– Prof. Hiroaki Koide of Kyoto University: Molten Cores Gone Through Bottom Of Containers, Sinking Into The Earth – We Have To Build Subterranean Dam To Prevent Groundwater Contaminated With Radioactive Materials From Leaking Into The Ocean
– The Massive Fukushima Media Cover-Up – ‘There Has Been Massive Entry Of Radiation Into The Groundwater In Fukushima And That Will Simply Spread Throughout The Water Table In The Area Of Northern Japan’ (Video)
– Dilution of radioactive materials at sea is no solution to nuke-plant crisis (Mainichi, June 27, 2011):
Whispers have emerged that Prime Minister Naoto Kan is prepared to dissolve the House of Representatives and face a general election over the issue of whether Japan should abolish nuclear power. To me, mere talk of such an issue is the ultimate example of the blurred vision at Japan’s political center.
There is nothing wrong with asking the public whether nuclear power is right or not, but now is a time of national emergency — a time when officials should be putting full effort into bringing the nuclear crisis in Fukushima under control and preventing environmental contamination. There isn’t time now to leisurely debate mid- and long-term government policies, haggle over the dissolution of the chamber and become engrossed in election campaign strategies.
The reason for the situation comes from politicians’ delusion, grounded in their idea that the nuclear crisis is somehow being brought under control, and that the effects from radioactive material are minimal. But the fact is, the situation at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant isn’t returning to normal. And we still don’t know just how much damage environmental pollution from the crisis will inflict on people and their DNA. There is no proof anywhere that this pollution will be harmless.
Some of the reactors at the nuclear power plant have melted down, and the melted nuclear fuel is sinking toward water under the ground. An underground barrier is needed to stop water that becomes contaminated from flowing into the sea. Experts have pointed out the urgency of the situation and the government supports the idea, but Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crisis-hit nuclear plant, is saying “wait.”
I wrote about this problem in a column on June 20, and a question on the issue arose at a regular news conference scheduled by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the agency, responded by saying, “We are implementing fundamental measures, but we don’t believe there is a need to rush.”
The response lay within the scope of a set of answers that TEPCO had prepared as it braces itself for a general shareholders’ meeting. But why such a reaction? Because the line of responsibility between TEPCO and the government is a fine one.
There is a feeling in the government that it is shoving the handling of the unprecedented nuclear crisis into the hands of TEPCO, a private company. The government therefore has a weak spot that forces it to listen when TEPCO comes crying about measures to prop up its share prices.
Why can the two sides only form a response marked by indecisiveness and reliance on each other as Japan faces this unprecedented crisis? I think it is because the problem is too big, and they can’t grasp how far it is spreading and how serious it is.
In April, TEPCO announced that 520 tons of water that contains substances emitting 4,700 terabecquerels of radiation had leaked into the sea through cracks in nuclear plant facilities over a six-day period. This is close to the amount that was leaked into the sea over the course of a year at the Sellafield nuclear processing site in Britain in the 1970s in the worst case of maritime radiation contamination to date.
And the leaks that have surfaced are just the tip of the iceberg. Water that was used to cool the cores of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima plant has overflowed and contaminated underground water is moving toward the sea. An unprecedented case of maritime pollution is about to unfold.
All things considered, one could say this is only natural. Fukushima’s nuclear power plants were the heart of Japan as an economic power. The total output of the reactors that have been crippled by the disaster was close to 3 million kilowatts, three times the output at Chernobyl.
Chernobyl was hit by a nuclear explosion while nuclear fission was taking place, and many people died from acute radiation disease. There was a tendency in Japan to look lightly on the Chernobyl disaster as occurring against a background of a decline at the end of the Soviet era. But the potential amount of the harmful “poison” that gradually eats away human life is greater in Fukushima.
It is common for people to simply think that if this poison were washed into the sea, it would become diluted. If that was all there was to the situation, the crisis could be easily solved. But now, experts are pointing to the possibility of this unprecedented pollution developing into a major disaster that would last several decades, just like the Minamata and asbestos catastrophes in Japan.
Delaying the construction of an underground barrier is not just an event occurring during a break in the season for general shareholders’ meetings. It is a major issue that calls the essence of TEPCO’s assertion of its “social responsibility as a company” into question. The prime minister needs to show leadership in initiating construction of an underground barrier. (By Takao Yamada, Expert Senior Writer)