Seven years on, radioactive water at Fukushima plant still flowing into ocean, study finds

Fukushima Daiichi still leaking radioactivity into Pacific Ocean. That expensive Ice wall turned out to be a slushy. Keep trying. Better yet, shut down before meltdown.
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Fukushima Daiichi still leaking radioactivity into Pacific Ocean. That expensive Ice wall turned out to be a slushy. Keep trying. Better yet, shut down before meltdown.
More than seven 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 amount of leaking cesium 137 has decreased from some 30 billion becquerels in 2013, Michio Aoyama, a professor at the Institute of Environmental Radioactivity at Fukushima University, said in his study, which was presented Wednesday at an academic conference in Osaka.
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.
The radioactive water is generated in a process to cool melted nuclear fuel at three damaged reactors at the complex. The reactors experienced core meltdowns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
“It can be assumed that there is a path from the complex to the ocean” through which contaminated water flows, Aoyama said.
The water accumulates in the basements of the buildings at the site after being used to cool the melted fuel.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima complex, has been trying to prevent contaminated water from increasing within the facilities by building an underground ice wall in an effort to block ground water. It has also built a seawall aimed at preventing contaminated water from entering the ocean.
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Friday, March 2, 2018
Fukushima Daiichi’s Ongoing Assault Against the Ocean
 
The Asahi Shimbun has a very interesting article today about Fukushima Daiichi’s very expensive ice wall that was designed as a barrier preventing contaminated ground water from flowing into the sea:
Masanobu Higashiyama and Yusuke Ogawa (2018, March 2). TEPCO defends Fukushima ‘ice wall,’ but it is still too porous. THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803020042.html
 
This is a very interesting article worth reading carefully.
 
What it says is that the ice wall reduced the amount of contaminated water reaching the ocean by approximately 95 tons a day.
 
That is a significant amount but raises the question of how many tons of contaminated water continue to penetrate the ice wall. This is what the article reports:
“Contaminated groundwater was cut in half due to the wall,” a TEPCO official said.
 
TEPCO estimated that the volume of polluted groundwater would have amounted to about 189 tons if the ice wall had not been in place during that period.
 
The utility also said the amount of polluted groundwater was reduced by about 400 tons a day now due to combined measures, such as the wall and wells pumping up water, compared with before such measures were taken.http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803020042.html
This is getting confusing. TEPCO reduced the ground water by 400 tons a day, using wells and pumping, and is able to filter out 95 tons of what would be 189 tons a day of radioactive water.
 
But it gets more confusing because the 189 tons of radioactive water produced daily aren’t actually representative of the tons of radioactive water produced when it rains hard, as reported in the article:
The water volume rose to 1,000 tons or so a day in late October when two typhoons struck the area.
So, when it rains hard, which it often does in Fukushima I’ve noted in my nearly daily webcam checks for 7 years, up to a thousand tons of radioactive water can be produced, with the ice wall filtering out approximately 95 tons a day.
 
That is a lot of very contaminated water that is flowing into the ocean.
 
The problems with the ice wall were well anticipated, as this article in the Mainichi reported in August 2017 when the wall neared completion:
High-priced Fukushima ice wall nears completion, but effectiveness doubtful August 16, 2017, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170816/p2a/00m/0na/016000c
But while 34.5 billion yen from government coffers has already been invested in the wall, doubts remain about its effectiveness.  Meanwhile, the issue of water contamination looms over decommissioning work….. during screening by the NRA, which had approved the project, experts raised doubts about how effective the ice wall would be in blocking groundwater. The ironic reason for approving its full-scale operation, in the words of NRA acting head Toyoshi Fuketa, was that, “It has not been effective in blocking water, so we can go ahead with freezing with peace of mind” — without worrying that the level of groundwater surrounding the reactor buildings will decrease, causing the contaminated water inside to flow out.
At that time, TEPCO reports success in reducing the volume of contaminated water produced everyday from 400 tons to approximately 130 tons.
 
All these numbers don’t seem to add up cleanly. The one thing clearly concluded is that quite a lot of contaminated water is flowing from the plant directly into the ocean.
 
This is water contaminated from direct contract with melted nuclear reactor fuel.
 
What impact will this have on the Pacific Ocean?
 
I’ve posted on this subject but the truth is that no one really knows what this unprecedented radiological assault will do to an eco-system already imperiled by human degradation.
 
Recently a friend – Douglas – sent me a link describing decimation of California’s kelp forests. 
 
If you Google these disappearing forests off California’s northern coast, you will see articles that blame the sea lions for the disappearing kelp (e.g., https://www.newsdeeply.com/oceans/articles/2017/10/10/sea-urchins-are-laying-waste-to-kelp-forests-and-an-entire-ecosystem), while other articles place the blame on warmer water produced by climate change (e.g., https://e360.yale.edu/features/as-oceans-warm-the-worlds-giant-kelp-forests-begin-to-disappear).
 
I’m sure that both these factors may play a role but what is completely marginalized from conversation is the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
 
There were plenty of research studies that projected and detected empirically radiological contamination off of North America’s coast as marine currents bring Fukushima Daiichi’s contaminated water across the Pacific and back again, forever adding new contaminants.
 
We must find a way to prevent the death of life in our oceans or we will soon follow.
 

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Fukushima’s Canadian Implications – Prof. J Cullen report Jan. 2018

I am sharing with you here this interview of Prof. Jay Cullen, though I do not agree with his conclusions. Since day one he has always minimized the possible effects of the radionuclides dumped into the Pacific ocean on the the marine food chain. 

Actually there has been much too few scientific studies done on the fission produced radionuclides effects on living organisms, especially marine organisms. Such study failing to be financed by the Establishment. We certainly should ask ourselves why.

And the very few funded by the Establishment, done by Buesseler and Cullen, are not very credible.

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The Agenda with Steve Paikin
Published on 30 Jan 2018
Seven years ago, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake followed by a massive tsunami led to three nuclear reactor meltdowns and a series of explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. More than 90 per cent of the resulting radiation went into the Pacific Ocean. Years later, that radiation slowly made its way to Canadian shores. Steve Paikin welcomes the chemical oceanographer tracking the disaster’s ocean contamination to learn the effects of the radiation.

 

Please read also this related article:
The Bioaccumulation of contamination in plankton

Regulator urges release of treated Fukushima radioactive water into sea

11 jan 2018 tritium water release pacific NRA.jpg
 
The chief of Japan’s nuclear regulator said Thursday water at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that contains radioactive tritium even after being treated should be released into the sea after dilution.
“We will face a new challenge if a decision (about the release) is not made within this year,” Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa told a local mayor, referring to the more than 1 million tons of coolant water and groundwater that has accumulated at the facility crippled by the 2011 disaster triggered by a devastating quake and tsunami.
As local fishermen are worried about the negative impact from the water discharge, the Japanese government and Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. have not made a final decision on the treated water, which is currently stored in tanks.
In his meeting with Yukiei Matsumoto, mayor of Naraha town near the Fukushima plant, Fuketa said, “It is scientifically clear that there will be no influence to marine products or to the environment” following the water release.
The nuclear regulator chief underlined the need for the government and Tepco to quickly make a decision, saying, “It will take two or three years to prepare for the water release into the sea.”
At the Fukushima plant, toxic water is building up partly because groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings to mix with water made radioactive in the process of cooling the damaged reactors.
Such contaminated water is treated to remove radioactive materials but tritium, a radioactive substance considered relatively harmless to humans, remains in the filtered water as it is difficult to separate even after passing through a treatment process.
At other nuclear power plants, tritium-containing water is routinely dumped into the sea after it is diluted. The regulator has been calling for the release of the water after diluting it to a density lower than standards set by law.
With limited storage space for water tanks, observers warn tritium could start leaking from the Fukushima plant.
On March 11, 2011, tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, located on ground 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply facilities.
Reactor cooling systems were crippled and the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors suffered fuel meltdowns in the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Population Oscillations OR Collapsing Ecosystem

From Majia’s Blog :
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The ongoing collapse of King Salmon in Alaska is once again in the news:
Nathaniel Herz (2017, Dec 29). Southeast Alaska’s king salmon are disappearing, and fishermen are grappling with the consequences. Anchorage Daily News. Available https://www.adn.com/business-economy/2017/12/28/southeast-alaskas-king-salmon-are-disappearing-and-fishermen-are-grappling-with-the-consequences/
…There’s some sense that climate change could be causing a “regime shift” and a long-term change in ecosystems, said Peter Hagen, deputy director of a federal fisheries laboratory in Auke Bay, near Juneau.
 
“There’s a whole question: Is this a new normal? And I don’t think we’ve determined that yet,” Hagen said.
 
But Hagen and Adkison, the fisheries professor, both pointed out that salmon have proven to be resilient. Fossil records show that big population changes are typical, Adkison said.
 
“In the salmon business, we’re used to these dramatic fluctuations in productivity,” he said. “If I had to bet, I would favor the short-term fluctuation and I would expect them to eventually rebound. But the current numbers are really low.”
I’ve been following the (reported) acceleration of excess mortality events among animal populations. Here is my 2012 post on the King Salmon that “went missing” that year:
In 2013 I created a compilation of news headlines and links addressing what I called “anomal anomalies,” as documented here in this 2013 post:
 
Polar bears, walruses, salmon, sardines, starfish, etc. These and so many other marine and land animal populations experienced precipitous declines due to “inexplicable” wasting syndromes and odd infections that began being reported in great number in 2012.
 
[when I checked on bee and bat declines I discovered that the Wikipedia article attributes the rapid decline in bats from white fungal disease to 2012 here. In contrast, bee “colony collapse disorder” was named in 2006]
 
Every animal population imperiled has no doubt suffered in complex ways from human engineering and thoughtlessness, including experiences of habitat loss and rapid deterioration of remaining habitats due to the synergistic effects of countless environmental assaults.
 
Still, I find it more than coincidental that the acceleration of mass mortality events became markedly evident in 2012.
 
Fukushima’s ongoing and UNPRECEDENTED RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION of the ocean and the general dispersal of industrial pollutants by the Japan’s terrible 2011 tsunami ARE STRANGELY ABSENT from most all news coverage of marine welfare.
 
Yet, ALL THE SCIENTIFIC DATA available, including data generated by the US Geological Survey and the CTBTO, documented widespread fallout contamination in North America.
 
Scientific models on ocean dispersion predicted a plume of radioactive contamination would reach North America and add to the coastal fallout from precipitation by 2013. This prediction was tested and found to be true in San Diego, CA.
 
Fukushima’s ongoing dissemination of radioactive contamination has lessened since 2012 but it has not ceased.
 
I’m sure that Fukushima isn’t the only source of radioactive contamination from artificially engineered radio-isotopes such as Cesium-137 and Strontium-89 but it is the largest known.
 
Might it represent a tipping point in ocean life? That question will probably never be answerable empirically because not enough research is investigating impacts.
 
What is clear however is that the accelerated decimation of animal life on earth will not occur without grave human losses as well. It is my belief that when we destroy the eco-system upon which we depend, we are destroying ourselves.
 
Unfortunately, our capacity to grapple with the spectre of our destruction is impeded by our capacity to rationalize.
 
The idea of “population oscillations” is the rationalization deployed most often to account for the dislocations in ecological life observed by scientists and everyday people in touch with their environments.
 
Populations don’t simply oscillate by chance. Numbers drop and decline in relation to the contingencies of system-environment interactions. Precipitous declines typically result from amplifying feedback loops, often resulting from either over-population or some dramatic change in the environment, such as a sudden and unprecedented onslaught of marine contamination.
 
RELATED POSTS
 
 
 
Bioaccumulation: Cesium is One Among the 1000 Radionuclides Unleashed by Fukushima Bioaccumulation: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/bioaccumulation-cesium-is-one-among.html
 
Contaminated Water at Fukushima Daiichi Majia’s Blog: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/02/contaminated-water-at-fukushima-daiichi.html
 
Will Fukushima Daiichi Kill Vast Swathes of Ocean life Majia’s Blog: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/will-fukushima-daiichi-kill-vast.html
 
Endless Atmospheric and Ocean Emissions Majia’s Blog: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/08/endless-atmospheric-and-ocean-emissions.html
 
 
 
Humanity’s End Foretold in Destruction of Oceans: Majia’s Blog: Humanity’s End Foretold in Destruction of Oceans
 
Compromised Oceans mean Compromised People: Majia’s Blog: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/humanitys-end-foretold-in-destruction.html
 
Radiation plumes headed to N. America Majia’s Blog: http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/fukushima-radiation-plumes-in-ocean.html

Fukushima: A million tonnes of radioactive water still in storage after nuclear disaster

To dump into the ocean a million tonnes of radioactive water should be considered by the international community a crime against humanity and an ecocide against the environment. Whatever they say, whatever they lied, it will never be totally decontaminated and it will never be safe, no matter how many shills on the mainstream media are paid by the nuclear lobby to spin fairy tales in order to brainwash the public about ‘safety’.
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The water is being stored in hundreds of large and densely packed tanks at the plant.
Japan cannot agree on what to do with a million tonnes of radioactive water being stored at the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant — and there is a chance it could spill if another major earthquake or tsunami were to strike.
The water is being stored in about 900 large and densely packed tanks at the plant, which was overwhelmed by a devastating tsunami more than six years ago.
Making matters worse, the amount of contaminated water held at Fukushima is still growing by 150 tons a day.
The stalemate is rooted in a fundamental conflict between science and human nature.
Experts advising the government have urged a gradual release of the water to the nearby Pacific Ocean. Treatment has removed all the radioactive elements except tritium, which they say is safe in small amounts
Conversely, if the tanks break, their contents could slosh out in an uncontrolled way.
Local fishermen are balking — they say the water, no matter how clean, has a dirty image for consumers.
Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman from Iwaki, a city about 50 kilometres down the coast from the nuclear plant, said releasing the water would end the local industry’s fragile recovery.
“People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released,” he said.
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Experts want a gradual release, but if the tanks break the water would slosh out
A new chairman at TEPCO, the embattled utility that owns the plant, caused an uproar in the fishing community in April when he expressed support for moving ahead with the release of the water.
The company quickly backpedalled, and now says it has no plans for an immediate release and can keep storing water through 2020.
Despite tests, many shoppers avoid Fukushima fish
Today, only about half of the Fukushima region’s 1,000 fishermen go out, and just twice a week because of reduced demand.
They participate in a fish testing program that sees lab technicians mince fish samples, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where.
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The fish that make it to market meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirements.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish that make it to market meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirements, but that message is not reaching consumers.
Fewer Japanese shoppers shun fish and other foods from Fukushima than before, but one in five still do, according to a survey by Japan’s Consumer Agency.
Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo expert on disaster information and social psychology, said the water from the nuclear plant should not be released until people were well-informed about the basic facts, and are psychologically ready.
“A release only based on scientific safety, without addressing the public’s concerns, cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” he said.
“A release when people are unprepared would only make things worse.”

Radioactive Contamination of Oceans: Sellafield, La Hague, Fukushima

Frankly speaking, I find it amazing that the people and the media talk so much about Fukushima Daiichi having leaked contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean since March 2011, and about Tepco possible future release of the tritiated water accumulated on site into the Pacific Ocean.

Whereas nobody ever talks about how much contaminated water the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing site on England’s west coast has been releasing into the Irish Sea (then from there flowing into the Atlantic Ocean), and how much contaminated water the La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing site on France west coast has been releasing into the English Channel (then from there flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.

If you think that Fukushima Daiichi is contaminating the Pacific Ocean since 2011, why are aren’t you aware that Sellafield and La Hague have been contaminating the Atlantic Ocean for decades already?

Both sites having large pipes underwater going far from the land into the sea, both releasing their contaminated water at sea now for decades, with the gracious authorization of the IAEA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Hague_site

It might be because few people actually know about it, or because it is easier to point the finger to somebody else far away than at home. Of course it also serves the political and economic interests of both England and France to make their people mindful of what’s happening over there in Fukushima while keeping them blind about what’s happening in their own backyards, their media editors knowing very well what issues are to be avoided as too sensitive to be handled.

Of course I am not saying that the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean by Fukushima Daiichi should not be published, not looked into, not adressed.

What I am saying is that the radioactive contamination of the Atlantic by Sellafield and La Hague in parallel should be also published, looked into, as much adressed, not swept under the carpet, and the people well informed about it, especially as this has been going on for decades authorized by the IAEA.

 

A few related articles about Sellafield :

There is more radioactive plutonium in the sediments off the Sellafield plant in the Irish Sea than at the underwater Russian Novaya Zemlya nuclear weapons test site, according to Greenpeace.

The environmental group yesterday released further data arising from its ongoing survey of the Irish Sea. It has been measuring radioactive contamination in sediments and seaweed along British and Irish coasts for several weeks. Last week it visited Dundalk bay, retrieving seaweed as part of this activity. The data released yesterday related to the plutonium and caesium content of sediment taken adjacent to a Sellafield waste-discharge pipe two kilometres off the Cumbrian coast.”

June 1988 : Irish Sea radioactivity `worse than at nuclear site’ https://www.irishtimes.com/news/irish-sea-radioactivity-worse-than-at-nuclear-site-1.161463

 

A record number of radioactive hotspots have been found contaminating public beaches near the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, according to a report by the site’s operator.

As many as 383 radioactive particles and stones were detected and removed from seven beaches in 2010-11, bringing the total retrieved since 2006 to 1,233. Although Sellafield insists that the health risks for beach users are “very low”, there are concerns that some potentially dangerous particles may remain undetected and that contamination keeps being found.”

July 2012 : Record number of radioactive particles found on beaches near Sellafield https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jul/04/radioactive-particles-beaches-sellafield

 

Greenpeace has warned that the dumping of the reprocessing plant’s liquid waste has made the Irish Sea among the most contaminated waters in the world, even though Ireland itself produces no nuclear energy. Irish fishermen have been angered by catches of unsaleable mutated fish and by findings that they have been exposed to low-level radiation.”

Jan 2014 : Irish free to sue British nuclear operators over contamination http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/irish-free-to-sue-british-nuclear-operators-over-contamination-9039178.html

 

Radioactive waste from the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria is contaminating shellfish hundreds of kilometres away on the west coast of Scotland, according to a new scientific study.

Scottish researchers discovered traces of radioactive carbon discharged from Sellafield in the shells of mussels, cockles and winkles as far north as Port Appin in Argyll, 160 miles from the notorious nuclear plant.”

December 2015 : Scottish shellfish are contaminated by radioactive waste from Sellafield http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14157272.Scottish_shellfish_are_contaminated_by_radioactive_waste_from_Sellafield/

 

A few related articles about La Hague :

According to the ACRO, in general, “there is more tritium in the Channel than in the Pacific waters near the Fukushima power station”. (They certainly should know as they regualarly monitor and analyze the contamination near La Hague, and they have repeatedly traveled to Fukushima to cooperate with the Iwaki Mother’s Radiation Lab to measure contamination there). http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2013/03/28/concentration-anormale-en-tritium-relevee-dans-la-mer-a-proximite-de-la-hague_3149613_3244.html#UGUVieKghcxVdjVv.99

The tritium rejected at La Hague is 1,000 times higher than what is allowed at the nearby Flamanville nuclear plant.” https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/lsd-la-serie-documentaire/lombre-des-centrales-nucleaires-44-des-poubelles-radioactives

 

Conclusion from my friend Pierre Fetet (Fukushima’s blog) :

There are several differences between La Hague and Fukushima (for Sellafield, I do not know enough):

At La Hague, for example, there is an authorization to reject 50,000 billion Bq of Tritium per day.

While in Fukushima, it is not known at all how much is continuously discharged into the sea in terms of radioactivity, except that it is 300 tons per day of contaminated water and that is not authorized by anyone.

The big difference is that in France that crime is allowed but confidential and that in Fukushima that crime is suffered and mediatized.

But you’re right Hervé, people are not aware and remain uninformed of what is really going on.”

 

For information: Releases by La Hague

20637872_10214212853938087_5602193404803544621_nAnnual Radionuclide Releases Report in terabecquerel (1 terabecquerel = 1 000 000 000 000 becquerels )

 

Special credits to Pierre Fetet and Javale Gola