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Friday, 2 August 2013

Zero Hedge Assimilation and Dissection of Reports from Fukushima: worse than you thought

[snip]

You Won't BELIEVE What's Going On at Fukushima Right Now

George Washington's picture



You’ve heard bad news about Fukushima recently.
But it’s worse than you know.
The Wall Street Journal notes that radiation levels outside the plant are likely higher than inside the reactor:
NRA [Nuclear Regulation Authority] officials said highly contaminated water may be leaking into the soil from a number of trenches, allowing the water to seep into the site’s groundwater and eventually into the ocean.

***

Both radioactive substances are considered harmful to health. An NRA official said Monday that the very high levels were likely to be even higher than those within the reactor units themselves.

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It was by far the highest concentration of radioactivity detected since soon after Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami ….
How could it be more radioactive outside the nuclear reactors? The reactors have lost containment, and experts have no idea where the nuclear cores are.
And the problems which have been detected at ground-level are only the tip of the iceberg.  Japan Times points out:
Cesium levels in water under Fukushima No. 1 plant soar the deeper it gets, Tepco reveals

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Tepco found 950 million becquerels of cesium and 520 million becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances, including strontium, in the water from 13 meters [~43 feet] underground.

Water from 1 meter down contained 340 million becquerels, and a sample from 7 meters down contained 350 million becquerels.

***

Cesium, a metallic element, is subject to gravity.
Yomiuri reports that highly-radioactive groundwater could start coming to the surface at the Fukushima plant:
TEPCO spokesman Noriyuki Imaizumi revealed the water level of the tainted groundwater in a test well located on the sea side of the No. 2 reactor has risen rapidly.

If the water level continues to rise, it could reach the ground surface,” Imaizumi, an acting general manager of the company’s nuclear power-related division, said at a press conference Monday.

According to the company, the water level has risen about 70 centimeters over the past 20 days.

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To prevent contaminated groundwater from leaking into the sea, TEPCO is working to reinforce the ground foundation of seawalls. The rising water level in the test well means the measures to prevent leakage have been working.

However, the company apparently failed to give much thought to the fact that the groundwater would have nowhere else to go ….
Even Tepco admits that the groundwater problems are due to a lack of planning.  NHK points out:
[Tepco] learnt on Wednesday that its efforts to prevent radiation-tainted groundwater from seeping into the sea are failing.

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TEPCO has been trying to solidify the embankment of the crippled power plant.

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TEPCO says water levels in one of the contaminated wells have risen by about 1 meter since the work began in early July.

It says this is likely the result of its work to solidify the ground  [to a depth of 16 meters], using chemicals.

The company says soil up to 2 meters below the ground cannot be hardened, and water may be seeping out.
In addition, a top expert says that radioactive water could be flowing beneath the seafloor … and could well up outside of the port “containment” zone:
Atsunao Marui, head of the Groundwater Research Group at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, said, “Groundwater also flows beneath the seafloor, so it’s possible that contaminated groundwater could spring up outside the port.”

Marui added that water outside the port also needs to be carefully checked.
Reuters notes that the bolts in Fukushima’s tanks will corrode in just a few years, and a plant workers reveal — “Tepco says it doesn’t know how long tanks will hold”:
Experts say Tepco is attempting the most ambitious nuclear clean-up in history, even greater than the Chernobyl disaster ….

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Radioactive water that cools the reactors …]mixes with some 400 tonnes of fresh groundwater pouring into the plant daily.

Workers have built more than 1,000 tanks ….

With more than 85 percent of the 380,000 tonnes of storage capacity filled, Tepco has said it could run out of space.

The tanks are built from parts of disassembled old containers brought from defunct factories and put together with new parts, workers from the plant told Reuters. They say steel bolts in the tanks will corrode in a few years.

Tepco says it does not know how long the tanks will hold.
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Read full article:
http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-08-01/fukushima-worse-you-know 
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