Friday, August 9, 2013

"300 Tonnes of Contaminated Water" Leaking from #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: "It's Just an Assumption", Says Energy Agency Official

"300 tonnes of highly contaminated water is leaking everyday from Fukushima I Nuke Plant! The government official in charge of the nuclear accident in the Ministry of Economy admitted!"

This bad news is all over the world, for a change. Even a financial analyst is talking about it (the groundwater has morphed into highly contaminated nuclear waste water in his article).

Is it? Did he?

Reporter: So, uh... you say 300 tonnes of contaminated water per day is leaking into the ocean. What is the basis for your estimate? How did you calculate? Any monitoring data or anything?

Tatsuya Shinkawa, in charge of dealing with the Fukushima nuclear accident at the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry: Uh... The amount of water that will be drawn is going to be 100 tonnes for each well, as we learned from TEPCO at our hearing.

Reporter: Amount of water to be drawn? So, what you're saying is a mere assumption?

Shinkawa: Yes it is, in that sense.

Reporter: I don't quite understand your logic that the entire 100 tonnes of water [per well] is contaminated.

Shinkawa: Naturally, the groundwater flows from the mountainside. If the amount of water to be drawn is 100 tonnes, we supposed those 100 tonnes must have been leaking.

Reporter: How do you know all the water is contaminated?

Shinkawa: At least the water that comes to this particular area may be contaminated, we think.

Watching the video of the August 7, 2013 press conference by the Nuclear Disaster Response Headquarters of the Japanese national government where it all started (at Yasumi Iwakami's IWJ archive), I just have to laugh so hard that my sides start to hurt. The above dialog is from about 55 minutes into the 2-hour video.

Probably more than 80% of the press conference was about "300 tonnes of contaminated water". Toward the end, both Mr. Shinkawa and the reporters were too tired to realize they were just repeating themselves over and over again.

Probably due to fatigue, Reuters' reporters wrote in their article (8/7/2013):

"Shinkawa described the water as "highly" contaminated."

I watched the entire press conference, and didn't hear him say that.

Probably due to fatigue also, almost all Japanese newspapers and news agencies simply wrote what Shinkawa said as truism, except for Tokyo Shinbun whose reporter doubted the wisdom of basing the countermeasures on such a flimsy assumption.

Here's one-page document that Mr. Shinkawa distributed to the press:

Oh well. The horse is out of the barn. The powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has spread baseless rumors around the world.

I'm starting to believe it is deliberate. The Agency of Natural Resources and Energy wants TEPCO to be able to dump uncontaminated groundwater drawn upstream into the ocean, but the talk with the fisheries associations in Fukushima has stalled after the detection of radioactive materials from the observation holes in the embankment in June.

Here's the bargain the Agency could use with the fishermen: Do you want the leak of "300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater" to continue? Or would you rather have us release uncontaminated groundwater drawn upstream, and keep the contaminated groundwater in tanks?


Anthony said...

Could somebody please explain to me, again, why TEPCO or J-GOV isn't buying pumps as well as huge tanks to store and decontaminate this water?

Is it because they can't or won't?

Eli said...

As well as WHY won't other countries butt in and help Japan? Why leave it to TEPCO who clearly can't handle the situation on their own. If the contaminated water is released into the ocean it effects all, not just japanese.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that it doesn't make any difference whether the water is factually contaminated and leaking in any large amount or not. Nothing would change.

Anonymous said...

The key word is "buying". That would require money, which they don't want to spend.

Other countries offered help, Japan refused.
They can't just bust in and help. It's not like anyone could do anything anyway.

Anonymous said...

I don't think other countries are interested in actually helping anyway. They want to be excited by the dire news, from a distance. It's not their problem. Pacific Ocean is big. They'd rather read sensational news about the accident, and that's what they've got in this instance, again.

Anonymous said...

Other countries were (are) interested, but Japan has continually refused (and will refuse)because to LOSE FACE is as about as horrible as it gets in Japan. Better contaminate the pacific than lose face.

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