Workers began removing highly radioactive water from one of the reactors at the earthquake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex Tuesday. The Japanese government and the plant operator, Fukushima Daiichi ,known as Tepco, have been battling to keep three damaged reactors from overheating. The reactor fuel is being kept cool by a steady supply of water. This is foolishness. It is idiocy. It is criminal. It is environmental suicide. This supply water is washing right back out to the Pacific Ocean. This ignorant response is entirely unacceptable.
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency statement that, "Our focus, for the time being, will be on preventing spillage of irradiated water into the ocean." is ridiculous. Spillage is already being verified by the U.S. EPA in the United States. China and South Korea are howling about the dumping of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
The water at the center of current efforts is in the basement of the No. 2 reactor building and totals some 25,000 tons, according to Tepco. The facility was first flooded by the March 11 tsunami. Operators then tried to cool the reactor by pumping in 168 tons of cold water a day. This simply provided a vector for dumping radioactive isotopes into the Pacific Ocean.
Some foolish officials believe some of that water is absorbing radiation and leaking through the bottom of what is known as the reactor's suppression pool, which is meant to hold cooling water for the reactor. The suppression pool, which forms a ring around the bottom of the reactor's containment unit, was believed to have been damaged by a hydrogen explosion in the days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the plant's cooling systems. Duh. The Center and the rest of the world saw the explosions that completely compromised the containment building and the spent fuel pools.
The water is leaked into the nearby ocean, causing highly elevated levels outside the plant and resulting in radioactive readings detected in nearby fish. The water has been measured as having 13 million becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter, 300 million times the legal limit, and three million becquerels of cesium-137, which is 30 million times the limit. Seal the site. Seal it now. If Tepco and the Japanese government do not have the backbone to seal the site, then turn it over to the Center and we will immediately begin entombing the site.
Under Tepco's illogical plan, 10,000 tons of the water will be moved to a nearby storage facility over the next 20 days, using three hoses of as long as 800 meters each. Construction is likely to take at least a couple of months, meaning more than half the 25,000 tons will have to remain in the No. 2 reactor building. Huh? What? Moving the highly radioactive water from one place to another place nearby is supposed to make a difference? Do you think we just got off the turnip truck. These are the world's top nuclear scientists?
In addition to the leakage of highly radioactive water, Japan earlier this month discharged 10,000 tons of low-level radioactive water, drawing criticism from neighboring countries including South Korea and China, as well as from local commercial fishing operators. We are livid. Seal it now. (WSJ, 4/20/2011)