Australian news, and some related international items

ALREADY – 50 Olympic size swimming pools of radioactive water in Fukushma tanks

To deal with the excess tainted water, the utility has channeled it to more than 300 huge storage tanks placed around the plant.

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Plant’s Contaminated Water Storage Running Out Of Space HUFFINGTON POST, By MARI YAMAGUCHI 10/25/12  TOKYO – Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant is struggling to find space to store tens of thousands of tons of highly contaminated water used to cool the broken reactors, the manager of the water treatment team said.

About 200,000 tons of radioactive water – enough to fill more than 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools – are being stored in hundreds of gigantic tanks built around the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. has already chopped down trees to make room for more tanks and predicts the volume of water will more than triple within three years.

“It’s a pressing issue because our land is limited and we would
eventually run out of storage space,” the water-treatment manager,
Yuichi Okamura, told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview
this week.
TEPCO is close to running a new treatment system that could make the
water safe enough to release into the ocean. But in the meantime its
tanks are filling up – mostly because leaks in reactor facilities are
allowing ground water pour in.

Outside experts worry that if contaminated water is released, there
will be lasting impact on the environment. And they fear that because
of the reactor leaks and water flowing from one part of the plant to
another, that may already be happening.

Nuclear engineer and college lecturer Masashi Goto said the
contaminated water buildup poses a long-term health and environmental
threat. He worries that the radioactive water in the basements may
already be getting into the underground water system, where it could
reach far beyond the plant, possibly the ocean or public water

“You never know where it’s leaking out and once it’s out you can never
put it back in place,” he said. “It’s just outrageous and shows how
big a disaster the accident is.”……
TEPCO claims the treated water from this new system is clean enough to
be potentially released into the ocean, although it hasn’t said
whether it would do that. Doing so would require the permission of
authorities and local consent and would also likely trigger harsh
criticism at home and abroad.

To deal with the excess tainted water, the utility has channeled it to more than 300 huge storage tanks placed around the plant. The utility
has plans to install storage tanks for up to 700,000 tons – or about
three more years’ worth – of contaminated water. If that maxes out, it
could build additional space for roughly two more years’ worth of
storage, said Mayumi Yoshida, a company spokeswoman.

But those forecasts hinge on plans to detect and plug holes in the
damaged reactors to minimize leaks over the next two years. The
utility also plans to take steps to keep ground water from seeping
into the reactor basements.

Both are tasks that TEPCO is still not sure how to accomplish: Those
areas remain so highly radioactive that it is unclear how humans or
even robots could work there.

There’s also a risk the storage tanks and the jury-rigged pipe system
connecting them could be damaged if the area is struck by another
earthquake or tsunami.

Goto, the nuclear engineer, believes it will take far longer than
TEPCO’s goal of two years to repair all the holes in the reactors. The
plant also would have to deal with contaminated water until all the
melted fuel and other debris is removed from the reactor – a process
that will easily take more than a decade.

He said TEPCO’s roadmap for dealing with the problem is “wishful thinking.”

“The longer it takes, the more contaminated water they get,” he said.

October 27, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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