Fukushima Daiichi is back in the limelight after recent events caused the situation to go from bad to worse.
Although TEPCO has been insisting for quite some time that the situation is under control, the radiation spike to 6500 times previous levels indicates this is not the case.
On October 11, 2013 three earthquakes occurred off the Fukushima coast. Ten days later the area was subject to wind and rainfall from Typhoon Wipha. Typhoon Francisco is expected to arrive there this week and is expected to cause flooding of the already drenched region.
NHK World reported that officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said on October 18th they detected 400,000 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances – including strontium – at the site, a level 6,500 times higher than readings taken on October 16th. These readings were taken from a well dug to gauge leakage from a nearby storage tank which had leaked over 300 tons of contaminated water in August, some of which is believed to have found its way into the sea. Both Strontium and Tritium have been detected in the groundwater.
These developments prompted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to make a request for advanced knowledge from overseas. This is a significant change from previously, and indicates the seriousness of the situation. Japanese culture values personal integrity and taking responsibility for errors by correcting them without complaining or asking for help. It is a serious loss of face to admit that one has made a mistake that requires the help of others to undo. At the same time this indicates how serious the situation is, it is also quite a welcome occurrence, since finally the truth is being told.
However, the question remains whether this is “too little, too late.” Significant amounts of contaminated water have found their way into the Pacific, meaning that the entire Pacific basin will be contaminated with Cesium-137 by 2020.
In addition, these events raise questions as to whether or not previous reports have been accurate. There is reason to believe that the situation is even worse than reported, and that the corium from the three meltdowns breached containment months ago and has descended to the bedrock of the ancient riverbed the facilities were built on, currently finding its way to the sea. Even if this is not the case, the amount of Cesium-137 in spent fuel pool #4 is about 15 times the amount released by Chernobyl and poses a serious threat if it were to run dry or topple from its 10th floor position.
This also means that the rest of the world can no longer adopt the “wait and hope” strategy.
Robert Jacobs, a professor at Hiroshima Peace University, told RT the compounding problems at Fukushima Daiichi underscore one critical reality: no one really knows what to do. He added that the health risks are great and continue to increase every year. “Somewhere between 100,000 to 1,000,000 [people] will over the next thirty years get cancer from this accident…1,000 additional cancers a year from eating fish from the Pacific.” http://rt.com/news/fukushima-high-radioactivity-well-335/
People need to consider that continuing nuclear contamination is a reality and take steps to protect themselves.