Thursday, May 9, 2013

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO to Release 'Uncontaminated' Groundwater to Pacific Ocean, Starting Later This Month

Here we go. TEPCO plans to discharge water from the wells that they have dug to intercept part of the groundwater before it leaks into the reactor buildings, into the Pacific Ocean.

400 tonnes of groundwater go into the basements of the reactor buildings every day. The 14 wells to intercept that water can only divert about one-quarter of it. It is better than no diversion, but not by much.

TEPCO has been laying the pipes to transport the water from the wells to the ocean.

As a measure to decrease the amount of groundwater going into the reactor building, this is not much of a help, but it is precedent-making. Discharge of groundwater into the Pacific Ocean, albeit supposedly uncontaminated water for now, may start as soon as this month, with the local fishing industry set to approve the plan.

The TEPCO's true desire is no secret: to discharge water treated by ALPS (multi-nuclide removal system), clean of almost all radionuclides except for tritium, which there is no effective way to remove.

From Kahoku Shinpo (5/8/2013):

福島原発地下水、月内にも海へ 東電「安全性問題ない」

Groundwater at Fukushima I Nuke Plant to be discharged to the ocean this month, TEPCO says "No safety problem"


TEPCO plans to release the groundwater drawn from the wells inside the plant compound into the ocean, as part of the measures to deal with water contaminated with radioactive materials at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. According to TEPCO, the groundwater is not contaminated as the water is drawn before it gets contaminated, and there is no problem of safety. After obtaining the approval from the local municipalities and fishing industry, the company will start [releasing the water] before May is over.


A large amount of groundwater leaks into the reactor buildings of Reactors 1-4, which then mixes with the reactor cooling water to generate about 400 tonnes of contaminated water per day. The water to be released into the ocean is the groundwater that is drawn by pumps [into the wells] before it reaches the reactor buildings, and according to TEPCO, "Density of cesium-137 is less than 1 Bq/liter, and it is no different from normal groundwater."


TEPCO will announce the plan on May 13 at a meeting of the heads of the Federations of Fishery Cooperatives in Fukushima Prefecture, and try to win their understanding. The Federations' president (Tetsu Nozaki) is set to approve the plan, as he says "We would like [TEPCO] to proceed by carefully testing the water [for radioactive materials]."


Takao Watanabe, Mayor of Iwaki City, says "Will consumers accept TEPCO's word that "it is not contaminated"? I cannot approve [the plan] at this point."

"At this point" is the key for Mayor Watanabe. He is free to change his opinion on May 13, or any other day. He can also join other mayors and farmers and fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture in crying "baseless rumors" by ignorant consumers.


Anonymous said...

All removed but Tritium? Someone needs to check that, I thought ALPS (if it works)is not able to filter all the radiation particles. Size makes a different in those particles I believe; a .0001 micron filter is what some have mentioned for Reverse Osmosis filtering for drinking water. Does anyone have official and documented RO filter size/techniques for filtering water for human use or drinking in contaminated(radiation contaminiated) areas?

Anonymous said...

Again, like with anything else that's going on at Fukushima Daiichi, it seems like we'll have to take Tepco's word for it that the water will not be contaminated. Will there ever be another, independent entity on site to double-check and verify what is going on?

And maybe a dumb question, but the groundwater flows INTO the reactor and gets contaminated. What again is it that keeps the contaminated reactor water from flowing into the groundwater?

Anonymous said...

So they are trying to lower the water table so that it doesn't get contaminated?

Sounds like a good idea, but someone needs to ask them what the next step in the process is. Like how are you going to remove the source of the radiation so that you don't have to pump groundwater for the next 100,000 years.

If there's no plan for containing and removing the radiation source then it's like putting a bandaid over a cancerous tumor.

Atomfritz said...

@ mscharisma

They try to keep the water level in the buildings below the groundwater level to avoid/minimize flowing back of contaminated water into the earth by pumping it to SARRY.
Thus, at least in theory, water flow should go only into the buildings, but not outwards.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Atomfritz.

Scott said...

So the real question comes to me: how long after they release the'clean' water before it's found to be quite contrary to Tepco's claims? Those temporary plastic liked trenches are a very clear indication of how serious Tepco is about doing things right...

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