New leak at Fukushima nuclear power plant

by David Safier

Recently the Tokyo Electric Power Co. admitted there are underground leaks of radioactive water reaching the Pacific Ocean — 80,000 gallons every day — after repeatedly denying the leaks. In a non-apology apology, a spokesman said,

"We have made efforts not to cause any leak to the outside, but we might have failed to do so."

Might have failed indeed.

Today, another story, another leak. This time, 300 tons of water leaked from a storage tank — one of a thousand above ground storage tanks strewn among the litter of what was once a nuclear power plant. This is very toxic stuff. If you stand a foot away from the leaking water for an hour, you'll receive 5 times the maximum yearly radiation dose for nuclear workers.

The tanks, which are only 500 yards from the ocean, are supposed to last 5 years. This one is leaking after 2 years. No telling how well the other 999 tanks will hold up. To hold back the radioactive spillage, workers are putting up sandbags, which sounds ludicrously inadequate. To make things worse, heavy rains are expected in the region.

Since it doesn't look like they're going to be able to keep the water from leaking out any time soon, Japan's nuclear regulator has suggested — I'm not making this up — creating an underground wall of ice to hold back the leaks.

Japan isn't even close to figuring out how to stabilize the Fukushima plant, which is being held together by the scientific equivalent of duct tape, bailing wire and chewing gum. The only leaks they've been moderately successful in containing are leaks to the press about how dire the situation is.

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