being done is experimental. We need fresh ideas. Let's look outside the box and forget about containing the water. Accelerate the filtration process and complete the 'closed-loop' cooling system. Empty those tanks asap before someone gets hurt. Complete a drain field with layers of filtration materials that are replaceable. Seal off the harbor and build higher storm walls. Get'r done.

    • We Not They Finally

      Why about the part where increasingly, you can't even get near the place without being severely nuked? In some parts of that plant, you simply "quickly die" by just standing there. (As per Chris Busby recently.)

      Empty the tanks? Seal off the harbor? Complete the closed loop? What are you even TALKING about?

  • Lion76 Lion76

    It's over Johnny.

  • Jebus Jebus

    When will this crazy planet wake up?
    When will the world realize they have a problem here, of global proportions with no end in sight?
    When will the world realize that this is the worlds worst nuclear disaster ever, with no end in sight?
    When will the world realize that the Pacific Ocean is suffering irreparable damage with no end in sight?
    When will the world realize that a major source of the worlds food supply is becoming grossly contaminated with no end in sight?
    When will the world attempt to face the truth?

  • weeman

    If you ask me they never started the fight and are doing what they did during ww2, let the enemy land and kill them on the beach, with suicide squads.
    No honor left in Japan, you are living in shame.

  • SteveMT

    The world's best group-think-tank needed to be involved in this disaster from day one. Spent cores should have been removed during the previous two years to another facility, which should have been build early on. Inept and futile containment efforts have left the world in essentially the same place as when this crisis first began. Unfortunately for us, that place is nowhere.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    It's going into the air around the Northern Hemisphere.

  • mairs mairs

    The word "festering" is a much better description. Stop with the "crippled" already. You journalists start thinking for yourselves instead of being copy machines.

  • rogerthat

    imho, governments – the us and japan – are in full control of the situation and are employing tried and tested disaster management techniques. Unfortunately, these do not include riding to the rescue of tomorrow's world at the expense of today's. For the playbook, look to BP's Macondo oil disaster in the gulf, the sinkhole at Bayou Corne, Louisiana, Three Mile Island, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and so on.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Perhaps..some of the mainstream media outlets ..realize they have to fight for the very integrity of journalism.
    If they haven't they will..

    Dear WSJ,

    Now that your firm seems to be coming to an understanding of the situation at Fukushima Npp.
    Might Heart remind you that..no amount of money is going to protect you from what is before us.
    No amount of money can clean up the ongoing nuclear contamination.
    No amount of money is going to protect..you from the government.
    Oh..it's all chummy with government now.
    But..try the day Wall Street and the government don't agree.
    Wall Street will do what it's told…simple as that.

    The corruption as to how fortunes were made..so much water under the bridge…in the big picture of things.
    What is essential is the concept that money and politics need separation…that the country might be governed with humanity and care for it's people.

    Heart of the Rose

    • Trying to email these High Res pics from Mar 20 and 24 2011 to newspapers…difficult to find email addresses but just send them to anything i can find…maybe someone else would like to give it a go…sometimes i throw in a few irreverent words but they need to see the pics, getting mad at me will slow things down…
      if they don't know what a radioactive isotope is they sure know what it looks like when things have been blown to kingdom come!


      they're free to use…so the media source could steal a few bucks for they're happy lunch hour together…all paid for by the sick and dying of Japan and soon to be the west coast of north america once that huge buddle of debri finally starts breaking the waves…

      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        Wynd…You may need to go to your local peace, anti-nuclear, or justice groups. Ask for the press officer, often called an "PIO" (public information officer). Places like "Physicians for Social Responsibility" or for "Nuclear Responsibility," or "Beyond Nuclear," etc. Otherwise, check out the on-line editions of the papers. If all else fails, write "Letters to the Editor."

        But try the grassroots anti-nulclear groups first. When I did this kind of work (decades ago), all of them had good press lists.

  • mairs mairs

    You mean they lost the PR battle. They just couldn't hide it anymore, NOT that water hasn't been flooding the area and carrying corium washed water out to sea.

  • SusanS

    ☢ Fukushima Petitions to Sign & Share! ☢
    ☢ Japan Needs Worldwide Help NOW! ☢


    We need a worldwide consortium made up of experts in the field to start brainstorming solutions to what is happening in Fukushima and what can be done to FIX it. We need them NOW. Each country will also need to commit funds to this effort, since it is and will continue to affect the entire planet. The consequences could be the extinction of all life on earth. It is past time to do this. Japan is calling for help and they can not handle it alone.

    ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢

  • mairs mairs

    Why don't they empty the spent fuel pools of 5 and 6? What would happen if 4 fell and the area had to be evacuated? What would happen to 5 and 6 if they were untended? I've just been wondering about that.

  • rogerthat

    The current US administration has shown lots of foresight. To avoid alarm and despondency immediately after the disaster, they turned off Radnet (Technically large chunks of it were down for maintenance or non-functional for a variety of other reasons). They signed a non-sue agreement with Japan. In spite of a vast array of past evidence that goes all the way back to the death of Madame Curie, a bunch of experts, led by the IAEA and ably backed by the UN and the WHO, popped up to tell the masses radiation was essentially harmless. "No immediate health effects''. Sailors from the USS Maine who were irradiated during the disaster have been left to fend for themselves. To do otherwise would be to admit that they suffered harm; cant have that.
    The US is currently in the process of raising the safe dose limit by thousands of times, so all dosages will in future be ''safe''. Plus there's Obamacare, which i think has the effect of moving any future wave of mysteriously sick people off the public purse. So i think the administration's on top of this thing. I also think that they know Fukushima's radiation will never be contained, it will all end up in the environment in due course.

  • One more good shake at Daiichi and it won't be harmless springwater pushing up through the ground…


  • byron byron

    Am I being silly, what should I invest in. Trade items, canned food, bathroom paper, and so on? Can't see the Stock Market being of any value at all. Buy stuff you can trade with others?

    • teamplayer

      Geiger counters.

      • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

        excellent point teamplayer , its very well possible people will kill to get their hands on one somewhere in the furure…
        Its the only thing that can tell you the chair your pregnant precious sitting in is a death trap or not..therefore it will become the most essential
        "suvival tool"

    • micky thered micky thered

      if your thinking of trade, I'm afraid you still don't get it. you need to be thinking of survival – for yourself and your loved ones. there will, unfortunately, be little left to share or trade with anyone else.
      the enormity of the situation is so great that a big chunk of the world's population are unable/unwilling to grasp it at the moment.
      god help us all when it finally sinks in.

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      Once the radiation gets bad enough nothing you do will make any difference. There really is no place to run to in order to escape this mess, eventually the radiation will be everywhere. Once Japan gets so radioactive no one can get close enough to the reactors, they have at least 50 of them splattered across their country, and they all melt down and out, kiss your ass good bye….

      • Sickputer

        I am not ready to give up yet. When I hit the $400 million Powerball tomorrow I'm buying an island next to Tom Cruise off New Zealand.

        Building a fortified Doomsday bunker that will last for a century. Perhaps by then the fallout will have dispersed and sunk into the nurturing hands of Mother Nature.

        See you guys in 2113. >;-)

        With my luck I'll have the Cheneys and Gates families for neighbors when the great-grand kids emerge. 🙂 I will warn my descendants not to go hunting with the Cheney kids. 🙂

    • During the financial crunch in Russia those who worked at a toilet paper factory were paid with TP.

      The workers, in turn, would sell their TP and make a huge profit, much more than their normal hourly wage.

  • Sol Man

    The battle was lost at CP-1, 12-2-42, University of Chicago at Stagg Field. Follow the money to the end of the line.