TEPCO releases video of groundwater entering crippled Fukushima Daiichi complex

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Fukushima Daiichi leak in Unit 1 Turbine Building

For many in Japan and around the world, confidence in the current approach to mitigate and protect against nuclear disasters is severely lacking.   Japan and TEPCO have been slow to respond to, and exhibited a nature to keep hidden, continuous threats from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.  Many experts have criticized Japan’s lack of willingness to bring in international aid to help the response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster over the past two and a half years.  The utility and many Japanese officials have seemed to desire to show that the nuclear disaster is under control, as the radiation levels around the plant, and in the ocean which it was constructed next to, continue to spike to record highs.

But as officials in Tokyo are hoping that the disaster will not affect Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic bid, radiation levels around storage tanks used to store thousands of tons of radioactive water on-site at Fukushima Daiichi have been rising to over 2,200 millisieverts (2.2 sieverts) per hour.  On Wednesday, Tokyo Electric found high levels of radioactive materials in groundwater samples gathered from a monitoring well over thirty feet away from a storage tank which leaked contaminated water last month.  The groundwater sample was pumped from over 20 feet underground and was still found to contain 650 becquerels per liter of radioactive materials, including strontium.

For the first time, Tokyo Electric released video footage of groundwater flowing into the Unit 1 turbine building.  Currently, it is estimated that groundwater flows into the reactor buildings at a rate of over 400 tons per day.  Everyday contaminated groundwater also continues to flows directly into the Pacific Ocean, and no one knows when those leaks will be under control.

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  1. Experts are educating the public that fear will kill more people than the radiation from Fukushima, but the situation is clearly not under control, so people are justifiably afraid. Whether consciously or unconsciously, people conduct a risk assessment of their own, not from an expert’s limited perspective, but from the big picture, and the steady stream of bad news about the Fukushima “recovery” is alarming. Minimizing radiation risks while critical equipment fails and active leaks grow larger gives the impression that authorities are more concerned about protecting the nuclear industry than people. Responding with a coordinated, thoughtful unified command system until the situation is under control might do more to gain public trust than feigning concern about the hazards of fear and paying lip service to radiation concerns.

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