Fukushima … ‘It’s The Ultimate, Worst-Case Scenario’

Nuclear Operator Raises Alarm on Crisis (The New York Times, Aug 23, 2013):

Experts have said they suspect that more contaminated water is seeping out from under the melted-down reactors into the groundwater and the Pacific. Elevated levels of radioactive cesium in surrounding waters seem to confirm those suspicions.

Tepco has said those leaks are not directly from beneath the reactors, but from maintenance tunnels that run along the coast and remain contaminated from the early days of the disaster.

But it also acknowledges that the water beneath the reactors is extremely contaminated, and experts say that if it does get into the ocean, it will surpass even the leaks that occurred in the disaster’s early days.

“That prospect scares me,” Michio Aoyama, a senior scientist in the Oceanography and Geochemistry Research Department at the government-affiliated Meteorological Research Institute, said in an interview this month.

“It’s the ultimate, worst-case scenario,” Professor Aoyama said.

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