Saturday, April 23, 2011

TEPCO admits radiation leaks will continue for at least three more months

Fukushima update: TEPCO admits radiation leaks will continue for at least three more months, maybe longer

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(NaturalNews) Thanks to an announcement by TEPCO, we now have a "target date" for addressing the radiation leaks from Fukushima. Believe it or not, TEPCO now says it plans to "reduce" the radiation leaking within three months. Notice that there is no admitted goal of "ending" the radiation within three months; just reducing it. So a drop in radiation of one percent would qualify as meeting this goal.

This is basically a blatant admission that the radiation leaks are going to continue way beyond 90 days.

TEPCO also says it now plans to cool the spent fuel rods within nine months. They're now basically shooting for the end of the year to try to make this happen. (http://www.usatoday.com/money/topst...)

So what happens if there's another tsunami between now and the end of the year? Fukushima is basically just FUBAR at that point, it seems. Because another tsunami wave would easily just rip out the spent fuel rods and wash the plutonium back into the ocean, unleashing vast amounts of radiation directly into the environment.

Wishing does not stop the radiation

If everything goes as planned -- and I'm sure Mr. Murphy will have something to say about that -- the Fukushima facility should be in "cold shutdown" within nine months, at which time a years-long effort to entomb the reactors will be launched. If wishful thinking dominates our near future, Fukushima should be completed entombed and locked away in long-term storage within a few years.

This new Fukushima timetable is, of course, little more than a Christmas wish list. I wish Santa will bring me a new toy train! I wish Santa will bring me a new bike! And Japan wishes Santa will bring it a Fukushima solution before the end of the year.

Sometimes, of course, the things you wish for don't necessarily come true. That's how we got to this whole Fukushima situation in the first place, you may recall: TEPCO wished its backup diesel generators would run the cooling pumps, but they didn't. TEPCO then wished the backup batteries would run the cooling pumps, but they ran out of juice in 8 hours. At that point, TEPCO wished it could prevent core meltdowns by spraying sea water on the spent fuel rods, but that didn't turn out too well, either.

TEPCO's wishing, it turns out, is no match for the laws of physics.

In fact, if you're keeping track, TEPCO's wish list isn't turning it to be much of a reliable indicator of what happens in the real world. If I were a gambler, I'd be willing to wager a lot of money that TEPCO's current wish list of having all this done by the end of the year is no more likely to happen than a household cat sprouting a new tail on its back end so that it has TWO tails to play with. Then again, with all the radiation in the air these days, that sort of mutation might become more common than we'd like...

Other developments at Fukushima

• There are fresh radiation leaks that are causing radiation levels in the ocean waters near Fukushima to reach 6,500 times the legal limit. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...)

• The estimated cost of the cleanup and recovery effort from Fukushima is now at $300 billion (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asi...)

• TEPCO has announced it will pay US $12,000 to each household that was evacuated from the area due to the Fukushima fallout. (http://www.usatoday.com/money/topst...) That's almost enough to cover a few months of cancer treatment, I suppose, if you think chemotherapy and radiation is the cure for radiation-induced cancer, anyway.

• The tsunami deposited a huge catamaran directly on top of a two-story building. See the astonishing picture at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...

• An advisor to Japan's Cabinet, Kenichi Matsumoto, told reporters that areas around Fukushima would be uninhabitable. He later retracted that statement (http://www.prisonplanet.com/japan-f...). See how quickly this all gets political?

• Robots have now detected very high levels of radiation exposure inside Fukushima's power plants: 49 millisieverts per hour. (http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english...)

• A level of 270 millisieverts per hour was recently detected in the Number One reactor. The level is so high that nuclear workers are unable to even approach the buildings now (http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english...).

• A petition was launched last week to suspend all nuclear licensing (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...)

• Cesium-137 levels continue to rise in the ocean water near Fukushima (http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english...).

• Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and a member of Union of Concerned Scientists wrote an op-ed piece that emphasizes there is no "safe" level of exposure to radiation from Fukushima. In this piece, he demolishes the excuses of the Fukushima denialists: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinio...

• The mainstream media is already starting to express skepticism over TEPCO's 9-month timeline projections for getting the Fukushima situation under control. Here's an article from TIME: http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/20...

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