Enviro News - August 2013

Radioactive Leaks from Fukushima

Posted by Victoria Knowles - Enviro News Reporter on 12/08/2013 - 10:30:00

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Meltdown Following Tsunami

Since the disaster involving the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant two-and-a-half years ago, contaminated water has likely been making it way into the sea, ABC reported.

Workers at the crippled plant have spoken out against the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) who has allegedly known about the leaking radioactive water all along but took no action.

It was not easy for them to speak out. 56-year-old Fujimoto-san, a decontamination worker at the plant, says he'd certainly be fired if he were caught talking to journalists.

He doesn't even let his two young grandsons know where he works, and worries that they would reject him if they knew the truth about his job.

Radioactive Water Leaking from Fukushima Plant

"We work at the most dangerous place in Japan," said Fujimoto-san.

For such a title, the remuneration is poor.

"I work 12-hour shifts and only get paid 11,000 yen." This is equivalent to $10 per hour, and $125 per shift.

TEPCO has been trying to prevent 300 tonnes of contaminated water from leaking every day, but hasn't even been telling the workers, according to ABC. Fujimoto-san said he found out from television news.

Euro News reported that the Japanese government is stepping in, using state funds to freeze the soil and help contain the build up.

Meanwhile, former site foreman at the Fukushima site and 12-year TEPCO veteran, Suzuki-san, believes the radioactive water began leaking into the Pacific back in 2011.

"TEPCO probably knew this but did nothing because they didn't want to cause an outcry," he said.

Even with the growing concerns, Japan's beaches near the plant remain open, despite the nation's nuclear watchdog regarding the situation as an "emergency".

The news of the ongoing leaks is particularly bad news for the local seafood industry, but it is not just marine life that has been affected: meat and regular soil products have had their shipping restricted, with even cows discovered to contain harmful radiation levels.

However, according to Forbes, the event is not as concerning as it sounds - apparently the 40 trillion becquerels released into the Pacific so far works out at 76 million bananas (which contain somewhat radioactive potassium.)

Nevertheless, the ocean clearing process will take at least two years to carry out, according to the Japan Times.

Fukushima was struck by a tsunami back in March 2011, leading to a nuclear meltdown.

Image Copyright Vanderdecken (Courtesy Wikicommons)

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