Japan’s nuclear plant crisis deepens, China expresses ‘shock’

August 21, 2013JAPAN Japan’s nuclear crisis escalated to its worst level since a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima plant more than two years ago, with the country’s nuclear watchdog saying it feared more storage tanks were leaking contaminated water. The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Wednesday it viewed the situation at Fukushima “seriously” and was ready to help if called upon, while nearby China said it was “shocked” to hear contaminated water was still leaking from the plant, and urged Japan to provide information “in a timely, thorough and accurate way. We hope the Japanese side can earnestly take effective steps to put an end to the negative impact of the after-effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement faxed to Reuters in Beijing. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called the situation “deplorable,” and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said it feared the disaster – the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier – was “in some respects” beyond the plant operator’s ability to cope. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco, has been criticized for its failure to prepare for the disaster and has since been accused of covering up the extent of the problems at the plant. After months of denial, Tepco recently admitted the plant was leaking contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean from trenches between the reactor buildings and the shoreline. It said on Tuesday that contaminated water with dangerously high levels of radiation was leaking from a storage tank – the most serious problem in a series of recent mishaps, including power outages, contaminated workers and other leaks. The NRA said it was worried about leakage from other similar tanks that were built hastily to store water washed over melted reactors at the station to keep them cool. Water in the latest leak is so contaminated that a person standing close to it for an hour would receive five times the annual recommended limit for nuclear workers. 
Crisis: A spokesman for the NRA said the agency plans to upgrade the severity of the crisis from a Level 1 “anomaly to a Level 3 serious incident” on an international scale for radiological releases. An upgrade would be the first time Japan has issued a warning on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) since the three reactor meltdowns at Fukushima in March 2011. Explosions then led to a loss of power and cooling, triggering a maximum INES Level 7 at the plant. NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka likened the stricken nuclear plant to a house of horrors at an amusement park. “I don’t know if describing it this way is appropriate, but it’s like a haunted house and, as I’ve said, mishaps keep happening one after the other,” he told reporters. “We have to look into how we can reduce the risks and how to prevent it from becoming a fatal or serious incident.” He said the NRA would consult with the IAEA about whether it was appropriate to assign a rating to the leakage at the plant. “The IAEA views this matter seriously and remains ready to provide assistance on request.” Each one-step INES increase represents a 10-fold increase in severity, according to a factsheet on the IAEA website. (www.iaea.org/) A Level 3 rating is assigned when there is exposure of more than 10 times the limit for workers, according to the factsheet. In an emailed comment, Andrew Sherry, director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester, said: “Though serious, this leak is a long way from the Level 7 incident we were facing in 2011. The approach taken by Tepco to drain the tank, pump leaked water to temporary storage, and protect the drainage of contaminated water to ground water, is entirely sensible. This incident highlights the need for an inspection program for these many hundreds of storage tanks, and the need to consider replacing bolted or sealed storage tanks, which were relatively quick to build, with a more robust welded design.” South Korea’s Asiana Airlines Inc said it would cancel charter flights between Seoul and Fukushima city in October due to public concerns over the radioactive water leaks. The city, around 60 kms (37 miles) from the nuclear facility and with a population of some 284,000, is a popular destination for golfers and tourists visiting nearby local hot springs and lakes. –Reuters
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10 Responses to Japan’s nuclear plant crisis deepens, China expresses ‘shock’

  1. Angela Gordon says:

    Why would China be shocked? This problem has not gone away, and I am sure Scientists all over the world are aware. Just to big to handle so everyone in denial!


  2. Angela Gordon says:

    To add to my previous comment, we have the gulf oil spill and all of the waste from cruise ships polluting the oceans, not to mention what we don’t know. We have Dolphins and whales with infections washing up on shore and turtles being born with 2 heads. The ocean can handle an enormous amount of pollute but chemicals and radio activity is not part of the natural order of things. Just the numbers of medications people take today are being eliminated in our waters. I worry about future generations.


  3. Harvey says:

    It is hard to understand that nuclear reactors have ever been built, having the knowledge that it is impossible to deal with the wast in the first place, but what kind of people is it that make claims that this type of engineering is safe? there is a lot more to be said but the reality is lying and money.


  4. Irene C says:

    China is shocked? Why? Is it because they don’t want to know what can happen when you have a nuclear facility. And whatever Japan is doing is like putting a band-aid on a gun shot wound. Might look like they’re doing something but does no good. It’s becoming a game of money, pride, and control – a game that will cost the entire planet.


  5. Coyote's Bro says:

    Friends it’s a shame we have these mad men in charge of the earth’s destruction, they are called “leaders” and “techology experts” we will have a lost Japan if this keeps up. I have already met people who refuse to live in Japan, and the exit has begun.


  6. Shad Moore says:

    May be its not about money, control or whatsoever i think thats all about Japanese pride – remember they once called the ” Sleeping Dragon”.


  7. Bone Idle says:

    Here’s my prediction – based on the opinions of numerous nuclear disaster experts.

    The plant will become impossible to work at due to groundwater radioactive contamination rising to the surface.
    Because of the lack of ongoing supervision and maintenance works one of the reactor buildings will turn into a disaster. The population will need to be relocated first 20 kms and then 50 kms away.
    The whole site will breakdown and turn into an open air nuclear fire – worst case scenario. The airborne radiation threat is far greater the the dilution into the Pacific.

    The site will need to be nuked to try and burn up all the remaining fuel and blow a hole large enough so that any remaining fissionable particles will end up under seawater.

    Japan will Dilly Dally around concerned at the political fallout re the need to set off another nuclear device on it’s soil.
    China will threaten war if Japan doesn’t agree to Nuke the plant.

    Nuking the plant will be the only option rather than threatening Armageddon or the ongoing radioactive contamination of the population of the whole planet.

    If you think this plan is outrageous it has already been suggested by top officials in the U.S. (As long ago as not long after the tsunami hit the site)


  8. Val says:

    I try not to buy any produce from California. Radiation from the sky and from the ocean. GOD is the only way this will be fixed.


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