VIDEO: Strontium 90 at high levels in Fukushima’s uncontrolled water leak
the government is trying to shore up its decision to support restarting nuclear reactors by showing some kind of commitment to preventing this disaster from
getting too much worse………
VIDEO: Fukushima Reinforces Worst Fears for Japanese Who Are Anti-Nuclear Power
How are the Japanese people reacting to the news of the continuing contamination leak and what does it mean for Japan’s energy policy? Jeffrey Brown talks with Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy
and Environmental Research and Kenji Kushida of Stanford University
about what the government may do to stop the flow.
“……..ARJUN MAKHIJANI, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research: So there are a couple of different problems. One of the problems is what they have found in the groundwater and what actually
So, so far, we have been concerned about an element called cesium, cesium 137 and 134, which is radioactive. But now they have found strontium-90, which is much more dangerous, at levels that are 30
times more than cesium. So to give you an idea of the level of contamination, if somebody drank that water for a year, they would almost certainly get cancer. So it’s very contaminated.
So that’s one problem. The other is the defenses to hold back this water from the sea seem to be overcome. So now the contaminated waters, 70,000, 80,000 gallons is flowing into the sea every day.
JEFFREY BROWN: And do we know how far out to sea this contaminated water is going and what happens to it when it goes into the sea?
ARJUN MAKHIJANI: Well, when it goes into the sea, of course, some of
it will disperse and dilute. Some of it goes into the sediment and
some of it is taken up by the life in the sea.
And the unfortunate thing about strontium especially is that it bioaccumulates in algae, it bioaccumulates in fish. It targets the bone, because it’s like calcium. And so this is a problem. We don’t
have measurements far out to sea. The Woods Hole Institute has done
some surveys. And they were surprised by how much continuing
radioactivity they found, but no clear explanation yet.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right.
Well, Kenji Kushida, how has this news been received in Japan and what
is the level of trust at this point in both the company and the
KENJI KUSHIDA, Stanford University: Well, clearly, trust in the
company has gone down quite seriously, even from a low point after the
And the government does need to — basically, they don’t have to call
an election for about three years, so the government is trying to shore up its decision to support restarting nuclear reactors by showing some kind of commitment to preventing this disaster from
getting too much worse………
KENJI KUSHIDA: Well, it seems to be fairly serious, because the budget
that they’re asking for is for the following year, for the fiscal year
of 2014, to help shore up the defenses against this.
And TEPCO itself, it’s been de facto nationalized. So, in essence,
it’s basically the government’s problem. The buck stops with the
government. So how to deal with this 400 tons a day of water pouring
from the underground passageways into the reactor buildings, that’s a
problem that the government has to deal
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