[Editor’s note: The following note on the Shanghai Daily report is from Prof. Long Xinming who is one of The 4th Media’s frequent contributors.]
It appears that Japan has been suppressing information about the reactors at Fukushima, leading the public to believe things were under control when they are almost ready to break free of containment.
Japan is releasing 300 cubic meters of “very contaminated” water into the Pacific each day, and the holding tanks containing much more are ready to breach.
And not only Cesium but Plutonium as well now.
Most fishing in the area is apparently gone, and will be so for decades, but Japan is contaminating the entire Pacific. The government blames the utility company for being unprepared and incompetent, but that’s hardly an answer.
Current best guesses are that a full clean-up will cost $22 billion, and Japan doesn’t have the money because it spent it on a new aircraft carrier.
One thing that hasn’t come into full public view is the fact – kept underground – that the disaster resulted in large part from the fact that Japan was not only storing decades of used nuclear fuel under the reactors – a very stupid thing to do – but were reprocessing that fuel into weapons-grade Plutonium.
The rumors have been from highly-placed sources and refuse to abate, so the chances of accuracy seem quite high.
Shanghai Daily- HIGHLY radioactive water from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is pouring out at a rate of 300 tons a day, officials said yesterday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the government to step in and help in the clean-up.
The revelation amounted to an acknowledgement that plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has yet to come to grips with the scale of the catastrophe, 2 1/2 years after the plant was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami. Tepco only recently admitted water had leaked at all.
Calling water containment at the Fukushima Dai-ichi station an “urgent issue,” Abe ordered the government for the first time to get involved to help struggling Tepco handle the crisis.
The leak from the plant 220km northeast of Tokyo is enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool in a week. The water is spilling into the Pacific Ocean, but it was not immediately clear how much of a threat it poses.
As early as January this year, Tepco found fish contaminated with high levels of radiation inside a port at the plant. Local fishermen and independent researchers had already suspected a leak of radioactive water, but Tepco denied the claims.
Tetsu Nozaki, the chairman of the Fukushima fisheries federation, said he had only heard of the latest estimates of the magnitude of the seepage from media reports.
Environmental group Greenpeace said Tepco had “anxiously hid the leaks” and urged Japan to seek international expertise.
“In the weeks after the disaster, the government allowed Tepco to dump tens of thousands of tons of contaminated water into the Pacific in an emergency move.
But the escalation of the crisis raises the risk of an even longer and more expensive clean-up, already forecast to take more than 40 years and cost US$11 billion.
The admission further dents the credibility of Tepco, criticized for its failure to prepare for the tsunami and earthquake, for a confused response to the disaster and for covering up shortcomings.
“We think that the volume of water (leaking into the Pacific) is about 300 tons a day,” said Yushi Yoneyama, an official with the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees energy policy.
Tatsuya Shinkawa, a director in METI’s Nuclear Accident Response Office, told reporters the government believed water had been leaking for two years, but Yoneyama said it was unclear how long the water had been leaking at the current rate.
Shinkawa described the water as “highly” contaminated.
Tetsu Nozaki, head of the Fukushima fisheries federation, called for action to end the spillage.
“If the water was indeed leaking out at 300 tons a day for more than two years, the radiation readings should be far worse,” Nozaki said.
Abe ordered his government into action. The contaminated water was “an urgent issue to deal with,” he told reporters after a meeting of a government task force on the disaster.
“Rather than relying on Tokyo Electric, the government will take measures,” he said.
But he stopped short of pledging funds to address the issue.