TEPCO still struggling to keep head above contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi

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The Sorcerers Apprentice

In the rare event that the reader has never seen Mickey Mouse starring in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, I will remind them that the whole story revolves around an apprentice who is tempted to use magic to do things that he does not wish to do for himself, which starts out well enough, only to find that he is wholly incapable of controlling the events set in motion.  In short, the young Mickey Mouse found that he had started something which he was unable to finish, and in the end the rising water threatens to overwhelm all efforts to return things to normal before the Sorcerer returns.

This weekend, TEPCO announced that a water sample taken from a cable trench under the Unit 2 turbine building contained levels of radiation comparable to those seen in the first weeks of the nuclear disaster.  The laboratory tests had shown that over 8.7 million becquerels of tritium, 2.35 billion becquerels of cesium, and 750 million becquerels of other radioactive materials were present in each liter of contaminated water.  More than 5,000 tons of contaminated water are captured in, and leaking out of this one cable trench; permeating the soil, and leaking into the ocean.   The once unthinkable is now realized and these contamination problems are only going to worsen over time.

In case one hasn’t paid attention the constant stream of international experts who have called for TEPCO to be removed as the organization in charge of decommissioning the crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has also called for Tokyo Electric to be removed.  “It is simply too big for one company to handle,” said Tanaka, at a press conference Wednesday. “Placing all the burden (of controlling the site) on them won’t solve the problem.”

Even an advisory panel of experts appointed by the utility have had harsh words about the apparent incompetence on site in regards to basic risk management, communication, and cooling water management programs.  Barbara Judge, the deputy chair of the panel stated, “I’d like to say myself how disappointed and distressed I was when I arrived in Japan to find that communications with respect to the leak problem have been so difficult and so late was very devastating,” she said.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Source: The Japan Times

Source: Asahi Shimbun

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