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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 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 :\

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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