Print 29 comment(s) - last by SPOOFE.. on Aug 22 at 5:30 PM

It's a seven-point scale

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan has had issues with toxic water leaving the site of its damaged reactor, and now, Japan's nuclear agency is upping the toxicity level of this water. 

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority is looking to raise the alert level of a leak at the plant from a one to a three on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). INES is a seven-point scale. 

The move still has to be approved by the United Nations' nuclear agency.

The reason behind this increase in severity is the fact that 300 tonnes of radioactive water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean from the plant daily, which contains radioactive particles of cesium, tritium and strontium. To make matters worse, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said that one puddle of the toxic water emits 100 millisieverts an hour of radiation. 

"One hundred millisieverts per hour is equivalent to the limit for accumulated exposure over five years for nuclear workers; so it can be said that we found a radiation level strong enough to give someone a five-year dose of radiation within one hour," said Masayuki Ono, general manager of Tepco.

Officials are already working to try and prevent more toxic water from leaving storage tanks, such as the leak that may receive a three on the scale. For instance, sandbags are being used to surround the tank and absorb water. 

Just last week, it was announced that Japan was looking into creating an ice wall, which would turn 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 government doesn't have a cost estimate for the project yet. 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 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: BBC News

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RE: Damn, this is disturbing!
By amanojaku on 8/21/2013 11:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
Fukushima is only 42 years old, not 60, having completed construction of Dai-ichi (number one) in 1971. The Dai-ni through Dai-roku (2-6) plants completed construction between 1974-1979. And the plants weren't supposed to be updated; the original recommendations were 30-40 years until decommission. Ironically, regulators extended the lifetime by 10 years just one month before the disaster. Updates probably wouldn't have helped, as no one planned for a tsunami of that magnitude. And TEPCO had been falsifying safety inspection reports since 1978, so who knows what upgrades would have been done. It was a generation I plant, after all, and generation III+ is current. The overhaul would have required shutting down the whole plant.

RE: Damn, this is disturbing!
By Samus on 8/21/2013 4:46:58 PM , Rating: 2
It wasn't even updates they needed. These General Electric reactors are very safe. We use the same exact reactors 40 miles North-East of Chicago in Michigan City, IN.

What they needed were waterproof backup generators. These GenII reactors would have likely run safely another 40 years. (There are plants in service that have been rescheduled for 80 year service that use these same reactors)

I think a lot of people need to understand these old-style reactors don't just turn off instantly. Sometimes it can take weeks to shut down a reactor. The purpose of the backup generators is to continue cycling water through the reactor cooling channels to prevent them going critical. This process was executed properly in every other nuclear plant in Japan after the earth quake and Tsunami.

RE: Damn, this is disturbing!
By pattycake0147 on 8/22/2013 8:50:04 AM , Rating: 2
I believe you are misinformed. First, Michigan City is southeast of Chicago not northeast. Secondly, you lead people to believe that the plant is nuclear when it is in fact a coal-fired plant.

RE: Damn, this is disturbing!
By SPOOFE on 8/22/2013 5:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm confused on the geography now. Glancing at "Chicago" and "Michigan City" on the Wikipoo seems to suggest that the latter is directly east of the former. They're both right on the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

RE: Damn, this is disturbing!
By chromal on 8/21/2013 9:43:46 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with a lot of that, although technically this was solidly a Gen-II plant design. Reactor no. 3 had a plutonium/uranium fuel mixture and was a slightly updated JDM build. No. 1 is pretty much an old-school GE BWR, construction design first submitted to Japanese authorities in 1966. What has always been controversial about this Gen-II design is its containment setup.

This is a cool comparison:
Gen I (Shippingport, PA)

Gen II: GE BWR (like Fukushima) (Brown Ferry)

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