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How dangerous is the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant today?

37 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Radiation levels have declined, allowing workers and visitors to wear regular clothes and surgical masks in most areas.

nothing to worry? really?! no negative effects or health risk?

reading the article looks like a Toys Are Us store exploded instead of a nuclear plant.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

"TEPCO and government officials say..." whatever will cover their derrieres. Their history of lies makes this untrustworthy. Let's hear from international scientific authorities. There are more than tritium isotopes in the water.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

The site has been improved since the time of the nuclear disaster lowering the radiation levels around the site allowing workers to wear less restrictive protective clothing. But the radiation levels inside the reactor buildings remain high and deadly meaning most work must be untaken by remote control equipment.

The spent fuel from the No4 and No3 cooling pools has been removed. Removing the spent fuel from the N01 and No2 cooling pools will be more difficult because of the radiation level and will take until the 2030's to complete.

As shown by the recent powerful earthquake which further damaged the No1 and No3 reactor containment vessels, the site remains in a dangerous and fragile state.

TEPCO has no current solution for removing the dangerous melted fuels.

The work will take more than 50 years and will cost more than ¥80 trillion.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

nothing to worry? really?! no negative effects or health risk?

reading the article looks like a Toys Are Us store exploded instead of a nuclear plant.

Exactly!

TEPCO and government officials say..." whatever will cover their derrieres. Their history of lies makes this untrustworthy. Let's hear from international scientific authorities. There are more than tritium isotopes in the water.

Exactly!

As shown by the recent powerful earthquake which further damaged the No1 and No3 reactor containment vessels, the site remains in a dangerous and fragile state.

TEPCO has no current solution for removing the dangerous melted fuels.

The work will take more than 50 years and will cost more than ¥80 trillion.

That's 3 in a row.

And YET, Nukes are lauded as being a cheap form of energy.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

What about the radioactive water?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

an avoidable tragedy.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Nuclear power is touted as the cheapest (and so the most profitable) form of energy, but isn't the ugly reality on the other side of the coin that the externalities incurred through decommissioning, accidents and damage control can be prohibitively costly to society (taxpayers)? Fukushima might be another textbook case of "socialism" for the shareholders.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Technically, it's not radioactive water. It's water contaminated with radioactive particles and elements.

There's getting around it. This was a giant screw up to not have the backup cooling power supply on nearby higher ground and in water tight vaults. I designed transformers, metal clad motor starters and substations for special requirement locations, including retrofitting oil-filled transformers with dry-type, cast coil type for nuclear power plants.

Just putting the plant on that coastline was insanity.

It's criminal negligence, in my opinion. Chernobyl and Fukushima are monuments to the damage that complacency can do.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

They are using terms like "Tiny amounts", "say tritium, which is not harmful in small amounts", and so on. If there is an actuall number, it says like "500,000 tons of solid radioactive waste". But they never actually mention how radioactive, what are the levels, what threat it may be, etc. Just abstract words.

About 900 tons of melted nuclear fuel remain inside the three damaged reactors, and its removal is a daunting task that officials say will take 30-40 years.

Look how long Chernobyl took. Despite being different type of power plant and slightly different situation (human error/projection error vs natural disaster), things moved way faster in Chernobyl. Imagine they would still be removing the waste, etc.

30-40 years is, in other words, "people who come after us will handle it. LOL". And i'd doubt that with all the meetings, discussions and just TEPCO dismissing everything.

How about a new mascot for removing nuclear waste? And another mascot for nuclear energy?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The Nuclear Liability Law limits the amount paid by power companies in the event of a nuclear accident to ¥120 billion. A tiny sum compared to the real costs of Fukushima.

The costs of decommissioning a normal end-of-life reactor, by law are paid by the power company owner. The power companies are required to deposit a sum of money over the life of the reactor which will be used for the decommissioning. That money is charged over the years to their consumers. There are additional charges to help pay for the nuclear disaster. Consumers pay a charge to the power company and also the central government is using taxpayer money for the disaster.

The power companies have applied to decommission 20 reactors.

The biggest shareholder of TEPCO is the government at 51%.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

When they say 30-40 years, I think they mean it will take 30-40 years from they time they have the technology to remove it. In other words, if they start in 2100, they should be finished by 2140. But even that seems unlikely when you consider that they have yet to remove the corium (elephant's foot) from Chernobyl and I don't think they plan on it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

About 900 tons of melted nuclear fuel 

One of the most dangerous things in the planet with some of the most educated scientists, and after 10 years, they use the word “ABOUT “?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The government has decided not to release the wastewater into the ocean for at least another 10 years. But another earthquake and tsunami could just wash everything away and out to sea,

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The original weight of the nuclear fuel in the 1-3 reactors was 900 tons. But when the meltdown happened the molten fuel mixed in steel and concrete and the weight of the corium is unknown hence about 900 tons.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

How dangerous is the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant today?

And the answer is?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

How dangerous is the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant today?

And the answer is?

Don't ask. Don't tell.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, says the tsunami couldn't have been anticipated, but reports from government and independent investigations and recent court decisions described the disaster at the plant as human-made and a result of safety negligence, lax oversight by regulators and collusion.

Japan's lack of natural fossil fuel sources and developmental tardiness of sustainable energy means that unfortunately, they will continue to rely on nuclear power for some of its energy. There is risk with so many earthquakes but these can be partially offset by newer reactors and more importantly better safety management, enforcement of regulations, and constant monitoring.

Even before 3-11, TEPCO had a terrible safety track record; carrying heavy water in pails, injuries, spills, leaks, etc. Because they and the Japanese gov't are in bed together, they answer to no one and the gov't turns a blind eye. Fix that and nuclear energy can become much safer albeit never 100%.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Chernobyl was the biggest nuclear accident and disaster but in many ways, Fukushima is more dangerous. Chernobyl isn't on the coast next to a sea and there are no underground rivers.

Recently at Chernobyl, there has been a fire in the radiation-contaminated pine forests releasing their radiation into the atmosphere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

reading the article looks like a Toys Are Us store exploded instead of a nuclear plant.

I'd be laughing if it weren't so serious.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Deceiving general citizen or reducing social interest to nuclear plants is one of important "job" of Japan's nuclear industries from before Fukushima disaster.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You really have to wonder if the Japanese government has been any more honest about Fukushima that the Russians were about Chernobyl. They were able to play on the trust of their citizens that the Russians never had, and they have made the most of it. The upshot is that the people here no longer trust their government.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I presume it's "not great, not terrible"...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How dangerous would it be to sit on the neck of a 'tranquilized' Godzilla?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Short answer.... Nowhere near as dangerous as the average layperson thinks.

Very short answer.... Not very.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

If it was not dangerous, staff could all go home and leave it alone, like some of the disused oil or coal power stations.

As it is, critical functions that cannot be stopped include; spent fuel rods must be kept cool, the blob of corium (melted fuel assemblies/ control rods and concrete) must be kept cool, water must be treated continuously, the ice wall must remain icey, power must continuously supplied, radiation must be monitored, plant security must be maintained, and last but not least, staff must be cared for.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Officials don't know exactly how long the cleanup will take, whether it will be successful and what might become of the land where the plant sits.

These facts are what makes the Fukushima nuclear disaster the worst nuclear disaster. Chernobyl was easy. It blew all the radioactive material out into the countryside making it easier to collect and store the material and to cap the site with concrete. Fukushima has highly radioactive melted fuel rods in the bottom of damaged storage tanks covered in debris. There is no process or technology to deal with this scenario. If the cooling fails the rods will heat up until they become plasma and burn through the containment vessel making the Sci-Fi movie the China Syndrome a reality. Even if they can figure out a way to remove them they still have to make customized storage vessels for each melted fuel rod that need to last for at least 500 years.

Fukushima is the world’s worst nuclear disaster and is far from ‘under control’ as stated by a certain ex-PM in a Super Mario suit. The secret reality of Fukushima is, the worst is yet to come.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Very very dangerous.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What about the radioactive water?

The PR machine can answer that one: Fukushima fish are delicious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What a big mistake.... You have to consider the sum of radiation you are exposed to, not an intentionally downplayed guarantee outspoken by someone , related to that one area they want you to work at and clean up their mess. You are exposed all the time to (standard) Radon radiation from the ground, then on aber a yearly body check with X-ray, contrast liquids etc. , some little dentist’s X-rays here and there, some hot spring visits a year and on top of that you really give it fully to yourself by walking around there, in that prefecture or even without any hazard suits near the blown up reactors? With that extraordinary stupidity level you must have come from outer space or be an amoeba from the oceanic depths....even those lowest structures we call viruses can manage to avoid the for them dangerous vaccines and they are even dead, without any single nerve or brain cell....lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How dangerous is the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant today?

Let's just say you wouldn't want to have a picnic there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

TEPCO has managed to cut the amount of contaminated water to one-third of what it used to be through a series of measures.

Dumping it into the ocean is the main measure taken, I think.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

TEPCO has managed to cut the amount of contaminated water to one-third of what it used to be through a series of measures.

About 700 tons per day of groundwater was entering the reactor basements and becoming contaminated with the leaking cooling water from the reactors. TEPCO dug deep wells upstream of the underground water reducing the flow but enough. They built a frozen wall around the reactor buildings, at a cost of about ¥30 billion.

These measures have reduced the groundwater to about 100 tons per day.

Some of the basement water does leak into the ocean but less than in the beginning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The most dangerous thing about this crippled is that we don't know how dangerous it is.

Five former Japanese prime ministers have urged Japan to renounce nuclear power. This is from the Mainichi Daily News of today (12 March).

TOKYO -- Five former Japanese prime ministers issued declarations that Japan should break with nuclear power generation on March 11, the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture.

The "3.11 Declarations" were issued at the "Global Conference for a Nuclear Free, Renewable Energy Future: 10 Years Since Fukushima" held by the Federation of Promotion of Zero-Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy at the Parliamentary Museum in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. 

Former prime ministers Morihiro Hosokawa, Tomiichi Murayama, Junichiro Koizumi, Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan signed and released their declarations during the conference. Among them, Koizumi, Hatoyama and Kan took to the podium and shook hands.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Aly Rustom

How dangerous is the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant today?

And the answer is?

Don't ask. Don't tell.

ANY MOMENTS TIME WILL!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The stored water is going back to the ocean.... you know, I know, everybody knows.... Dilution is the solution.

Its danger is very low. Much worse is dumped around the world on a daily basis. The only problem is the powerful fishing industry, who know it is safe, know that poeple will stop buying Fukushima fish because they have been misled on the danger for years. The Tuna they will happily buy and eat contains far more toxic substances than any fish caught in Fukushima waters even if they released the water quickly...which they wont... a slow, gradual release should and will be the plan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

300 years. Better keep the education high so that the future people understand what happened and what they are doing. Longest and largest education requirement in history

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yet around the world fossil fuels are being burned to make electric. This is killing millions of people and fouling the air, water and ground. Yet people focus on nuclear power.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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