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The government is now stepping in to help clean up

Japan's troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been spilling more toxic water than previously thought, and the situation has gotten to the point where the government needs to step in. 

According to Yushi Yoneyama, an official with the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Fukushima is leaking about 300 tonnes of toxic water into the Pacific Ocean per day. It's not clear how long the contaminated water has been spilling out at this rate, but it's believed that the water has been leaking for the last two years since the earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant. 

In response to the news of 300 tonnes leaking per day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the government to take part in the cleanup. 

"To ensure safety, I would also like the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority to do his best to find out the cause and come up with effective measures as a regulator," said Abe. 

The plan is to freeze nearly a mile perimeter around the four reactors by drilling shafts into the ground and sending coolant through them. This will make a wall of frozen soil that will prevent the flow of groundwater into the plant.

The main problem with this is that maintaining the ground temperatures for months or even years would be very expensive. The cleanup is already expected to take more than 40 years and cost $11 billion.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) is already trying to build a bypass to stop the flow of groundwater from reaching the plant as well.

The latest admission of the amount of leaking water further damages Tepco's credibility. Not only did the company fail to properly prepare for the earthquake/tsunami, but it's response to the disaster and time it took to reveal exactly how much toxic water is leaking has also hurt the faith in Tepco. 

That's why the government is stepping in. The ministry has already requested a budget allocation to help with the toxic water problem. 

Earlier this month, Tepco spokesman Masayuki Ono confirmed at a regular monthly news conference that Tepco was aware of the leakage of radioactive water into the sea and groundwater. This was the first time the company had admitted this. Tepco had previously denied that any radioactive waste had reached the ocean, but it was eventually forced to start telling the truth in May after a coastal well sample showed abnormal levels of dangerously radioactive Caesium-137, which is a radioisotope with a half-life of 30 years.

Back in March 2011, 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.

Source: Reuters

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RE: 300 tons/day
By nafhan on 8/7/2013 11:26:38 AM , Rating: 3
Also, regarding radiation levels: there's nothing. We've got the word "abnormal" in this article. I'd feel comfortable defining abnormal as: detectable and different than normal, but beyond that there's really no info.

The lack of real info generally indicates scare-mongering rather than an actual problem, but I'd be interested in seeing some better sources if someone has them.

RE: 300 tons/day
By drycrust3 on 8/7/2013 1:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
Also, regarding radiation levels: there's nothing. We've got the word "abnormal" in this article. I'd feel comfortable defining abnormal as: detectable and different than normal, but beyond that there's really no info.

From the way they spoke about this, it could well be the amount of water flowing through the reactor depends on the weather, and under that senario the actual amount of toxic material varies depending upon the precipitation outside of the reactor, thus in dry weather there is more and in the wet weather there is less.
Really, this is quite a serious situation because so much depends on why there is water flowing out and where it has been. For example, say you have a water level sensor (e.g. a ball cock) that is incorrectly set on some tank containing some nuclear waste, then the tank is overflowing at a constant rate, but the toxics that are being spilt will deplete over time.
Another senario is there is a crack in the bottom of the nuclear core chamber, and that water is being pumped in to try and keep some semblance of pressure there. Under this senario the ground under the chamber is eroding away and the amount of water needed will increase, and that as it increases the possibility of the core getting hot again increases, which means the amount of toxics that one can expect will also increase.

RE: 300 tons/day
By nafhan on 8/7/2013 2:00:15 PM , Rating: 2
From the way they spoke about this
From the way they spoke about this, just about anything could be going on! Anyway, the amount of water flowing through doesn't mean much if you don't know what the radiation level of the water is after leaving. If x*y=z. Knowing that "y" is a huge number doesn't tell you what "z" is unless you also know "x".

Further, I'm not arguing that this isn't a serious problem. I'm saying the authors of the article here - and it's sources - are trying really hard to make it sound serious without giving the reader any information on how they came to this conclusion.

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