Print 41 comment(s) - last by FraGAU.. on Oct 7 at 11:46 AM

Reports say it could be draining into the Pacific Ocean

Another tank holding toxic water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan is leaking water, according to officials. 

According to a new report from Reuters, the Fukushima plant's operator discovered a leak in another tank on site, which may be draining toxic water into the Pacific Ocean. 

The report said approximately 430 liters (113 gallons) of water spilled over a period of as much as 12 hours. The water that leaked had 200,000 becquerels per liter of radioactive isotopes, including strontium 90. The legal limit for strontium 90 is 30 becquerels per liter. 
The water likely flowed into a trench leading to the Pacific Ocean -- which is about 300 m (330 yards) from the tank.
A plant worker reportedly misjudged how much water the tank could hold. To top it off, the tank is tilting on an uneven area. 

Japan's government is learning that Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) isn't handling the containment of toxic water as well as it had hoped. The government stepped in last month and said it would help improve water management at the plant.

In fact, it came up with an idea to create an "ice wall" around the plant. The ice wall technique turns soil into a permafrost-type condition through the use of refrigerated coolant. This would build an underground containment wall made of ice to hold the water and stop it from going into the Pacific.

However, the ice wall won't be completed anytime soon. The government doesn't have a cost estimate for the project yet, but Kajima Corp. -- the construction company that largely built the nuclear plant -- has until March 31, 2014 to create a feasibility study of the ice wall. The government would like the project to be completed by July 2015. 

Back in August, it was reported that Fukushima is leaking about 300 tonnes of toxic water into the Pacific Ocean per day. The water, which is seeping through the soil and through the plant into the ocean, contains radioactive particles of cesium, tritium and strontium.

This all started in March 2011, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake shook Japan and crippled the reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It caused quite a bit of havoc with the release of radioactive watercontamination of crops and of course, the thousands of lives lost.

Ever since, Tepco has been pouring "hundreds of metric tons" of water per day over the Fukushima reactors to keep them cool. The toxic water is then stored in tanks above ground. But many are raising questions as to whether the storage tanks are strong or large enough to contain all the water. 

Source: Reuters

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stupid govs
By seraphim1982 on 10/3/2013 2:15:34 PM , Rating: 3
And the rest of the international community is worrying about a few hundred people dying of chemicals weapons in Syria. This is far worse as it affects the whole damn planet.

RE: stupid govs
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/3/2013 2:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
The whole planet? How. Please explain.

RE: stupid govs
By Gunbuster on 10/3/2013 3:00:09 PM , Rating: 3
Fish get contaminated and swim around that big thing called the ocean. The rest of the food chain eats the fish and becomes contaminated.


RE: stupid govs
By 91TTZ on 10/3/2013 4:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
The big thing is irrational fear. When Fukushima melted down there was international concern. It scared everyone yet killed nobody. Since radiation is invisible it's mysterious and people fear it. Yet more mundane things like smoking doesn't strike fear in anyone and yet it kills about 440,000 people every year in the US alone.

RE: stupid govs
By milktea on 10/3/2013 5:55:41 PM , Rating: 3
The difference is people knowingly and willingly choose to smoke. Whereas, I don't know anyone who'd willingly take radiantion poison.

RE: stupid govs
By ClownPuncher on 10/3/2013 7:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
The sun?

RE: stupid govs
By milktea on 10/3/2013 8:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
Have you seen people with UV gloves, UV umbrellas, and Face Shield mask in broad day light?

RE: stupid govs
By ClownPuncher on 10/4/2013 11:04:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, in fact. Do you know what a ginger is?

RE: stupid govs
By conq on 10/7/2013 9:27:11 AM , Rating: 2
The big thing is irrational fear. When Fukushima melted down there was international concern. It scared everyone yet killed nobody. Since radiation is invisible it's mysterious and people fear it.

The way you say it, you make it sound like there's no reason for any fear at all. The power for the ocean to dilute radioactivity is not infinite. More is leaking everyday and it will continue for some years. The radioactivity also has much more powerful localized effect on that region, the closer you are the worse it gets. If you lived there you'd likely think differently. Scientists are also taking note that there are regions in the ocean where dilution effects are weaker than expected because it's getting caught in the North Pacific jet currents instead.

There's nothing irrational about concerns of radioactivity, nobody wants to go above the safety levels. Or anywhere near it, really.

RE: stupid govs
By Solandri on 10/3/2013 6:12:46 PM , Rating: 3
I see this over and over. The misunderstanding that somehow the environment is pristine and radiation-free, and therefore contamination from a nuclear accident is an unacceptable risk.

Your body is radioactive. Yes, your body. A naturally occurring isotope of potassium is radioactive, and for most people this constitutes their largest single source of radiation exposure each year - equal to about 20 chest x-rays. Potassium is used by your nerves, so is vital to life and unavoidable. Bananas and chocolate are high in potassium, and have triggered radiation scanners at border inspection stations for this reason.

The air is radioactive. Especially if you live near a mountainous area. Granite has a (relatively) high amount of trace uranium. This uranium naturally decays into many things, including radioactive radon gas. In some locations, your annual radiation dose from radon is greater than from potassium in your body.

Space is radioactive. The next largest natural radiation source is cosmic rays from space. In fact if you fled Tokyo by flying back to the U.S. immediately after the Fukushima accident, you subjected yourself to 3x the radiation you would've gotten from Fukushima if you'd spent the year in Tokyo. The atmosphere intercepts and absorbs a lot of cosmic radiation, but when you fly on an airliner you're above most of the atmosphere and thus exposed to more cosmic rays. A 5 hour flight gives you about 2 chest x-rays worth of radiation exposure, and Tokyo to the U.S. is about a 14 hour flight.

Water is radioactive. In addition to natural radionuclides like K-40 and C-14, seawater contains a significant amount of trace uranium. This uranium goes through natural radioactive decay (whose end product is lead).

So we're not talking about a binary contaminated/not contaminated state as you seem to think, where the environment was not contaminated, but Fukushima made it contaminated. We're talking about a range of radiation levels. There used to be a certain level of natural radiation, but Fukushima made it a higher level in the immediate vicinity. As you get further away from Fukushima, simple dilution lowers the level back down to where it's barely higher or indistinguishable from natural radiation levels.

RE: stupid govs
By milktea on 10/3/2013 7:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
"... As you get further away from Fukushima, simple dilution lowers the level back down to where it's barely higher or indistinguishable from natural radiation levels."

So I guess you really don't care about people living near Fukushima?

RE: stupid govs
By inighthawki on 10/3/2013 9:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
his comment was in response to:

"Fish get contaminated and swim around that big thing called the ocean. The rest of the food chain eats the fish and becomes contaminated."

So I assume he was simply trying to make a case that this "contamination of the food chain" is not that big of a deal, as it won't take long to become indistinguishable from naturally occurring levels.

RE: stupid govs
By exeedorbit on 10/4/2013 8:18:49 AM , Rating: 2
What you're forgetting is that every day the contamination is allowed to continue, that area of intensified contamination is allowed to grow (at however slow a pace). Remember that this will go on for at LEAST 2 years, since they are looking at the implementation somewhere in 2015, and rest assured, the process won't go smoothly either. Meanwhile, you have irradiated soil (which will kill thousands in the coming years) and irradiated water (less of an immediate issue, since the water will disperse eventually, but it will end up killing a lot of marine life on its way.

RE: stupid govs
By drycrust3 on 10/4/2013 11:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
There used to be a certain level of natural radiation, but Fukushima made it a higher level in the immediate vicinity.

The same could be said for Chernobyl, there was a natural level, then the reactor blew up and now the area around the abandoned reactor has a higher level.
Think of it another way: when you use a cell phone you subject your head to microwaves, but the power levels aren't anywhere enough to cook you, but if you stuck you head in a microwave oven that would be suicidal. The difference power levels between a cell phone and a microwave are what? A 100 milliwatts to 1000 watts? So we're talking about a difference of 10,000 times.
The same applies here, as Tiffany said, "The water that leaked had 200,000 becquerels per [litre] of radioactive isotopes, including strontium 90. The legal limit for strontium 90 is 30 becquerels per [litre]." Now I don't know what a becquerel is, but what I do know is if the safe limit is 30, and that water contains 70,000 times higher than what the Japanese Government says is the safe limit for discharge, this isn't something I'm going to let my dog drink.
You, by the sound of it, wouldn't have any qualms about letting your favourite pet drink this water ... well, so be it. My guess is you pet would die shortly afterwards.

RE: stupid govs
By FraGAU on 10/7/2013 11:44:30 AM , Rating: 2
I have family who live in the area where the cloud from Chernobyl happened to cross.. now a there has been a massive increase in cancer rates in those areas and even a larger rate of thyroid problems. But yeah its all safe, nothing to see here, just move along.

Lets just ignore it, put our head in the sand and all sing a song together.

Fact is this is a serious matter, a matter that the Jap government should be throwing every resource at; accidental leaks my ass - just a cheap way for them to get rid of it, as if these corporations really care what happens to the people over the long term.

RE: stupid govs
By th3pwn3r on 10/6/2013 8:23:22 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't expect anything less from a monkey's uncle because you're probably also a monkey.

Godzilla beginning
By Rogatti on 10/3/2013 11:00:40 PM , Rating: 2
keep it up soon we will have a marine life alien !

Seems curse..radioactivity chases the Japanese.

a bit of info please
By mmarianbv on 10/4/2013 7:35:07 AM , Rating: 2
i'm kinda uninformed about nuclear stuff.
can someone explain why after 2 years, the power plant is still leaking in ocean ? i mean, in 2 years you can chop everything and move it to a safe facility away from ocean.
or the radiation is deadly of that place ?

Correct me if I'm wrong...
By xenol on 10/4/13, Rating: 0
So what?
By Dorkyman on 10/3/13, Rating: -1
RE: So what?
By GulWestfale on 10/3/2013 12:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
solar cells have killed people? on what planet?
and arguing that the dangers of nuclear power are alright because other forms of energy generation are also dangerous is not an argument at all.

RE: So what?
By Flunk on 10/3/2013 12:59:28 PM , Rating: 3
Aparantly they're quite heavy, so maybe some have fallen on people.

RE: So what?
By Mint on 10/3/2013 2:51:52 PM , Rating: 1
If you built enough rooftop solar to replace all the energy generated by nuclear power around the world, you would get a lot of people dying each year from accidents during maintenance. 50-100 roofers die in the US each year as it is.

RE: So what?
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/3/2013 1:20:01 PM , Rating: 2

ya gotta love Google. You can find freaking anything on Google ^^

RE: So what?
By Crazyeyeskillah on 10/3/2013 1:28:31 PM , Rating: 2
That was soooooo 2008, they have new regulations in which the workers have to wear hardhats which has effectively reduced the fatalities from intermittent solar panel falls

RE: So what?
By dgingerich on 10/3/2013 3:05:13 PM , Rating: 5
I believe he means solar radiation. Tens of thousands die from skin cancer from over exposure to the Sun, many more than die from nuclear power plant accidents. The fact of the matter is that, in general, nuclear power plants are quite safe, and getting safer all the time.

However, I think his comment is more than a little short sighted in this case. In this case, the accident, and the danger related to it, are quite real and immediate. Nuclear waste is getting into the food chain, and most of Japan's main food supply. Very soon, people all around the Pacific Ocean, including Alaska's fishermen, will be eating far less fish because of the rising levels of Strontium 90 and Polonium 210. They are both highly dangerous, and they are leaking into the Pacific ocean. However, they will also decay fairly quickly, and this should pass within 20 years. The next health risk associated with this will be crabs having dangerously high levels of lead from the ocean floor. That won't go away, though. That will forever be a danger for us. This is, indeed, a major tragedy, and that should be kept in mind.

Also, ironically, in this case, the company lobbied to allow them to upgrade to a newer design that would have been resistant to this type of incident and performed more efficiently, but were stopped by environmentalists. Now, because the old design was still being used, we have this massive accident and huge, permanent damage to our environment. The environmentalists caused this to be massively worse than it had to be.

These days, Thorium salts reactors are incredibly safe, greatly efficient, use a very cheap and plentiful fuel, has far less dangerous waste, smaller, and completely meltdown proof. Yet, environmentalists have lobbied strongly against allowing any of these to be built in the US, forcing us to continue to use coal or move to natural gas reactors, which are much more expensive and more damaging to the environment.

The big problem is that most people are just too lazy or stupid to actually think and learn about nuclear power. They hear or ready "nuclear power" and think it is some sort of barely contained magic that people shouldn't mess with. If they were to actually learn about nuclear power, and the different ways it is generated, things would change, and we'd all be better off. I just have too little faith in humanity to believe that is going to happen, ever.

RE: So what?
By 91TTZ on 10/3/2013 4:08:58 PM , Rating: 2
The next health risk associated with this will be crabs having dangerously high levels of lead from the ocean floor.

The lead won't be an issue.

The amount of lead as a result of the decay product from the leaked Strontium 90 and Polonium 210 is next to nothing. It takes WAY more lead to harm someone than Polonium 210. The lethal dose of Polonium 210 is about a billion times less than the lethal dose of lead.

As far as overall effects on the ocean, it won't be much of an issue. It'll be diluted by the ocean and besides, coal plants already pump more radiation into the environment than a leaking Fukushima. The reason Fukushima is in the news is because the radiation is pretty concentrated in one spot, whereas coal plants slowly spew out the radiation.

As a note, when I used to work at PECO I got to work at Limerick and Peach Bottom nuclear power plants. They were very strict about radiation there and we had to wear badges with film on them that measures dose. This initially scares you into thinking that the radioactivity level is high, but then they tell you that the radiation level at a normal coal plant is many times higher.

RE: So what?
By amanojaku on 10/3/2013 4:36:39 PM , Rating: 3
Tepco and the Japanese government are really the ones responsible for this mess. Tepco was allowed to self-inspect, and falsified numerous safety reports. There's nothing wrong with nuclear power; there's everything wrong with improper safety measures. Other forms of power generation have their own dangers. Regardless of the source, the solution is stricter regulation.

RE: So what?
By spaced_ on 10/7/2013 4:16:36 AM , Rating: 2
Regardless of the source, the solution is stricter regulation.


The safety concerns determine what kind of regulations are needed.

Nuclear has far, far higher safety concerns than any other source of electricity generation that I can think of. It requires many more and much stricter regulations and rules in order to be considered 'safe'.

Other forms of electricity generation simply do not need the same level of safety regulations to operate.

If you've worked in any regulated industry, you'll realise safety regulations are broken all the time, often not on purpose either. You'll never prevent it from happening 100%, it's human behaviour.

Regulation is a tool to lower the safety risks. Over-regulation increases costs. Under-regulation increases risks. It's not a silver bullet. There's always a risk. Nuclear has far higher risks than any other electricity generation source and requires far more rules and regulations as a result, but you'll never mitigate the risk 100%.

RE: So what?
By FraGAU on 10/7/2013 11:46:20 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing wrong with nuclear power except the byproduct which we do not know what to do with... hey our great great great great grand children can deal with it.

RE: So what?
By Strunf on 10/4/2013 8:07:21 AM , Rating: 2
"Very soon, people all around the Pacific Ocean, including Alaska's fishermen, will be eating far less fish because of the rising levels of Strontium 90 and Polonium 210."

This is huge exaggeration... there have been nuclear waste dumped in the sea for a long time and in huge quantities, I haven't heard or read of a study showing contaminated fish getting into our food chain, there are far BIGGER pollution sources to worry about than nuclear waste.

I return it to you, the quantities of radioactive elements coming out of Fukushima are TINY when compared to the volume of the Pacific Ocean, and Sr is a naturally occurring element, the mean strontium content in ocean water is 8 mg/l, it is the 15th most abundant element on Earth. Po is ALREADY part of the Japanese food chain, this is specially true since they eat a lot of sea food, and the 1/2 life of the 210Po is 138days...then it decays into Pb (Lead) witch is already part of our food chain and the quantities imputed to Fukushima will be a very tiny portion (if measurable) when compared to the natural sources and man made pollution sources.

I'm not saying we should dump all the nuclear waste into the Oceans I'm saying the nuclear waste leaking out of Fukushima is next to nothing on the big picture of man made pollution sources. Even the Japanese dumped nuclear waste on the Ocean deliberately, there's only an out cry now cause the media love to spread FUD... it sells!

RE: So what?
By Solandri on 10/3/2013 5:38:44 PM , Rating: 3
and arguing that the dangers of nuclear power are alright because other forms of energy generation are also dangerous is not an argument at all.

That is, in fact, the only way to argue it. Take every power source, find out how many people it kills, divide it by the amount of power it generates. Coal causes lung cancer deaths from pollution. Nuclear has accidents which release radiation and cause cancer deaths. Hydro kills people through dam failures. Maintenance workers on wind turbines fall to their deaths. And people installing and maintaining rooftop solar panels slip and fall to their deaths.

If you do this for every power source, you find that nuclear is in fact the safest way to generate electricity. Nuclear accidents are bad when they happen, but they're offset by the huge amount of power nuclear plants generate. On the flip side, a single solar panel or wind turbine seems safe, but if you multiply their falling risk by the huge number of panels or turbines you need to generate the same amount of power, their risk is actually higher.

Just because renewables are supposed to be safer doesn't mean they actually are. Did you know that in March 2011, the month of the tsunami in Japan, more people died from wind power than from radiation released in the Fukushima accident? Nobody died of radiation, while a boy in Ohio managed to bypass a poorly maintained lock and climbed the wind turbine at his school, and subsequently fell to his death.

RE: So what?
By amanojaku on 10/3/2013 5:57:48 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. After learning about the lack of safety of coal power in comparison to nuclear, I looked up the numbers and did some math. I determined that the number of people who've died or had adverse health effects from coal or natural gas eclipsed the number of people who've been affected by ALL nuclear incidents. That includes the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, and any other form of nuclear warfare.

RE: So what?
By snhoj on 10/3/2013 8:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
I don’t think it is what has happened that scares people about nuclear power but what could potentially happen. To argue that something is safe because it has only killed some thirty odd people in its history doesn't cut it when it could potentially make entire countries uninhabitable for decades.

In some ways Japan got lucky with the Fukushima accident. The wind happened to be blowing out to sea most of the time the plant was putting radioactive material into the air. Most of the fall out went into the Pacific Ocean and not onto the land otherwise much larger areas of Japan would not be fit for human habitation. Just a change in wind direction, that’s all that would have made the outcome much worse. I hate the idea that something as random and out of their control as the wind direction is all that saved them from a Belarus like contamination.

Unit 4 building reportedly wont endure another significant seismic event. The collapse of this building would spill the contents of the spent fuel pool. This fuel pool contains the fuel rods from the reactor core plus spent fuel. Some 400 tonnes in total. Exposing the entire reactor core to the atmosphere would be an unprecedented nuclear diaster on a scale humanity hasn't seen before. Tepco have been very busy mitigating this risk and is set to start removing fuel from the pool and moving it to safe storage in November. This is a very delicate operation and will probably take a year to complete.

RE: So what?
By retrospooty on 10/3/13, Rating: 0
RE: So what?
By GulWestfale on 10/3/2013 12:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
hey, i could always use an extra eye to look at all that revenge porn.

RE: So what?
By Crazyeyeskillah on 10/3/2013 1:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
It's cool babe, it's not mutation, it's EV O LUU TION.

RE: So what?
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/3/2013 1:21:25 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. And having a nice radiant glow at the time doesn't hurt either.

RE: So what?
By boeush on 10/3/2013 1:46:03 PM , Rating: 4
An extra hand probably wouldn't hurt, either.

RE: So what?
By Meinolf on 10/3/2013 3:17:08 PM , Rating: 1
Nuclear melt down that can last 50 years before it is safe to return or threat of solar panels your logic is flawed.

RE: So what?
By inighthawki on 10/3/2013 8:59:07 PM , Rating: 3
Meltdowns like the one that happened in Chernobyl occur do to extreme disregard for safety protocols and safety features built into the reactors. It's not the kind of thing that just "happens by accident" in a well maintained modern nuclear plants. The likelihood of a meltdown that actually causes environmental damage, especially damage that would last "50 years," is just so incredibly low.

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