Tag Archive for 'radioactive water'

Japan nuclear body says radioactive water at Fukushima an “emergency”

Photo retrieved from: www.americanlivewire.com

“TOKYO, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Highly radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is creating an “emergency” that the operator is struggling to contain, an official from the country’s nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, told Reuters.

Countermeasures planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) are only a temporary solution, he said.

Tepco’s “sense of crisis is weak,” Kinjo said. “This is why you can’t just leave it up to Tepco alone” to grapple with the ongoing disaster.

“Right now, we have an emergency,” he said.

Tepco has been widely castigated for its failure to prepare for the massive 2011 tsunami and earthquake that devastated its Fukushima plant and lambasted for its inept response to the reactor meltdowns. It has also been accused of covering up shortcomings.”

Read more: Reuters


Fukushima Operators Struggle to Contain ‘Outrageous Amount’ of Radioactive Water

Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org

“The plant currently holds 200,000 tonnes of highly contaminated waste water, used to cool the broken reactors, but operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, continues to struggle to find ways to store the toxic substance. TEPCO has said they are running out of room to build more storage tanks and the volume of water will more than triple within three years.

“It’s a time-pressing issue because the storage of contaminated water has its limits, there is only limited storage space,” Okamura said.

After the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe of 2011, the plant’s broken reactors have needed constant cooling and maintenance, including the dumping of massive amounts of water into the melting reactors — the only way to avoid another complete meltdown.

Adding to the excessive amounts of cooling water is ground water, which continues to leak into the reactor facilities because of structural damage.”

Read more: Common Dreams


Massachusetts officials: radiation from Japan in rainwater

photo retrieved from: BigHaber.com

“The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said Sunday that very low concentrations of radioiodine-131 that were likely from the Japanese power plant severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami earlier this month have been detected in a sample of rainwater. Officials did not say where the sample was taken.

“The agency said the sample was taken in the past week and is one of more than 100 around the country. It is part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency network that monitors for radioactivity.

“State officials say similar testing was done in other states, including California, Pennsylvania and Washington, and showed comparable levels of I-131 in rain.

“Officials also say there is no health impact to drinking water supplies, but will continue to monitor

“The drinking water supply in Massachusetts is unaffected by this short-term, slight elevation in radiation,’’ said John Auerbach, commissioner of public health.”
read more: Boston Globe

Underground “Fossil Water” Running Out

Pipes from the The Libyan Great Man-Made River project.

“This story is part of a special series that explores the global water crisis. For more clean water news, photos, and information, visit National Geographic’s Freshwater website.

“In the world’s driest places, “fossil water” is becoming as valuable as fossil fuel, experts say.

“This ancient freshwater was created eons ago and trapped underground in huge reservoirs, or aquifers. And like oil, no one knows how much there is—but experts do know that when it’s gone, it’s gone. (See a map of the world’s freshwater in National Geographic magazine.)

“You can apply the economics of mining because you are depleting a finite resource,” said Mike Edmunds, a hydrogeologist at Oxford University in the Great Britain.

“In the meantime, though, paleowater is the only option in many water-strapped nations. For instance, Libya is habitable because of aquifers—some of them 75,000 years old—discovered under the Sahara’s sands during 1950s oil explorations.

“The North African country receives little rain, and its population is concentrated on the coasts, where groundwater reserves are becoming increasingly brackish and nearing depletion.

“Since Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi launched his Great Man-Made River Project in the 1980s, an epic system of pipes, reservoirs, and engineering infrastructure is being built. It will be able to pump from some 1,300 paleowater wells and move 230 million cubic feet (6.5 million cubic meters) of H2O every day.

“But while fossil water can fill critical needs, experts warn, it’s ultimately just a temporary measure until conservation measures and technologies become status quo.


Radioactive Worries

“But the project has encountered an unexpected stumbling block. The Disi’s fossil water was recently found to contain 20 times the radiation levels considered safe for drinking. The water is contaminated naturally by sandstone, which has slowly leached radioactive contaminants over the eons.

“Geochemist and water-quality expert Avner Vengosh of Duke University, one of the scientists who first discovered the problem, said the Disi’s situation is not unusual.

“Radiation contamination has been found in Israel, Egypt, Saudia Arabia, and Libya, Vengosh said.

“Fortunately, radiation contamination can be fixed through a simple water-softening process, though it does cost money and creates radioactive waste that must be disposed of properly, he noted.”

read more: National Geographic