Japan: Radioactive Water Leaking Into Pacific

 Lest we forget about the grim situation in Japan in the midst of all the turmoil elsewhere. The latest from the Fukishima-Daichi plant is grim,reports CNN:

Highly radioactive water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean from a crack in a concrete pit outside a crippled reactor at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, an official with the plant's owner said Saturday.

Water from the two-meter deep, concrete-lined basin could be seen escaping into the sea through a roughly 20-cm (8-inch) crack, an official the Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters Saturday afternoon. But the company could not explain how the water was getting into the sump.

Radiation levels in the pit have been measured over 1,000 millisieverts per hour, which is more than 330 times the dose an average resident of an industrialized country naturally receives in a year. Utility company officials said Saturday that the plan was to to fill the sump with concrete in order to stop the leakage.

The discovery comes after a feverish search in recent days to explain a sharp spike in contamination in seawater measured just off the plant.



In related news, experts say that the process of "shutting down" the plant will hardly be easy. According to Japan's Asahi.com news site:

Regaining control of the four stricken reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant could take months or years, according to nuclear experts.

And, even if the reactor cores can be cooled below 100 degrees, known as the "cold shutdown" stage, decommissioning will take several decades.

Let's sincerely hope that this sort of long-term difficulty will clue officials around the world in to the dangers presented by Nuclear power, dangers hardly limited to the vicinity and time of any accident or catastrophe.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at April 2, 2011, 4:31am

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