Tunnels under Fukushima plant suspected to have quake damage — Allows radioactive water to ‘move’ into ground — Still holding over 15,000 tons — High-level contamination flowing in from turbine buildings — Tepco “couldn’t afford to work on tunnels”

Published: August 3rd, 2013 at 12:12 am ET
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Title: TEPCO’s N-plant delays cause for worry
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun
Author: Takashi Ito and Takashi Maemura
Date: July 31, 2013

[...] On the sea side of Nos. 1 to 4 reactors, there are two types of tunnels [...] and more than 15,000 tons of contaminated water remains there.

Two years ago, the company did not conduct any work at locations other than the exit of test wells to prevent water leakage. It even failed to make any effort to remove the water from the tunnels at that time.

A source close to the matter said, “As problems occurred one after another at that time, [the company] couldn’t afford to work on the tunnels.”

As tunnels for electric cables are less resistant to earthquakes than reactors and other key equipment at the plant, they may have been damaged by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The bottom of the tunnels is lined with gravel, and leaked contaminated water may have moved to other spots where groundwater is located.

Some tunnels are connected to turbine buildings where huge amounts of radioactive water are concentrated. TEPCO plans to launch work to drain the tainted water but is likely to face many challenges, including how to close the connections to the turbine buildings. [...]

See also: Asahi: Tepco's done nothing for over 2 years to stop highly radioactive Fukushima leak -- Water above 1 sievert per hour -- Admits work "has not been done to this day because of difficulties involved"

Published: August 3rd, 2013 at 12:12 am ET
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39 comments

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  2. Tepco to dump groundwater from under reactor buildings into ocean — Kyodo: 1,000 tons a day; “Tepco would check contamination level before releasing it” April 24, 2012
  3. Scientist back from Japan: I’ve seen data showing highest radioactivity levels in ocean that have been observed recently — NHK: Nuclear waste may be leaking “directly from buildings” not only going into groundwater via tunnels (VIDEOS) January 28, 2014
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39 comments to Tunnels under Fukushima plant suspected to have quake damage — Allows radioactive water to ‘move’ into ground — Still holding over 15,000 tons — High-level contamination flowing in from turbine buildings — Tepco “couldn’t afford to work on tunnels”

  • Sickputer

    How many times did we post over the past 876 days about the damage to the pipes and connecting areas of the turbine buildings? Answer: multiple times.

    The floating pad foundations designed to minimize earthquake damage was useless because of the severity of the 9.0 earthquake. The original pad construction also had a fatal flaw in that the mission critical turbine buildings side by side to the reactor buildings were not on the same pad…each building had separate pads.

    This design flaw led to a crushing motion between the reactor buildings and their sister turbine buildings. The pipes for cooling were crushed beyond repair. Electrical cables in conduit were also crushed.

    The tsunami just added to the already fatal death blow inflicted by the massive earthquake. Central Japan was essentially destroyed in about five minutes. The architects and owners of this deadly nuclear complex just can't come to grips with the truth and reveal how toxic central Japan has become. A terrible day of reckoning is quickly approaching. How the Japanese deal with their fate will become an example for the next nuclear meltdown in other countries. The nucleorats can't hide the truth in the Information Era like they could in 1979 and 1986.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Doesn't matter, quake or tsunami ..development of nuclear reactors is the most idiot decision of all time. Now we look forward to getting our thyroids removed. Nice.


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  • Cologne Cathedral Cologne Cathedral

    Is there anybody, who could tell me or post a link, about the question, to which degree the sun catches up radionuclides in clouding, that will therefore find their way from ocean to land?

    And has anybody an impression of how far especially uran and plutonium nuclides spread in the ocean? Or will they more or less stay before the coast of japan?

    Thank you in advance.


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    • MoonlightEmpire MoonlightEmpire

      I don't have links off-hand, but the information is out there. Arnie Gundersen at Fairewinds.com discussed the re-volatilization of radionuclides in a few of his videos…For instance, if there are particles in the air that get washed-out by rain, they land on the pavement. If that pavement was hot, or heats up again, you see the steam rising. This steam carries some of the radioactive material back into the air again. It doesn't lift everything, but, you know…

      As far as the evaporation of water off of the ocean–or lakes, streams, puddles, etc..–yes, the same thing occurs, though I couldn't tell you to what degree and with which nuclides. The people in the Phillipines (and elsewhere) used to get their table salt from ocean water. They would fill a pot and leave it in the sun, then scrape out the salt. But this doesn't mean that every last bit of salt was left in the pot…

      As far as plutonium/uranium traveling through the ocean…I recall in the beginning of this event that "scientists" and politicians said there was no worry of these "heavier" nuclides moving far away from the plant. I find that to be bull…a Plutonium atom may weigh a lot more than a Cesium atom, but they are both still ATOMS…they travel on the wind, as fast and as far as the wind blows. Remember the sensors in Japan spiking every 40-something days as a result of the plumes making a another lap around the world…? Particle Physics,Transport Vectors,High-Turbidity Layers,oh my


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    • Fall out man!

      Hi CC,
      I had not heard of the sun catching up radionuclides through evaporation, however, there is a known problem with the wind blowing particles off waves in the sea and taking that inland. For a hundred miles either side of Seascale in England and for 5km inland, there are various disease markers showing the genetic damage (permanent passed down through generations) done by exposure to internal radiation from contamination blown off the sea. This page gives a reasonable summary. There are also a couple of documentaries about this sort of thing that have screened in the UK and can be found on youtube. The man who has pointed this phenomenon out is Professor Christopher Busby. The llrc web site also has links pointing out a small fraction of the scientific fraud surrounding the field of nuclear 'safety' research. Here is a link that briefly covers the problem of wind blown contamination. Undoubtedly this will be a problem for anyone within 100 miles of fukushima on the coast. When I say a problem, I mean a serious problem in that genetic damage is permanent. It weakens the genome and is irreversible. The focus on cancer in nuclear safety 'research' (propaganda in my view) is very clever. Once internally contaminated, cancer is the least of a person's worries. Contamination induced heart attack and stroke will normally kill before cancer can. The next generation suffer more of every type of ailment as they are simply weaker.

      http://www.llrc.org/menaibriefing.htm


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    • Cologne Cathedral Cologne Cathedral

      Thank you both for your answers and thanks to Fall out man! for the links. I guess you have seen several of the Busby-videos on youtube, e.g. the one about heart attacs in children. Me too.

      For the "sea-to-land-transfer" how he calls it, he stated that the 1 kilometer-zone from the sea would be dangerous, I do remember. But that might be a too tiny floor of landscape, I agree.

      Thank you


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  • dosdos dosdos

    Uranium and plutonium are heavy non-polar elements, so they tend to sink to the bottom of a body of water rather than suspend. Neither evaporates at normal temperatures, so they don't evaporate with water. The debris will pretty much stay in place in Japan.

    The danger is absorption into the aquatic food chain.


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    • captndano captndano

      Isn't this stuff also going to be trapped in the millions of tons of floating debris that's reaching the shores of North America?


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      • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

        most of that debris captndano has long left the shores of Japan. What 'little' remains bobbing about out there will only be exposed to highly diluted rad-contaminants.

        The greatest danger remains in what is bio-accumulated by the exposed lifeforms. From 'lowly' algae to schools of tuna, radioactive contaminants will eventually 'migrate' by way of annual bio-life cycles to remote areas and eventually end up on the day's 'special' menu…


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    • safelyiniowa safelyiniowa

      Keep in mind that uranium and plutonium are just the starting radionuclides. As they decay, hence radioactive, the atomic number changes. And with that the chemistry and solubility. For example Iodine 131. It didn't start out as Iodine inside the reactors. The decay paths taken from initial elements can be several. You can get several different elements from starting point. Sometimes you get radionuclides "plating out". For example radon is a gas but decays to a metal, especially inside the lungs. Radon itself is a decay product of uranium, naturally and man made.


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  • Cologne Cathedral Cologne Cathedral

    Thank you dosdos,

    that calms me a bit. Good for us, unfortunately bad for them. I felt with the japanese right from the beginning. Many of them are to old to rebuild their homes… this wonderful culture, there it fades away … it's really tragic.

    But I do not trust it. Sooner or later I guess we will be infected the one or the other way. Especially if we do not stop atomic energy usage. Then it won't be the last time, a npp will blow up.


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  • Ourself Ourself

    Aren't there other heavy materials that would normally sink, such as concrete slabs, floating across the ocean from Fukushima Daiichi?

    If this is the case, wouldn't it make sense that some of these heavy elements, such as plutonium and uranium, are floating on the surface as well?

    This is just my own speculation, ofcourse. I could be completely wrong about this.


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    • MoonlightEmpire MoonlightEmpire

      Everyone can speculate, but it would take un-deniable evidence to convince me that uranium or plutonium atoms simply sink in water. The only way that I would believe this is if an experiment was done in controlled conditions by true nuclear scientists/engineers. Now, I won't deny that a plutonium atom may tend to constantly move downward in water that was not flowing or disturbed in any way, but I simply will not be convinced (without evidence) that in turbid water of any sort (like ocean/stream, or even puddles with foot-traffic) a plutonium ATOM is going to sink like a rock and stay where it lands.

      Others who posted on this topic are very correct when mentioning bio-accumulation as one of the key transport vectors. I would have included that in my first post but ran out of space.

      Best to you all.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    "Tunnels under Fukushima plant suspected to have quake damage".
    Faults shifting..pipes breaking..tunnels collapsing..who would have thought?


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    MoonlightEmpire,

    You would be correct and in this particular situation none of these released radioactive isotopes that reach the ocean motion… will ever stay put. They will keep moving for an eternity around this globe..


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  • Lacsap Lacsap

    "TEPCO plans to launch work to drain the tainted water but is likely to face many challenges, including how to close the connections to the turbine buildings"

    Is that a challenge for TEPCO? No way! They probably close nothing and just reroute (pump) the water to the ocean, easy as pie.


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  • They sent a nuclear powered one up last year.. never told a soul.!


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    • Lacsap Lacsap

      Yup called Curiosity

      Power source: Curiosity is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), like the successful Viking 1 and Viking 2 Mars landers in 1976.[20][21]

      Radioisotope power systems (RPSs) are generators that produce electricity from the decay of radioactive isotopes, such as plutonium-238, which is a non-fissile isotope of plutonium. Heat given off by the decay of this isotope is converted into electricity by thermocouples, providing constant power during all seasons and through the day and night. Waste heat can be used via pipes to warm systems, freeing electrical power for the operation of the vehicle and instruments.[20][21] Curiosity's RTG is fueled by 4.8 kg (11 lb) of plutonium-238 dioxide supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy,[22] packed in 32 cubes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curiosity_(rover)


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  • safelyiniowa safelyiniowa

    Even if the metals uranium and plutonium settle to sea floor their decay products spread as radioactive isotopes. As radioactive isotopes decay the atomic number changes and with it chemistry. Some into the gas xenon which can reach the surface and mix with air. Some are very chemically active like iodine. The metals like uranium, plutonium, strontium and cesium can form salts like any other metal. As a salt it is very soluble in water and is carried by ocean currents and wind. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fission_product_yield


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    • safelyiniowa safelyiniowa

      Just to be clear, the isotope decay continues long after the fission has ceased. This is where all the heat comes from in a reactor core that has been shut down. In fact a plutonium isotope is often used in space probes to generate heat for electricity. Nuclear melt down, a nightmare that keeps going and going and going…


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      • Kassandra

        It is believed that radioisotopes released by the plant were absorbed into aerosol particles with durable molecular structures, facilitating long-distance transport:

        N. Kaneyasu, H. Ohashi, F. Suzuki, T. Okuda and F. Ikemori (2012) ‘Sulfate Aerosol as a Potential Transport Medium of Radiocesium from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident’, Environmental Science & Technology, 46.11, 5720–5726.

        Contributing to this conclusion is research by Armstrong et al., which demonstrates that the use of salt water to cool the reactors likely produced spherical, uranium peroxide clusters.These clusters, described as buckyballs, have highly durability and transportability:

        C. Armstrong, M. Nyman, T. Shvareva, G. Sigmon, P. Burns, and A. Navrotsky (2012) ‘Uranyl Peroxide Enhanced Nuclear Fuel Corrosion in Seawater’, PNAS, 109.6, 1874-1877.


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  • Kassandra

    Fukushima contamination may have spread more widely across the northern hemisphere because of the composition and durability of the radioactive aerosols produced.

    A U.S. Geological Survey published in 2012 documents evidence of wet deposition of fission products in the western U.S.

    G. Wetherbee, T. Debey, M. Nilles, C. Lehmann, and D. Gay. (2012) ‘Fission Products in National Atmospheric Deposition Program-West Deposition Samples Prior to and Following the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident, March 8-April 5, 2011’, U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011, 1277, p. 6.


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    PattieB,

    Thanks for the candy and I am pretty sure the color of this candy is red.

    I love red candy!


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