Fukushima – Are We All Fucked?

Thanks to Mike Delaney for sending me this video.

From BBC News:

Japan extends the Fukushima clean-up deadline to 2017

The plant was badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011

Plans to decontaminate six towns and villages close to Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant have to be delayed by up to three more years, officials say.

The clean-up of the exclusion zone around the crippled plant was initially due to be completed by next March.

More than 90,000 people remain unable to return home.

Fukushima has been hit by a series of toxic water leaks in recent months. The latest contamination was reported on Sunday after unexpectedly heavy rain.

Water with high levels of the toxic isotope Strontium-90 overflowed containment barriers around water tanks, operator Tepco said.

The tanks are being used to store contaminated cooling water from reactors damaged by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

Cooling systems for reactors were knocked out, causing meltdowns at three of them.

Previous Fukushima Problems:

  • 21 Oct: Radioactive water overflows a containment barrier after heavy rain
  • 7 Oct A plant worker accidentally switches off power to pumps used for cooling damaged reactors
  • 3 Oct Tepco says there is a radioactive water leak after workers overfill a storage tank
  • 21 Aug Japan’s nuclear agency upgrades Fukushima alert level
  • 20 Aug Tepco says 300 tonnes of radioactive water has leaked from a storage tank into the ground
  • July Tepco for the first time admits radioactive water is going into the sea
  • June Tepco says radioactive water leaking from a storage tank to the ground
  • April Tepco suspects a fresh radioactive water leak at Fukushima
  • March Tepco suspects a rodent may have been behind a power cut that shut down cooling systems
  • Dec 2011 Contaminated water leaks from a treatment system, caused by a crack in the foundation

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Fukushima Overwhelmed with Radioactive Water

Highly radioactive water overflowed barriers into Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station after its operator Tepco underestimated how much rain would fall and failed to pump it out quickly enough.

Tepco has been battling to contain radioactive water at the nuclear complex, which suffered meltdowns and hydrogen explosions following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Dealing with hundreds of tonnes of groundwater flowing through the wrecked nuclear station daily is a constant problem for the utility and for the government, casting doubt on the promises of Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, that the Fukushima water “situation is under control”.

After heavy rain on Sunday, water with high levels of radioactive strontium overflowed containment areas built around some 1,000 tanks storing tonnes of radioactive water at the plant, Tepco said.

The radioactive water is a by-product of an improvised cooling system designed to keep the wrecked reactors under control in case of further disaster.

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Fukushima Fishermen Watch Recovery Slip Away

Fish are checked with a Geiger counter for radioactive contamination at Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market in Seoul. South Korea announced last month that it was banning fish imports from along Japan’s northeastern coast because of growing worry about radioactive water leaking into the Pacific Ocean near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press / September 6, 2013)

By Yuriko Nagano

SOMA, Japan — For much of his life, Koichi Matsumoto, 58, happily slipped out of bed in the dead of night to work on a fishing trawler.

But these days, his catch is tree branches, tires and other rubble still adrift since the massive earthquake and tsunami that shook Japan more than two years ago.

“It feels as if we’re right back where we were after the disaster,” which struck March 11, 2011, said Matsumoto, a third-generation fisherman and head of the trawl boat unit at the 1,000-member Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative.

The lives of Matsumoto and about 1,500 other fishermen in the Fukushima region are back in flux because of the discovery in August that 300 tons of radioactive wastewater was pouring into the ocean each day from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

It’s unclear how long the massive volume has been leaking from underneath the damaged reactors and emergency wastewater tanks constructed nearby. It’s also uncertain how long it will take for the flow to be halted.

What is clear is that the leakage has proved a major setback for fishery operators, who had been slowly resuming work since mid-2012. At that time, they began test operations that allowed them to sell their catch — worth about $100 million in annual profit before the magnitude 9 earthquake — after screening it for radiation. More than 37 miles off the coast, they caught fish that didn’t show detectable levels of radioactive particles.

But now they are back to square one, their hope for a steady recovery dashed by the problems at the nuclear plant.

To make ends meet, Matsumoto and others have taken to using their trawlers for tasks such as rubble collection and radiation monitoring. The rubble pickup is paid for by the Japanese government. Some fishermen have also been hired to help at the nuclear plant by its owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco.

“We can’t fish as much, so we’ve been doing many public works projects,” Matsumoto said.

The earthquake and towering tsunami that ensued took the lives of 101 fishermen in Matsumoto’s cooperative. Many family members were also swept out to sea as the tsunami swallowed large portions of the coast, including Matsumoto’s home.

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Interesting and scary shit really. This is why we shouldn’t fuck with Mother Nature!

– BDL1983