More than eight years after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, radioactive water is continuing to flow into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled No. 1 plant at a rate of around 2 billion becquerels a day, a study has found.
The study said the concentration of radiation — 0.02 becquerel per liter of seawater found in samples collected near a coastal town 8 km south of the No. 1 plant — is at a level that does not affect the local fishing industry.
But some nuclear energy experts are saying that’s the cheapest solution rather than the safest, according to The Korea Times.
Dumping the radioactive water into the sea may be the most dangerous option at Japan’s disposal, said Kim Ik-jung, a member of Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.
“There is another option to deal with radioactive water,” Kim told The Korea Times. “Japan can keep it in the tanks until the radiation level becomes low enough. But this takes time and money. It will take about 300 years until it is okay to discharge the water.”
The Fukushima plant produces 170 million tons of radioactive water every day, according to The Korea Times. The Japanese government said that most contaminants have been removed, except for tritium, a dangerous carcinogen that’s expensive to clean up.
More than 80 percent of the radioactivity from the damaged reactors ended up in the Pacific — far more than reached the ocean from Chernobyl or Three Mile Island.
Although just barely discernible by our most sophisticated instruments, these signs, and the many more signs from samples we’ve collected on both sides of the Pacific, show that releases have continued, but that at current rates, it would take 5,000 years to equal the amount of cesium released in the accident’s first few months. Despite this, the fact remains that this event is unprecedented in its total release of radioactive contamination into the ocean.
Radioactive water containing strontium-90 leaked out of the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.
Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope of strontium, with a half-life of 28.8 years. Its presence in the human body can cause bone cancer, cancer of nearby tissues and leukemia.
TEPCO said it believed that up to 12 tons of waste water containing strontium leaked into the sea, but there’s no way of knowing if that is true.
And now, Japan is poised to flood the Pacific Ocean with one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The three former executives – ex-chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 79, and vice-presidents Sakae Muto, 69 and Ichiro Takekuro, 73 – were indicted for failing to implement tsunami countermeasures leading to the deaths of 44 people.
In the much-anticipated verdict, a Tokyo court found all three men not guilty of professional negligence resulting in death and injury.
The prosecution argued that as far back as 2002, the bosses had been warned that a large tsunami of more than 15 metres could hit the plant, but had chosen to ignore the evidence – and had not increased their defences.
Dozens of protesters had also gathered outside the Tokyo court ahead of the ruling.
“If we don’t hear guilty verdicts, our years-long efforts to bring this to court will not have been rewarded,” Saki Okawara, who travelled from the Fukushima region to hear the ruling told AFP.