Tag Archive for 'Fukushima'

Fukushima Ghost Towns Struggle to Recover Amid High Radiation Levels

Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org

“Namie is nobody’s town now. Nobody lives here, and nobody visits for long. Even the looters have stopped bothering, and no one knows exactly when the inhabitants may be allowed to return permanently – or whether they will want to.

The 2011 catastrophe faded from world headlines long ago, but in Namie, Tomioka, Okuma, Futaba and other blighted towns in the 20-mile evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant,  it is a disaster that never ends.

At the plant itself, recent leaks of contaminated water into the sea and a fraught operation to remove fuel rods from one of the damaged reactors have shown how critical the situation still is – and will remain during a decommissioning process that could take up to 40 years.

For Fukushima’s displaced population, the effects of the disaster continue to be deeply felt. The evacuation area was subdivided earlier this year into three zones of higher or lower radiation risk. In the worst affected zone, return will not be allowed before 2017 at the earliest.

In other areas, families and businesses face difficult decisions about whether or not to go back. At present,  no one is even allowed to stay overnight. Locals say that whatever happens, many younger people will not return.”

Read more: AlterNet

 

Japan finds highly toxic strontium in Fukushima

Photo retrieved from: www.euronews.com

“TOKYO- High levels of toxic strontium-90 have been found in groundwater at the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, the utility that operates the facility said on Wednesday.

Strontium-90 is a by-product of the fission of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors as well as nuclear weapons, according to the website of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

It was not immediately clear how much of a setback the discovery would be for efforts by Tokyo Electric Power to clean up the plant, which was devastated when an earthquake and tsunami two years ago caused three reactor meltdowns.

Officials from the utility, known as Tepco, told a news conference that testing of groundwater outside the turbine building of reactor No 2 had shown that the level of strontium-90 had increased by more than 100 times between Dec 2012 and May of this year.

Tepco said it was likely the radioactive material entered the environment after water poured over the melted fuel in unit No 2 and leaked out via the turbine building, which is located between the reactor and the ocean.

The elevated readings of strontium are more than 30 times the legal limit.”

Read more: China Daily

 

US West Coast to receive dangerous levels of Fukushima radiation

Photo retrieved from: www.rt.com

“Researchers have released the findings of an intense study into the aftermath of last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster and warn that the United States isn’t exactly spared just yet. In fact, scientists now fear that incredibly contaminated ocean waters could be reaching the West Coast of the US in a matter of only five years, and the toxicity of those waves could eventually be worse than what was seen in Japan.

A team of scientists led by Joke F Lübbecke of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory have published the findings of an experiment recently conducted to measure the impact of last year’s nuclear disaster and the results are eye-opening to say the least. By simulating the spreading of contaminated ocean waters and seeing how currents could carry them across the Pacific from Japan to the US, scientists believe that the worst might be still on the way.

“Within one year it will have spread over the entire western half of the North Pacific and in five years we predict it will reach the US West Coast.” Claus Böning, co-author of the study, tells the website Environmentalresearchweb.

Böning adds that “The levels of radiation that hit the US coast will be small relative to the levels released by Fukushima,” yet fails to exactly stand by that statement in the fullest. “But we cannot estimate accurately what those levels will be because we do not know for certain what was released by Fukushima,” the doctor adds.

In fact, others fear that contaminated ocean waters may collect in packets and produce waves of highly concentrated nuclear toxins that could pose a dangerous toll to Americans.”

Read more: RT