Print 21 comment(s) - last by Elchuso.. on Apr 13 at 4:02 PM

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant  (Source:
Tepco said it was unclear if any other the remaining seven pools were also leaking

Yet another storage pool for radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is leaking, forcing operators to find alternative storage options. 

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has been transferring radioactive water from from a leaking underground storage pool at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into another pool -- only to find out that the second pool is also leaking. 

According to reports, the second pool had about 120 tons (32,000 gallons) of toxic water run inside the pool's plastic linings and rush into the soil. 

It doesn't end there. It was recently discovered that a third underground storage pool also has a leak -- though smaller than the first two. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has seven underground chambers for radioactive water storage. 

An operator at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant stopped an emergency operation to transfer the radioactive water from pool 1 to pool 2 today after discovering the massive leak. 

Since the earthquake and tsunami occurred two years ago (which damaged the nuclear plant's cooling systems), Tepco has been flooding the damaged reactor cores with water to keep them cool and stabilize the fuel. But the problem is that there is little space to store the runoff water. 

Tepco had been releasing "low-level" contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, but it received criticism for the act -- especially when bluefin tuna caught off the California coast had radioactive cesium. The water is no longer being released into the ocean. 

But the issue remains that Tepco stores over a quarter-million tons of radioactive water in tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and this amount is expected to double within three years. 

Tepco said it was unclear if any other the remaining seven pools were also leaking. 

In March 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake shook Japan and crippled the reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The earthquake led to the release of radioactive watercontamination of crops and of course, the thousands of lives lost. 

According to atmospheric chemists at the University of California, San Diego, about 400 billion neutrons were released per square meter surface of the cooling pools between March 13 and March 20. The nuclear reactor was damaged March 11.

Despite the high levels of radioactive sulfur recorded in California, Thiemens and his team said these levels were not dangerous to human health.

Source: The New York Times

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RE: Could have been worse
By giby on 4/9/2013 4:08:28 PM , Rating: 3
They've been slaving away at keeping that plant under control for the past couple years but you only hear about what goes wrong, not so much about the progress.

Considering that TEPCO chose to allow the disaster to occur in order to limit financial loss, I don't really feel they deserve even the slightest praise.

RE: Could have been worse
By ritualm on 4/9/2013 5:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
Considering that TEPCO chose to allow the disaster to occur in order to limit financial loss, I don't really feel they deserve even the slightest praise.

Kindly explain how you can prevent a distressed nuke plant from going into meltdown when

1) all emergency cooling mechanisms had failed
2) all backup power systems were lost / rendered inoperative by the disaster
3) access to the plant from the outside immediately after the disaster was impossible
4) access to any areas of the plant near its reactor cores was impossible because radiation emissions were too high even with protective gear
5) you're working against time and all of the above

It's great to play armchair quarterback when nothing you say and do affects anything. Try again when you must make decisions with very limited information/resources and long-lasting implications. I'm not saying TEPCO is blameless, it's that this is - as the EU put it - incredibly complicated.

RE: Could have been worse
By Justin Time on 4/9/2013 6:34:54 PM , Rating: 5
I suspect that what was being referred to, is that TEPCO were warned, in detailed reports, that their back-up systems were highly vulnerable to being overwhelmed by a tsunami, and that they needed to invest in ensuring their fail-safe status.

They knew that the sea-wall was too low for statistically foreseeable events, and that the backup power systems would not survive the subsequent flooding, but chose to do nothing about it, because addressing the problem was expensive.

Making something truly fail-safe is very, very hard, and there is no guarantee that this alone would have prevented the disaster, but the facts are that they knew about the problem, and chose to ignore it.

RE: Could have been worse
By Samus on 4/10/2013 9:11:47 AM , Rating: 2
It's ok, in 50 years people can go back...ohh wait :\

RE: Could have been worse
By Manch on 4/9/2013 5:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't realize TEPCO had the power to control earthquakes and Tsunamis. You really think some backup generators would have lasted thru that? The Tsunami damn near clean the coast of any standing structures. The plant was already beginning the process of shutting down when it happened, which is why none were installed. But again how do you prepare for an earthquake that shifted your entire country 8ft and knocked the planet off its axis? People can Monday morning quarterback all they want but it does no good.

You can shake your fist at TEPCO all you want but that's not what I was getting at. If you've seen the progress that has been made and the sacrifices the workers over there have made to keep this from getting worse you wouldn't be so quick to judge. Many of those workers know they will go to an early grave, but they're doing it to preserve what's left of the area and maybe one day restore it to what it once was. Hell, just look at the entire area the Tsunami wiped out and look at the progress. How we doing with Katrina? That was years ago and some places still look like the storm happened yesterday.

It would be nice to actually see stories of the progress instead of hammer fisting the setbacks cause by one of the single most destructive natural disasters on the planet.

RE: Could have been worse
By M'n'M on 4/9/2013 6:52:49 PM , Rating: 2
It would be nice to actually see stories of the progress instead of hammer fisting the setbacks cause by one of the single most destructive natural disasters on the planet.

I understand what you're saying and you have a good point. Even so TEPCO was grossly negligent before the quake and immediately after the tsunami, so their management deserves a lot of blame. For that matter the Japanese govt isn't much better. They declined offers that could helped mitigate the post-tsunami problems but turned them down because it's just not how it's done in Japan. Everything is kept quiet and in-house.

RE: Could have been worse
By Manch on 4/10/2013 2:18:09 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, TEPCO failed the people big time and their management should fall on their swords.

The Japanese are a very stoic culture. I remember growing up when they had one of the nastier quakes. immediately after, anyone that wasn't clearing rubble were already heading to work like it was just another day. Japan refusing help. I remember the media backlash from that too.

RE: Could have been worse
By chick0n on 4/9/2013 7:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
that simply means you know nothing about modern nuclear plant.

They knew their plant suck but they choose to ignored it, cuz it cost them $$$, so they can't order the most expensive sushi everyday.

RE: Could have been worse
By Manch on 4/10/2013 2:41:51 AM , Rating: 2
Are you a nuclear engineer? doubt it. Where in any of my posts am I absolving TEPCO of any blame? I think I was quite clear.

As far as the back up generator issue goes. The plant was in the process of being retired, so they opted not to upgrade them to save money. The reactors were supposed to have been shut down by april of that year. Doesn't absolve TEPCO of responsibility for the mess.

However, the workers at the plant are not management, and I applaud their fight to keep the reactors under control. I seriously doubt they get to order the more expensive sushi.

RE: Could have been worse
By hartleyb on 4/10/2013 9:27:31 AM , Rating: 2
I think you are missing a few points, First the actual building of the plant was not within the international, or local Japanese government specification. They where warned about a number of problems with the reactors and the containment pools before the plant went online. Later they were warned about the backup systems and vulnerabilities to the plant. Japan has a huge number of seismic events each year and the plan was suppose to be built to with stand a 7.0 magnitude quake. Granted nobody was can prepare for a tsunami and an earth quake at the same time, but had they headed the warnings, built the plant to specification, and upgraded equipment as directed the damage would have been much less and would have most likely resulted in containment. TEPCO CEO killed himself because the company was willfully negligent.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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