September 4, 2013
Shunichi Tanaka, chief of Watchdog, said that Japan may not be able to avoid dumping radioactive water from Fukushima Diachi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean as part of the cleanup operation.
Tanaka said that Tokyo Electric power Company (TEPCO) relayed levels of radiation leaks in one tank were 18 times higher than previously assumed; however reports that this radiation were lethal to human who are exposed are ‘exaggerated”.
Tanaka claims : “Supposing the figure of 1,800 millisieverts per hour is correct, it is beta radiation. It will not penetrate as long as there is a 5-10 millimetre-thick plastic shield or you wear leather shoes.”
The Japanese government has spent $500 million at the behest of TEPCO. A large portion of that money will fund a wall of frozen earth to prevent groundwater from mixing with water being imported and used to cool melted fuel rods.
Funds left over will be allocated to upgrading current water treatment facilities to reduce radiation exposure to residents.
Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan said : “Instead of leaving this up to TEPCO, the government will step forward and take charge. The world is watching if we can properly handle the contaminated water but also the entire decommissioning of the plant.”
Containment of 400 tons of contaminated water per day is spilling into public ground water areas currently, placing citizens at risk. However, neither the Japanese government, nor TEPCO will acknowledge this fact.
Mycle Schneider, independent nuclear energy analyst asserts that this new development is no cause for alarm and tourists should feel comfortable visiting Japan.
Last July, TEPCO admitted that they are unclear as to whether or not radioactive water was released into the ocean after the disaster at Fukushima.
Leaks from the source has been spreading, although they states that radiation levels taken from samples of sea water near the mouth of the harbor is showing low detectable levels.
Workers that have assisted in the clean-up have come down with thyroid cancer, which has been kept out of the media by TEPCO.
This proves that the risk to the area has surpassed its threshold of 10 times what was originally reported.
TEPCO has vehemently denied that contaminated water had been released into the sea. However, an undeniable spike in radiation levels such as cesium was taken from samples collected last year.
Masayuki Ono, spokesman for TEPCO, explained at a press conference that reactors that were severely damaged are the most likely culprit for how the radioactive water escaped to the ocean.
Ono said: “We are very sorry for causing concerns. We have made efforts not to cause any leak to the outside, but we might have failed to do so.”
Since underground water is proving to have fluctuating levels of radiation, the tidal movements are suspected as playing a role in the spreading of the contamination.
Ono said that it is assumed that this contamination has been going on since the disaster itself.
In 2012, reactor No. 4 was automatically suspended because the cooling system for the spent fuel pool begun to malfunction.
TEPCO was unable to activate the cooling system.
Plant officials are “looking into the situation” assuming that an expedited rise in temperature is unlikely.
Just days before this development, TEPCO admitted that record numbers of radiation was detected leaking from the Fukushima plant.
TEPCO said: “Workers cannot enter the site and we must use robots for the demolition.”
Workers for TEPCO were unable to locate where the radioactive leaks were originating, despite using infrared cameras to search the suppression chamber in reactor No. 2.
While shareholders for TEPCO voted to restart certain nuclear reactors, after an endorsement from Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, over 200,000 protesters took to the streets to let the powers that be know their disapproval.