This video by 60 Minutes Australia covers the bleak reality of the effects of both the Fukushima and Chernobyl meltdowns on the people who were evacuated in Fukushima and the future generations of children in Ukraine.
” Typhoon Hagibis struck Japan on October 12 and to date is responsible for at least 74 deaths. Hagibis flood waters also swelled and stirred contaminated mud from rivers; washed down radioactive soil and water from mountains and forests into inhabited towns and villages; and carried off bags of radioactive debris from Fukushima.
An unknown number of 1-ton waste bags were swept into local waterways, demonstrating the ongoing lackadaisical management of these waste sites. Conflicting reports say as many as 17 bags were claimed by flood waters. At least 11 of these bags came from one of two storage sites, one in Tamura City that held 2667 bags, the other in Iitate Village. Contents of ten of bags had washed away altogether as noted in this article, in Japanese. The workers pictured wear minimal protective covering while they haul off empty bags – some of which hang from trees. The bags had contained grass and debris from environmental decontamination efforts following the explosions at Fukushima nuclear power site. More bags could have floated off, but officials have yet to account for them and are still assessing potential environmental impact. However, bags containing radioactive debris are not the only recontamination concern after the typhoon.
Even regular weather patterns can wash radiological contamination down from forest and mountain areas that were never decontaminated. Natural disasters magnify this impact. Since the 2011 Fukushima reactors launched radioactivity into the environment and contaminated areas miles from the site, soils in forested areas have continued to collect radiocesium so that levels in 2017 were higher than levels in 2011 (brown bars on chart in linked article show radiocesium levels in two different types of forest soil). Increasing radiocesium storage in forest soils means the danger from recontamination is enhanced over time, not diminished. In typhoon Hagibis’s aftermath, residents are concerned that this forest contamination may have been washed into living areas.
Residents are also concerned that the flooding of the Abukuma River stirred and widely dispersed radioactive muds from river beds. The Abukuma is the major river that flows through the central portion of Fukushima Prefecture and it was subject to radioactive contamination from the nuclear catastrophe. The muds have started drying and people are incredibly worried about inhaling radioactive dust.
Areas at the mouth of rivers, further out to sea, or anywhere there is natural churn, could also re-suspend and redistribute radioactive contamination from water to land, such as through sea spray. Abukuma River waters travel to the Pacific Ocean and radiocesium concentration in sediment at the river’s mouth can be relatively high.
Typhoon Hagibis had revealed, yet again, how incompatible nuclear is with nature; how untenable managing the radioactive remnants of nuclear technology can be; and how nuclear catastrophes leave a continuing legacy of contamination, insecurity and threat. ”
by Beyond Nuclear
Here is an honest and critical look at the reality of what is happening in Japan relating to releasing tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean and the coverup of radiation exposure and its related death toll. Robert Hunziker calls out the facts behind the true impact of radiation exposure on millions of Ukrainians from the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. This begs the question, What will be the true impact of Fukushima radiation on the Japanese population, including decontamination workers, children, and future generations?
The article quotes a Greenpeace International March 8th 2019 article entitled: Japanese Government Misleading UN on Impact of Fukushima Fallout on Children, Decontamination Workers: “The Japanese government is deliberately misleading United Nations human rights bodies and experts over the ongoing nuclear crisis in areas of Fukushima… In areas where some of these decontamination workers are operating, the radiation levels would be considered an emergency if they were inside a nuclear facility.”
” Last week, Japan’s then environment minister, Yoshiaki Harada, made news with a pronouncement that wasn’t news. The storage tanks at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site, filled with radioactive water, were reaching capacity. By 2022 there would be no room for more tanks on the present site. Japan would then have to dump the radioactive water stored in the tanks into the Pacific Ocean, he said.
Although likely unrelated to those remarks, a day later, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dispatched 19 of his cabinet ministers, including Harada. Harada was replaced as environment minister by rising star, Shinjiro Koizumi, the son of former primer minister, Junichiro Koizumi. Both father and son are opposed to nuclear energy, and on his first day in office, the younger Koizumi told reporters that he believed Japan should end its use of nuclear energy and close its nuclear power plants.
“I would like to study how we scrap them, not how to retain them,” Reuters reported him saying. This is a surprising position from someone inside the fervently pro-nuclear Abe government and it remains to be seen whether he will be allowed to translate his position into policy.
Dumping Fukushima Daiichi’s accumulated radioactive water has long been the plan proposed by Tepco, the site owner. Fukushima fishermen, along with some scientists and a number of NGOs from around the world, continue to object.
Cooling water is needed at the Fukushima site because, when Units 1, 2 and 3 lost power, they also lost the flow of reactor coolant, causing their cores to overheat. The fuel rods then melted, and molten fuel dripped down and burned through the pressure vessels, pooling in the primary containment vessels. Units 1, 3 and 4 also suffered hydrogen explosions. Each day, about 200 metric tons of cooling water is used to keep the three melted cores cool, lest they once more go critical. Eventually the water becomes too radioactive and thermally hot to be re-used, and must be discarded and stored in the tanks.
As Greenpeace International (GPI) explained in remarks and questions submitted during a consultative meeting held by the International Maritime Organization in August 2019:
“Since 2011, in order to cool the molten cores in the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Daiichi reactor units 1-3, water is continuously pumped through the damaged Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) and circulated through reactor buildings, turbine buildings, the Process Main Building and the “High Temperature Incinerator Building” and water treatment systems.
“As a result, the past eight years has seen a relentless increase in the volume of radioactive contaminated water accumulating on site. As of 4 July 2019, the total amount of contaminated water held in 939 storage tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant (units 1-4) was 1,145,694 m3 (tonnes). The majority of this, 1,041,710 m3, is contaminated processed water. In the year to April 2019, approximately 180 m3/day of water was being circulated into the RPVs of units 1-3.”
In addition to the cooling water, the tanks also house water that has run down from the nearby mountains, at a rate of about 100 tons each day. This water flows onto the site and seeps into the reactor buildings. There, it becomes radioactively contaminated and also must be collected and stored, to prevent it from flowing on down into the sea.
The water tank crisis is just one of multiple and complex problems at the Fukushima Daiichi site, including the eventual need to extract the molten fuel debris from inside the stricken reactors. Decommissioning cannot begin until the water storage tanks are removed.
Tepco has tried to mitigate the radioactive water problem in a number of ways. The infamous $320 million ice wall was an attempt to freeze and block inflow, but has had mixed results and has worked only intermittently. Wells were dug to try to divert the runoff water so it does not pick up contamination. The ice wall has reportedly reduced the flow of groundwater somewhat, but only down from 500 tons a day to about 100 tons.
In anticipation of dumping the tank water into the Pacific Ocean, Tepco has deployed an Advanced Liquid Processing System that the company claims can remove 62 isotopes from the water — all except tritium, which is radioactive hydrogen and therefore cannot be filtered out of water. (Tritium is routinely discharged by operating commercial nuclear power plants).
But, like the ice wall, the filtration system has also been plagued by malfunctions. According to GPI, Tepco admitted only last year that the system had “failed to reduce radioactivity to levels below the regulatory limit permissible for ocean disposal” in at least 80% of the tanks’ inventory. Indeed, said GPI, “the levels of Strontium-90 are more than 100 times the regulatory standard according to TEPCO, with levels at 20,000 times above regulations in some tanks.”
The plan to dump the water has raised the ire of South Korea, whose fish stocks would likely also be contaminated. And it has introduced the question of whether such a move is a violation of The Conventions of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as was raised in a joint written statement by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and Greenpeace International, before the UN Human Rights Council currently in session.
So what else could or should Tepco do, if not dump the water offshore and into the ocean? A wide consensus amongst scientific, environmental and human rights groups is that on-site storage for the indefinite future is the only acceptable option, while research must continue into possible ways to extract all of the radioactive content, including tritium.
Meanwhile, a panel of experts says it will examine a number of additional but equally problematic choices, broadly condensed into four options (each with some variations — to dilute or not to dilute etc):
- Ground (geosphere) injection (which could bring the isotopes in contact with groundwater);
- Vapor release (which could infiltrate weather patterns and return as fallout);
- Releasing it as hydrogen (it would still contain tritium gas); and
- Solidification followed by underground burial (for which no safe, permanent storage environment has yet been found, least of all in earthquake-prone Japan).
Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds, recommends a chemical injection processes (drilling mud) — also used by the oil industry — to stop the flow of water onto the site entirely. But he says Japan has never considered this option. GPI contends that Japan has never seriously researched any of the alternatives, sticking to the ocean dumping plan, the cheapest and fastest “fix.”
All of this mess is of course an inevitable outcome of the choice to use nuclear power in the first place. Even without an accident, no safe, permanent storage solution has been found for the high-level radioactive waste produced through daily operation of commercial nuclear power plants, never mind as the result of an accident.
According to Dr. M.V. Ramana, by far the best solution is to continue to store the radioactive water, even if that means moving some of the storage tanks to other locations to make more room for new ones at the nuclear site. The decision to dump the water, Ramana says, is in line with Abe’s attempts to whitewash the scene before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and claim, as he has publicly in the past, that everything at Fukushima is “under control.” (Baseball and softball games will be played in Fukushima Prefecture and the torch relay will start there, all in an effort to pretend there are no dangerous nuclear after-effects remaining in the area.)
“The reason that they keep saying they need to release it is because they might have to move some of this offsite and that goes against the Abe government’s interest in creating the perception that Fukushima is a closed chapter,” Ramana wrote in an email. “So it is a political decision rather than a technical one.”
As with all things nuclear, there are diverging views on the likely impact to the marine environment and to human health, from dumping Fukushima’s radioactive water into the ocean. These run the gamut from “a little tritium won’t hurt you” to “the Pacific Ocean is dead thanks to Fukushima” — both of which are wildly untrue. (Tritium can bind organically inside the body, irradiating that person or animal from within. The many problems in the Pacific began long before Fukushima and are likely caused by numerous compounding factors, including warming and pollution, with Fukushima adding to the existing woes.)
What is fact, however, is that scientists have found not only the presence of isotopes such as cesium in fish they tested, but also in ocean floor sediment. This latter has the potential to serve as a more long-term source of contamination up the food chain.
But it is also important to remember that if this radioactive water is dumped, it is not an isolated event. Radioactive contamination in our oceans is already widespread, a result of years of atmospheric atomic tests. As was reported earlier this year, scientists studying deep-sea amphipods, retrieved from some of the deepest trenches in the ocean — including the Mariana Trench which reaches 36,000 feet below sea-level and is deeper than Mount Everest is high — detected elevated levels of carbon-14 in these creatures.
“The levels closely matched abundances found near the surface of the ocean, where the amount of carbon-14 is higher than usual thanks to nuclear bomb tests conducted more than half a century ago,” reported Smithsonian Magazine.
Weidong Sun, co-author of the resulting study, told Smithsonian Magazine that “Biologically, [ocean] trenches are taken to be the most pristine habitats on Earth”.
How chilling, then, to realize that our radioactive irresponsibility has reached the lowest depths, affecting creatures far removed from our rash behaviors.
Consequently, the decision by the Japanese government to release yet more radioactive contamination into our oceans must be viewed not as a one-off act of desperation, but as a contribution to cumulative contamination. This, added to the twin tragedies of climate crisis-induced ocean warming and plastics and chemicals pollution, renders it one more crime committed on the oceans, ourselves and all living things. And it reinforces the imperative to neither continue nor increase our reckless use of nuclear power as an electricity source. ”
by Linda Pentz Gunter, Beyond Nuclear International
source with photos and links
” The operator of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will have to dump huge quantities of contaminated water from the site directly into the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s environment minister has said – a move that would enrage local fishermen.
More than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water has accumulated at the plant since it was struck by a tsunami in March 2011, triggering a triple meltdown that forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.
Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has struggled to deal with the buildup of groundwater, which becomes contaminated when it mixes with water used to prevent the three damaged reactor cores from melting.
Tepco has attempted to remove most radionuclides from the excess water, but the technology does not exist to rid the water of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Coastal nuclear plants commonly dump water that contains tritium into the ocean. It occurs in minute amounts in nature.
Tepco admitted last year that the water in its tanks still contained contaminants beside tritium.
Currently, more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water is held in almost 1,000 tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi site, but the utility has warned that it will run out of tank space by the summer of 2022.
“The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Yoshiaki Harada told a news briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”
No decision on how to dispose of the water will be made until the government has received a report from a panel of experts. Other options include vaporising the liquid or storing it on land for an extended period.
Harada did not say how much water would need to be discharged into the ocean.
One recent study by Hiroshi Miyano, who heads a committee studying the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi at the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, said it could take 17 years to discharge the treated water after it has been diluted to reduce radioactive substances to levels that meet the plant’s safety standards.
Any decision to dispose of the waste water into the sea would anger local fishermen, who have spent the past eight years rebuilding their industry.
Nearby South Korea has also voiced concern over the impact it would have on the reputation of its own seafood.
Last month, Seoul summoned a senior Japanese embassy official to explain how Fukushima Daiichi’s waste water would be dealt with.
Ties between the north-east Asian nations are already at a low ebb following a compensation dispute over Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories during the second world war.
The government spent 34.5 bn yen (£260m) to build a frozen underground wall to prevent groundwater reaching the three damaged reactor buildings. The wall, however, has succeeded only in reducing the flow of groundwater from about 500 tonnes a day to about 100 tonnes a day.
Japan has come under renewed pressure to address the contaminated water problem before Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics next summer.
Six years ago during the city’s bid for the games, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, assured the international community that the situation was “under control”.
by The Guardian
” A government-backed organization in charge of supporting the decommissioning of nuclear plants is considering proposing the removal of melted nuclear fuel debris beginning with the No. 2 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, officials said Thursday.
Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. (NDF) believes that the No. 2 unit is the most suitable for melted fuel removal work among the three crippled reactors based on the results of its investigation into radiation levels at the reactors and the conditions inside them.
In January 2018, Tepco confirmed the presence of deposits of melted nuclear fuel debris inside the No. 2 reactor containment vessel of the plant in Fukushima that was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
In February this year, the company made physical contact with the deposits, making much more progress in investigating the No. 2 reactor than the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors.
Tepco plans to further investigate the inside of the No. 2 reactor by the end of March next year and aims to collect sample debris.
According to a summary of a strategic plan on decommissioning that was released by NDF, a robot arm is expected to be inserted into the reactor containment vessel in order to remove melted fuel little by little.
Removed debris is due to be placed in a special container and transferred to a storage facility within the plant.
NDF plans to submit its proposals, including the strategic decommissioning plan, to the government around autumn this year.
After receiving the proposals, the government plans to determine the method of debris removal by the end of March next year. It aims to start debris removal in 2021. ”
by The Japan Times, Jiji