Saturday, April 16, 2011

TEPCO Must STOP Dumping Radioactive Water Into Ocean


The Center is demanding the immediate cessation of dumping radioactive water into the ocean (and the atmosphere) by Fukushima Daiichi plant owner and operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).  The Center will be filing complaints with the Japanese government and the U.S. State Department if this site is not sealed off very soon.  It should have been sealed immediately after the first of three hydrogen explosions. The Center is recommending the immediate entombing of the entire site.  We are recommending a 500 foot tall sarcophagus with 500 foot deep steel bulkheads to protect the ocean.

The U.S. EPA has already detected elevated levels of radiation in air in the United States.  Although described as 'low-level,' any increase due to a commercial nuclear power plant disaster is too much. Spreading radioactive contamination into the ocean is completely unacceptable.

President Obama should pressure the Japanese government to entomb the entire Fukushima Daiichi site.  If President Obama is unwilling to take this position, then Chinese President Hu Jintao should take the lead.  China is already complaining about the dumping because it poses a threat.  South Korea is also complaining about the ocean dumping.

The Japanese government Friday published a report on the discharge of more than 10,000 metric tons of low-level radioactive water from the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex. TEPCO released a total of 10,393 tons of radioactive water April 4 to 10, according to the report published Friday evening local time by Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), made up of 1,323 tons of groundwater and 9,070 tons of seawater.

The government estimated the total amount of radiation contained in the released water at 150 billion becquerels—exceeding the legal limits by about 100 times—depending on the sample taken, according to NISA.

The amount of water used to cool down the reactor totaled 27,000 tons, most of which either evaporated into the atmosphere or leaked through damaged parts of reactors and flooded the nuclear complex, making it all but impossible for workers to do repairs to damaged reactor facilities.  Some of the water also proved highly toxic, sometimes 100 million times more radioactive than the allowable limit.

Tthe Atomic Energy Society of Japan released a report on its assessment on the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, saying that the nuclear fuel has partially melted and that the molten part settled in granular form at the bottom of the pressure vessel. A reactor's pressure vessel contains its fuel and is one of the first lines of defense against radioactive release. (WSJ, 4/15/2011)

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