Sunday, July 28, 2013

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Groundwater Contamination: No One Fully Knows Exactly Where Trenches and Ducts Are Located, How They Are Connected

Tokyo Shinbun has a pictorial showing the locations of the known trenches along the seawall. I think it is more helpful than TEPCO's pictorial, which does not show the embankment which is clearly created artificially. It also nicely summarizes the entire article.

It shows the possibility of seawater and groundwater mixing beneath the sea level. If the highly contaminated water in the trenches from the turbine buildings to the water intake along the embankment bordering the open culvert are leaking somewhere, they will go to the layers of crushed stones underneath the trenches (standard construction method) and leak to the surrounding soil

From Tokyo Shinbun (7/26/2013, English labels are by me):

Tokyo Shinbun's article itself has some misunderstanding:


The biggest problem is that highly contaminated water is flowing into the trenches from the [turbine building] basements which hold 75,000 tonnes of such water.

No it isn't. Tokyo Shinbun doesn't know or forgot to check the density of radioactive materials found this time from the seawater pipe trench for Reactor 2. The density is one order of magnitude GREATER than the density of contaminated water inside the Reactor 2 turbine building, indicating the water in the trench is the same water that leaked into the ocean in April 2011.

I see two big problems, one of which is shared by Tokyo Shinbun.

"Crisscrossing trenches run several meters from the ground surface all the way down to 30 meters deep, and TEPCO doesn't exactly know what their conditions are."

I don't think TEPCO knows what trenches are there, where, or how many. The original blueprint wouldn't help, and all the blueprints of site and facility upgrades are, I believe, still in the condemned building at the plant.

And second, solidifying the artificial soil using the chemicals are possible only up to 20 meters deep.

Some trenches are 30 meters deep? Uh oh.

Since April 2011, TEPCO knows the highly contaminated water from the turbine buildings filled the trenches that goes out to the water intake, but didn't do anything about it until now. Even now, I don't know how they even attempt to empty the trenches, as the water is just too radioactive.

TEPCO's 7/26/2013 handout shows the air dose level as high as 100 millisieverts/hour, and that's when measured from the top of the pit at the turbine building where the trench starts, not near the water surface.


Anonymous said...

Tepco knows everything, they just do not want to share it with us ( yet or ever, whatever suits them best )

netudiant said...

The game plan had been that first the 80,000 tons of contaminated water in the facility would get processed. Because that needed to be done concurrently with the ongoing cooling of the reactors, there was a big excess of decontamination capacity. However, there was not enough storage space to continue full scale water processing because the treated water had to be stored and could not be released.
So only enough water was treated as required to keep the coolant flow from further flooding the site. The initial idea, to pull down the water level in the facility to ensure that ground waters would flow into the site, was tacitly abandoned.
So no one should be surprised that the witches brew of contaminated water from the lower levels of the plant is now leaking out. Decisions were made that prevented ensuring that the water would flow in, naturally that leaves it to leak out.
People should ask themselves whether it was wise to prevent the dumping of moderately radioactive treated water, as that, imho, led directly to this current mess where untreated contamination flows out unchecked.

Anonymous said...

assuming what you say is correct, I do not recall Tepco explaining that not realeasing tritium laced water would lead to the current situation. You can't blame the fisherman for the mess Tepco has created. You can't blame the fisherman for Tepco choosing not to treat more contaminated water. These leaks are solely Tepco responsibilty: water table contamination happened at Chernobyl too and the necessity to restrain the underground flow of contaminater water was pointed out by Gundersen *months* after the disaster; Tepco is moving two years late.
Tepco is only concerned about its own financial survival; radioactive leaks are just a PR problem because once it has leaked it becomes someone else problem (remember the golf course owner who was told by Tepco that the cesium on his land was his own problem?).


Anonymous said...

Tepco does not know where the *pipes* run inside the plant (remember they drilled a hole only to find out that there were pipes behind it?). Can we expect them to know where the trenches are? Anyways, how is it possible that only one copy of the plant drawings exist? didn't they take any backup? doesn't the builder have a copy of such drawings too?
Tepco would not be able to run a sewage, let alone a nuclear powerplant.


netudiant said...

Beppe, you are quite right that no one has been forthright in this disaster and that the fishermen were never given a reason to acquiesce to dumping the treated water, some 250,000 tons at last report.
All that emerges are hints, such as TEPCO saying that space for additional tanks is limited, the flow of cooling water getting reduced and the water processing trains only running part time.
Maybe my inferences are quite mistaken, but the turbine building water level is just where it was 30 months ago. No drawdown is apparent, which is the basis for my comment.
Separately, TEPCO is not working on financial survival, it has been a zombie animated by Japanese government funds since shortly after the accident. Imho its remains serve as a useful foil, able to take abuse and to filter private claims, while sheltering the Japanese government from pressures for more effective action.

Anonymous said...

How can the Japanese government authorises such an incompetent company to run this nuclear disaster? The Japanese government is completely irresponsible to let this go on as it is.
TEPCO is given green card to do whatever whenever without being properly regulated.
This is ridiculous. The Japanese government is ridiculously lazy and washing its hands while a disaster is going-on because of its lack of actions.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 9:28
It's all part of the plan! The Japanese gov. doesn't want to take over, they know the situation is hopeless. So, they let Tepco - Who knows it too - just fumble around, to distract eveybody from the real problems. Yesterday it was the steam, todat the trench and tomorrow something else.
But they will never address the real problems and hazards, because if they do so, they are accountable and have to come up with a solution, which does not excist. Than you will look bad, so they just spoon fed you every now and than a bit, so you are busy with that.
It's so simple, but hardly anyone sees it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see it.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Abe's government doesn't want to do anything with the plant because they are more incompetent then even TEPCO.

Beppe, as you know, Japanese companies, or politicians, never explain things in a straightforward way. They hint, and you are to read between the lines. Plant Manager Yoshida was about the only one who shouted at TEPCO HQ that it was all about "water".

Anonymous said...

I doubt Tepco behaviour has anything to do with Japanese culture; they are just desperately trying to retain a position whereby they can keep milking ratepayers and taxpayers. If you look at Tepco stock price you will see they have done quite some progress.
Companies and politicians to explain things in a straightforward way when inconvenient? Not in Japan nor elsewhere. Otherwise why would we have hedge funds rather than leveraged funds? and how about weapons of mass destruction?

Anonymous said...

Can you link to the sampling analysis data of both the "witches brew of contaminated water" and the "moderately radioactive treated water"? It would be important to know how effective all these efforts to treat the water have been.

Anonymous said...

Nobody knows because the people whose responsibility it is to know, do not want to know.

Abe's government is too busy jacking off to themselves. TEPCO is too busy swimming in cash.

I agree with 4:19AM anonymous above. People keep linking everything with Japanese culture, but I think in a lot of cases, regular citizens simply don't want to deal with corporate bullshit and intentionally turn a blind eye.

People in general are always are too busy doing their own thing to pay attention to idiots failing at the responsibilities they took up. That's part of capitalism, too. Keep the peasants working so hard that they have no time or energy to react. Everytime I bring up serious world issues, everyone always says "I don't care, I'm too busy with my own problems. It's far away and won't affect us. Worry about yourself". See? It's not just Japan.

Like I've said many times, if Fukushima were to occur anywhere else in the modern world, I am absolutely certain the results would be exactly the same. People just want to believe their own country wouldn't be as stupid, despite plenty of evidence already proving the contrary.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:27PM, I doubt that very much. Maybe only in a similarly law-abiding country like Germany. They would probably wait for transport permit to arrive from the relevant ministry while the reactors are having meltdown. Or they wouldn't be able to "buy" batteries as they didn't have enough money.

In many other countries in the world, they would just drive without permit, or grab batteries without paying for them in an emergency like they had in Japan.

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