Run Away. I Run So Far Away...
On April 12, 2011, "The People's Country" released it's first blog, CNN: The Tale of the Half-Life and The Half Wit. This article was written in response to the lack of scientific knowledge in the press as no one effectively defined WHAT, precisely, is a "half-life" and how it pertained to Japan's nuclear disaster. The prompt exodus of Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper (CNN reporters) also indicated a lack of media integrity. They claimed that the public had nothing to fear and in 6 days (the half-life of just one of the radioactive materials--iodine) everything would be just fine. On March 11 of this year, an earthquake and tsunami left left nearly 24,000 dead or missing. As the reporting of this story began, so did the speculation. Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant consists of 6 nuclear reactors. The disaster was compared to Three Mile Island (1979 in Dawphine County, Pennsylvania) and Chernobyl (1986 in the Ukraine/Russia). Fukushima was quickly rated equal to Three Mile Island--a 5 on the International Nuclear Event Scale but then later upgraded to a 7 and "equal" to Chernobyl.
Fukushima's six reactors continue to emit radiation and the nuclear disaster is still no where close to being under control. It is still rated at "7" and time allowing, the International Nuclear Event Scale committee is going to busy making a new scale to accommodate this EVENT.
Who's Telling the Truth?
In David McNeill's article, Who's telling the truth on the Fukushima meltdown? he writes, "A string of autopsies -- political, regulatory and technological -- loom over the corpse of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The media, however, has already begun its self-examination and it’s not a pretty picture. Newsweek Japan is one of many publications that have criticized 'sensationalist' foreign reporters, who 'failed to accomplish their mission' during the disaster. Newsweek says some journalists ran away [Anderson and Sanjay] and many of those who stayed massively overreacted to the threat from the crippled reactors."
During the whole debacle, both the Japanese government and the energy company responsible for the plants (Tepco), were found to be withholding pertinent information about the seriousness of the fall-out. So much so that the US pulled back ships from the Japanese coastline due to the radiation levels found on their decks.
In the Reuters article, UPDATE 3-Radiation spike halts work at Japan nuclear plant, it was stated that if Tepco doesn't restart operations at the power plant in the next week, a volume of radio-actively contaminated water, equivalent to 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools (110,000 tons), has to be removed.
"According to ABC News, Dr Price said: 'As the water leaks out, you keep on pouring water in, so this leak will go on forever. 'There has to be some way of dealing with it. The water is connecting in tunnels and concrete-lined pits at the moment and the question is whether they can pump it back."
QUESTION: How on earth would you remove that amount of water?
Some Ideas from a Non-Professional
(1) Start the plant again to get the water recirculating. Nice idea, however, the radiation levels in the plants are so high that no one is allowed inside the facilities. Also, there is so much damage from the melt-down (yes, melt down), the reliability of the equipment is in question. (2) Remove the water via a tanker to another location. Once complete, you now have a contaminated tanker. What do you do with a contaminated tanker? (3) Remove the water in small containers and relocate to some uninhabitable place like...Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Iran. This would serve two purposes. You can figure them out for yourself. (4) Dump it into the ocean. If the ocean can handle the dumping of Osama bin Laden, it could handle some radio-active water. Right?
As you can see, with the possible exception of number 3 above, none of the alternatives are very pleasant. Me? I'm going with number 4 as it WAS the solution for Three Mile Island but since Pennsylvania isn't located near the Pacific Ocean, the nuclear contaminated waste water was pumped into the Susquehanna River.
In Japan, Nuke Plant Was Unprepared For Tsunami Disaster, Report Finds (19 June 2011) Associated "Government reports released this month said the damage and leakage at the plant were worse than previously thought, with some of the nuclear fuel in three reactors likely having melted through the main cores and inner containment vessels. They said the radiation that leaked into the air amounted to about one-sixth of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 -- double previous estimates."
It is estimated that no residents from the surrounding area (within 12 miles) will be allowed to return to their homes for quite a while. It is also estimated that the damaged fuel rods won't be cool enough to remove for another 50 to 100 YEARS! On a very tragic note, those who worked so diligently to stop the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi are expected to die in the next few weeks from radiation poisoning.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author unless otherwise stated.