7 August, 21:20
There is no way to stop Fukushima radioactive water leaking into the Pacific – expert
The rate at which contaminated water has been pouring into the Pacific Ocean from the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant is worse than previously thought, an Industry Ministry official said Wednesday as PM Shinzo Abe pledged to step up efforts to halt the crisis. The Voice of Russia contacted Arnold Gundersen, founder and president of Fairewinds Associates, to discuss the crisis and its possible solutions. The expert suggests radioactive material will continue to leak into the global seas unless the plant is surrounded with a trench filled with zeolite. Even then however, toxic material will still flow into the Pacific through underwater routes.
Is it possible to somehow make the wastewater storage basins waterproof and thus rule out leakage?
The horse is already out of the barn here. This plant’s been leaking for two years. And finally, now, the radioactive water has made it to the ocean. But my experience with underground water is that – if it is serious at the ocean, it is more serious as you move away from the ocean. So, spike of radiation continues to move to the ocean.
Pump and pray: Tepco might have to pour water on Fukushima wreckage forever
Published time: August 07, 2013 20:30
On April 25, 2011 – one month after the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant and the anniversary of Chernobyl – I was interviewed by RT and asked to compare Chernobyl and Fukushima. The clip, which you can find on YouTube, was entitled, “Can’t seal Fukushima like Chernobyl – it all goes into the sea.” Since then, huge amounts of radioactivity have flowed from the wrecked reactors directly into the Pacific Ocean. Attempts to stop the flow of contaminated water from Fukushima into the sea were always unlikely to succeed. It is like trying to push water uphill. Now they all seem to have woken up to the issue and have begun to panic.
The problem is this: the fission process in a reactor creates huge amounts of heat. Of course, that is the whole point of the machine – the heat makes steam which runs turbines. Water is pumped through channels between the fuel rods and this cools them and heats the water. If there is no water, or the channels are blocked, the heat actually melts the fuel into a big blob which falls to the bottom of the steel vessel in which all this occurs – the pressure vessel – and then melts its way through the steel, into the ground, and down in the direction of China. Well, not China in this case, but actually Buenos Aires, Argentina (I figured out).
I have been keeping an eye on developments, and it is quite clear that the reactors are no longer containing the molten fuel – some proportion of which is now in the ground underneath them. Both this material and the remaining material in what was the containment are very hot and are fissioning. Tepco is quite aware – and so is everyone else in the know – that the only hope of preventing what could become an open-air super reactor spectacular is to cool the fuel, the lumps of fuel distributed throughout the system, mainly in the holed pressure vessels, and also in the spent fuel tanks and in the ground under the reactors. That all this is fissioning away merrily (though at a low level) is clear from the occasional reports of short half life nuclides like the radioXenons. The game is to prevent it all turning into the open air super reactor located somewhere under the ground. To do this, they have to pump vast amounts of water into the reactors, the fuel pond and generally all over the area where they think the stuff is or might be. This means seawater since luckily they are near the sea. But they are also unluckily near the sea – since you cannot pump the sea onto the land without it wanting to flow back into the sea.