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  (Source: media.npr.org)
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: Its a Joke!
By nafhan on 8/7/2013 2:20:28 PM , Rating: 2
It is!

Running poorly managed and poorly designed plants for decades past their designed end of life has been shown to be somewhat expensive and dangerous, though. Like many things: nuclear power is dangerous when you're stupid with it.


RE: Its a Joke!
By roykahn on 8/7/2013 5:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't call it stupid, it's more likely a case of profit maximization, which is supposed to be a good thing, right? If you disregard some safety, then you can save money on the cost of operations. Whether it's the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, or the many other oil spills, people will find a way to make an extra buck by cutting corners and then cover up the impact.

The trick is to get a balance between safety and cost, which is easier said than done. If you implement high safety standards, then there's a greater chance of operators ignoring those standards because they could be perceived to be tedious and unnecessary.


RE: Its a Joke!
By nafhan on 8/9/2013 12:48:02 PM , Rating: 2
In this specific case, I think they were stupid. Being motivated by profit doesn't make it less stupid.


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