Fukushima Update – What you need to know

10.02.2017 - Fukushima, Japan - Fairewinds Energy Education

Fukushima Update – What you need to know
(Image by Digital Globe for Wikimedia Commons. During the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, three nuclear reactors were damaged by explosions.)

People all around the world know when the Fukushima Daiichi disaster began, but no one knows when it will end. As you all know, Fairewinds has been sharing the facts of the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdowns since they began six years ago March 11, 2011.

Last week TEPCO came closer to locating the bulk of the melted fuel in Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 than it ever has after sending a special robot into the severely damaged containment. Unfortunately, while the robot only operated for a very short time due to incredibly high radiation levels, the camera captured the inside of the containment facility where it spotted likely evidence of fuel debris and a hole in the grating below the atomic reactor.

During its internal Unit 2 atomic containment viewing, the robot radiation detector measured readings as high as 530 Sv/hr. Such a huge radiation dose would be lethal to people in less than one minute, which is why only specially made robots, never tried before anywhere in the world, had to be created. For your comparison, 10 Sv, which converts to 1,000 rem, has proven to be a lethal radiation dose in only one hour! TEPCO’s new Unit 2 readings measure more than 50 times higher. Other areas closer to the bulk of the melted fuel, where the robot could not even reach will likely have much higher radiation levels.

Although this robotic measurement just occurred, this high radiation reading was anticipated and has existed inside the damaged Unit 2 atomic reactor since the disaster began nearly 6 years ago. Fairewinds followers have written and called to ask us what can TEPCO do now. As Fairewinds has said for 6-years, there are no easy solutions because groundwater is in direct contact with the nuclear corium (melted fuel) at Fukushima Daiichi. As Fairewinds has maintained since the meltdowns began, these radiation doses make dismantling the facility almost impossible for 100-years or longer, because the high exposures to workers make it impossible for humans to do the necessary work.

TEPCO and Japan’s atomic power regulators must stop the groundwater from continuously flowing into the highly radioactive damaged reactors and migrating all that radioactivity directly into the Pacific Ocean. This highly radioactive water must be prevented from entering the atomic power containments, and then a sarcophagus must be created to seal the reactors until the highest radioactivity decays away. Stopping the clean migrating groundwater before it enters the crippled containments, then sealing the radiation inside those radioactive hulks, and waiting 100+ years to dismantle the reactors once they have cooled has always been Fairewinds’ recommendation.

For now, only a fraction of the radiation inside the containment has leaked into the water table and the Pacific Ocean. However, until the groundwater is blocked from migrating into the contaminated atomic reactors and the containment is sealed, the world is faced with the constant migration of huge amounts of unmonitored and unstoppable radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean.

Categories: Asia, Ecology and Environment, Opinions
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