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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Heavy rains cause another accident at Fukushima

A tank of contaminated water at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant overflowed on Wednesday, spilling 430 liters of poisonous liquid; officials blame both heavier-than-average seasonal rains and a slight tilt of the tank in-question for the emergency. This is just the latest of many incidents at the crippled plant, with each raising alarms amongst both scientists and watchdog groups that the crisis is far from over.

Fukushima reactor control room
Officials scrambled to address the current event, attempting to minimize the damage. Beta radiation levels (which includes the deadly strontium-90) spiked to 200,000 becquerels per liter near the leak, almost 6,667 times greater than the 30 becquerels under which nuclear plants are supposed to safely operate. While they assert the immediate emergency is contained, they cannot guarantee that irradiated water did not escape into the ocean, nor can they rule out the possibility that the groundwater below was also adversely affected.

Tokyo Electric Power Company [TEPCO], which is responsible for Fukushima operations, is assuring both citizens and global officials that the situation is under control. Many are criticizing and mocking the assertions, however, pointing to several previous statements from TEPCO which were proven to be patently false.

The most recent of these - which one expert referred to as 'silly' - is a notion that contaminated water has escaped no further into the Pacific Ocean than a zone of 0.3 square kilometers from the Japanese coast. Despite this and many other egregious declarations, Authority in the island nation continues working in concert with TEPCO, often echoing press releases from the beleaguered power company.

Photo Credit: Kawamoto Takuo (Wikipedia)

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