Radioactivity level spikes 6,500 times at Fukushima well

Published time: October 18, 2013 02:08 –

Radioactivity levels in a well near a storage tank at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan have risen immensely on Thursday, the plant’s operator has reported.

Officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said on  Friday 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  Wednesday, NHK World reported.

The storage tank leaked over 300 tons of contaminated water in  August, some of which is believed to have found its way into the  sea through a ditch.
The well in question is about 10 meters from the tank and was dug  to gauge leakage.
TEPCO said the findings show that radioactive substances like  strontium have reached the groundwater. High levels of tritium,  which transfers much easier in water than strontium, had already  been detected.
Officials at TEPCO said they will remove any contaminated soil  around the storage tank in an effort to monitor radioactivity  levels of the water around the well.

The news comes after it has been reported a powerful typhoon  which swept through Japan led to highly radioactive water near  the crippled nuclear power plant being released into a nearby  drainage ditch, increasing the risk of it flowing into the sea.

On Wednesday TEPCO said it had detected high levels of radiation  in a ditch leading to the Pacific Ocean, and that it suspected  heavy rains had lifted contaminated soil.

‘Decades-long problems being faced at Fukushima’

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.

“Nobody really knows how to solve the problems at Fukushima.  There is nobody who has solutions. The problems at Fukushima are  unprecedented, so even bringing in outside expertise, all that  they can try to do is problem solve. There is no solution that  other countries have that they can come in and fix the reactors,  or rather, shut down the contamination, shut down the leaks.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s open request for advanced knowledge  from overseas is a welcome step, as this will bring a higher  degree of professionalism than Tepco has demonstrated since the  crisis first erupted, Jacobs says. But even though, those experts  will be at a loss to solve the immense problems they’ll be facing  for decades at Fukushima.       Even in the one area where Japan could potentially help contain  the disaster, the authorities have wavered, Konstantin Simonov  from the Moscow-based Fund for Energy Security told RT.

“Fukushima should be treated just like Chernobyl – as a wreck  that must be retired and put in a sarcophagus, with radioactive  waste slowly and thoroughly utilized. Why does the problem  persist at Fukushima? Because they can’t decide whether they want  to close it or to keep it going.”

Tokyo Electric Power Company in fact seems reluctant to shut down  Fukushima for good. Tepco is in fact pushing to reopen its  Kashiwazaki Kariwa facility –  the world’s largest nuclear  power station –  which itself was shut down in 2007  following  reports of radioactive leaks in the wake of an  earthquake.

In September, Japan announced its only operating nuclear reactor  had been closed for maintenance, leaving the country with no  nuclear power supply for only the second time in four decades.

Atomic power accounted for 30 percent of Japan’s energy needs  prior to the Fukushima disaster, and the country was forced to  increase fossil fuel imports to make up for the deficit.

As a result, Japan become the world’s largest importer of  liquefied natural gas (LNG), prompting the world’s  third-largest-economy to post its first trade deficit since the  second oil shock 31 years ago.

Under these circumstances, the crisis gripping Fukushima will not  be the only factor in deciding the fate of the country’s nuclear  industry.

http://rt.com/news/fukushima-high-radioactivity-well-335/

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