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Japan

Leak Found In Fukushima Tank Holding Radioactive Water 189

Posted by timothy
from the you-look-so-hot-right-now dept.
The fallout from tsunami damage at Japan's Fukushima plant isn't over yet. New submitter OldJuke writes "Tokyo Electric power Co. said about 120 tons of the water are believed to have breached [a water storage tank's] inner linings, some of it possibly leaking into the soil. TEPCO is moving the water to a nearby tank at the Fukushima Dai-chi plant — a process that could take several days ...More than 270,000 tons of highly radioactive water is already stored in hundreds of gigantic tanks and another underground tank. They are visible even at the plant's entrance and built around the compound, taking up more than 80 percent of its storage capacity. TEPCO expects the amount to double over three years and plans to build hundreds of more tanks by mid-2015 to meet the demand."
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Leak Found In Fukushima Tank Holding Radioactive Water

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  • Re:Distillation (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 06, 2013 @07:38PM (#43381461)

    Obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com]

  • by IRWolfie- (1148617) on Saturday April 06, 2013 @07:50PM (#43381509)
    Despite your post, noone has died at Fukushima from radiation. Compare that to coal.
  • Re:Distillation (Score:5, Informative)

    by emt377 (610337) on Saturday April 06, 2013 @08:09PM (#43381585)

    The water itself is radioactive.

    No it's not; this isn't tritium (T2O) being discussed, but normal water contaminated with Sr90. ALPS is supposed to separate the Sr. The remaining water has a modestly low level of tritium. Releasing tritium is no big deal; it may slightly harm seafood or maybe even kill it, but it will dilute quickly and is of no harm to humans who eat seafood. Sr90 on the other hand is a metal and while it's easily broken up into dust and carried around by currents it's heavier than water so collects in hot spots on the sea floor.

  • Re:Distillation (Score:4, Informative)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday April 06, 2013 @08:39PM (#43381701)

    Water can not be radioactive. It's actually an incredibly good radiation insulator and that's exactly why they use it. The problem is the radioactive particulates in it. Fish eat, absorb those and then still, the fish is not radioactive, the problem is that when you eat the fish these materials get into your body. Funny enough, the radiations usually not going to cause you any health problems, the material itself is almost always heavy metals however. And those are very bad for you indeed.

  • Re:Distillation (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Saturday April 06, 2013 @09:26PM (#43381891)

    Water can not be radioactive. It's actually an incredibly good radiation insulator and that's exactly why they use it. The problem is the radioactive particulates in it.

    Depending on particle size, Reverse Osmosis, Activated Charcoal, and Ion exchange [forbes.com] are all somewhat successful, and using all three together does a very good job of removing even very small particles. Distillation also works well.

  • Re:Distillation (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Saturday April 06, 2013 @09:33PM (#43381925)

    The water itself is not radioactive. Particles in the water are. Therefore, distillation is one of the methods that will work.
    Other methods include RO, Ion Exchange, Activated Carbon filtration. But Water itself is not radio active.

    Further, there are already methods of removal, (this is done every day all around the world), and its not particularly a difficult problem, other than the fact that the Fukushima site has an awful lot of water to deal with.

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Saturday April 06, 2013 @10:32PM (#43382139)
    A recently caught fish (April 7th) was found with very high levels of radiation.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2265732/Mike-Murasoi-fish-contaminated-radiation-Fukushima-nuclear-disaster-2-500-times-legal-limit.html [dailymail.co.uk]

    It was confirmed by Tepco to have amounts of radioactive cesium equal to 254,000 becquerels per kilogram, or 2540 times the limit of 100 becquerels/kg set for seafood by the government.

    ...

    On 21 August last year, Tepco announced that rockfish caught in the Pacific Ocean within the circular area of 20 km around the plant, which is closed to all human activity, had a level of 25,800 becquerels of cesium per kilogram .

    It's painfully obvious that this is caused by ongoing leakage of radioactive water from the plant. In contrast, there has be a reduction in radiatons levels on land http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201303120107 [asahi.com]. It's unlikely that biological concentration in the food chain is the primary cause after two years of radiation decay and sea water dilution.

    If you don't trust the Japanese government, this would explain why they are prohibiting non-government organizations from sampling the ocean near the plant location. They say it's still too dangerous.

    The motivation for a coverup is that ongoing radioactive ocean contamination would be a huge international incident. China, Korea, Taiwan, Viet Nam, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines would all protest. There would be reputational repercussions, diplomatic turmoil and possibly economic sanctions. There is still a lot of hostility in the region from WW2, and this would be just the issue to reopen those wounds. Not to mention current rivalry over ocean areas that have China, Tiawan and Japan sending naval vessels to tiny islands with disputed ownership.

  • by ivi (126837) on Sunday April 07, 2013 @01:36AM (#43382683)

    Whenever I see a new article on the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster,
    I am reminded of the ADVANTAGES (better cost, safety, waste, political
    implications, etc.) of Liquid Fluoride THORIUM Reactors (a.k.a. LFTR's,
    already being developed around the world (in various phases of R&D, eg,
    in China, India, Taiwan, & [privately] USA).

    More people need to know about the opportunities of this -safer- green-
    energy source, so they can decide for themselves whether it's time to
    -push- for regulatory changes, that will -ease- the transition to Thorium,
    in our time.

    Introduction: Kirk Sorensen's recent TED-talk

    More details: (search YouTube.com for
                                                "Thorium remix"
                                            and take your pick)

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday April 07, 2013 @05:10AM (#43383111)

    Whenever I see a new article on the aftermath of a 40 year old plant disaster, I am reminded of the ADVANTAGES of pretty much every modern reactor design.

    This is much the same as when I look at cars which didn't have seatbelts, crumple zones. Imagine if we outright banned them rather than investing serious research into making it safe. LFTR is one solution. I like the idea of the design and using thorium for fuel in general, but it is far from the only safe solution. There are several passively safe reactor designs out there from the Westinghouse AP1000 (which is basically old school with passive safety systems added) to molten sold reactors which basically are like your LFTR expect without the thorium.

    Thorium is just a fuel. Sure it's a safer one, but the principles of passive and inherent safety can be designed onto many other systems too, and a modern reactor doesn't generate anywhere near the waste of their ancient brethren.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@world3AAA.net minus threevowels> on Sunday April 07, 2013 @05:27AM (#43383161) Homepage

    Coal must be the most often used straw man ever. Coal is not the only other way of generating electricity. Japan in particular has vast geothermal resources, for example.

    Japan wanted nuclear because it made them look modern and technologically advances (everyone was at it in the 60s, which is also when they developed the world's first high speed train and launched their first satellite). They also wanted it because it means they could build a nuclear weapon in a few months if necessary, but don't actually need to become a nuclear sate with all the antagonism that would generate.

    Every nuclear plant in Japan went offline at once, and they coped. No blackouts during the summer. No collapse of the economy or return to an agrarian society. If anything is spurred demand for more efficient products as people wanted to do their bit to help. The US seems to assume that more watts = better life, where as Japan, like most places, assumes that less watts and less pollution through efficiency = better life. They have a lot of cool tech now like whole-house battery packs - wouldn't you love you have a whole house UPS powered by free energy from the sun?

    So despite pressure on politicians from energy companies and certain parts of industry to restart reactors it is unlikely that the majority will ever come back online due to public opposition and the rapid rise of renewable energy and more efficient devices. People also look at what has happened to the people who used to live near Fukushima and the farmers and fishermen who live in the wider area, and they don't want it to happen again in a country that has regular large earthquakes and occasional tsunami.

Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the study of carbon compounds that crawl. -- Mike Adams

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