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Friday, 3 January 2014

Third Fukushima reactor may be melting down, homeless 'recruited' for cleanup

Fukushima still leaking ( image)
The entire world is threatened. ( image)

Toyko Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the Japanese energy company, has confirmed that mysterious plumes of steam have been rising from the devastated remains of Reactor Building 3 at the Fukushima nuclear plant. This means there is a better-than-even chance Fukushima could be experiencing yet another meltdown.

Also, as has been widely reported, TEPCO recently tried moving some radioactive water from one tank to another. In the process, it spilled four tons of deadly radioactive sludge onto the surrounding grounds.

That four tons of slurry, sludge and water, however, pales in comparison to the 300 tons of radioactive water that also recently leaked from a nearby tank directly into the ocean. Still, amazingly, the radiation levels in this most recently leaked/spilled water are relatively low compared to puddles that have been forming outside all tanks beginning about six weeks ago.

And if that is not bad enough, a tropical storm is headed to the area, which will cause even more radioactive leaks.

The plant's primary leak is continually worsening rather than getter smaller. That is, it has never been properly contained and continues to contaminate the surrounding area.

Recently, Japan's government agreed to fund a massive project to construct an underground ice wall to try to contain all of the leaked groundwater. Most experts seem to agree that such a wall would work, but TEPCO must first cease spilling radioactive water onto the ground. 

As for the unexplained rising steam, no one knows its precise cause since the almost total physical destruction of the plant and, more ominously, the highly lethal radiation levels have rendered investigating the stricken reactor impossible.

It is known, however, that the Reactor 3 fuel storage pond still harbors (tenuously) about 89 tons of plutonium-based mixed-oxide fuel, according to the The Ecologist. If that fuel storage pond dries out, the highly radioactive rods will melt down and precipitate uncontrollable and unimaginable devastation, engulfing and contaminating the northern half of Japan (including Tokyo). And, depending on wind and sea currents, there will be a serious potential for radioactive contamination of the entire planet. 

However, in defense of TEPCO, one of the foremost critics of nuclear energy, Fairewinds Energy Education, has posted a statement on its website assuring all that this reactor will not explode. 

Fairewinds' chief engineer, Arnie Gunderson, tried to explain why:

It is winter and it is cold throughout much of the northern hemisphere. Hot water vapor has been released daily by each of the four Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants since the accident. We believe that is one of the reasons TEPCO placed covers over Daiichi 4 and 1. Sometimes the steam [hot water vapor] is visible and sometimes it is not. If you have been outside on a cold winter day, you have personally experienced that phenomenon when you see the breath you exhale form a cloud in the cold air. The technical explanation is that hot water vapor becomes visible when it comes in contact with cold air and condenses. During the winter months in the Fukushima Prefecture, the sea air is cold and moist, thus forming the ideal conditions to see the released steam.

Fairewinds' statement continued:

These hot radioactive releases [not physically hot, but radioactive hot—meaning they contain radioactive fission products] have [been] occurring for the entire 33 months following the triple meltdown. The difference now is that the only time we visibly notice these ongoing releases is on the cold days with atmospheric conditions cold enough to condense hot vapor into steam.

(If you believe the very appropriately named Fairewinds, then I have a like-new, used nuclear reactor to sell you. Indeed, it has only been used once -- by a little old lady from a small town called Three Mile Island in Pensylvania.)

Finally, Reuters recently reported that government-paid recruiters have descended on a train station in the northern Japanese city of Sendai. They arrive in the wee hours of the morning and attempt to “persuade” the homeless "to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong."

Reuters also noted that organized crime syndicates (in Japan?) are heavily involved in the “recruiting” operation. The result has been that the homeless are being paid far less than Japan's otherwise generous minimum wage.


There are also mounting reports and fears that the US mainstream media are not reporting that nuclear radiation from Fukushima has not only permeated most of the Pacific Ocean, but has reached our West Coast. Indeed, fish and wildlife from Alaska to South America have been affected, as well as fauna as far inland as Utah.

Also, who knew that Japan (rich, clean, homogeneous Japan) had homeless people, let alone organized crime?

I guess capitalism works the same way everywhere: Profits over people.


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