We began hearing in August that something was happening at Fukushima Daiichi that was new and different from all that came before in the never-ending saga of the World's Worst Nuclear Disaster since it began on March 11, 2011. Seems their shoddily-built temporary storage tanks, into which they've been pumping hundreds of tons' worth of grossly contaminated water being poured down the meltdown-holes daily, began to spring leaks. Oh... and a recent sizable earthquake had shifted the underground river Daiichi was built right next to back to its original fault-following pathway, so that it now flows directly underneath the facility and into its basements, which were built below sea level. Since the corium lava that was once reactor cores in three of the 4 nuclear plants destroyed in the disaster is in or underneath those basements, the underground river water is becoming grossly contaminated and is going right on out to sea. And some of it is coming up in seeps located well beyond the seawall's artificial lagoon directly into the ocean.
The ruins of the 4 plants lined up on the coast are becoming more and more unstable as the groundwater finally reached the surface in the area of the plants, turning the ground into mud - they call that "liquified." A problem for the 4 Olympic-sized SFPs [Spent Fuel Pools] currently still perched precariously 5 stories up in the air amidst the ruins and holding up to 40 years' worth of very highest level nuclear waste in fuel assemblies damaged - perhaps irreparably - by falling debris from the hydrogen/steam explosions that includes huge cranes, twisted steel I-beams and a whole lot of rebar-reinforced concrete.
There has been talk of maybe building an ice wall (freezing the ground), either to block the groundwater's path to the ocean or to divert the underground river altogether from flowing under the facility. But that's expensive, takes some considerable time, and nobody's willing to actually do it. Hell, as it is, TEPCO's personnel have been taking weekends off for many months, because everything they're 'doing' about managing the mess is just for show. More storage tanks are springing leaks by the day, nothing's being done about that either. Meanwhile, what is being revealed about the conditions is alarming, the world (and even IAEA] is taking notice.
It has become evident that Japan can't or won't deal properly with the mess, which the FPIF [Foreign Policy In Focus, another of those ubiquitous "think-tanks"] openly describes as...
More than two years after an earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc on a Japanese power plant [sic], the Fukushima nuclear disaster is one of the most serious threats to public health in the Asia-Pacific, and the worst case of nuclear contamination the world has ever seen.Worse, the thinkers in the FPIF tank claim - grossly in error - that so far only the cesium sisters [134 and 137] and iodine-131 have been released. So as to point out the 'new' threat of strontium-90 that TEPCO is now admitting. Completely ignoring the literally hundreds of relatively long-lived and extremely dangerous radioisotopes - fission products as well as uranium and plutonium - that were and are still being released to the environment. I mean, it's not like they somehow filtered what came out in the hydrogen/steam explosions that destroyed the plants, or have at any time since filtered steam or smoke going straight into the air or the water going straight into the ocean. Just the "Fuel Fleas" (a.k.a. "hot particles") estimated to have been released by the explosions represent enough alpha-emitters to cause up to 3 trillion 'lethal doses'. Which works out to 429 'lethal doses' chasing each and every one of us [this is qualified by the fact that it takes just a minute amount of an energetic alpha-emitter in a lung to cause cancer, not an actual dose extrapolation of LD/LD50].
More nations are joining China, South Korea, Taiwan and others in banning the import of seafood and vegetables from the prefectures of northeastern Japan, including ours. Our FDA has banned the importation of a long list of foodstuffs from 14 prefectures. Contamination levels in shellfish, feeder fish (including sardines and herring), carnivorous fish (like sharks, tuna and salmon), seaweed and now even krill (mass die-off now being reported, as well as the unprecedented failure of pacific salmon to show up for spawning this year) is considerable and getting steadily worse. As one of the only whaling nations still in existence, the Japanese also know those are contaminated. Along with algae, and plankton. Contamination concentrates right on up the food chain. That is its nature, either as heavy metals/mercury or as radioisotopes, something long known.
Because no one is doing anything to meaningfully mitigate the awful environmental consequences of 3 total meltdowns and 4 major explosions, it is time for people everywhere - not just in Japan - to consider the likelihood that we have lost the Pacific Ocean's full bounty of foodstuffs humans have depended upon for thousands of years. And learn how to live without it if we wish to keep on existing on this planet.
It's ultimately sad, of course. That we [humanity] have managed to irreparably foul so huge and important a planetary resource just by our ill-conceived delusions of godly grandeur. But we've made ultimately devastating climate change inevitable too, again with our insatiable appetite for power. No one knows if we'll survive the messes we've made, and it won't seriously effect the planet itself if we were to go away along with the untold other species our 'Great Extinction Event[s]' will cause. The planet will survive, as most likely will life itself. And evolution.
I kept hoping someone would come up with something clever and go to work on it. There are a number of things that could be done about Fukushima if anyone in the world had the money and the engineering expertise to do it. Because Japan is Japan (and by choice essentially alone in this), none of it is ever likely to be done. So this update is reporting the situation as now known, complicated by the also entirely evident fact that TEPCO and the Japanese government have terrible reputations for lying like crazy about the actual release levels. They're almost inevitably been found to have diminished release figures by factors of ten. Lots of them. SOP for the nuclear industry and their pet governments, worldwide. It has always been thus.
Just thought I'd let those trying to keep track that the situation is getting worse by the day, and nothing is being done to stop it. So people can make their own informed decisions when it comes to their own health.
And here again is a very informative graphic about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious radioactive contamination, just in case we get some more atmospheric gnarl that moves in plumes around the globe and 'falling out' in the rain...