After a major earthquake struck Japan in March of 2011, a 15 meter high tsunami destroyed the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Despite reactors being shut off after the earthquake, the tsunami ended up disabling emergency reactors that generate power to pumps that keep reactors cooled down. With the reactors not having the cool down they need, it resulted in a nuclear meltdown within the cores in 3 nuclear reactors, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Neil Hyatt, a nuclear scientist, spoke with TRT World, an International media platform for news of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation broadcasting straight from out of Istanbul and London, about the cleanup process and how it could take a full century to clean up.
After 6 years since the disaster, the 3 reactors are still dumping radiation into the Pacific Ocean. Despite being such a large body of water, the radiation leaking out of these reactors from the Fukushima plant is making its way to the West coast of the US, Mexico and Canada.
In its path, marine life is contaminated and so is the water we happily swim in. Despite findings being labeled as “fake news” and swept under the rug, researchers cannot deny that Cesium-134, the radioactive fingerprint from Fukushima, is being discovered in fish and seawater along the West Coast of the US. In the show “Insight” on TRT, Martin Stanford, a former Sky News Presenter, has called upon the world to unite and clean up the Fukushima plant.
Japan fails to clean up the mess, plotting to discharge nuclear waste into the ocean.
Since the Fukushima plant was shutdown by the tsunami, one of the main goals has been to keep reactors cooled down to prevent highly radioactive water from leaking out of the three reactors. After six years since the tsunami, clean up is gradually making progress, but at a slow pace.
The design director and chairman of the engineering and consultancy firm WME Consultants, Mark Whitby, talked about the 400 tons of water that is used to cool down the reactors. Some highly radioactive water is recycled to keep reactors cooled down, while the rest goes into big tanks that are filling up quickly. TRT reports that Japan is gradually losing available storage for the recycled water. There is 1,000 storage tanks that contain over 920,000 tons of contaminated water.
Despite the struggle on marine life with plastic in the ocean, the Japanese are contemplating on dumping the tanks that contain nuclear wastewater, into the ocean due to insufficient storage, Whitby said to TRT. Today, researchers aren’t sure if the melted cores are currently within the contaminant structures or if they are in the vessels, spewing radioactive waste into groundwater that travels into the Pacific. It is hard to retrieve any assessments from robots, because they couldn’t withstand the high levels of radiation that fries up their electronic system.
However, one camera was able to withstand the radiation, and gave a glimpse of burnt, molten core debris built up at the bottom of the inner wall in the reactor. All this radioactive waste is stored at the bottom of the reactor, which is causing the highest levels of radiation around the reactor. Until these cores are contained, the reactors will still leak out radioactive waste into the groundwater.
The previous prime minister accuses the current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, of lying about the plant being under control. Abe has been under scrutiny for forcing over 6,000 people to return to their homes, that are in highly contaminated areas. The Japanese government has stated that the country will be safe by 2020, which means the Olympic softball and basketball game will continue as planned to demonstrate that “Japan is cool,” despite the reactors posing a major threat to environmental safety etc.
Want to see the full episode on Insight? Watch below.
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