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This is another great example of how long it can take for an area, region or even a country to recover from a devastating incident. Last week, Shunichi Tanaka, the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan finally admitted that the nuclear power plant at Fukushima has been leaking contaminated water into the ocean for the two years since the accident that saw three of the plants six reactors suffer a meltdown.  This issue has been long suspected by experts but denied by the plant’s operator.

The problem stems from the fact that ground water is leaking into the basement of the damaged reactors, and becoming contaminated, and whilst that water is being pumped out and stored in huge tanks on site, the inflow has not yet been stopped, meaning that ever more ground water enters the basement and becomes contaminated.

And how long will this take to resolve? Listen to this…Tanaka explains that neither his staff, nor those working for the plant’s operator have discovered where the leaks are coming from, and therefore have not been able to stop them.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the power plants operator, has constantly denied that any of that water has been leaking into the Ocean, but in the last few days it has switched its position and finally admitted that it can’t actually say for sure that the water is not leaking into the sea.  Tepco has also admitted that the amounts of radioactive cesium, tritium, and strontium detected in groundwater around the plant has been growing, making the job of sealing the leaks even more urgent. Cesium and Strontium are especially dangerous to humans.

Tanaka claims that the evidence that the water is reaching the sea is overwhelming. “We’ve seen for a fact that levels of radioactivity in the seawater remain high, and contamination continues — I don’t think anyone can deny that. We must take action as soon as possible. hat said, considering the state of the plant, it’s difficult to find a solution today or tomorrow. That’s probably not satisfactory to many of you. But that’s the reality we face after an accident like this.”

And it seems as if the question about recovery is not when will this large region of Japan recover, but will it ever recover? And what about the effects in the ocean over time.  A very sad state of affairs.

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0715/Fukushima-nuclear-plant-likely-leaking-contaminated-water-into-ocean