Fukushima Disaster Worsens: Another Leak into the Pacific & Most Dangerous Part of Cleanup Begins.
More troubling news is coming out of Japan, as officials admit another large radioactive spill has just occurred at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Late last month, we reported on how the Fukushima Nuclear Plant was continually leaking radioactive materials into the Pacific Ocean; now TEPCO, the plant’s operator, has confirmed yet another major leak. According to TEPCO, heavy rains caused radioactive waste, containing a source of beta radiation, to overflow over containment barriers that were setup to contain the nuclear waste.
In August, these same containment tanks leaked over 300 tons of contaminated water into the surrounding area.
400 Tons of Toxic Water Flowing into the Pacific Every Day
According to the Washington Post:
The nuclear disaster site now stores over 90 million gallons of radioactive water, more than enough to fill Yankee Stadium to the brim. An additional 400 tons of toxic water is flowing daily into the Pacific Ocean, and almost every week, the plant operator acknowledges a new leak.
This is a problem that’s not going away anytime soon. Even by TEPCOs own admission, the cleanup is expected to take as long as 40 years. With radioactive water leaking into the ocean on a daily basis, that’s a lot of radioactive waste pouring into our oceans. In my opinion, we are probably looking at the greatest environmental disaster of all time.
Water to Hit U.S. Shoreline by 2014
According to one study, radioactive plumes of water are expected to start hitting U.S. coastal waters by 2014. While researchers say the radioactive water should be diluted enough to not cause problems, the large amounts of radioactive water that have now been confirmed to be flowing into the Pacific on a daily basis, where not taken into account during this study.
Even if we were to believe TEPCO, who has repeatedly lied about how much radioactive material is actually leaking, 400 Tons of radioactive water flowing into the Pacific on a daily basis is going to have some effect on the environment, and eventually people.
Most Dangerous Phase of Cleanup Begins Next Month
Early next month, TEPCO plans to move 1,588 spent fuel rods that are currently being stored near the top of Reactor No. 4.
Ever since an explosion rocked the building in March 2011, there have been major concerns over the stability of the building and the status of the spent fuel rods that are stored in a pool near the top of the heavily damaged reactor.
Experts worry that another earthquake could cause the already damaged Reactor #4 to completely collapse; which would be catastrophic to not only Japan, but the entire world.
Spent fuel rods must be kept cool at all times; they are highly radioactive, very unstable, and extremely dangerous. If the spent rods are exposed to air, the rods will start to burn, causing large amounts of radioactive material to be released into the atmosphere.
Removal of the rods will run through 2014, and is one of the most dangerous parts of the cleanup process to date. The Rods in reactor 4 contain radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.