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As the levels of radionuclides in groundwater under the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants continue to increase dramatically, the United Nations nuclear agency proposes that the massive quantities of contaminated water stored at the facility be dumped into the sea.

The March, 2011 earthquake, tidal wave, and subsequent triple meltdown of Fukushima reactors 1, 2, and 3 have presented Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) with a seemingly insoluble dilemma. The cores of the reactors must be kept cool, requiring large quantities of water. But the containment vessels have been breached - in fact, no one is even sure where, exactly, the cores are. Massive quantities of water are pumped into the facilities to keep them cool, but the water just pours right back out again, highly contaminated.

Some of this contaminated water is recaptured, and about a third that wasn't reused to cool the reactors (after removing the cesium) is stored in an ever-growing tank farm. In addition to the 400,000 cubic meters of water stored in nearly a thousand tanks, by late last year over 100,000 cubic meters of contaminated water was estimated to have accumulated inside the facilities, according to the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). And a substantial quantity was simply seeping into the ground, with monitoring wells showing ever increasing amounts of radioactivity in the groundwater under the plants.

According to Russia Today, on February 13, TEPCO reported a record level of cesium - 37,000 becquerels of cesium-134 and 93,000 becquerels of cesium-137 per liter - in a groundwater monitoring well near plant 2, about fifty meters from the coast. This combined reading of 120,000 becquerels is in sharp contrast to a reading made in the same well the previous day, with a combined reading of 76,000 becquerels per liter.

This report follows on the heels of another report from Russia Today, that in mid-January a record high level of beta rays released from radioactive strontium-90 was detected, apparently in the same well, of 2.7 million becquerels per liter. And on February 8, TEPCO revised its reading made in a well near plant 1 in July to 5 million becquerels of strontium per liter – both a record, and over five times higher than the original reading of 900,000 becquerels per liter. Apparently every measurement made by TEPCO was off by a similar magnitude.

So, what to do about the intractable problem of ever increasing volumes of highly contaminated water? Clearly the current regime of building ever more tanks is unsustainable. In an IAEA report the agency reviews the current regime for dealing with the water, including the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) which, according to TEPCO, is able to remove 58 radionuclides to below detectable levels out of the 62 "target" radionuclides. Four radionuclides, however, (Co-60, Ru-106, Sb-125, and I-129), while reduced, are not eliminated. In addition there is the issue of tritium, present at levels of "several thousand becquerel per CC", or several million becquerels per liter. There is no feasible way to remove the tritium from the water.

So, what to do? "In the opinion of the IAEA team, a path forward for further management of the treated tritium-bearing water is necessary in order to reach a sustainable solution to the contaminated water problem. This would require careful consideration of all options, including dilution and controlled discharge to the ocean..."

The report goes on to provide "Advisory point 5:
The IAEA team believes it is necessary to find a sustainable solution to the problem of
managing contaminated water at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS. This would require
considering all options, including the possible resumption of controlled discharges to the sea.
TEPCO is advised to perform an assessment of the potential radiological impact to the
population and the environment arising from the release of water containing tritium and any other residual radionuclides to the sea..."

In other words, dump it. No other option was suggested. Dilution is the solution to radioactive pollution.

Originally posted to ypochris on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 05:35 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow (14+ / 0-)

    Just wow.  As if guans aren't doing enough contamination of the sea and water on earth.

  •  Sounds like the best solution (4+ / 0-)

    the scientists and engineers have come up with so far. Unless someone has got a better idea, no reason to knock this one.

  •  What's the alternative? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris, FG, happymisanthropy, StrayCat

    They can't store it.

    Cleaning it up completely is too difficult (and impossible for the tritium).

  •  And yet there are still people (21+ / 0-)

    who think that building more reactors is the solution to all the energy problems. We are in the process of killing the planet and I don't see much hope that anything is going to stop the process.

  •  Can't say I'm really surprised. (19+ / 0-)

    Not happy in the least, but not shocked.  'Bury it' or 'dump it into (the air/the water) have been mankind's only real answer to most types of pollution forever.  Obviously 'bury it' isn't working here, so 'flush it out into the ocean' was bound to be the next answer they came up with.

    And the pro-nuke supporters will go on proclaiming that we have no alternative but to keep 'nuclear' in the energy mix.  All of the above, after all, is what the administration pushes.

    •  Maybe the cockroaches will figure (8+ / 0-)

      something out when they are left with the mess.

    •  There have been no new construction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      starts since 1977.  Even though the Obama administration has an 'all of the above' policy, there are no new nuclear plants.

      What has been achieved are gains in power plant utilization through improved refueling, maintenance and safety systems at existing plants.

      The good news is that new nuclear is not cost effective, and has not been for years.  

      I am hopeful that with solar, wind, and other green energy improvements, we can stay away from any new nuclear.

      •  Wrong, indie (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ypochris, indie17

        The Vogtle 2 nuke is under construction in GA.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 11:41:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  With a billion dollars' worth (7+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DawnN, ypochris, 6412093, 3rock, indie17, Jim P, native

          of cost overruns and lengthy construction delays, mounting daily. The Summer plant in SC is only $500 million over cost so far, its delays are comparable. Both projects have been labled "mistakes" by the financial industry.

          Another Vogtle Debacle?

          My projection: These plants will never see service, but the utilities and contractors will make a mint. Which was the point, of course.

          Remember, this is SOP for the industry and always has been. Not a single nuclear plant has ever come in on time or on budget in the entire history of nuclear power. Not one, and they're not getting any cheaper. By the way, the stupid Westinghouse AP1000 design should never have been approved in the first place. It's even more dangerous than our current antiquated nukes. Same old technology, more unstable containments.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 12:57:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The issue was: (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ypochris, indie17, Jim P
            There have been no new construction (1+ / 0-)
            starts since 1977.
            Thanks for mentioning Summer, I'd forgotten that was also underway.

            I never asserted those plants were on time and under budget, only that the construction was underway.

              It's two more examples of why I stopped arguing more stridently for nuclear power.  You could get 10,000 MW of wind turbines erected in the ten years before you got a 1000 MW nuke running.  They've built 2000 MW of utility solar power plants in the California desert in 1/3rd the time it'll take to finish Vogtle.

            I'll still bet you that both nukes will eventually come on-line.  But I'm already 64, so it may not be in my lifetime.

            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

            by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:05:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Just saw: $100B has gone to unfinished plants, (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, native, ypochris, indie17

            plants which will never see service. You sure don't see that figured into 'cost per' claims about nukes competitiveness.

            Of course, the invariable overruns are part of the scheme. The plants are sold with 'we can do it for (say) $250M' and then they get enough of a start that they plead 'well, we'll just need another $250M' and because the commitment has been made the choice seems to be 'we can't throw away that money.' So communities and governments pick up the slack. Of course, they run late again and the same 'we need more'/'we've gone this far' scenario plays out and ... there you are with billions just thrown away.

            This is deliberate, this 'underestimation' scam.


            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:58:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course it is, Jim. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              native, ypochris, indie17

              And "everybody knows it" too, except for the poor schmucks who have to pay for it all plus PA if it ever kicks in for a meltdown. Otherwise the industry worldwide could point to at least one or two plants that came in on time at the cost originally projected. None of them ever have, none ever will.

              Mere redistribution of wealth to the utility teat-suckers.

              There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

              by Joieau on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:47:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Well, guess I need to update (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris, Jim P, Joieau

          my info.  I am glad that Joieau tells us that the new projects have been labeled mistakes by the financial industry.  Maybe we'll see others put on hold in the future.

          •  The investment capital (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ypochris, indie17

            is going overwhelmingly into renewables, indie. Has been for awhile. The only way nukes can even pretend to compete is to 'hide' the true costs behind their ridiculous corner on the subsidies market from gub'ment handouts of taxpayer money. All designed and implemented back when the MADmen figured out how they could charge the public directly as well as indirectly for their plutonium extinction plans.

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:51:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  i've been saying they need some tankers (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, AoT, tommymet, Roadbed Guy, Joieau

    transfer the contents and then move the tankers to a
    protected harborage.

    it will give them some time to cope.

  •  Bottle it (15+ / 0-)

    And sell it as an antidote to Obamacare.

    Tired of libruls forcing Obamacare on you?
     Drink Fukuwater and say FUKU to the evil Kenyan.
    Remember, 8 glasses a day is all it takes to keep Obama away.
    This is how you kill two birds with one stone.
    •  Actually, I'd say that the pro-nuclear power (11+ / 0-)

      people that are claiming that there's nothing serious going on in Japan should move there and eat and drink from the source.  Put their money where their mouth is, so to say.

      •  i did (0+ / 0-)

        Many expats continue to

        •  How close to Fukushima are you? (0+ / 0-)
          •  not close. tokyo and shizouka (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ypochris, 3rock, Cream Puff

            But still closer than alot of people here are and they are freaking out

            •  meditations (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandino, ypochris

                to the PEOPLE of Japan. I hope they know there are people in the world sending spiritual strength & hope. In my thoughts, prayers and meditations, many times. And tears...

              March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

              by 3rock on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:55:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  i don't think you understand me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sweatyb

                i mean the people here on dailykos are freaking out. The people of japan are going about their business.

                •  If you can call shutting down every nuclear plant (8+ / 0-)

                  in the country just "going about their business". Not to mention all the lawsuits, protests, and general outrage being expressed by a large part of the population.

                  •  And, with ALL nukes shut down, (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ypochris, ozsea1, 3rock

                    notice that the Japanese still have electricity.

                    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                    by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:57:58 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  With high costs (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Roadbed Guy, ypochris

                      The japanese still have electricity but that's because they're burning billions of dollars worth of oil and coal.  The energy costs in Japan have basically doubled since they shut down the nuclear plants. Besides the increased carbon emissions, the coal is spewing radioactive thorium and other radionuclides into the atmosphere.

                      •  Stopgap for their switch (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        6412093, ypochris, ozsea1, 3rock, native

                        to gas, solar and wind. If it costs more, people will use less. Nifty how that works, isn't it?

                        The Japanese have a reputation for being quite clever and innovative. Their offshore wind expansion will translate into export income to the nation as they achieve economies of scale and other nations develop kinetic energy resources. They may innovate in solar as well, at least I hope so.

                        I guarantee you that uranium and thorium from temporary coal emissions is nowhere near as gnarly as what's coming out of Daiichi 24-7 (and will continue to come out 24-7 for as far into the future as anybody alive on this planet cares to project). Japan was an unforgivably stupid place to site nukes. They were basically forced into it by the US after the war, when they were still an occupied nation (er, they still are, aren't they?). GE's cash cow, though GE got out of nukes altogether awhile back apart from their partnership with Hitachi and the Idaho division that ran the Daiichi and Daini plants in Japan. They make rather nice wind generators now...

                        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                        by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:17:53 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The main factor, Joieau (0+ / 0-)

                          that will enable Japan to switch from coal to gas, is the availibility of our cheap, fracked natural gas.

                          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                          by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 11:44:54 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  For a little while, yes. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            3rock

                            The innovation I'd like most to see the Japanese develop is geothermal. If they could tap that, they'd have all the energy they'd ever need.

                            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                            by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 12:23:26 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You do know (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ypochris

                            that even if Japan weren't buying, our petro-giants would still be fracking and shipping the gas to whoever's buying, don't you? Hence if Japan restarted its nukes, we'd still be fracked. It would make exactly zero difference.

                            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                            by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 01:01:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If Japan's demand (0+ / 0-)

                            wasn't there, the gas giants would still be fracking, but at a lower level.

                            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                            by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:53:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ypochris, 6412093

                            Where's your evidence for that?

                            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                            by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:48:42 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Joieau, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ypochris

                            I am thinking at the announced contracts for LNG exports of fracked gas from the US.  Japan is the destination for just a fraction of those.  India is as big or bigger.

                            Let me look those over and make sure I'm not blowing smoke.

                            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                            by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 11:01:13 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  yes, the increase in fossil fuel energy (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        6412093

                        required to compensate for the nuclear power shutdown equals the carbon emissions of the entire Alberta Tarsands.

                        IOW, a "Game Over" scenario as some would say (but strangely, they're NOT saying it, why I have no idea).

                •  Yes, the people of Japan are going about their (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ypochris, 3rock

                  business as they really don't have many options, and it's what they do as a culture.

                  I don't think many on this site are 'freaking out' about the conditions over there.  Most of us are very worried and concerned for the health of the Japanese people and the animal and plant life of the region.  We'd like to know the real numbers, not what the company/gov't wants us to know.

  •  I Don't Know How Many Gallons In a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris, Lawrence, Joieau

    becquerel ;).

    What's the flow rate, amounts, of contaminated water we're talking about, per unit time?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:24:21 PM PST

    •  Three years, 500,000 cubic meters (11+ / 0-)

      That's about 132 million gallons, or 44 million gallons a year, or 120,000 gallons a day, or 5,000 gallons an hour being stored, although they are recovering about three times that. Two thirds is processed (cesium removed) and reused to cool the reactors.

      But we have no idea what is going on underground. And I haven't been able to find out what the total flow of water through the complex is, to determine the loss rate, although they ought to be able to provide this information.

      •  they dont want to tell the world (12+ / 0-)

        they have three total meltdowns with no way of recapturing or controlling the cores,  This will go down as the worst man made catastrophe in human history, but you would never know via the controlled media.

        Nuclear disasters and cancer for kids dont sell products, so best ignore it.

        •  The Japanese press (20+ / 0-)

          is quite frank about the three meltdowns and their inability to locate the cores. Which might explain why all fifty of Japan's reactors are off line, and the few that are trying to get permission to restart are being resisted fiercely.

          Of course, those fifty shut down reactors might explain why our captive media don't want to dwell on the disaster. With Chernobyl, we could tell ourselves 'Oh, that's just the shoddy Russian design'. But these are American reactors, identical to many of the reactors here in the United States. I suspect that if the American public were fully aware of the magnitude of the Fukushima disaster, the pressure to shut down or at least significantly modify our reactors would be sufficient to overcome the regulatory capture by the nuclear industry. So the American press is silent. We have to look to the press in Russia and Japan to tell us what is really going on.

          •  huh Japan (0+ / 0-)

            Japan media is basically barred from really delving into the issue at all. They even passed a law that forbids it.

            •  Which may be why I now have to go to (0+ / 0-)

              "Russia Today" for real information.

              But the law was just passed, and only addresses government "secrets". Although we know discussion of the nuclear issue was shut down prior to the election for Tokyo's mayor, as it was felt this might influence the election. Certainly the Japanese press has been addressing the meltdowns, the "missing" cores, the outrage, and the effects on former residents for years now. Unlike the American press, which seems to consider this not to be newsworthy any more.

              But they do stick to the "worst accident since Chernobyl" mime, even though it is becoming more and more apparent that this will be far worse.

        •  That's funny... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris, Joieau

          When something terrible happens in handling your dog, my advice is "that shit didn't happen".

          Again the Establishment stealing my dog training mojo...

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:35:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hi ypochris (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ypochris, indie17

        Release rates of 137-Cs in summer 2011 and 2012 are reported in the following open access publication by Kanda (2013) in Biogeosciences

        the average release rate of 137Cs was estimated to be 93 GBq d−1 in summer 2011 and 8.1 GBq d−1 in summer 2012
        If they released 400,000 cubic meters of water with 120,000 Bq/L 134-Cs and 137-Cs in a single day that would amount to a release rate ~48,000 GBq/day for these isotopes.
        •  My understanding is that the Cesium (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indie17

          would be reduced to trace amounts via use of the ALPS prior to release of the water. Also, the average content is not nearly that high; that is a measurement peak.

          •  That's just one isotope. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ypochris

            The ALPS can't handle the amount of water pumped out in one day, it certainly can't handle 3 years' worth. They might claim they're using it (still offline, far as I know, after failing regularly), but they'll just dump wholesale. Who's gonna stop them?

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:05:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They claim it is working. (0+ / 0-)

              "TEPCO also reported that all three lines have been operating. So far, about 30,000 m3 of contaminated water have been treated by this system."

              The IAEA recommended that TEPCO install several more ALPS.

              Also, on re-reading, it appears that another system is being used to remove the cesium, as a million cubic meters have apparently been processed for reuse:

              "Acknowledgement 7:
              The IAEA team acknowledges the continued successful use of the caesium removal system to treat contaminated water accumulated in the reactor and turbine buildings, with consistently high system availability and performance. This has made it possible to remove caesium isotopes very efficiently, the major gamma emitters in the contaminated water, thereby
              enabling the recycling of part of the treated water for cooling of the damaged reactor cores, and the storing of the remaining part in above-ground tanks".

    •  Millions of bequerels (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ypochris

      in a cubic centimeter of ~150 million gallons of water is a lot. There's a lot more where that came from.

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:00:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Millions of becquerels per liter, (0+ / 0-)

        not cubic centimeter. Still a lot, but a thousand times less.

        •  Depends on what sample (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris

          you're talking about.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:05:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  ...and what isotopes they're (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris, native

          bothering to report. Notice it's always one or two. Not 800-900.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:06:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh... and the reports (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P

          (TEPCO now admits) are low by a factor of 600 at the bottom end. Because, they say, they "didn't know how to measure the samples."

          If you believe that, I've got a bridge in New Jersey to sell... cheap!

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:08:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Remember also (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris

          that a lot of this is extrapolation (that which TEPCO says it didn't know how to do, to explain why they knocked so many zeroes off their figures for nearly three years), your basic inverse square law calculations for 'shine', cc's or ml to liter for particulates in water.

          Case in point - During the initial phase of active meltdown/melt-through one containment monitor pegged at 100,000 Sv/hr. That's 10 million Rem, gamma/neutron. The backwards calculation from 3.7 Sv/hr measured by one of the water-dumper helicopters 100 meters above unit-3 came closer to 150,000 Sv. There's still areas outside the buildings and not in the tank farm (like the 1-2 vent stack) reading 10 Sv and higher.

          NRC: March 15, 2011
          NRC: March 17, 2011

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:21:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why don't they make ice cubes out of it for (6+ / 0-)

    all of those who are constantly asurring one and all that radiation is harmless and not a concern. I'm sure they'd buy and use them to prove their bona fides.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 07:20:48 PM PST

  •  Over a billion people..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, chmood, Alfred E Newman

    have no access to clean drinking water... And yet, those of us in the "First World" use water to assure our insane societies can continue wasting water and other resources for the benefit of the few.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:32:16 AM PST

  •  Insanity is ruling. Disgusting. (3+ / 0-)

    Dangerous. We are so fucked.

    Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

    by emmasnacker on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:41:08 AM PST

  •  Aren't they already (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris, Joieau

    doing that?  Every time that I see a staged photograph of white guys in suits there, I wonder how much work is actually being done there.  

    This doesn't end well.

  •  You have got to be kidding. Where and what do (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris, Joieau, DawnN

    they think will happen with this dumping in the oceans?  Do they really believe that it will not affect people and their food supplies due to ocean currents and food contamination?

    Why are the "intellectually challenged" making these decisions?  

    "When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy...." - Rumi

    by LamontCranston on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:34:26 AM PST

    •  These are the "best and brightest". (8+ / 0-)

      It isn't that they aren't putting enough thought into this, it is simply that we have no way of dealing with nuclear waste, particularly in an emergency situation where such large quantities are being generated.

      Our complete inability to deal with an entirely foreseeable disaster (we all knew this was coming sooner or later, one way or another) is the ultimate indictment of the nuclear industry. We simply should not be creating these risks when we cannot deal with the consequences.

  •  Becquerel Counts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris, wonmug, DawnN

    If you included in your reporting of the becquerels of poison stacking up a reference to some more familiar count, non-expert readers could actually understand how bad it is.

    Like the becquerels in the natural background of the Fukushima area, or the US Federal "acceptable" exposure amounts, or the amounts that cause sickness, or something.

    Otherwise that paragraph might as well be written in Japanese.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:52:29 AM PST

    •  Japan has reset the "safe" (legal) levels (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino, Joieau

      for consumption to 300 becquerels per liter.

      •  How to Dilute It (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ypochris, Joieau, k9disc, native

        I don't think anyone's expecting people to drink the water from the tanks.

        Of course becquerels aren't all equal. The more relevant metric is the sieverts from whatever modes of exposure are now possible.

        We can't even tell how much radioactivity is in the contained water. The groundwater measurements in this diary range from 120K-900K-5M, and that's not the tanks. Even at 5MBq:l that's about 115K times the radioactivity of a human body from its natural potassium content, and about 385K times the natural radioactivity of average seawater (excluding its 2Bq:l human pollution).

        If there's a half million cubic meters of this stuff, diluting it to the existing levels (2Bq:l) of human radioactive seawater pollution (so doubling the pollution levels) would require about 200 trillion cubic meters, or about 200K cubic kilometers of seawater. That's about 0.028% of the entire Pacific ocean.  The Japan Current is over 50Mm^3:s, so it could dilute the stored amount in about 1.5 months. A year of the entire Japan Current as dilution would dilute the stuff to 1/8 the existing radioactivity pollution in seawater. If the stored poison is 10x the high measured groundwater radioactivity, that's 10 years. Of the entire Japan Current.

        TEPCO and Japan (and probably anyone else) is not even competent to collect this poison into tanks. It's not going to pull off a hydrodynamic disposal engineering feat far bigger than anyone has ever calculated.

        These calculations have been a very interesting (if discouraging) exercise. I'm going to repost this comment higher up in the discussion.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:52:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So, anyone still pushing for nuclear power? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, rovertheoctopus, ypochris

    Why would anyone want that any more? It's obsolete technology, not needed. We have alternatives we should be pumping that money into, expanding them.



    Women create the entire labor force.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:15:37 AM PST

  •  So what solution do you propose? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3rock

    You can go back and criticize the setup of Fukushima and nuclear power in general and blame TEPCO for screwing up the response, but we live in the reality based community.

    Short of going back in time and preventing the disaster, we're stuck with the situation we have now.

    We could end nuclear power forever tomorrow and Fukushima would still be there and they'd still be producing more and more contaminated water from the cooling system?

    What should we do, just ignore it and not cool the reactors and hope it goes away?

    When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

    by PhillyJeff on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:23:01 AM PST

    •  They could stop pouring (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ypochris, 3rock, ozsea1, native

      water in. The corium masses are already IN water - the groundwater level is now ground level, they've had to lay sheet steel on the ground so workers can get from place to place without sinking. Large fissures and cracks show up almost daily due to constant earthquakes, the land is "liquified" during anything over a 5.0. Plan is to pave the place this summer with asphalt. Pumping is to 'cool' corium residues in the ruined reactors and containments, and into leaking spent fuel pools.

      The buildings are fragile and on sinking mud. They have removed just over 300 fuel assemblies from the #4 pool out of more than 1500. Pools 1 & 2 might be accessible "someday," but probably not before collapse. The entire #3 facility is so radioactive humans can't even walk past it.

      This will get worse. They need an international effort to take action before the buildings collapse.

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:15:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think for all (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ypochris, Joieau

          of us that have been following this from the beginning:

        This will get worse. They need an international effort to take action before the buildings collapse.
        That is the question we can not understand. It is of the greatest humanitarian need because it is ongoing and still not fully understood. We are intelligent humans. International, meaning all the worlds specialists in science, in construction, in experience, could come up with an answer. WE are better than turning our backs on a monumental crisis.

        March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

        by 3rock on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:38:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are 'experts' on the job. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris, 3rock, native

          Some of them even visit the site's admin building occasionally for job planning purposes or to get first-hand reports on how jobs are going. Mostly they stay at a safe distance, and most of the work is just for show. Because it's basically a waiting game. It would cost too much to do what needs doing and it has already been decided that nobody's going to spend any real wealth on Daiichi. No real point, so long as everybody's cool with projected population losses over time. Everybody's cool with that, including Japan, which has plenty of 'experts' of its own.

          It's just a matter of time before what's left of the structures fail, dropping those overloaded spent fuel pools into the debris and mud. Meanwhile the tanks are leaking and creating a gamma shine situation that is completely untenable for even just the appearance that something's being done. IAEA says "dump it," that's what TEPCO will do. They won't actually bother to dilute, that's just a lie to make the public feel better. It would take them years - maybe a decade - to build the ability to dilute the water to reasonable levels, and that would cost money nobody will spend.

          Besides, the corium-contaminated groundwater is far more radioactive and going out 24-7 in far greater amounts. Nothing can or will be done about that (the money deal again). They could build a bigger, badder seawall out past the last groundwater sink, but that would cost too much as well. So they won't.

          Most any of us land-dwellers can hope for is that they'll stockpile enough material and means to move it quickly to 'bury' the ruins - and hundreds of tons of loose spent fuel - when the suckers finally do collapse. To minimize the airborne forever-releases, which are more dangerous to us than waterborne. Whales will of course disagree, but whales don't vote or buy stocks and bonds.

          Deal is, if they are not ready to bury within hours when even just the first one falls (probably #3, but #2 is more fragile than it looks), the facility will have to be abandoned. Another good shake could bring them all down, and another good shake is expected at any time. Units 5 and 6 will go on down, the common spent fuel pool will burn and blow. Several more Level 7 disasters' worth, essentially forever. Sad to say (knowing nukes like I do), they'd rather do nothing, lie like dogs, and hope they can salvage their "renaissance" anyway if they can distract humanity from the new, much sicker world and plummeting life expectencies.

          Remember, these are the same kind of people who created and developed this death industry to produce plutonium for their MAD strategy of making humanity extinct - 400 times over - in one fell swoop if it looked like the other guys might 'win' whatever political argument they were having. Making us just as extinct over a longer timespan now is a sacrifice they're perfectly willing to make so long as they don't have to spend any of their hard-stolen wealth trying to prevent it. Nobody lives forever, and the dead don't give a shit about futures.

          There's a reason physics has been hyping "The End of History" for decades now, you know. Some of these folks have a religious-like conviction that it's their destiny to make it so...

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:51:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cool (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

               Thank You. For some reason that's comforting & strengthening. I believe in mind over matter. One first needs to know, what are the psychological and sociological dynamics. Stress without knowing is physically more damaging, subconscious or not.
                To know how one may be prepared with physical counteractive remedies to radiation exposure. I googled "The End of History."
                So do you think there's a pool going on over in Japan? The time to collect :)
                Maybe we could all send a handful of dirt to TEPCO. One of OUR "good" 1%'ers. I'm serous, a crowd funded money bomb?

            March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

            by 3rock on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 11:20:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are things (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              native, ypochris

              people can do to protect themselves and their families from radioactive contamination, but they'd have to become habitual in a world where the levels are threateningly high and scheduled to go up forever. Still, it's better to know what they are and when to commit them to habit than to buy self-serving lies from the dumpers that reflect their non-concern for your and your children's lives.

              Another thing to keep in mind when they start tossing garbage designed to keep you in the dark is that the subcontractors and workers actually dealing with the situation at Daiichi are Yakuza - Japanese organized crime. Nukes worldwide have always had an unhealthy relationship with organized criminal elements, Japan's just more open about it than most.

              Just last week TEPCO reported that defueling of the #4 SFP has been suspended due to high and iincreasing contamination on the refueling floor from steel cutting going on in conjunction with the defueling operation. Cobalt-60, a neutron activation product. Which translates to a strong indication that there has been considerable fission in the pool, sustained for lengths of time, during the past nearly 3 years. Maybe you'd have to be more nuclearly cognizant than most people to grok what that means, but suffice it to say that ANY amount of sustained fission chain reaction in the SFP is not good. Not good at all.

              There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

              by Joieau on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 07:14:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, ypochris, native

          if I may add,
           Built on landfill that now is saturated with water, liquified.
           I live in Ca., earthquake experienced.
           Liquified is effected by shaking to WAY upper degrees, than a house built on bedrock. It keeps shaking and waves bounce back from mountains, hill bedrock.
           Why do we not have all the worlds experts helping solve this? That is what we can not understand.

        March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

        by 3rock on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:48:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  TEPCO Profits to be Protected At All Costs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tommymet, Joieau

    Paradise (Hawaii) will now become unhealthy islands in the big radioactive Pacific puddle.

     Bonuses for the top corporate executives.

  •  Why not Disposal Wells? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17, tommymet, ypochris, k9disc

    You'll need a ship to transport it to site, but deep disposal wells at say, a depleted oil field, could probably take care of it (if not "forever", then long enough for the radiation to mostly decay.)

    I don't think Japan's geology is has suitable layers for disposal to just drill on site, but I might be wrong.

    You'd be out the transport tanker (which would probably be so hot it'd have to be scuttled by the end) and presumably you'd have to fence off the areas around the wellheads once you're done with the disposal wells.

    Alternatively, you could fill the transport tanker with the water, and then scuttle it somewhere deep away from shore, where it'd presumably hold the "hot" water for a reasonably long time at great depth.  That'd limit the contamination of fish stocks (but would cost you a $50 million tanker every time you did it.)

  •  The Langeled pipeline run 725 miles across the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013, ypochris, Joieau

    North Sea to carry natural gas from Norway to Britain. It's 42 inches in diameter can move 25 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

    The distance from Fukushima to the edge of the Japan Trench is 82 miles and the depth there goes to 6000 feet.

    Not saying that piping contaminated water offshore won't have some unpleasant consequences, but it does seem feasible to do so.

    I doubt that the IAEA recommends dumping it directly into coastal waters. Moving it off the continental shelf to the deep ocean greatly increases the volume of water available for dispersal.

    Unless those "ice dams" are working, contaminated water is going into the sea, right off the beach, as we speak.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:20:08 AM PST

    •  Engineering for a pipeline is straightforward. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ypochris, k9disc

      We're talking a mix of cubic meters of contaminated water -- containing heavy metals that will settle out -- going into cubic kilometers of deep water.

      For example: strontium carbonate and strontium chromate are moderately soluble in water. Strontium by itself is not water soluble.

      The radioactive materials can present as suspensions or colloids. But with heavy metals this mixture is going to settle out. Bottom of the ocean is a good place for that.

      "Teachers: the Architects of American Democracy"

      by waterstreet2013 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:08:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only if the outlet is at or below 5,000 feet. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ypochris, k9disc

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:14:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "Blue Stream" pipeline crosses the Black Sea (0+ / 0-)

        between Russia and Turkey, and it reaches depths just below 7000' feet. The limiting factor at Fukushima is probably the pumping power needed to push water out the end of a pipe against the water pressure of the deep ocean.

        Legally, Japan is a party to the London Convention, which has banned dumping of radioactive waste at sea since 1993. They'd have to get special permit to avoid sanctions.

        There are no good solutions... Just bad and less-bad.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 12:19:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The head on the pipe - (0+ / 0-)

          In other words, the pressure generated by the weight of the contaminated water - would counterbalance the pressure in the depths of the ocean. Very little energy would be needed, just enough to overcome the friction of the liquid flowing through the pipe.

  •  It's a good plan. (0+ / 0-)

    Putting it in the ocean is the most practical solution, which is why I've always pushed for it. Opposition to that plan doesn't hold any water, from a reason-based POV.

    First, the only significant contaminant in the tanks is tritium. Tossing out scary numbers of how much 90Sr was found in groundwater is a big flashy red herring. Those big numbers have nothing to do with the tanks in question.

    Second, it's not much tritium. Dump it all in the lagoon, and it would be barely measurable. Outside the lagoon, it wouldn't even be detectable. Tritium doesn't bioaccumulate at all, and it will be decaying away fairly quickly, so there's no chance of it building up to a danger level over a span of decades.

    And contrary to some of the wilder claims you'll read here, radiation damage is not cumulative below a certain threshold. Living organisms can repair small amounts of radiation damage. Thank evolution for that. If a creature exists on a planet which is always bathed in a low-level radiation flux, being able to repair radiation damage is a useful survival trait, so evolution selected for it a billion years ago. That's why raising tritium levels in the Pacific by an amount so small as to be unmeasurable is completely insignificant from a health physics standpoint.

    •  You don't consider strontium (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maregug, ypochris, 3rock

      (and all the heavy nuclides, actinides and daughters) to be "significant"?

      Of the more than 1200 "significant" radionuclides released in core inventory amounts (times 3, plus leaks in four SFPs and zirc fires in two), cesium has been the only one filtered by the ALPs system, when it was operating, which is only occasionally. And that doesn't even remove all the cesium. The short-lived isotopes are gone by now, many of their products remain. Any way you slice it, there's way, way more than tritium in those tanks.

      The 400+ thousand tons of groundwater getting into the ocean daily isn't filtered at all beyond the dirt/sand it's moving through.

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 11:01:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since they're not in the tanks, no. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know where you got the idea that the ALPS only removed caesium, or that it doesn't remove all the caesium. I suggest you go back and read the OP's link.

        "According to the information provided, out of the 62 target radionuclides, it has been possible to remove 58 radionuclides to below detectable levels. There is residual low activity in the treated water due to the remaining 4 radionuclides (Co-60, Ru-106, Sb-125 and I-129), which are removed, but still detectable. "

        Now, not all the water has been run though ALPS, but the proposal is for a controlled release of treated water only, not a mass dumping of every bit of contaminated water, treated or untreated.

        The groundwater, again, is a red herring, since we're not discussing groundwater. Or mythical fuel pool fires, mythical missing cores, or the mythical mud that's about to swallow the site.

        •  Then try this 'trouble-prone...' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau
          ALPS system shut down over leak

          Dec 2, 2013

          A trouble-prone system used to decontaminate radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was switched off Sunday because of a chemical leak, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

          Japan Times

          The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt, holocaust survivor, philosopher, historian.

          by dharmasyd on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 12:55:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The groundwater, one would hope, would be LESS (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          contaminated than the water run directly through the "containment" system.

          And while the ALPS results are somewhat encouraging, they have only managed to process 30.000 cubic meters of water through this system - the amount captured in a few weeks. They can't keep up with their production of contaminated water.

          •  A good point. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ypochris, 3rock, k9disc, Jim P

            They'd be back to overfull, leaking, fatal gamma-'shine' tank farm in a couple of months, facing the same increase daily.

            Some of us have seen how things like this work in the real world where TEPCO, the Japanese government, our own NRC/et al., and IAEA can lie doggedly every time they open their mouths, for years and years, while actively breaking every erstwhile 'rule' in existence.

            It was always only a matter of time. They were going to dump it all, from the beginning. Simply raise the limits to whatever you're seeing this year and pronounce it "Clean, Safe, Too Cheap To Meter." Dazzle 'em with shiny objects and sweetmeats, they'll go to their graves quite happily.

            A world dominated by psychopathic caesars perfectly willing to sterilize the planet of life altogether just to 'save' it from the other guys' politics can easily absorb the projected population losses from any number of melted, exploded nukes. Up to and very much including all of them. They long ago determined to do just that, so that's just what they're doing.

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 04:16:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  By the way, the groundwater (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ypochris

            is more contaminated, not less. There's just more of it than in the tanks. It's quickly catching up and going past. The bulk of the coriums are sitting in that groundwater. What's in the "containment" systems is just residue.

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:31:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  "Welcome to CorpWorld. No Profit Left Here." .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris

    That's the signpost a future space explorer, presumably looking for intelligent (sic) life, will find. We can assume they'll visit, since Gaia is fairly unique in that its dark side glows..

    After a few more months of taxpayer-funded U.N. research, they'll halt the flushing and cooling of the cores altogether.

    The joint U.N./Tepco presser:

    "The cores will be allowed to release radionuclides directly into the ocean, saving electricity by eliminating the electric water pumps. The good news is that the preceding scenario will be short lived, since..

    "Large, lead-lined, Pyrex cooking bowls will be placed, inverted, over each reactor building to capture any unforeseen emissions, after which cooling water pumping will cease. In a relatively short time the self-heating cores will begin melting through the earth's mantle until they reach a temperature-sympathetic layer of molten core and dissipate appropriately. A new, small islet may be created by the excreted lava until the very small bores seal themselves. All newly created real estate resulting from this process will be owned by Tepco.

    "Just don't landscape with fresh lava rocks in the future. Direct any further questions to the Tepco Shareholder Public Relations Department."

    ..now, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

    by FrankSpoke on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:28:51 AM PST

  •  cheap way out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris, Joieau

    i hardly believe this is the only solution to the issue of contaminated groundwater.  it seems they are looking for a solution that is inexpensive and convenient.  who really cares if they contaminate the ocean?  please!

  •  Dilution as Percentage of the Pacific (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Joieau, ozsea1

    We can't even tell how much radioactivity is in the contained water. The groundwater measurements in this diary range from 120K-900K-5M, and that's not the tanks. Even at 5MBq:l that's about 115K times the radioactivity of a human body from its natural potassium content, and about 385K times the natural radioactivity of average seawater (excluding its 2Bq:l human pollution).

    If there's a half million cubic meters of this stuff, diluting it to the existing levels (2Bq:l) of human radioactive seawater pollution (so doubling the pollution levels) would require about 200 trillion cubic meters, or about 200K cubic kilometers of seawater. That's about 0.028% of the entire Pacific ocean.  The Japan Current is over 50Mm^3:s, so it could dilute the stored amount in about 1.5 months. A year of the entire Japan Current as dilution would dilute the stuff to 1/8 the existing radioactivity pollution in seawater. If the stored poison is 10x the high measured groundwater radioactivity, that's 10 years. Of the entire Japan Current.

    TEPCO and Japan (and probably anyone else) is not even competent to collect this poison into tanks. It's not going to pull off a hydrodynamic disposal engineering feat far bigger than anyone has ever calculated.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 01:59:06 PM PST

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