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Wall St. Journal: They don’t know where Fukushima’s melted fuel cores are, or in what state — Expert: “It’s important to think of worst-case scenario”… Even greater levels of contamination may be on the way — Plant “built on a river”

Published: August 22nd, 2013 at 3:53 pm ET
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Title: Japan Races to Contain Worst Fukushima Spill Since Meltdown
Source: Wall St Journal
Author: Phred Dvorak
Date: Aug 22, 2013

[...] Tepco said it doesn’t think that water has flowed into the sea but can’t say for sure. Some of the flooded reactor basements are similarly too hot to approach, and it is still not clear where the melted fuel cores are, or in what state.

“In the future there might be even more heavily contaminated water coming through,” said Atsunao Marui, head of the groundwater research group at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and a member of a blue-ribbon panel set up in May to figure out ways of managing the radioactive water. “It’s important to think of the worst-case scenario.”

Mr. Marui and others say the biggest reason for the scramble now is that Tepco—and the government bodies that oversee it—weren’t planning far enough ahead and waited too long to respond to problems they should have seen coming long ago.

Fukushima Daiichi was built some 40 years ago on the site of a river that was diverted in order to situate the plant, Mr. Marui says. It should have been clear that lots of groundwater would be rushing through the site, he says, and that any walls or barriers built on the seaward side would soon be overwhelmed—something that, indeed, has happened in recent weeks. [...]

See also: Wall St. Journal: Unknown where Fukushima's nuclear fuel went; Even if found, they don't know how to get it out

Published: August 22nd, 2013 at 3:53 pm ET
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