Tropical Storm Rains Bring Floods to Fukushima Region

There is a growing sense that the Japanese either can’t or won’t do anything to  get the radiation from the stricken nuclear facility at Fukushima under control..Over the weekend,with a typhoon approaching, the company simply said it didn’t know what to do.The typhoon was downgraded to a tropical storm,but the heavy rains have caused flood alerts, and fears of landslides.  Radiation-tainted water levels  seem sure to rise.

A BBC report of May 28:

 Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is not fully prepared for heavy
rain and winds of a typhoon heading towards the country, officials admit.Tokyo
Electric Power (Tepco), which runs the plant, said some reactor buildings were
uncovered, prompting fears the storm may carry radioactive material into the
air and sea.’’

The Japanese quite openly admit their attempts to control spreading radiation
have not been successful.   More from the BBC:

Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and winds of a typhoon heading towards the country, officials
admit. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which runs the plant, said some reactor buildings were uncovered, prompting fears the storm may carry
radioactive material into the air and sea……

“We have made utmost efforts, but we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings,” a Tepco official said on Saturday.

“We apologise for the lack of significant measures against wind and rain,” the official added.

Tepco has been pouring anti-scattering agents – such as synthetic resins – around the damaged buildings of reactors one and four.

But some of the buildings still remain uncovered after they were damaged by hydrogen explosions soon after the quake and tsunami struck.

A special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan criticised Tepco, saying that the current safety measures “cannot be said to be appropriate”.

Adviser Goshi Hosono added: “We are now doing the utmost to prevent further spreading of radioactive materials”.

Japan Times reported Monday evening that the typhoon, now
downgraded to a tropical storm, is bringing heavy rains and flooding to the
nuclear disaster area.

   Heavy rain caused by the remains of Typhoon Songda posed multiple landslide threats Monday in areas hit by the March 11 disasters, prompting local authorities to go on alert.Several areas already had been flooded by the morning and dozens of cars were trapped on overflowing roads in Sendai’s Wakabayashi Ward and in the nearby city of Iwanuma, both in Miyagi Prefecture.

The ground in some areas sank several centimeters during the massive quake, which shifted the island’s position in the Pacific Ocean. This made many areas vulnerable for the first time to high tides and heavy rain.’

 

Meanwhile, the overall situation looks worse,not better. Another Chernobyl seems assured.

Bloomberg today (May 30)

  Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near Japan’s crippled
nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a “dead zone”
remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded.

Soil samples in areas outside the 20-kilometer (12 miles) exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant measured more than 1.48 million becquerels a square meter, the standard used for evacuating residents after the Chernobyl accident, Tomio Kawata, a fellow at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, said in a research report published May 24 and given to the government.

Radiation from the plant has spread over 600 square kilometers (230 square miles), according to the report. The extent of contamination shows the government must move fast to avoid the same future for the area around Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant as Chernobyl, scientists said. Technology has improved since the 1980s, meaning soil can be decontaminated with chemicals or by planting crops to absorb radioactive materials, allowing residents to return.

“We need to finish this treatment as quickly as possible, within three years at most,” Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist in isotope analysis and radiation detection at
Nagoya University in central Japan, said in a telephone interview. “If we take
longer, people will give up on returning to their homes.”

 

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