TEPCO finally asks for help with leaks

Where are the pro-nuclear industry comment trolls of yesteryear, who turned out in droves to ridicule anyone who pointed out the unfolding consequences of the Fukushima nuke disaster or questioned Tepco’s official version? The ones who lectured us about all the “safeguards” built into the antiquated systems and assumed the best about their for-profit owners? Ah, good times!

A nuclear expert has told the BBC that he believes the current water leaks at Fukushima are much worse than the authorities have stated.

Mycle Schneider is an independent consultant who has previously advised the French and German governments.

He says water is leaking out all over the site and there are no accurate figures for radiation levels.

Meanwhile the chairman of Japan’s nuclear authority said that he feared there would be further leaks.

The ongoing problems at the Fukushima plant increased in recent days when the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted that around 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the site.

Moment of crisis

The Japanese nuclear energy watchdog raised the incident level from one to three on the international scale that measures the severity of atomic accidents.

This was an acknowledgement that the power station was in its greatest crisis since the reactors melted down after the tsunami in 2011.

But some nuclear experts are concerned that the problem is a good deal worse than either Tepco or the Japanese government are willing to admit.

They are worried about the enormous quantities of water, used to cool the reactor cores, which are now being stored on site.

Some 1,000 tanks have been built to hold the water. But these are believed to be at around 85% of their capacity and every day an extra 400 tonnes of water are being added.

“The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic,” said Mycle Schneider, who has consulted widely for a variety of organisations and countries on nuclear issues.

“What is the worse is the water leakage everywhere else – not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that.

The increase in storage of radioactive water at the Fukushima nuclear plant Satellite images show how the number of water storage tanks has increased in the past two years. The tanks store contaminated water that has been used to cool the reactors.

“It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse,” said Mr Schneider, who is lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports.

Oh, and by the way? I wouldn’t eat any West Coast fish.

2 thoughts on “TEPCO finally asks for help with leaks

  1. Well, duh. I lived in Texas and stopped eating fish the first day of the BP oil spill. Then moved to the west coast and enjoyed my sushi for less than a year. My first reaction to the nonexistent coverage of the radiation dangers (if they won’t tell us about it, it must be *that* bad) was to stop eating fish. period. Do you think Arctic/Alaskan fish is any safer (I would wager that is the most contaminated of all and that is the source of a whole lot of commercially available seafood). And it’s only a matter of time and tides for the radiation to contaminate every ocean in the world.

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