Fukushima: Five years after nuclear disaster, the clean-up has barely begun

Five years after the Fukushima nuclear plant was crippled during a devastating earthquake and tsunami, the plant operator has admitted that only a fraction of the clean-up has been accomplished to make the site safe.

As Japan prepares to mark the anniversary of the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster, it is clear that the progress to date – clearing up debris, and installing protective structures around the four reactor buildings that were destroyed – is largely skin deep.

  • mauser 98

    Fukushima never mention by global warming whacks , Paris COP 21 etc.
    ..strange

    Millions of fish dead in Pacific Northwest — Ocean conditions have ‘gone to hell’
    http://enenews.com/usa-today-millions-fish-dead-pacific-northwest-salmon-covered-fungus-red-lesions-all-extinction-concerns-could-be-experts-crazy-unprecedented-catastrophic-worse-anything-theyve-video-photos

    • Frau Katze

      Energy grows on trees. It is the same with money to the left. They don’t understand that we have to get energy from somewhere.

  • Frau Katze

    This sort of thing requires a waiting period, as they wait for radioactive elements to decay. It was the same with Three Mile Island. It took about 20 years before they could safely look into the main vessel, and, they discovered that it had partly melted down. The author of the official history said they don’t know why the stuff didn’t melt through the containment vessel. It wasn’t designed to withstand that. Sometimes you get lucky.

    • andycanuck

      God didn’t want to help Jane Fonda’s film career.

  • T.C.

    Well, they finally have a victim of the radiation – an employee that spent 12 months at the clean-up site has lukemia, according the the newspaper article. Never mind the Japanese government killed about 3000 people during its botched and mostly unecessary evacuation of the area surrounding Fukushima (because evacuting intensive care wards to school gyms just doesn’t work very well, among other things).

    • Frau Katze

      They let someone stay for a whole year? Usually the workers only work for a short time to reduce their exposure.

      • T.C.

        I did a graduate-level radioisotopes course at university. One of the best courses I ever took. Very informative. One thing you learn is how easy it is to avoid radiation exposure with the right protocols. And not all radiation is the same. I also had an uncle (by marriage) who was involved in the clean up of several nuclear accidents at Deep River and he gave me a detailed account of how they cleaned things up. If this guy was living on site at Fukushima for 12 months it would have been well away from any exposure. He would have only been in the contaminated areas for short periods of time, just like everybody else. Just because this newspaper article says he has lukemia does not mean that he was exposed to cancer-causing levels of radiation. Lukemia also developes in people who are not working on sites contaminated by nuclear power plant melt downs.

        • David

          What about men who work in uranium mines?

          • T.C.

            What about them? Men who work in asbestos mines get lung cancer. Coal miners get black lung which turns into cancer. All miners are exposed to sources of dust which causes silicosis, which can develop into lung cancer. Then there are the cave-in’s, explosions, and rock bursts as everyday occupational hazards. Uranium miners apparently run the risk of inhaling radon gas in large quantities, which can increase lung cancer rates. But the incidences of lung cancer in uranium miners have come down as mines become better ventilated. Apparently the background radiation from the uranium ore is negligible as a source of radiation. Radon gas, as far as I can tell, is not the issue at Fukushima. By the way, you could have radon levels in your basement comparable to those found in uranium mines in the 1950s. Have you had your basement checked lately?

  • canminuteman

    I work in the nuclear industry. I saw a documentary about the events at Fukushuma, and the Japanese are not as smart as they (and we) think they are. I don’t remember the details right now, but they had an emergency shut down cooling system that was working just fine, except they had a level transmitter in an improperly designed instrumentation system that led them to believe a water level was falling, when it wasn’t. They had a valve that should have “failed safe” in the open position, but it was designed backwards so it “failed safe” in the closed position. Because they thought the coolant level was falling they changed the position of the valve that was backwards to the way it should have been. Basically due to design flaws their shut down cooling water all drained away on them and they didn’t know it was happening. (or something like that anyway. I’m going from memory here).

    • mauser 98

      diesel generators and coolant pumps failed , poorly maintained , unprotected

      • canminuteman

        That’s on only part of it, they had a thermosyphoning system to keep the fuel cool even if they had no power.