Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Japan Plans on Dumping Fukushima's Radiation Contaminated Water

On March 29, 2012 a Japanese professor of nuclear engineering told the New York Times that “Unfortunately, all we can do is keep pumping water inside the reactors” in response to reports that the drywell inside Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2 had radiation levels of 72.0 sieverts an hour:
Cited in Hiroko Taubchi “Japan Nuclear Plant May be Worse Off Than Thought,” The New York Times (2012, March 29): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/asia/inquiry-suggests-worse-damage-at-japan-nuclear-plant.html?_R=1&src=tp.

The Fukushima Daiichi disaster of March 2011 resulted in endless production of contaminated water because melted reactor fuel must be continuously cooled. I have written quite extensively about the problems of contaminated water production and management at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Now TEPCO has ran out of space for storage facilities for water contaminated with tritium and is planning on dumping diluted tritiated water into the Pacific Ocean.

Bellano has a good article covering this plan (see here) but it does potentially under-estimate how much contaminated water is produced daily because it turns out that far more than 165 tons is created with heavy rains, as explained in this article which says that levels reached 1000 tons a day during last October's rains:
Masanobu Higashiyama and Yusuke Ogawa (2018, March 2). TEPCO defends Fukushima ‘ice wall,’ but it is still too porous. THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803020042.html
The Bellona article says other options are available but dumping is the most cost-effective (which sadly appears to the top decision-making criterion). 

TEPCO clearly has to do something because it cannot continue to build more and more tanks, which pose risks of leaking and may produce "breaking" radiation. However, dumping seems like a truly risky option.

The argument is that the amount to be dumped is not more than already dumped in the UK at plants such as Windscale but when one considers how much has already been released intentionally and accidentally the assault is much more significant.

Moreover, it turns out that tritium does bioaccumulate in fish. Tritated fish may be mobile vectors of contamination.

Fukushima's Director of Reconstruction Promotion Group, Hideyasu Tamura, recently stated that the "the successful management of contaminated water has resulted in the improved safety of Fukushima’s fishery products. No marine products caught off Fukushima has exceeded the standard limit (100 becquerel/kg) in monitoring surveys over the fiscal years from 2015 to 2017."
See Hideyasu Tamura (2018, May 210). Fukushima, seven years on. The Japan Times, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2018/05/21/commentary/japan-commentary/fukushima-seven-years/#.WwTSr-4vz3g
However, I'm not convinced given the challenges in measuring radionuclide concentrations in seafood coupled with the expected onslaught of tritiated water.

1 comment:

  1. https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/05/23/politics/donald-trump-north-korea-summit-stakes/index.html?__twitter_impression=true

    And we know that the War-monger, trump-troll, Fake antinuclear operatives that operate and comment, on the enenews want this. They want nuclear confrontation in NKorea, so that the two koreas will never join.

    It is what they always wanted. They also more nuclear reactors in Japan and Japan to be nuclear armed. They are happy that Trump allows the lowest standards of radionuclides in american food, allowing america to have the most radioacive food in the world. They are happy that trump, says nothing about fukushima and profits from more nuclear plants in Japan. They are happy that Trump allows radioactive food to come from Fukushima, to america. They are happy tha trump and Pruitt changed epa rules so that corporations can continue to contaminate our water supply. They are happy, that our water can contain 400 times more radiation than before.