Corporatism — October 21, 2013 at 7:01 am

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant continues to leak radiation into the groundwater and ocean, containment overflows


Corporate officials “can’t decide whether they want to close it or to keep it going”

I wrote last about the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan back in August. At that time, there was evidence that radiation was seeping into the Pacific Ocean with the potential for much more contamination on the horizon:

TEPCO has been pumping the water into their special makeshift tanks but they are now 85% full and the company has made no plans to build more or to make them permanent. What’s worse, the water level is rising inside containment walls on the site because they can’t pump it out as fast as it’s coming in. Within the next month, it will breach the containment walls and, when that happens, the water will pour into the ocean and “will flow extremely fast”.

This past week, following a typhoon that swept through the region, TEPCO reported that it “had detected high levels of radiation in a ditch leading to the Pacific Ocean, and that it suspected heavy rains had lifted contaminated soil.”

It gets worse. A test well dug to determine the extent of radiation contamination in groundwater on the site is showing radiation level spikes on Friday that were 6,500 times than those taken just two days before.

And now, it’s gotten MUCH worse:

Water has overflowed at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is attempting to discern the quality of the water and possible radioactive substances which could have been spilled.

TEPCO announced on Monday that the water overflowed in 12 areas of the plant.

Heavy rains caused water to flow over the barriers of an artificial embankment which surrounds a dozen tanks of radioactive water at the plant. TEPCO reported that liquid containing a source of beta radiation was found beyond the levees.

As bad as this is, it could get even worse. In fact, in the event of another earthquake, it could get catastrophically bad. According to one expert, “They have a thousand tanks that are held together with a plastic pipe, so if there is a moderate earthquake the plastic pipes will fail and all that material will run across the ground surface and into the ocean.”

Meanwhile, the corporation that owns the facility, TEPCO, is still trying to decide whether or not they can wring some more profit out of the site. Konstantin Simonov from the Moscow-based Fund for Energy Security told RT:

Fukushima should be treated just like Chernobyl – as a wreck that must be retired and put in a sarcophagus, with radioactive waste slowly and thoroughly utilized. Why does the problem persist at Fukushima? Because they can’t decide whether they want to close it or to keep it going.

As I said in August, corporate malfeasance that harms the planet is clearly not exclusively American.

[Public domain photo credit: Voice of America | Wikimedia Commons]