Foreign nuclear experts on Friday blasted the operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, with one saying its lack of transparency over toxic water leaks showed “you don’t know what you’re doing.”
The blunt criticism comes after a litany of problems at the reactor site, which was swamped by a quake-sparked tsunami two years ago. The disaster sent reactors into meltdown and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents in the worst atomic accident in a generation.
Earlier this week, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) admitted for the first time that radioactive groundwater had leaked outside the plant, confirming long-held suspicions of ocean contamination from the shattered reactors.
“This action regarding the water contamination demonstrates a lack of conservative decision-making process,” Dale Klein, former head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), told a panel in Tokyo. “It also appears that you are not keeping the people of Japan informed. These actions indicate that you don’t know what you are doing…you do not have a plan and that you are not doing all you can to protect the environment and the people.”Keep reading (Phys.org)
Dear West Coast Senators:
We the undersigned are deeply concerned about the radiation danger from the ongoing disaster at the Japanese nuclear complex at Fukushima-Daiichi. We are asking you to conduct a thorough investigation of the continuing damage to West Coast states, and the potential danger of another catastrophe.
This would include a detailed inspection of the facility by a team of experts who are independent of the nuclear industry, as well as ongoing monitoring of West Coast and Hawaii water, air and food for radiation. We are especially concerned about making sure the site is safe in case of another huge earthquake, which is not unlikely.
ABC (Australia) , July 23, 2013: It’s taken about two-and-a-half years, but it seems the Japanese government is finally losing patience with the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The reason: its haphazard approach to stabilising the complex. Last week it was unexplained steam rising from the shattered remains of the building housing the melted reactor number three. This week it’s TEPCO’s admission that radioactive water from the plant has probably been leaking into the Pacific for the last three months. [...]
NHK WORLD , July 23, 2013: [...] Tokyo Electric Power Company admitted for the first time on Monday that tainted water is seeping into the sea from the plant site, based on its analysis of water levels underground and in the adjacent sea. High levels of groundwater contamination have been identified [... Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide] Suga told reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the government views this as a grave matter. [...]
NHK WORLD , July 23, 2013: A senior Japanese government official has criticized the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for failing to stop radioactive water leaking into the ocean. Tokyo Electric Power Company officials announced on Monday that new findings suggest tainted water has been leaking into the ocean since April. Officials from the Industry Ministry inspected the plant later on Monday. Senior vice minister Kazuyoshi Akaba says the situation is deplorable. [...]
NHK’s full report is unavailable.
January 23, 2013
Two years after the disaster at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant in Japan — called the “worst accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history” – a fish with staggering levels of radiation has reportedly been found in the vicinity of the plant.
According to French newspaper Le Monde, the fish was caught last Friday. It reportedly contained more than 2,500 times the legal limit for radiation in seafood. The AFP writes:
[Plant operator] Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said caesium equivalent to 254,000 becquerels per kilogramme — or 2,540 times more than the government seafood limit — was detected in a “murasoi” fish.
The fish, similar to rockfish, was caught at a port inside the Fukushima plant, a TEPCO spokesman said.
The find is a stark reminder that fears of radiation continue to haunt the island nation years after the nuclear catastrophe rocked Japan’s waters. Read on →
PLYMOUTH — The tsunami that wracked the west coast of Japan in March of 2011 was still being felt in Plymouth in 2012.
While the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station finally succeeded this year in attaining official approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 20-year extension of its license to operate – a review that lasted a record six years – that review and the disaster in Fukushima also resulted in renewed scrutiny of its operation by an assortment of established and new environmental watchdog groups.
Before Fukushima, Duxbury-based Pilgrim Watch, with its stalwart founder, Mary Lampert, was the lone local critic of the plant and its owner, Louisiana-based Entergy Corp.
Today, Pilgrim Watch is still a leader but has joined forces with what is being called the Pilgrim Coalition. Keep reading…
July 16, 2012
In 10 Years, Peak Cesium Levels Off West Coast Could Be 10 Times Higher Than at Coast of Japan
We’ve extensively documented the fact that ocean currents bring Japanese radiation to the West Coast of North America, and that – rather than adequate ocean dilution - there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation.
Joke F Lübbecke of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and 3 scientists from the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences poured tracer dye into coastal waters off of Fukushima, and monitored its progress as it traveled to the West Coast of North America, to find out what might really happen.
Fukushima Reactor 4: The Most Important Story Nobody’s Talking About
“It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No. 4 reactor.” — Former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland Mitsuhei Murata to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
It’s the most important story nobody’s talking about: the continued dire situation at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, ravaged by a massive earthquake and Tsunami last March.
Judging by the official position of the Japanese Government – which maintains the worst of the catastrophe has passed, declaring the plant now “stable” – and drying up of mainstream media coverage, it’s easy to see how most of the world has been lulled into a false sense of security about Fukushima.
But in recent months, increasingly troubling reports from high-ranking Japanese and American politicians, diplomats and nuclear experts have been trickling into the blogosphere and alternate media like the irradiated water still seeping from the plant into the Pacific Ocean.
The Union of Concerned Scientists recommends safety and security measures that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other government agencies can require to help prevent a nuclear disaster and reduce the damage if one does occur. Entergy should abide by these 23 specific recommendations:
UCS Nuclear Power Safety & Security Recommendations
U.S. Nuclear Power after Fukushima (PDF)
U.S. Nuclear Power after Fukushima – Summary (PDF)
“Nuclear power is an inherently hazardous technology; there’s no way to make it perfectly safe. But we can make it safer.”Union of Concerned Scientists
To protect our health and safety, these are among the fixes that need to be addressed as a condition of Pilgrim’s continued operation:
- Require plant owners to install reliable, fail-safe containment vents, equipped with filters that would reduce the amount of radioactivity released to the atmosphere during a reactor accident.
- Accelerate the transfer of spent fuel to dry cask storage; return the pool to its original, safer, low-density design.
- Power cables must qualify to be in moisture; generators must store at least 14 days of fuel. Require reactors to be able to handle sustained loss of normal and backup power.
- Modify emergency plans, including methods for radiation dose assessment and communications to cope with the sustained loss of normal and backup power supplies. Pursue emergency issues such as delivering equipment through off-site impediments (e.g. failed bridges, blocked roadways) and competing for emergency resources.
- Expand Emergency Planning Zones around reactors in accordance with site-specific parameters (e.g. include all of Cape Cod) and make potassium iodide available beyond 10 miles. Require Entergy to provide sufficient funding for proper implementation in affected communities.
- Improve security at Pilgrim to protect against potential attacks from the air, water, and land.
- Develop procedures for severe accidents exceeding the level presently thought possible, integrating them with those for anticipated accidents and terrorist attacks.
- Replace the once-through cooling system. Require plant owners to upgrade methods for adding water to a spent fuel pool during an accident and to install instruments to monitor pool temperature and water levels.
- Implement real-time radiological and meteorological monitoring off-site.
- Identify ways to prevent hydrogen explosions in the containment and building. Develop ways to improve protection against seismically induced fires and floods. Re-evaluate the seismic and flooding risks to reactors, upgrade protections against both, and upgrade seismic monitoring instrumentation.
- Demonstrate full compliance with all NRC fire regulations. NRC Commissioner Jaczko stated in July 2008, “I don’t think there is one plant right now that is in compliance with those regulations.”
- Meet current specifications for newly built reactors and provide sufficient funds for decommissioning.