It appears the Japanese government is going to take a more leading role in dealing with the ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power complex.“We’ve allowed Tokyo Electric to deal with the contaminated water situation on its own and they’ve essentially turned it into a game of ‘Whack-a-Mole’.From now on, the government will move to the forefront.” Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters Monday night in Fukushima.
The decision to take a more active role in managing the crisis came after 300 tons of highly radioactive water leaked from a storage tank at the No.1 nuclear reactor. Each day 400 tons of radioactive water is added to storage tanks at the plant. There are roughly 350 tanks of similiar design to the tank that leaked on site. The Japanese government is asking Tepco to regularly inspect the tanks and to replace any that appear susceptible to leakage.
In addition to the problem of storing this massive amount of contaminated water, as I said in an earlier post, 300 tons of radioactive water is flowing into the Pacific Ocean every day. The government is now planning to dig deep into the earth and place pipes that will be used to freeze the soil, creating an “ice wall” between the plant and the ocean.
The above raises several important questions:
1) What does the Japanese government or Tepco plan to do with these thousands of tons of contaminated water currently being stored at the plant? How sturdy are these structures? Can these tanks handle another large earthquake?
2) If the ice wall is successful in preventing the contaminated water from leaking into the ocean, where is the water going to go? If 300 tons of radioactive water is leaking daily from the plant, stopping it from going into the ocean is no real solution. Something has to be done to stop the leakage. Flooding the Fukushima countryside with radioactive water doesn’t seem to solve anything.
Japan needs the expertise of the entire international community to find real solutions to this whole mess. This needs to become a global priority. No one knows when another aftershock could hit the area, escalating the crisis and further damaging the environment. Massive resources need to be directed to finding viable solutions before it is too late.