Fukushima operator unveils newest tainted-water plan

Picture expired. A TEPCO employee measures radiation levels as workers construct an ice wall at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 9, 2014 AFP

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  • 8

    jerseyboy

    Fukushima operator unveils newest tainted-water plan

    What number plan is this? Certainly well into double-digits. Does this mean they are officially admitting that the "ice wall" is not going to work?

    “I also wonder if TEPCO has a backup plan for the worst case scenario, such as the purification facility not working effectively,” she said.

    You must be kidding. This is TEPCO we are talking about. If they had ever thought about things like "worst case scenarios" Fukushima might not be in the state it is.

  • 12

    zichi

  • 2

    Silvafan

    Fukushima operator unveils newest tainted-water plan

    LOL!!!!

  • 1

    klausdorth

    Dumping the water after some "cleaning" into the ocean? Those people must be sick! Almost 4 years down the road and really not much has happened, except for making plans and wasting tax-payer's money. Wish someone told us what is ***really ***going on. And if TEPCO can't handle the job (and the Japanese Government) get some help from Russia. They could definitely use some of those Yen spent until now.

  • 9

    gogogo

    You knew this was going to happen, did nothing and now it's like "this is our only choice".... screw you tepco

  • 5

    marcelito

    Tepcos back up plan for the worst case scenario? Yes, of course there is one. It involves a lot of bowing and mumbling phrases such as " nobody could have predicted this ", " its very regrettable " and " we`ll make utmost efforts to regain public trust...blah blah...".

    In the meantime can you please bend over some more a provide more bailout cash J-taxpayer? Thank you for your understanding.

  • 0

    MissingCylonModel

    Another tainted plan?

  • 0

    Terrance F. Marrow

    Sad.

  • 0

    Farmboy

    The vast utility said it now wants to start pumping out the underground water, purify it with a state-of-the-art cleaning system and then release it back into the ocean.

    Is this the same state-of-the-art cleaning system that hasn't worked properly yet? Or is it this one?:

    http://rt.com/usa/165148-fukushima-radioactive-water-filter-company/

  • -1

    Kabukilover

    The NRA being filled with Abe lackeys, this crazy idea of dumbing "scrubbed" radioactive water into the sea will certainly be approved. We ought to demand that TEPCO executives drink a pint of every gallon that goes into the ocean.

  • -1

    SushiSake3

    If TEPCO keeps going like this, I belieeve their next plan will be to wheel out Snow White's fairy godmother!

    She'd be 10x more effective that TEPCO management.

    Oh wait - she's not real.......

  • 2

    Crush Them

    Every failed plan is making some people lots of money. This is why bail outs are a bad idea.

  • 1

    souka

    Better involve an external observer or the UN nuclear department to see how exactly that new cleaning system works.

  • 0

    turbotsat

    Crush Them

    Every failed plan is making some people lots of money. This is why bail outs are a bad idea.

    Yes! TEPCO should stand on its own merits or die!

  • 1

    Cricky

    WHAT it isn't under control? What a layered cake of lies 10km high. Supported with Tax yen undermined by criminal gangs supported by the Abe regime.

  • 0

    edward12

    Any re-starting of any nuclear power plants should be contingent upon Tepco cleaning up the mess at Fukashima. The clean up needs to be done to an international standard with international inspection.

  • 1

    rydangel

    it's been decades since the cherynoble accident, and the city and surrounding area is still highly radioactive. there is a lake there and the fish have all kind of weird mutations going on. i can't believe that people still want to use nuclear power. the risks just doesn't seem worth the energy output. in my hometown, they took the nuclear power plant offline and are currently in the process of removing the waste material. but they haven't said how they are going to remove it or where they are going to store it. meanwhile the lake it sits on has been having decreasing water levels and increasing pollution you can't swim or fish in it anymore. i can't help but wonder if it's related to having had a nuclear power plant there. the problem with dumping the "cleaned water" into the ocean is that it won't stay in japanese waters. it will spread. after the tsunami happened, california ended up with all kind of debris from japan. what will this do to the ocean's ecosystem?

  • -2

    Stuart hayward

    Interesting that this article nor TEPCO have acknoloeged the TOTAL failier of the extremly expensive Icewall, before they move on the to next bad idea! It was reported that they were unsuccessful but NO acknowledgement about how and why they are giving up? Somebody sure made a lot of money from that bad idea and it seems they have been "let of the hook" from all financial liability of making something that NEVER worked to begin with!

  • 0

    kaynide

    Does anyone know of a full on list of everything that has gone wrong at tepco has done since the incident?

    I am interested to see the total cost and total number of problems that have happened. I believe that this would be incredibly staggering...

  • 7

    smithinjapan

    The worst part is that they will do it anyway, despite not getting 'permission' from the local fishing agencies. I read another article on this and it sounded like the government and TEPCO had already agreed to dump it in the late fall, with plans on how to do so coming out in September, or something like that. Another, "We're going to do this and will come up with the safety precautions and specifics later" kind of thing. As for the water being scrubbed clean, I have no doubt that we'll hear later about how the 'new system' had glitches and the water was 'not as clean as previously thought'... you know, after it's too late at all. In any case, if TEPCO doesn't get approval and is prevented from this new genius of a plan, there's no doubt in my mind there will be a sudden "leak" and billions of litres of water will have been dump-- I mean accidentally lost in the ocean. Only in Japan could these guys still be in charge.

  • -1

    Disillusioned

    When all else fails revert to plan A - Dump it in the ocean!

    They've been saying all along they would have to dump a lot of the water into the ocean because they cannot store it nor can they treat sufficient amounts. Their new super-duper water treatment facility can only treat around 10% of the water they are collecting and the bloody thing keeps breaking down.

    “But we know we have to get an agreement from the relevant government authorities, the prefecture and local fishing unions,”

    I am a fortune teller and I see many brown paper bags full of cash being shuffled under tables in the very near future!

  • 0

    lesenfant

    TEPCO needs a comedic punch line drum guy to be there at each of these announcements. "We have a new plan!" da da dum cha! cue the canned laughter

  • 1

    HongoTAFEinmate

    A couple of very important questions need to be asked.

    Firstly, how is it that TEPCO is still running the show. Immediately after the event, the senior management of the company showed itself to be completely clueless. What is more frightening is that things have got worse. This is something I just cannot understand. When it comes to nuclear science, TEPCO supposedly employs some of the smartest graduates in Japan. So what is going wrong?

    The second big question is when will Abe act? Of course when he was stumping for the Olympics he made that famous statement about everything being under control. Guess what? It isn't. The IAEA needs to pull out its finger and start asking hard questions of Japan because it is obvious that Japan intends to take the path of least resistance itself.

  • 0

    Kapuna

    Why not just pipe the contaminated water a couple of kilometers inland into a holding pond and let the earth “scrub” the contaminates out?

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    Plan J?

  • -3

    Mike O'Brien

    Interesting that this article nor TEPCO have acknoloeged the TOTAL failier of the extremly expensive Icewall, before they move on the to next bad idea!

    Well since the icewall hasn't even been built yet, how is it a TOTAL failer?

    It was reported that they were unsuccessful but NO acknowledgement about how and why they are giving up?

    Well then the report is false and they aren't giving up. The construction of the icewall is proceeding as planned.

    Somebody sure made a lot of money from that bad idea and it seems they have been "let of the hook" from all financial liability of making something that NEVER worked to begin with!

    No one has been "let of the hook", icewalls have worked in the past and there is no reason to believe that this icewall won't work.

  • 0

    Stuart hayward

    Mike O'Brian: Says, well if the Icewall hasn't been built yet, how is it a total failure? A small section HAS been built, it's just simply didn't work, it was unable to create a freezing temperature. Mike, if they are not giving up on the Icewall, then this latest idea seems to show they don't have much confidence of success or the time it's going to take to complete. Lastly you say, icewalls have worked in the past and there is no reason to believe that this one won't work. Well, it's first try DIDNT WORK and besides this, it's overseen by TEPCO and we have already have their track record.

  • -1

    Thunderbird2

    Mike O'Brien... the gallery aren't interested in the things that TEPCO are succesful with, such as the movement of more than 2/3 of the spent fuel rods without an incident... they prefer to crow about the things that go wrong.

  • -2

    Cricky

    Experts doubted actually said it would not work that the ice wall would work? Seems to be the case as TEPCO now want to dump toxic water( cleaned???) into the sea. More government ( tax, yours and mine) monies literally flushed into to sea. Next the fishermen will want a subsidy to offset their toxic catch ! but have no fear TEPCO is making a profit? And that ladies and gentlemen is Japan at its best.

  • 0

    lucabrasi

    Exactly, Thunderbird. Competence and diligence don't sell newspapers....

  • 2

    JapanGal

    Um, Japanese news said there will still be one radioactive isotope in the released water, but no worries. The article above left that out.

  • 0

    Alex Einz

    I quite like the "State of the art" statement, would that be contemporary art ?

  • 0

    dileepku

    I am a lot of money teller and I see many brownish document purses complete of money being shuffled under platforms in the very near future! professional wordpress themes

  • 1

    YongYang

    ALL they have been doing SINCE March 11th 2011 is dumping and leaking radiation into the ocean! What's with this 'sudden' realisation that this is what they are going to have to do??!!

  • -2

    jerseyboy

    Mike O'Brien... the gallery aren't interested in the things that TEPCO are succesful with, such as the movement of more than 2/3 of the spent fuel rods without an incident... they prefer to crow about the things that go wrong.

    Mike & Thunderbird -- what the heck are you talking about? Or are you just trying to deliberately deceive everyone? Here is what TEPCO admitted just yesterday about the situation there:

    The meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s third reactor building was even worse than initially believed, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has announced.

    In fact, the power company’s new appraisal of the Fukushima No. 3 reactor building shows that all – or nearly all – of the fuel rods contained inside were melted, dropping onto the floor of the containment vessel. If true, the news means the power plant could be even tougher to decommission.

    “As the core meltdown is now believed to have started earlier than was previously thought, the amount of melted nuclear fuel that passed into the containment vessel through the pressure vessel is considered to have been greater, making it technically more difficult to extract the melted fuel and dispose of it,” the newspaper stated.

    The 2/3's "movement" number you keep harping about is a complete red-herring, since there are no fuel rods to remove --they all melted down. Please give the folks here some credit for intelligence and stop throwing around meaningless/deliberately deceitful numbers.

  • 4

    zichi

    jerseyboy

    The 2/3's "movement" number you keep harping about is a complete red-herring, since there are no fuel rods to remove --they all melted down. Please give the folks here some credit for intelligence and stop throwing around meaningless/deliberately deceitful numbers.

    Sorry but you are mistaken about your comment. On the day of the nuclear disaster, reactors 4, 5 & 6 were empty of nuclear fuel due to maintenance cycles. Reactors 1,2 &3 had nuclear fuel and were operating. Those reactors had meltdowns, melt throughs and probably melt outs too? There were 100% meltdowns with reactors 1&3 and probably more than 70% in reactor 2.

    But there six storage pools, one for each of the reactors plus a larger common storage pool for spent nuclear fuels. There are also dry casks with spent nuclear fuel kept in a special building. Since the plant has operated since the 1970's, there's quite a lot of spent nuclear fuel assemblies, something like more than 6,000 of them. We also know that the No3 storage pool has about 30 MOX fuel assemblies, which were also in the reactor meltdown. Probably, the same for the No 4 storage pool.

    The No4 storage pool, which like the others, is located above the reactor, so the fuel can be transferred without removing it from the water, had the largest number of spent fuel assemblies. About 1500. By the end of June, TEPCO had removed two thirds or 1,000 of them when the operation was suspended for maintenance on the new overhead crane.

    In all pools, there are about 80 damaged fuel assemblies. TEPCO have cleared away much of the debris from the top level of the No3 reactor but won't be able to remove the spent fuel from the storage pool until about 2021-2025. TEPCO is about to remove the temp covering from the No 1 reactor so maybe the fuel removal will happen before the No3?

    Certainly, the nuclear disaster site will be safer once all the spent nuclear fuel are removed from those storage pools.

  • -2

    jerseyboy

    Sorry but you are mistaken about your comment.

    zichi -- I respectfully disagree. The only fuel rods that have been removed are 814 of 1533 (53% NOT 2/3's) of the used and un-used rods from reactor #4. That is hardly "great progress" as Mike and Thundefbird would have us believe. As you yourself allude to, the biggest and most challenging part of the clean-up, and which is creating most of this radioactive water, will be the disposal of the three melted-down cores. And, again as you say, that is at least a decade away. So, again, respectfully, the fact that TEPCO can successfully remove just over 50% of the fuel rods -- in three years -- from #4, gives me no basis for confidence, and it is a red herring. The analogy would be a patient going into the hospital for heart surgery, and the doctor telling him, "Well, we don't know how we are going to treat your heart, but we did remove a wart on your nose."

  • 0

    MikeAnderson

    nuclear start again . this land is full of earthquake and typhoon heading through okinawa and then honshu I can't believe this

    http://www.huffingtonpost.jp/tenkijp/typhoon-11b5661249.html

  • 0

    gaijintraveller

    Why is TEPCO not mentioned until the third paragraph? Surely TEPCO belongs in the headline.

  • -1

    YongYang

    The overall rating of the catastrophes is still --that is STILL-- rated at Level 7 (major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects r­equiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures). QED. Nothing in its actual and potential consequences has changed, it has worsened, the spreading of radioactive dust during the removal of debris for one being an example. The mass storage of radioactive water in basle built storage tanks another. Have a look at how high they've 'rebuilt' the sea wall... Seriously. They are about as effective as a chocolate fireguard.

  • 3

    zichi

    jerseyboy

    in your comment you said "there are no fuel rods to remove --they all melted down. " which is why I commented but now you say "The only fuel rods that have been removed are 814 of 1533 (53% NOT 2/3's) of the used and un-used rods from reactor #4."

    Well according to TEPCO it has removed 1188 out of 1533 fuel assemblies from the No4 pool, that's more than 75%? http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/decommision/index-e.html

    I think the removal of the fuel from the storage pools are important because if there were another powerful earthquake then the pools could collapse and spill out the spent nuclear fuel making the nuclear disaster far worse that what it currently is?

    Anything which makes the site safer is progress even though not what we would all like. Currently, there's no answer to locating and removing the melted fuel or corium and that could be many decades away?

  • -1

    Clinton Meskanen

    It is also fighting to contain contaminated groundwater around the plant from seeping into the ocean, more than three years after the worst atomic crisis in a generation.

    First time they have admitted this..........

  • 1

    Mike O'Brien

    A small section HAS been built, it's just simply didn't work, it was unable to create a freezing temperature.

    No Stuart, the freezing problem is with a different project involving the trenches. It is NOT part of the icewall project.

    Well, it's first try DIDNT WORK

    Well since TEPCO hasn't done a first try with the icewall yet, it is a lie to say it DIDN'T WORK.

    The 2/3's "movement" number you keep harping about is a complete red-herring, since there are no fuel rods to remove --they all melted down. Please give the folks here some credit for intelligence and stop throwing around meaningless/deliberately deceitful numbers.

    That is hardly "great progress" as Mike and Thundefbird would have us believe.

    jerseyboy - what are you talking about? Where did I say anything about movement of fuel rods? But since you brought it up, the movement of fuel rods being discussed are the rods in the #4 spent fuel pool. There have been lots of articles about it. And as of the end of June they have moved over 75% of the rods.

  • -3

    jerseyboy

    jerseyboy - what are you talking about? Where did I say anything about movement of fuel rods? But since you brought it up, the movement of fuel rods being discussed are the rods in the #4 spent fuel pool. There have been lots of articles about it. And as of the end of June they have moved over 75% of the rods

    Mike -- sorry if my comment was confusing. I thought I clearly indicated that the comment about the fuel-rods was made by Thunderbird, and I simply critisized you for agreeing with him that TEPCO is making real progress towards the clean-up. IMO nothing is further from the truth. And I will stick by my estimate of 53% as reported on the Internet as of May 10th.

    in your comment you said "there are no fuel rods to remove --they all melted down. " which is why I commented but now you say "The only fuel rods that have been removed are 814 of 1533 (53% NOT 2/3's) of the used and un-used rods from reactor #4."

    zichi -- and I stand by my comment, and you and I will just agree to disagree. By my definition ALL of the fuel rods IN THE THREE ACTIVE GENERATORS, did melt down. Counting progress on removing rods from #4, which was not even active, is, as I said, a red-herring. Sure, getting them removed may give TEPCO one less crisis to manage, but it really has no bearing on their ability to face the reality of three melted cores. As you yorself state, the rods in #4 were high up and relatively accessable, while the cores sre down below ground level and present a never-imagined challenge.

  • -2

    johndpugh

    Many experts have been saying it for years that all that water could eventually go only one way ,, and that is down the hill into the ocean . We all knew that there was no way of treating that water since the technology to remove all the radioactivity from the water does not exist . About removal of fuel rods; There is no way , no technology to do any work on units with coriums in them so it is a myth that anyone can remove those fuel rods on top of those buildings . They are only stretching the plan to gain time just to cool down the public response. That s all . A strong earthquake hitting the site is a very real danger and sooner or later it will happen , meaning those fuel rods may be left uncovered and burn in open air . That will make this disaster much , much worse unfortunately.

  • 0

    Mike O'Brien

    I simply critisized you for agreeing with him that TEPCO is making real progress towards the clean-up.

    OK, then where did I agree with him that TEPCO is making real progress?

    And I will stick by my estimate of 53% as reported on the Internet as of May 10th.

    So you will use almost 3 month old data rather than spend 2 minutes to find up-to-date information like zichi and I did?

    We all knew that there was no way of treating that water since the technology to remove all the radioactivity from the water does not exist .

    Well except there is technology to remove all the radioactivity. But since there is natural radioactivity in the water (and has been since water first condensed on the Earth) there is no reason to require TEPCO to clean the water to a better condition than the water naturally had.

    meaning those fuel rods may be left uncovered and burn in open air

    And how will that happen? The melted fuel is under tens of feet of water, in fact it may even be below the areas natural ground water level. How is it going to be uncovered?

  • 1

    jsa-aerial

    WRT the water issue, this (decontaminating and releasing) is what everyone with experience and knowledge has been urging since pretty much day 1. The major reasons being, 1) you can't store an indefinite amount of water for indefinite period of time; 2. The decontaminated water will be below the standards thresholds on all nucleotides with the exception of tritium; 3. The tritium amounts, while not a good thing in any respect will be far below that released by US/French nuclear air testing in the pacific. This isn't a case of two wrongs make a right, but that while bad it isn't anywhere near as bad as what you already had in the first place; 4. Fixating on the water has distracted and therefore delayed the real task (as some have mentioned here) of dealing with the cores. That is the real issue concerning whether or not you can ever really 'fix' the mess. While dealing with and removing the various existing rods is important, even that is ancillary to the cores.

    WRT the comments here, I would say Zichi and Mike O'Brien are trying to relate facts without trying to inflame the discussion. While I can understand the rather (overly?) emotional reaction of some others, that doesn't really help what is a bad enough situation as it is.

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