22 Aug 2013

Fukushima; why are we building more nuclear plants?

Local artist Russ - pic with thanks to Munch
STAND, Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development have just sent out their latest newsletter with details of the campaigns against plans to build more nuclear reactors there.....they now have a Q  and A on their website about nuclear and Oldbury - and here below is what they write about Fukushima:

It’s very nearly 2 ½ years since the Nuclear accident at Fukushima. Reactor 4 (built by Hitachi) is still over-heating. In order to try to keep it cool they are draining off the highly radioactive water and placing it in storage tanks – more and more of them are being brought into use over the last year. And now these storage tanks are leaking. And they are still unable to stop the cause – the over heating of reactor 4.

According to the BBC environmental correspondent: “Officials have said that the level of radiation close to this latest leak is extremely high. The water is said to be 8 million times above the safe level for drinking water.”

Despite this some nuclear scientists consulted said it should be kept in perspective. The incident has been raised from level 1 to level 3 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Each step on the seven-step scale represents a tenfold increase in severity. Level 3 means the danger is contained on the site and there is “no imminent threat to the public”. And yet the effect on the environment and marine life is already devastating, without the newly reported leaks. This was reported in The Japan Times News in February:

 “Tokyo Electric Power Co said Friday it detected a record 740,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in a fish caught in waters near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, equivalent to 7,400 times the state-set limit deemed safe for human consumption.

The greenling measuring 38 cm in length and weighing 564 grams was caught near a water intake of the four reactor units in the power station’s port on Feb 21 during the utility’s operation to remove fish from the port.

Tepco has installed a net on the sea floor of the port exit in Fukushima Prefecture to make it hard for fish living near the sediments of contaminated soil to go elsewhere.

According to Tepco, the previous record of cesium concentration in fish was 510,000 Bq/kg detected in another greenling captured in the same area. Currently, fishermen are voluntarily suspending operations off the coast of the prefecture except for experimental catches.”

Radioactive caesium 137 has a half-life of 30 years, which means the radiation levels will be half after 30 years – and half of that again after another 30 years etc – still a huge amount. This problem is not going to go away.

Incredible that Hitachi want to build more Nuclear Power Stations – and incredible that our Government will let them!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Hitachi designs are inherently less safe than other (US) designs. Emergency shutdowns are part of the design of a reactor - the control rods are dumped into the core to physically prevent any uncontrolled reaction and cease the fission. The tsunami knocked out the main generators and all back-up generators that powered this shutdown process. Other designs, and the redesigns, considered in the UK are safer because they have passive shutdown systems that drop the control rods under gravity to stop the process.