By Justin McCurry / theguardian.com / May 21, 2014 / The operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started pumping groundwater into the Pacific ocean in an attempt to manage the large volume of contaminated water at the site.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said it had released 560 tonnes of groundwater pumped from 12 wells located upstream from the damaged reactors. The water had been temporarily stored in a tank so it could undergo safety checks before being released, the firm added.

The buildup of toxic water is the most urgent problem facing workers at the plant, almost two years after the environment ministry said 300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater from Fukushima Daiichi was seeping into the ocean every day.

The groundwater, which flows in from hills behind the plant, mixes with contaminated water used to cool melted fuel before ending up in the sea. Officials concede that decommissioning the reactors will be impossible until the water issue has been resolved.

The bypass system intercepts clean groundwater as it flows downhill toward the sea and reroutes it around the plant. It is expected to reduce the amount of water flowing into the reactor basements by up to 100 tonnes a day – a quarter – and relieve pressure on the storage tanks, which will soon reach their capacity.

But the system does not include the coolant water that becomes dangerously contaminated after it is pumped into the basements of three reactors that suffered meltdown after the plant was struck by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

That water will continue to be stored in more than 1,000 tanks at the site, while officials debate how to safely dispose of it. The problem has been compounded by frequent technical glitches afflicting the plant’s water purification system.

Tepco and the government are also preparing to build an underground frozen wall around four reactors to block groundwater, although some experts doubt the technology will work on such a large scale. The utility is also building more tanks to increase storage capacity.

Dale Klein, a senior adviser to Tepco, recently warned the firm that it may have no choice but to eventually dump contaminated water into the Pacific.

The first groundwater release went ahead after Tepco assured local fishermen that levels of radioactive isotopes were far lower than those permitted in drinking water by the World Health Organisation.

Tepco described the move as a “major milestone”, adding: “The water’s quality is monitored regularly by independent third parties using safety and environmental standards more stringent than those set by Japanese law.”

The release comes after a Japanese newspaper revealed that almost all of the workers who were at Fukushima Daiichi when a reactor building exploded in March 2011 panicked and fled, defying orders to remain at the site.

The small number of workers, along with firefighters, and soldiers – nicknamed the Fukushima 50 – who did stay behind, working in shifts around the clock to cool nuclear fuel, have been fêted for their heroics.

But the Asahi Shimbun, citing leaked transcripts of testimony from the plant’s then manager, Masao Yoshida, revealed this week that of the 720 workers present when a reactor building exploded on 15 March, 650 fled to another power plant about six miles (10km) away. Yoshida died of cancer last July.

While the Fukushima cleanup continues, government plans to restart some nuclear reactors were in doubt on Wednesday when a court ordered the operator of a plant in western Japan not to put the facility back online, citing safety concerns.

In a rare victory for anti-nuclear campaigners, the court in Fukui prefecture said Kansai Electric Power should not restart two reactors at Oi nuclear power plant.

All of Japan’s dozens of nuclear reactors are idle after being shut down for safety checks in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

“Plaintiffs have rarely won. This is right in the middle of the restart process … it could have very well have repercussions,” said Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of Green Action.

Kansai Electric said it would appeal against the decision.

SOURCE: The Guardian

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By Broc West| 31 Comments | Featured, News

31 comments

  1. Let me get this straight.
    300 tonnes of water are washing around the basements of the power plants and then into the sea. “The buildup of toxic water is the most urgent problem facing workers at the plant, almost two years after the environment ministry said 300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater from Fukushima Daiichi was seeping into the ocean every day.”
    Three years x 300 tonnes=230400 tonnes of contaminated water that has gone into the sea.
    1 tonne equals 1000kg of water which equals 1000 liters.
    So this means 230400000 liters of contaminated water has ‘seeped’ into the ocean since the disaster after it has washed over the presumed exposed lumps of nuclear fuel.
    300 tonnes (300000 liters) a day is hardly seeping. I would say that is gushing. That’s 12500 liters an hour or 208 liters a minute. 3.4 liters a second.
    I want to know if they are measuring the level of contamination of this water so we can get an idea of how much contamination has gone into the sea. Perhaps then we can get a picture of exactly what this disaster means for the local fishermen and the population of Japan. Does anyone have any links to TEPCO site that is showing these readings?

    • 300 tonnes/per day x 365 days x 3 years = 328500 tonnes of water, not including any water they pumped secretly into the pacific because storage has been limited. no matter what they say, it’s worse than what they are admitting, that’s the consensus I’m getting from Fukushima, you can’t even tweet about it in Japan, the GOVT will show up at your house and seize your electronics and call you a terrorist for questioning the authenticity of info coming from the GOVT or STATE! WTF! Welcome to East Berlin.

      • 328500 tonnes of water is a cube that measures about 70m x 70m x 70m (simply calculate the cube root of 328500). Compared to the total volume of the Pacific, this volume is utterly and completely meaningless.

        • ZEBULOUS: Why don’t you just Shut-the-fuck-up? It’s appalling enough that we have “representatives”… so called “experts” bullshitting non-stop without dweebs like you pumping the same crap. Truly, you need to STOP aiding and abetting the lies.

          • You sure are as dumb as a sack of hammers.

            FACT: 300 tons of leaked, contaminated water per day for 3 years amounts to a TOTAL volume of 70m x 70m x 70m, which, when compared to the total volume of water in the Pacific, amounts to basically NOTHING.

            You obviously have an agenda, since you completely ignore the above FACT, but I will keep repeating it whenever and wherever necessary to prevent you and your fellow nutbars from unnecessarily scaring everyone. (To those lurking in here: Note well that our local troll Scottiegirl does NOT address the simple FACT above, but instead attacks me. It’s called ‘ad homme’, and it is one of many tactics of a troll).

    • The TEPCO website itself shows measurements of seawater contamination made each day at various locations outside the breakwater in front of the reactors. Usually the readings for Cs-134 and Cs-137 are below the detection limit since this is carried out with a quick test because the radioactivity levels are low enough that it would take several days testing of each sample to get an accurate measurement. This isn’t always true though, some days the Cs-137 level just offshore can reach more than 1 Bq/litre and thus registers above the Not Detected level. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Japanese government safe levels of Cs-137 for drinking water are 10 Bq/litre. The first ground water bypass operation released stored water with a total Cs-134/137 contamination level of 0.06 Bq/litre, well under the no-release limit of 1 Bq/litre.

      Here’s a link to the MEXT page that tracks and collates all the measurements made including the seawater samples taken just offshore as well as sediments, deeper oceanic surveys, north and south along the coasts, tests for Sr-90 and tritium and the like.

      http://radioactivity.nsr.go.jp/en/index.html

    • 300 tons of water per day equals 300 cubic meters per day (one cubic meter of water weighs one metric ton). To help visualize this, calculate the cube root of 300, and we get a cubic volume of water measuring 6.7m x 6.7m x 6.7m. This is indeed, a trickle.

  2. Thank you for all your efforts to keep the public aware of the continuing Fukushima disaster.

    • Please read my responses to the poor mathematicians here, and you will see that you can lower your anxiety levels over this. While it is in everyone’s best interest that all emissions from Fukushima be stopped, the amount of water leaking into the ocean is absolutely minuscule, and if nothing changes for the worse, it will be tens of decades before the leakage will be of concern.

  3. So stupid, so stupid!!!!!!!

    Wanna build an ice wall that won’t melt short term
    Read your History
    WW 2
    USA built an iceburg aircraft carrier
    Unmaintained it lasted 10 months.
    Water and sawdust, water and sawdust. Donations accepted for idea.

    • Hey EUGENE, you will never get this “monster/idiot” (ZEBULOUS) to shut up – he’s so completely delusional ….. as if “maths” can make it right!

      His arguments are totally laughable – this guy/girl/freak (and his buddies), has/have been spewing out the same bullshit for years… and NONE of what froths out is actual truth…… It’s all “nuclear apologist stuff”… ie: “The Solution To Pollution Is Dilution”…… (like) MAN MADE RADIONUCLIDES ARE BIO-DEGRADABLE (?) – Where’s the math for that???

      What “we” have to understand and deal with is that the bullshit from the “apologists and Gatekeepers” is just that: Bullshit… and last time I checked, bullshit is bio-degradable….. so it will go away – so will these sad, delusional arseholes when they get their Cancers, etc, etc.

      What won’t go away is the actual contamination from FUKUSHIMA. The toxic crap deluging our planet from Fukushima (and all the other NPPs) is NEVER going to go away… and we have to live with it now – no matter where we are.

      What we don’t have to live with is guilt for not calling these shit-bags out for what they are.

      Yay! to you Eugene 🙂

    • Hey EUGENE, you will never get this “monster/idiot” (SCOTTIEGIRL) to shut up – she’s so completely delusional ….. as if “maths” can be ignored and she can keep repeating the same ‘sky is falling’ nonsense.

      Here it is again, EUGENE: 300 tons of water per day for 3 years amounts to a tiny, tiny, tiny volume of water. Do the math yourself…the only bit of knowledge you need to start (and you can look it up yourself) is that one ton of water is one cubic meter. The calculations are trivial after that.

      Scottiegirl and all her other fear-mongering friends over at enenews.com have an anti-nuke agenda, and while I actually support that agenda (but know perfectly well that as oil continues to runs out, large numbers of people will die), I do NOT support their tactics. If their bullshit about Fukushima gets traction (and it IS bullshit) it could result in wide- spread panic FOR NO REASON AT ALL. Scottiegirl and her kind ignore simple truths in favor of promomting their anti-nuke stance, and are VERY dangerous to the stability of society. Imagine if they convinced everyone on the west coast of North America that they were in danger of being radiated to death by FUK; The mass panic that ensued would be horrific, and Scottiegirl and friends should most definitely be held directly accountable.

      Again…do the math yourself and you will see that nobody is in any immediate (or future) danger from FUK.

      • OMG. Who’s the “Ad Hominem” (correct spelling) attacker now?

        If you just start with the one salient word in all of this: “water”, that’s enough….. (because) it’s not water…. it’s irradiated, contaminated water. The contaminated water (groundwater, water from the NPPs, whatever..) is not water-soluble. It is not going to dilute. FACT. Irradiated water (and/or anything else) is lethal…. it bio-accumulates…. it kills. FACT…. and you can pull numbers out of a hat until the sky falls down but it will not alter these facts; this “water” can and will destroy our oceans. WAKE UP. I’m not “fear-mongering” – people want and need the truth.

        Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter how long you keep “doing the sums”, it doesn’t matter how long you keep lying, it doesn’t matter if stupid people panic…. there is no where to run to and no where to hide. Fukushima IS a huge catastrophe that continues each and every day to pollute our oceans, our lands and our atmosphere and no-one can “switch it off”. So you can keep doing your “math” and keep your head in the sand… so what….. sooner or later it’s going to hit you. I pity you; there’s no excuse for wilful ignorance. SHAME ON YOU.

        • Hello,
          If I may, I would like to chime in here.
          I would offer that each of you read the book written by V. M. Chernousenko entitled Chernobyl – Insight from the Inside. As it is stated on page 9, it reads…,
          “It is practically impossible to eliminate all radioactive substances from the subsoil and soil in the contaminated area. It is also not reasonable to hope for natural decay of the radiation. The radiation levels given off by the substances emitted from the reactor will in the first 100 years decrease 5 times from 5 x 10^12 to 1 x 10^12 and, in 1,000 years, 1,000 times to 1 X 10^9.
          One way of illustrating the danger is to calculate the volume of water required to dilute the radioactive material to the maximum permissible concentrations. The 15m^3 (15 cubic meters) of radioactive substances emitted from Block 4 at this time could be diluted in 15 x 10^12 = 75,000km^3 of water. In 100 years, 15,000km^3 would be needed. In 1,000 years 15km^3 would be the required amount. For comparison: the total outflow of the world’s rivers is 36,380km^3 – i.e., its use to dilute the radiation would require 50 years before the radioactive emissions from Chernobyl will be brought down to the permissible level. (My words here – it would take the total outflow of all the rivers of the world, 50 years to dilute Chernobyl to acceptable levels).

          The man who wrote that book is in fact a nuclear scientist -from Russia – who spent 5 years in the rectification process after only one of their reactors exploded. How many exploded, or suffered damage in Japan – was it 3, or 4, or 5? Japan is in danger (and so is the world), and that goes without question – a fact of nuclear science.

          Read the book and ask yourself, how much truth is being hidden from the public.

          As our President Reagan one said, the most horrifying words one could hear are, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”.

          Again, please get a copy of the book. It is very well written and discloses much of what Russia faces, and consequently the rest of the world. The Pacific Ocean is being contaminated by this waste and Japan is doing nothing to fix it. They are still in the denial stage. At least Russia addressed the issue and quickly covered their destroyed reactor.

          I hope you find this information helpful.

          Regards,
          Gary F.

          • Thankyou GARY, for taking the time to post this information – it’s what is needed: FACTS!

            The book you have cited by V. M. Chernousenko “Chernobyl – Insight from the Inside” is a hard-core compendium of the facts about Chernobyl for which Mr Chernousenko should never have been punished for exposing; indeed The World owes him a debt of gratitude.

            Without facing the horrific truth about Fukushima BASED ON REAL EVIDENCE such as provided by Mr Chernousenko (not to mention the near 70 years of data from Hiroshima/Nagasaki, and all the factual reports from all the (other) Nuclear disasters worldwide), how can anyone hope to ameliorate the consequences in any way?

            What was needed right from the beginning was Truth, Facts and the Best Scientific Minds the world has to offer….. instead we have Suppression, Obfuscation and Lies. 🙁

          • Thanks, Gary. Please take note that ScottieGirl’s response to you starts off with saying thank you for the FACTS, as if to suggest that my trivial calculations regarding the total volume of leaked, contaminated water is not a FACT, when it absolutely is.

            Regarding the snippet from the book you cited, the author talks about what volume of water would be needed to dilute the 15^3m of material emmited by block 4 at Chernobyl. Presumably the volume of ‘material’ of which he speaks is raw nuclear fuel, which makes the section in the book completely and utterly non-applicable to the discussion at hand, and shame on you if you posted this hoping that other readers would be fooled (like ScottieGirl).

            While I have no way to do a proper calculation, I would estimate the the total amount of contamination already released by FUK into the ocean would be something on the order of a billion, billion, billion times lower than that contained in a solid, 15^3m lump of raw nuclear fuel, thus requiring a billion, billion, billion times less diluation material., so once again, the amount of radioactive material leaked in to the ocean is NOTHING.

            If the whole of one of FUKs cores or fuel pools gets into the surrounding area, then it’s absolutely a serious problem…for Japan. Let’s hope that that doesn’t happen.

          • Thanks for you comment Gary. I wonder how this calculation compares to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      • hello zebeulos. i have been reading your discussion and honestly have to say, you are either EXTREMELY stupid or paid by someone to say this. although your “maths” are correct, you seem not to be able to get this through your this skull: the water is RADIOACTIVE. this is not just any water. this 70 by 70 by 70 cube you talked about, will contaminate the water around it, spreading like wildfire. and if you are trying to say this isn’t a big deal, your wrong. i’m glad you have paid attention in math class and know how to multiply, but honestly, you have no idea idea what you are talking about, so shut up and go back to second grade where your piers know more about this than you. thank you for listening, -CLASSIFIED (you’ve just been owned by a ten year old)

        • Well, well, well…attacked by another dolt.

          You can’t possibly be stupid enough to believe that I’m not aware that the leaked water is contaminated, can you? Apparently you are, and I’m tempted to just ignore you based on this stupidity alone.

          On second thought, I am going to ignore you, as your rebuttal adds absolutely zero meaningful information to the discussion. Back to the playground with you, my silly 10 year old.

      • Thank you scottie girl for pointing out the
        H20 situation with king omnibus aka
        Tepco Robot.
        He always says water, its not just water,
        Its highly contaminated.
        Too much pressure on mother earth,
        Shes ready to give us our pink slip.

        • “Too much pressure on mother earth. She’s ready to give us our pink slip.”

          As it relates to Fukushima, two words for you:

          Bull and Shit.

  4. There’s so many errors in this article, it is hard to know where to begin. First, the groundwater does not mix with water used to cool the melted fuel. It mixes with the water in the basement. Second, there is no water being pumped into the basements of the three damaged reactors. Water is being pumped out and stripped of Cesium isotopes before initial storage. Third, I scan all the news and info on Fukushima coming out of Japan every day, and I have never read of Dale Klein saying highly contaminated water will have to be dumped to the sea. The report that hundreds of F. Daiichi workers panicked and fled is taken from the most antinuclear news source in Japan…The Asahi Shimbun…which routinely twists the facts for sensational appeal They did not panic and flee. Their bus drivers were told to move them to a location with low radiation levels while management was working on post-accident planning. The bus drivers thought Masao Yoshida meant to take the hundreds of workers to the Fukushima Daini station seven miles to the south. Also, the Fukui lower court order (Kansai Prefecture) to stop the Oi restarts is based on ignorance and irresponsible judicial practice. see http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001299157 taken from Japan’s largest newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun. Numerous retractions are warranted, but I’m not sure the Guardian has the moxie to make things right.

  5. If the water pumped into the sea is monitored carefully for contamination, this could be one of the best tactics yet to help solve the problems at Fukushima. By viewing photos of the ever-expanding area of contaminated-water filled tanks at Fukushima, it is plain to see that something must be done to slow down the accumulation of contaminated water. What I understand is that this new procedure is a way for uncontaminated water to harmlessly go to the sea by a different path so that it does not mix with the radiated water at the plant and become contaminated. I hope this plan works well. I am very cautious about radiation, and I just want to see the situation at Fukushima improved for the sake of the Japanese people. It seems to me that the new directed groundwater release is a step in the right direction.

    • The groundwater being pumped out is actually noticeably contaminated, it’s just very much less than WHO or Japanese standards for drinking or bathing water. It’s the result of fallout from the original reactor explosions more than three years ago, fission isotopes being washed out of the soil by rainfall and going into underground aquifers. The groundwater bypass release into the ocean is treated even more strictly than the drinking water limits as part of the agreement with local fishermen and Fukushima residents.

      WHO and Japanese government limits for Cs-137 in drinking and bathing water is 10 Bq/litre, the US limit is 7.4 Bq/litre. The groundwater bypass operation limits at Fukushima Daiichi are 1 Bq/litre for Cs-134/137 in total. The first release from the storage tanks after testing contained 0.065 Bq/litre of Cs isotopes, less than 1% of the WHO drinking water limits. It’s still a lot higher than the existing levels of fission isotopes in the oceans due to nuclear weapons testing in the middle of last century (about 0.002 Bq/litre).

    • Dear SARITA,
      There’s only one problem: the contaminated water cannot be “filtered” to remove all Nuclear Isotopes. Sure, some toxic radionuclides can be, and some can be minimised, but for example: lethal TRITIUM can’t ever be removed from water once it’s in there…. and “we” are over 60% water (infants over 80%)… so what do you think happens when we’re exposed?

      Then there’s the issue that no-one talks about: say filtering could be done successfully…. where will “they” put the filtered contaminant? (Remember that some of the contaminants are lethal for hundreds of thousands of years.)

      There is no simple “fix’ for this problem – I, like you and everyone else, do hope that something can be done…. the sooner the better. In the meantime we must do all that we can to promote Truth…. at least then we will know what we’re facing and we can take steps, however small, to protect what we can….. and to demand that those responsible (and those that support them), are called out for what they have done.

      • Hello scottiegirl,

        I find your (and others of the like) comments to be extremely informative at this gruelling time. I am hoping and wondering if you can share with me some sources to find information on the actual tolls on the ocean and ocean life that are occurring/ have occurred, as I’m finding there is more than enough focus on what the damage is doing to “us” as humans. I’m curious about what’s happening to marine life and any rescue efforts (if there are any).

        Thank you.

  6. Well, all you need is a small 8.0 earthquake on the ring of fire sometime and the NPP roof collapses and some 1400 rods slide off into the sea, since after 2 years, they have failed to remove these dangerous rods. Once that happens, then bible prophesy will be completed and 1/3 of all the fish will be dead in the ocean. But you idiots are into mathematics, not scripture; Right? So what happens when just after March, 2015 a great earthquake strikes the earth setting it off its poles as prophesied in Rev 6:12-17 which is followed by a blood moon & preceded by a solar eclipse, also mentioned. BTW, those is the last tetrad to come along in this century, so it could be referring to this one; who knows? Time, which we have little of will tell! The Plagues of MERS will be on us around the world by August, 2014 after Ramadan followed by the Haaj of 2 million Islamic visitors to spread it, with the kiss of death, on their children once they arrive back home; so, they can spread it onward, coughing in the schools! But, you guys are mathematicians, so you wouldn’t understand prophesy from lack of belief!

    • The concern about another majot earthquake in Japan, and is a grave concern. It’s also a concern for many, many other nuke plants around the world, and reason enough to shut down all nuclear plants.

      MERS? Pandemics are always scary, and vastly more likely to affect you than is FUK (big earthquake not withstanding).

      The rest of your post is pure kookery, and that’s an observation I do have faith in.

  7. Hey zebulous how bout I make you a cup of coffee . Let’s say it’s 150ml let’s say now I ejaculate into that coffee . Assuming it’s about 5mls it’s an awful small amount when you compare the volume of coffee to sperm , so what’s the harm . No one could hardly even tell , it won’t hurt you or make you more of a dicksucker than you already make yourself out to be !

    • Hi capeable. Nice homo-phobic rant you did there, but unfortunately your powers of reasoning are as lacking as ScottieGirl’s. If you want to stick with your charming cum-drinking analogy (methinks you’ve already likely offended SG’s godly sensibilities, btw), then a proper example would be for you to pour us several hundred billion cups of coffee, and then for you to jack off into any single random cup. I would then be required to pick any cup and drink it. You can bet your dirtly little penis I would do that in an instant, without any fear whatsoever.

      • you must be some kind of fucking idiot. Too bad they don’t have school for common sense which you seem to lack a great quantity of. If any, which is my guess.

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