Japan To Dump Deadly Fukushima Nuclear Waste Into Pacific Ocean

Japan dumps Fukushima nuclear waste into the ocean

Japan has announced plans to dump 920,000 tons of deadly Fukushima nuclear waste into the Pacific ocean, saying that they can no longer contain the waste on land.

Following the major tsunami in 2011 that resulted the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant shutting down, the constant leaking of radiation that has occurred in the aftermath has been dubbed one of the worst nuclear disasters since Chernobyl.

Newstarget.com reports: Six years after the disaster, the three crippled reactors are still leaking water with high levels of radiation into the Pacific Ocean. Though the Pacific Ocean is a vast stretch of water, Fukushima’s radiation is reaching the coast of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, contaminating the fish we eat and the water we swim in.

While these findings were first considered “fake news” and laughed away, researchers can no longer deny that Cesium-134, the so-called fingerprint of Fukushima, has been found in seawater and fish along the Western Coast of the Americas.

In TRT’s daily news show “Insight,” hosted by former Sky News presenter Martin Stanford, the head of international atomic energy agency has called on the world to help with the cleanup of the Fukushima site.

Japan fails to clean up the mess, plotting to discharge nuclear waste into the ocean

Ever since the tsunami put the Fukushima plant out of business, one of the ongoing core tasks has been to cool the reactors and prevent the release of highly contaminated water leaking from the three units. Though it has been six years since the disaster, the cleanup is making slow progress.

Mark Whitby, chairman and design director of the engineering and consultancy firm WME Consultants, explained that today about 400 tons of water go into each reactor to cool it. Part of the highly radioactive water is recycled to re-cool the reactors, and the rest goes into big tanks, which are stacking up at a fast rate. As reported by TRT, Japan is running out of storage space. There are currently about a 1,000 storage tanks holding 920,000 tons of contaminated water.

As if the marine life isn’t struggling enough already by the vast amounts of plastic in the oceans, the Japanese are now talking about dumping these tanks with nuclear wastewater directly into the sea because they cannot keep building and storing these reservoirs, Whitby told TRT.

Also, to this day researchers are uncertain whether the melted cores are still within the containment structures or if they have burrowed through the vessels, contaminating the groundwater that ends up in the Pacific Ocean. Since many robots, sent out to assess the damage, have been destroyed due to the high levels of radiation that melts their electronics, it is tough to get this information.

Recently, however, one camera lasted long enough to show that molten core debris has burned through the bottom of the inner reactor wall. The radioactive debris is now burrowed deep into the foundations of the reactor, causing the highest radiation levels measured around the reactor since the triple core meltdown six years ago. Until these cores can be retrieved, the reactors will keep leaking radioactive material into the groundwater.

According to Japan’s former prime minister, the current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is lying about the situation being under control. Abe has also been criticized for forcing more than 6,000 people to return to their home in areas that are still highly contaminated zones.

According to the Japanese government, Japan will be safe by 2020. Therefore, it will hold the Olympic baseball and softball in the Fukushima area to show “Japan is cool,” even if their reactors are still posing a serious threat.

For more info watch the full Insight episode below.

  • Black Swan

    Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima evil premeditated genocide of the Japanese culture by the De-Humanized Psychopaths.

    • JenniWest

      Sorry, what?!

  • John C Carleton

    Look on the bright side, when you get the fish out of the ocean, they will already be dead and cooked. All you have to do is eat them. Yum!

  • Ron Angel

    Too little too late for them….
    The Japanese people are doomed from long term radiation effects of the reactor meltdown ground
    and water systems contaminated, sadly all children have been affected already within 20 years will be many deaths,
    already started. Adults 30-40 years. Any person that has eaten ANY food grown in Japan or ANY fish caught locally in
    last few years has been affected. The government members of which will no longer be alive when this problem becomes so bad to be impossible to cover up any longer, has always known this but will not tell its people again for fear of loss of face and truth coming out.
    Radiation Information and links (pdf)

    • JenniWest

      Ok, so you are a lying liar.

      • Ron Angel

        Who is lying about what? And your qualifications and direct experience regarding radiation apart from what you hear “down the pub from your mates” Or read from people on the internet that get from mates down the pub?

        • JenniWest

          Ron, I don’t care what YOUR qualifications might be. And I don’t know why you care about mine. I could be a trained monkey and you are still wrong as fawk.

          • Ron Angel

            Ok,Could you please explain for the readers( and me..) why I am wrong with details and references.just ” you are Lying” and “still wrong as fawk” is not good enough to be taken notice of, so the reason is.. We all wait to hear! Any other answer is pointless.

          • JenniWest

            Ok, I’ll be happy to start making up for the research you should have done before developing an opinion on this matter.

            1) You said: “The Japanese people are doomed from long term radiation effects of the reactor meltdown ground and water systems contaminated,..”

            That is a lie. The areas were evacuated (most needlessly) before any contamination could affect the Japanese. Or their children. Technically, the release was so small, most of those evacuated could have “bunkered in place” and still been fine. But somehow, you have arbitrarily decided they are “doomed.” The children have not been affected.

            Unless you have some secret team of scientists that the sanctioned teams there are unaware of, doing research on an area that no one else has, and has so far kept your findings from the people in charge. In which case, present yourself for arrest.

            2) You said: “Any person that has eaten ANY food grown in Japan or ANY fish caught locally in
            last few years has been affected. ”

            THAT is a lie. There are probably no fruits or vegetables on the planet more scrutinized than the ones in Japan over the last seven years. And not just by the government but by other unrelated and independent teams.

            3) The graph you posted proves me right. You just don’t know how to read it.

  • Keith Owen

    Aren’t they afraid it will affect the whales keep hunting for food?

    • Michael Gary

      They mostly hunt the whales in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica….

    • JRT256

      If the water meets drinking water standards, how would it hurt the whales?

  • strav

    Revenge of the dragon emperor!

  • rosross

    So, why is the article not sourced? There are so many lies on this issue and this looks like another.

    • Michael Gary

      If you do some research on your own maybe ?….there are hundreds of articles on Fukushima…
      There is this really cool thing called Google. Try it….
      Or just travel to Fukushima yourself and take a close look. Please.

      • David Keech

        When Googling for the specific claim in the headline, YourNewsWire is the source of the claim. Every other site that repeats the claim cites YourNewsWire as their source, but YourNewsWire doesn’t cite anyone else.

        They made it up.

        • JenniWest


  • gratefuldennis

    It’s a fake news site listed on Wikipedia.

    • Kangalanatolian

      There are LOTS of sites listed there that aren’t really fake news. Oh they may have jumped the shark a couple times but they don’t just make it up. There really should be a “level of reliability” sliding scale that considers the level of risk they take, and then lists the ones that really just make it up.

      • gratefuldennis

        There are a lot of fake news sites like The College Fix and Brightbart news that carried a story of Black only dorms on college campuses. The purpose is where people can inter-react to learn about other cultures and races by the living and learning from each other. The fake news sites wrote it a a segregated event and purposely left out the fact that any race can live there. The College Fix has on the Board Betsy DeVos’s son and they have made several donations through a non-profit the donates lots of money to them. Brightbart also ran the article.

        Snoops has many stories from The College Press as false and a whole list from Brightbart News.

        • Alfred Dawson Jr

          snopes has been caught lying itself so giving snopes out as a debunker really helps nothing

          • SA Kiteman

            Snopes is a good first step, not the only step.

        • Alfred Dawson Jr

          snopes has been caught lying itself so giving out that site as a debunker helps nothing

          • Gratefuldennis

            I have the original press release for the university in question.

          • SA Kiteman

            Snopes is a good first step. But everyone makes mistakes. How did they handle it?

        • Kangalanatolian


        • linda

          Snopes is fake news, fyi. Bought and paid for.

        • SharpStick

          What you did is erect a red herring.

          In fact this story on Fukashima true — plans to do so have been announced and it is now being debated in Japan.

      • SA Kiteman

        That is actually an excellent idea. News sites should be rated not so much as to whether they are “fake” but rather as to the level of responsible journalism. Especially including the headlines they write.

  • GnomeCoach

    Newstarget.com and http://yournewswire.com are news aggregator sites which like many such sites do not check the accuracy of it’s posted articles and often host fear-mongering sensational garbage. Such article receive wide circulation on the internet and are often referred to as fake news. They cater to a large market that is hungry for such slop.

    This article failed to mention that the levels of Fukushima Dai-ichi radiation found in organisms along the west coast of North America is many of orders of magnitude below levels that would be expected to cause pathological problems. The wildlife, that has died shows no signs that they died from radiation. These stories are being used to distract attention away from Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) effects.

    The above article claimed that the robot electronics was “melted” by the high radiation levels. There was no evidence of melting.

    The Snopes.com site contains many instances of such deceptive articles as listed below.

    Fukushima Radioactive Water Leak Chart

    No, These Photos Don’t All Show the Effects of the Fukushima Disaster on Marine Life

    Fukushima Radiation Causes 100% Infant Mortality Among Orca Whales

    Nuclear Fallout Map

    Mutant Daisies. Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fasciation

    Explosive News

    For those looking for sold factual investigations regarding the Fukushima Dai-ichi triple reactor meltdown fiasco I suggest the following site.

    The Fukushima Project by SimplyInfo.org

    • Alfred Dawson Jr

      snopes has been known to lie itself,just a fyi

      • GnomeCoach

        Many people, especially those who enjoy sensational and conspiracy related stories, often find fault with Snopes.com when it punches holes in things they want to believe in. The human brain has amazing capabilities to defend such deep seated beliefs and values. Vast sectors of the U.S. population reject the dire warnings about Anthropogenic Climate Disruption because it clashes with their deeply entrenched worldviews and their assumptions that their offspring will enjoy a bright future.

        • Alfred Dawson Jr

          you done? all i stated was truth no more no less

    • Mark Kelly

      Somebody gets it. This is propaganda, not real science. Those Cesium ions don’t occur in Nature so they aren’t diluted by the quintillion times as plentiful natural radiation. It’s like adding a purple grain of sand to the 5 already in the Sahara Desert. The Planet is radioactive and so are you. Scopes is lying as thet almost always do. They are a propaganda site for the Democrats, not a valid fact finding group…

      • GnomeCoach

        This is a fine example of the politicalization of science. Many people have come to put their deeply entrenched worldviews and their political positions ahead of reason, facts and imperial scientific evidence. They have been told they have a mandated to do this.

        Please utilize your deep scientific knowledge to explain why a cesium-134 isotope is not capable of being diluted in the same way that natural radioisotopes are.

        People, who have limited technical and educational backgrounds make easy targets of those conspiring to deceive them. They often depend upon conspiracy theories and ancient religious text to explain the complex world around them. They will often claim others are victimized by propaganda when it is them who are being influenced by propaganda. This is referred to as projection. It is one of the ways that the human ego protects us against concepts that clash with our deeply entrenched worldviews and beliefs. It affects millions of people around us.

        • Mark Kelly

          n alpha particle is an alpha particle. Betas are the same as well. The only difference is the isotope that is emitting them. We now have testing devices that are so sensitive that they can find molecules of a certain isotope. Doubling the number of Cesium ions does not double radiation. Even the bay that was affected was back to background radiation is just a few weeks. You get more radiation driving by a banana than you get in the States from Fukushima…

          • Darling Damianton

            You are lying and you aren’t convincing anyone…

            Go live there. Drink some of the water. I dare you.

          • JenniWest

            Mark is not lying. And go get some facts, DD, I dare you. Then you might recognize bullcrap, like this article, when you see it.

          • SA Kiteman

            Tell you what, Darling, you go get US 52L of that water. We will transfer all the tritium to 2 of those liters. You start drinking the 50 liters, half a liter at a time, and I will start drinking the tritiated water, 20mL at a time. We will do this without medical intervention or antidote until you die. At which lime, I can stop. OK?

        • SA Kiteman

          Ummm, empirical, not imperial?

      • Ar Moody

        Why don’t you go live and preach about safety of nuclear materials and contamination in Chernobyl then? You might have a year or two of productive lying before you die of bone cancer or leukemia.

        • JenniWest

          Ar, if that response wasn’t so common, so knee-jerk, so banal, I might be shocked you said it. But it’s ALL you anti-nukes EVER say in response to finding out you are wrong about something related to nuclear power.

          And if you can say it, then you are just as uninformed about Chernobyl as you are about Fukushima.

        • greenthinker2012

          The folks that stayed behind and lived around Chernobyl after the accident lived healthier lives than those who were evacuated and suffered the stress of having their lives disrupted.
          Fear and ignorance have caused much harm.

        • SA Kiteman

          I would be ecstatic for you to send me to Chernobyl to preach all that stuff. Heck, I’ll even pitch in and help clean up the areas that actually need it. All I want from you is expenses. T,R,B,PD,&E. I eagerly await you putting your money where your mouth is. I think $4000 would start me off, but I doubt that would provide a long stay, so better make it $10,000. When can I expect the first check?

    • Sam Gilman

      It’s good that you’ve put up all those Snopes links, but I personally wouldn’t trust the curation at fukuleaks. They promote a lot of very suspect health and animal studies that are dramatically at odds with mainstream research, and which have been eviscerated.

  • josh

    is this eco terririsim ??????

    • JenniWest


  • Victoria Martin

    There goes 1/3 of life on planet earth.

    • JenniWest


  • Lee M Attinger

    We detonated over 40 nuclear bombs in the Pacific but lets all lose our sh*t because the Japanese are going to dump nuclear waste there as well. The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!

    • JenniWest

      The water is less radioactive than the ocean.

      • SharpStick

        NO, they are effectively dumping a million tons of highly contaminated water, which is more contaminated than the ocean.
        Mixing it with other water first does not mean they are net dumping any less radioactive elements and compounds. It only shows how entities can effectively skirt the standards and put one over on non scientists such as snopes/.

        Let me put it in laymans terms. If I want to dump a dozen 55 gallon drums of used motor oil in a river, and simply mix each gallon with a few million gallons of water first, or whatever amount made my dumping marginally less than the extant river water’s contanimation, I would still be adding that motor oil and be a net pollutor

        • JenniWest

          First, it’s not “highly” anything. But you are “highly” skilled in using garbage terms to make your nonsense posts sound more scary.

          And industries all over the world dump multiple times the equivalent of a 55 gallon drum of oil in rivers, seas and lakes all over this planet. You are freaked out about water that meets or exceeds the levels allowed? Which would be dumped into a massive, half a planet sized body of water whose own naturally occurring radiation levels exceed that if the water being dumped?

          You aren’t Sharp.

        • greenthinker2012

          To be accurate your analogy would need the world’s rivers to contain enough naturally occurring oil such that adding those extra barrels only increases the natural concentration by 1/10000ths.
          The extra radionuclides added directly by the accident increased the natural background radiation in the oceans by less than 1/10000ths.
          For the release of the cooling water now stored onsite the analogy would be that the oil you are adding to the river is less concentrated than the natural concentration and thus the oil concentration would actually be lower after you released the oil/water mixture.

        • SA Kiteman

          Totally false. They did, early on when the plant was still melting down, use seawater for coolant. That stopped fairly quickly. Since that time, the only leakage (other thn a few minor incidents) has been groundwater flowing thru the site. But even THAT was stopped about 20 months ago. Since then, no leakage. Unless yu have a weird definition of leakage.

    • greenthinker2012

      Exactly. The total amount of radionuclides released at Fukushima to date is around 4 Kg. I can dig up the peer reviewed reference I got the number from if you are interested.

  • SA Kiteman

    The international radiological experts have been advising them to do that for about 4 years now. That “deadly water” is cleaner than distilled water. The toxicity of the water itself far exceeds the radio-toxicity of the isotopes in it. Get a grip!

    • Darling Damianton

      So you going to drink some to prove how safe it is?

      • SA Kiteman

        Tell you what. If we take 52 liters of the water and transfer all of the tritium to 2 liters of it, I will drink 1/50th of the tritium for every 1/50th of the water you drink, neither of us get to take any anti-dote. Ok? You willing to do that?

        PS: I can stop when you die.

    • SharpStick

      Now. They have a million tons of highly contaminated wastewater in storage. They are proposing dumping all of it and it is very significantly contaminated.

      What you are referring to is the slight of hand in diluting each ton with about 3,800 tons of seawater right before they dump it. The same net amount of radioactive elements and compounds are is dumped, but per gallon now they meet standards.

      They are end running the standards.

      No different than if you wanted to dump a whole bunch of mercury into a river. You could devise a method where you at mixing it with water to the point that it is not an elevated amount — but you are still dumping a bunch of mercury that was not there.

      • JenniWest

        Sharp, your logic defies logic. And compared to the levels of radioactivity already naturally present in the Pacific, you could dump the whole broken plant and the water and not make a dent.

        Alarmist and incorrect is no way to go through life, son.

        • Don Mullican

          Did, by any chance, you ever see an old Disney cartoon where Mickey mouse id a sorcerer apprentice? Where he chaps up a broom and each splinter makes another broom? Think of the minerals in the sea water as the splinters and the radioactive cores as Mickey. Or just the gift that never stops giving.

          • JenniWest

            I’ve seen it many times and never seen it used as an analogy to a broken nuclear plant. But you single handedly just invented a physical/scientific phenomenon that doesn’t exist.

          • SA Kiteman

            Hmmm, Don Mullican, the magical thinker. Sorry, but radioactivity does not work that way. Radio-isotopes cannot make other minerals radioactive.

      • SA Kiteman

        Sorry SS, hardly “highly contaminated”. Personally, I think they should put it into a tanker and dilute it as they chug around releasing it.

    • SteveInCalif

      If they are storing the bad water in tanks, on land, that must mean the water is really bad (otherwise, they’d just let the water go anywhere)? Or, by dumping the bad water water into the ocean, the result is diluting the bad water to a point where it’s not dangerous? I would think they’d choose a dump location with plenty of current to spread it around? Is it the same type of bad radiation water that occurs naturally? I’m just a guy trying to learn instead of making knee-jerk reaction – thanks.

      • SA Kiteman

        Nope. If it weren’t for the slight excess of tritium, they would already have the fishery representative’s signature on dumping it. It already meets the fishery’s exceedingly restrictive standards on everything else for dumping. But the tritium is higher than international standards. To which the international community said about 3 years ago, “dilute it then dump it”. Three years later, TEPCO has finally had enough of building ever more tanks for distilled, nay deionized, water. I say, its about freaking time!

        Just as a clarification, the water WAS nasty when originally placed in the tanks. But all the nasty shyte has been removed. All that remains is the tritium which is excessively difficult to remove and is almost innocuous. It will be innocuous when diluted to International Standards.

        • SteveInCalif

          Thanks for the info. On a tangent thought, can you help me think through my opinion about nuclear power? I find myself against nuclear because it is a technology beyond our ability to control it. Of course, it provides enormous benefit and huge utility cost savings. On the other hand, a single oops causes decades x decades harm. In addition, we don’t yet know how to store the waste as the waste containers fail after so many years. Thus: I feel the cons outweigh the benefits (perhaps in time, we’ll learn how to control it; we’re not good at it yet). Again, I ask to learn. Thanks.

          • http://www.eagle.ca/~gcowan/ GRLCowan

            a single oops causes decades x decades harm. In addition, we don’t yet know how to store the waste as the waste containers fail after so many years

            … I ask to learn

            Those are safe opinions, but true learning requires they be unlearned, possibly at some financial cost.

            The failure of the containers after so many years is a regulatory prophecy, not a fact. They’re not going to crumble like a 19th-century Mosler safe or a first-century ossuary. They’re much sturdier than either of those. (Also, note that if Simon the temple builder lives 50 years hence rather than 20 centuries ago, and the spent fission fuel produced on his behalf in his lifetime includes some that was spent producing rocket fuel for a couple of lunar vacations, it could still all fit in that box with plenty of room left for him.)

            Why might nuclear regulators prophesy unreasonably? Because they are in significant part funded from fossil fuel taxation.

          • SteveInCalif

            GRL – your response didn’t help. I’ll move on to other sources.

          • http://www.eagle.ca/~gcowan/ GRLCowan

            It may well not have helped you, or not yet. You are gazing, after biting, on the half-worm of evil.

          • Joffan

            I would definitely disagree that nuclear power is “beyond our ability to control”. Nuclear power is highly controllable and reliable, a source of almost magical energy that allows production from city-powering amounts of electricity from a sealed vessel for months and years.

            I think the description of a tsunami that smashed communities and killed thousands in a prepared and capable country like Japan as “a single oops” is frankly ridiculous. And we are not seeing decades of harm; most of the evacuation areas are reopen and the remainder could be, given the improved understanding of how area dose converts to individual exposure and the relatively rapid diminution of contamination over time:


          • SteveInCalif

            HI Joffan – thanks. That’s why I put it out there, to expose myself different opinions. I’ll never be an expert, and doing best not to knee-jerk in creating my own thoughts. Cheers.

          • SA Kiteman

            What most people don’t know about those maps is that every time they are compared to ground measurements (the standard mehod for determining groundshine) they come out ~3 to 7 times too high. Those red areas should have been mostly yellow by actual ground measurements. In addition, the IAEA recommends not evacuating people unless the groundshine level exceeds 25µSv/h (higher than the 19 that defines the red) or unless the food and water is contaminated.

          • Joffan

            Useful footnote.

            Most people, of course, don’t know that these maps exist at all. Here I’m just using them to counter the fiction that contamination is permanent. The yellow area in the first map roughly defined the (unreasonably low) evacuation criterion, and the trend towards eliminating yellow from the map is instructive, even as the argument should continue that the red area was closer to the correct limit. And the red is all gone.

          • SA Kiteman

            I would be honored.

            Many people are unsure about nuclear because they have been fed lies all their lives. Indeed, the lies are so ingrained that even Federal Regulators don’t reject them. The big lie that makes most Anti-NuPow attitude is the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) Model, aka, the “No Safe Dose” lie. It colors almost every nuclear concern I’ve ever run into. Federal Regulators use LNT because it is convenient and conservative. Well, ok, it is conservative; needlessly and frighteningly so.

            Just for a second, imagine something for me. Imagine radiation was a vitamin. Call it “Vitamin R”. Now, would you go out and buy a mega-bottle of vitamin A and chug down the whole thing in one sitting? Probably not a good idea. Well, you wouldn’t want too much Vitamin R either. Radiation in high doses can be deadly, quickly fatal in fact. In middle level doses, but more than people are likely to get from typical nuclear power plant accidents, radiation can cause DNA damage to accumulate faster than the body can repair it and set the stage for future cancers. The “Big C”, the terrifying “C”. BUT, except for certain unique situations, getting enough dose to do that is difficult. In the low and very low ranges, radiation does a funny thing. Like basically every stressor with evolutionary context, it cranks up the body’s repair capability. So it appears, from the great majority of data, that with low doses, the added repairs exceed the added damage, and the body gets healthier. It seems that low dose and dose rate radiation does the opposite of medium dose, and actually REDUCES cancers. This is a biolgical response to any stressor; exercise, sunlight, chemical toxins, radiation. It is called hormesis.

            So, if a bit of waste leaks out, why would you care? As long as the systems are good enough to prevent medium level doses or higher, there is really nothing to worry about. People go to places on earth to specifically get higher thn normal doses (still low) specifically for purposes of health.

            If you read the IAEA guidelines for Emergency Response to Nuclear Acidents, you will see that Japan evacuated about 10 times as many people as they should have, and THAT was determined by equalizing risk calculated from evacuation studies to the risk calculated using the very conservative LNT. With a hormesis model, that would probably prove to be even higher. But the thing to remember here is that even accepting the LNT, and assuming NO clean-up, the land would be fully habitble in about 50 years.

            As for “waste”, the waste most folks think about is the “Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF)” which is actually about 95%-97% unspent fuel and only abbout 3%-5% waste. And that waste, the fission products, decay so quickly they become as safe as the dirt they came from in about 300 years.

            If you have further concerns or would like references, please don’t hesitate to ask.

          • SteveInCalif

            Thank you – I’ve hit the jackpot with knowledgeable people such as yourself. Double-jackpot that you also take the time to explain well. Genuinely appreciated.

          • Jag_Levak

            “I find myself against nuclear because it is a technology beyond our ability to control it.”

            I suspect what you mean is that it is beyond our ability to completely eliminate any risk of accidents. And that would be true, but the potential for accidents exists in everything we do. And some of our energy options have destructive, health harming, and even lethal effects just in the normal course of operation, without any accidents. The issue is how well accident risk can be managed.

            You say you find yourself against nuclear, but that’s kind of like saying you’re against fire. There is a huge spectrum of ways to use fire. Some of them are very risky, with the potential to devastate large areas. Others have the risk very well contained. You probably are against some particularly dumb, dangerous, or destructive uses of fire, but mankind has also received countless benefits from the better uses of fire, and I bet you would not like the sort of existence we would have if we’d never harnessed it.

            There are also a large number of ways to do nuclear, and some of them are so obviously bad that we’ve never even attempted them. Even for the ways we have attempted, some did not work out so well. No surprise. I can’t think of an instance where we have achieved instant perfection on our first foray into a new field. The way it usually goes is that we try, we sometimes screw up, we learn, and we do better. Considering we are dealing with energy a million times more intense than fire, it’s actually pretty remarkable that nuclear energy already has one of the best safety records of all our major energy options. And that’s with an industry mostly run on aging examples of early designs. So while it’s fine and perfectly reasonable to be against bad ways of doing nuclear power, the real question is how good would it have to be in order reach your threshold of ‘good enough to be acceptable’.

            “Of course, it provides enormous benefit and huge utility cost savings.”

            James Hansen figures it prevented nearly two million early deaths from the kinds of energy it displaced. No telling how many billions of dollars it also saved in health costs. (Some estimates put the health cost of U.S. coal as high as a hundred billion per year.) And it is still our leading source of low carbon energy. On the other hand, the economic case for nuclear, as we’ve been doing it, is not so great. That’s one of the reasons there are so many teams trying to develop radically different approaches.

            “On the other hand, a single oops causes decades x decades harm.”

            The biggest nuclear oops by far was Chernobyl, and it took a lot of bad decisions to bring that one about. Ideally, you’d want a power reactor to be designed for the particular needs and demands of power generation. What the Soviets did was shoehorn a bomb-fuel production reactor (something with entirely different design needs) into a power generation application, scaled it up enormously in order to achieve their objectives of big, powerful, and really cheap, disregarded the risks associated with a positive void reactivity coefficient (boiling made it run hotter) and graphite-tipped control rods, skipped the bother and expense of any form of containment, and then they let people with hopelessly inadequate science and engineering background conduct an ad hoc and completely experimental “emergency test” that violated all the operations protocols–and they did this with the safeties disengaged, no less. Not even people who are ardently pro-nuclear would be in favor of any of those things. Not if they’re sane.

            And so the monkeys running the machine ran it up past 3000% of full power and blew it up, and the exposed core burned for about a week. It’s hard to imagine how they could have screwed it up any worse than they did. The result was dozens dead, and some more sickened, and it mostly killed a nearby forest–about what a small forest fire would do. There was (eventually) a large evacuation, and much loss of homes, farms and facilities (what we’d call property), but the area has been rapidly reverting to a natural state, so whether you would call this a “harm” depends of whether you mean for humans, or for the wildlife. The mismanagement afterward likely caused a few thousand needless cases of thyroid cancer, a few of which resulted in death, and it is presumed the larger exposed population is at some increased risk for other forms of cancer, so maybe a few thousand more might die earlier than they would have. (Even if that happens, that really should be compared against millions dead from coal, or even hundreds of thousands dead from hydropower.) But as bad as Chernobyl was, it doesn’t constitute a reason to throw out all forms of nuclear, including those which could never fail that way. That would be like using the poor safety of cars from the 50’s as an argument against cars which have excellent restraint systems and crashworthiness.

            “In addition, we don’t yet know how to store the waste as the waste containers fail after so many years.”

            We know of several ways of dealing with today’s spent fuel. My preference would be to burn it up in fast reactors and get 20 or more times as much energy out of it as we got from the reactors which produced the spent fuel in the first place. But there are definitely geologic sequester options which will remove it from surface life for the millenium it would take to drop to surrounding radioactivity levels. Or we could do recoverable underground storage which would give us a few centuries to decide what we ultimately want to do with it. The obstacle to these options isn’t technical, it’s political.

            “Thus: I feel the cons outweigh the benefits”

            With some kinds of nuclear power, that’s always going to be the case. With others, that will still sometimes be the case. Even if the best designs in development work out as well as expected, I don’t think any of them will always be the best option for every situation. But the same would be true for all our other options as well.

            “(perhaps in time, we’ll learn how to control it; we’re not good at it yet).”

            Any design that depends on human control is going to be vulnerable to human error. As much as possible, we want reactors which we don’t have to control–reactors which can ramp up and down as needed in response to demand, and which can shut themselves down if they are hit with some sort of disaster or emergency. Some of the reactors we have can do some of that. Some of the reactors in development look like they will be able to do a lot of that.

          • SteveInCalif

            Wow – if you write a book, I will buy it. You’ve no idea how appreciative I am with your response – genuine thanks. All you say is superb and agree – great analogies also – they help a lot. A couple things:

            The Chernobyl killing a forest is more than that because a standard fire takes 1x years to return to normal. A nuclear accident that killed the forest takes 1xxxxxxxx years, not counting mutations that occur ( another topic I don’t know about – or is the news creating drama about mutations). Tough for me to compare human, animal and plant life against each other. To me, they’re all one due to cycle of nature (and I’m not a crazy environmentalist).

            I live near San Ononfre, CA where the nuclear plant was shut down. It’s my understanding that the plant was doing great. Great until they decided to increase it’s power and that failed, causing the permanent shutdown. What’s the difference between San Onofre and Chernobyl where both did the very human thing exemplified by Tim Allen TV show “more power!” segments. We all know the results of his “more power” antics – fail every time. So, did we not learn from the Chernobyl incident; or are we too stubborn to learn? (I know the situations are vastly different in Chernobyl vs. San Onofre, yet they are similar when looking at top line).

            Next, and very current topic at San Onofre is community angst about the utility wanting to store the bad stuff on the beach. It’s possible the public (and me) don’t know that the beach can be safe….but combine that with current Fukishima news about their radiated water hitting our shores – you can imagine the concern people have, particularly when news articles contracdict each other about what is safe, what isn’t). Perhaps the answer here is the authorities not doing a well enough PR or educational campaign to teach us so we can sleep better at night. And, politics, as you mentioned.

            Yet, politics is a real thing. Store the waste here, store it there; not in my back yard. Those are all part of the problem of not knowing what to do with the awesome technology and benefits that nuclear provides. A logical mind makes it easy: get politics out of the way and the matter is settled. That’s not going to happen, thus politics is a genuine, and a real consideration.

            Then, politics leads to money (or money leads to politics). My guess is the reason San Onofre operators want to store waste on the beach is due to costs. So why don’t they use your recommended solution of burning (probably a combo of costs/politics).

            Please also know us SoCal folks are also in stress about a new ocean desalinization plant in the works. The owners/designers want to use current piping infrastructure that will cause unnecessary marine life loss. The are not willing to use current technology that would limit marine life loss due to cost (they told us so: cost is the actual reason why, otherwise they will not meet their profit goals and will walk away from the plan). Turning this back to nuclear: both Chernobyl and San Onofre exceeded the plant’s engineering. We’re not learning or using the knowledge and opportunity we currently have to current projects. Take that another step, we have another nuclear plant (Diablo, I think is its name) that’s doing great, but people had to sue to prevent ocean floor sound blasting to map the floor. That floor is on a vast network of seismic plates that if disrupted, could cause major issues at the nuclear plant. Once again, not applying the learning – a lawsuit was what it took to prevent it.

            Your reply is fantastic and yes, you succeeded in educating me well, and I’ve changed my mind and accept nuclear. With one BUT: we must commit ourselves to use our brains instead of “more profit / more money” and/or taking liberal chances – better to be conservative when potential harm is so great (chance outside of experimentation and creating great new technologies).

          • Jag_Levak

            “The Chernobyl killing a forest is more than that because a standard fire takes 1x years to return to normal. A nuclear accident that killed the forest takes 1xxxxxxxx years,”

            The dominant long-term contaminant isotopes in that area will be Cesium 137 and Strontium 90, both with half lives around 30 years. Ten half-lives is enough to take an isotope down to a thousandth of its original radioactivity, and dispersion dilutes it further. Much of Chernobyl’s red forest has already been repopulated. It doesn’t resemble what was there before, but much of the red forest was actually a monoculture scotch pine crop. Biodiversity has actually increased as the area has regrown.

            But you also need to bear in mind, much larger swaths of forests are being cut down to burn as “green” fuel, or are being cleared to grow fuel crops, or sometimes get inundated by hydropower projects, and even wind and solar can do extensive damage when installed in forested regions, and all that is just part of normal operation. Chernobyl was the extreme outlier disaster from an unstable design without containment (a configuration not in use any more) so even acknowledging that real, long-term damage was done there is not a knock on the way nuclear power is typically done, much less on the best ways it could be done.

            “not counting mutations that occur”

            There were some notable plant growth anomalies, but in some, their fertility actually increased. The cooling pond of the Chernobyl reactors now contain enormous highly radioactive fish which some people have called mutations, but they are just huge because they eat well and don’t have predators.

            “Tough for me to compare human, animal and plant life against each other.”

            There were clearly some deleterious radiation effects in some plant and animal species in the hottest zones. But it appears the net effect on animal and plant life has been a boon because of the removal of humans. High levels of radiation, it turns out, isn’t nearly as damaging as humans themselves are.

            “I live near San Ononfre, CA where the nuclear plant was shut down. It’s my understanding that the plant was doing great. Great until they decided to increase it’s power and that failed, causing the permanent shutdown.

            The old steam turbines were still working, but they were coming up on the end of their service lives. When they ordered new turbines, they also went for a power uprate. But the turbines are the primary coolant for the reactor, so increasing their power capacity increases their ability to cool the reactor. The problem was that, even though Mitsubishi Heavy had built many other steam turbines, each one had to be custom-designed and built. In effect, each one was an untested prototype. This is a major drawback of the boutique-built approach we have had to nuclear power in the U.S., especially when it is done on a large scale so that any failure is likely to be very expensive. What ultimately did the new turbines in was excessive vibration in lots of little tubes, possibly due to an entry error which under-rated the steam velocity. A dumb mistake, but the larger and more complex an untested system is, the greater the chances that a dumb mistake will slip through.

            “What’s the difference between San Onofre and Chernobyl where both did the very human thing exemplified by Tim Allen TV show “more power!” segments.”

            The Chernobyl excursion actually traced to the difficulty of controlling the reactor at low power. The massive power spike was not what they were trying for.

            “So, did we not learn from the Chernobyl incident;”

            The Soviets did learn the importance and usefulness of containment, and that was added to all the other RBMK reactors, and the reactors themselves were also modified in response. But it’s always a tricky thing deciding how broad a lesson to take away from any disaster.

            “Next, and very current topic at San Onofre is community angst about the utility wanting to store the bad stuff on the beach.”

            I don’t know that Edison wants to do that so much as they don’t have much in the way of options. It would make more sense to cart the casks out to some remote area, but to do that, they would need public acceptance of transporting the casks (and there are lots of doomsayers who will oppose that) and they’d need a destination to take it to. And NIMBYism will block that even in sparsely populated areas.

            “It’s possible the public (and me) don’t know that the beach can be safe…”

            And that’s a problem. The sustained fear campaign against nuclear has been successful to the point that there is now nothing that anyone can say which would assure a nervous public. And so long as the casks remain a focus of fear, that makes them attractive targets for anyone looking to incite fear. Crashing an airplane into them probably wouldn’t even crack the concrete outer cask, but the breathless news reports in such an event would be amped to eleven, and the ensuing panic would then feed on itself, and chaos and probably some death would ensue. Overhyped risk creates overblown fear, which then becomes actual risk that far exceeds any original risk.

            “Yet, politics is a real thing.”

            Yes it is. And this is the focus of a major divide among nuclear proponents. Some (notably Ecomodernists) think the best way forward is to do more of the traditional nukes we have experience with, but in a standardized form and in much greater numbers so that we can get good at building them and maybe push the cost down that way. NextGen proponents think that approach will never be socially accepted, and that nuclear faces a bleak future until there is a technical revolution with radically different reactors. The public won’t accept that there can be a sufficiently low likelihood of failure so long as that failure can mean meltdown and widespread contamination. But I think most people could accept a reactor if it could never melt down, or precipitate explosions, or have large scale radioactive dispersals.

            “My guess is the reason San Onofre operators want to store waste on the beach is due to costs. So why don’t they use your recommended solution of burning (probably a combo of costs/politics).”

            We need a new kind of reactor for that. We came close to developing one (the Integral Fast Reactor) but that was killed by politics (spearheaded by Gore, Clinton, and Kerry) and was shut down at greater expense than what it would have cost to conclude development testing. Today, there are several private teams working on other kinds of fast reactors (I rather like the Moltex approach), but they are still in development. However, even if we had the right reactor for burning spent fuel ready to go tomorrow, we’d still need interim storage good enough for at least a century. In a fast reactor, spent fuel becomes barely-used fuel, which means it can still generate 20 or more times the energy that it did going through today’s reactors. But that also means it will take 20 or more times as many gigawatt years to consume it as it took to make it in the first place.

            “Please also know us SoCal folks are also in stress about a new ocean desalinization plant in the works.”

            You know, you guys have a couple of big reactors in good condition sitting idle because they don’t have working steam generators. Guess what else you can do with lots of heat.

            “both Chernobyl and San Onofre exceeded the plant’s engineering.”

            If you take a hammer to a watch and smash it to bits, I suppose there is a sense in what that “exceeded” the engineering of the watch, but it seems a tad unfair to blame insufficiency of engineering when the watch was never designed for that kind of treatment. Chernobyl was a management and operations failure. They violated the manual the engineers provided, and did things the reactor was never meant to do. If they had hadn’t done that, there might never have been any serious RBMK reactor failure. (And as a result, the Soviet Union might never have disintegrated, and we would not now have the Chernobyl wilderness area–so be careful what you wish for.) San Onofre, on the other hand, just looks like a straight up engineering failure. (But not a nuclear engineering failure.)

            “We’re not learning or using the knowledge and opportunity we currently have to current projects.”

            I think that played a large role in how civilian nuclear power in the U.S. got off on an inferior track, when better ways of doing nuclear were in development, even then.

            “we must commit ourselves to use our brains instead of “more profit / more money”

            We need nuclear power that is cheap and profitable. That’s the only way it can help to render the fossil fuel reserves in the ground worthless, and we’ll need to tap into future nuclear revenue streams to help defray the legacy costs of today’s nuclear. I think the reactors we have now will never be able to deliver cheap, but there are other approaches which look like they have very good prospects towards that end.

            “and/or taking liberal chances – better to be conservative when potential harm is so great”

            No form of nuclear can be cheap if it also carries the potential for great harm. Making them very safe is a necessary prerequisite for making them cheap.

          • SteveInCalif

            Holy Cow – who the heck are you?! I say that compliment to your knowledge and smarts. You remind me of a gentleman I listen to on Los Angeles’ KFI radio Bill Handle show – a regular weekly guest is Rod Pyle who is NASA/JPL/Space Expert. His knowledge is excellent and explains things well. You need to be that guy on behalf of nuclear. Thank you Jag – gonna re-read a couple times to sink in and remember (I work on boats that pass near San Onofre plant frequently each day – now I can answer my own, and passenger questions).

        • Joffan

          As a footnote, most of the tanks have only had treated water in them. The water extracted from the reactor basements is treated relatively quickly through dedicated holding tanks – even quicker now that the quantities are reducing.

  • JenniWest

    You should be sued for that headline.

  • Joffan

    The headline and opening paragraph corrected:
    Japan To May Dump Release Deadly Harmless Fukushima Nuclear Waste Treated Water Into Pacific Ocean

    Japan has announced considered plans to dump release 920,000 tons of deadly harmless Fukushima nuclear waste treated water into the Pacific ocean, saying that they can no longer should not have to contain pointlessly store the waste water on land.

    You’re welcome.

    This stored water is less radioactive than normal seawater. There is zero benefit to complicating the task of clearing up the Fukushima site by continuing to store this water. The independent committee set up to consider this issue looked at a number of options for disposing of the water – one of them was indeed releasing the water as-is into the Pacific. This was low risk and low cost. None of the options considered had direct radiological risks to workers or public.

  • Graeme Pedersen

    If the water is only being used to cool the area and can be pumped out. Why can’t it be pumped back and reused? It may get hotter and hotter (radioactive wise). But it would save having to store it and it can’t get any more radioactive than the reactors.
    I tried to get some sense from the comments here, but as usual a lot of dribble and off point rhetoric.

    • Joffan

      A tiny fraction of this water is being used for reactor cooling. Most of it has just been collected from the reactor buildings and surrounding wells as the groundwater slowly moves under the site, then processed to remove dissolved radioactive material. So what is stored in the tanks is really the cleaned-up groundwater that would have eventually gone into the ocean “dirty”, except that Tepco pumped it out of the building basements. This meant that more groundwater seeped in, generating the continual build-up, but ensuring that the other water going into the building basement, the cooling water that had actually been in contact with the fuel slag, didn’t seep out.

      What Tepco really need, and I guess is very difficult or they would have done it already, is to establish a cooling circuit for the wrecked reactors that is all through piping. not allowing the water to run out through pipe breaks etc into the basements. But work close up to the containment vessels still has to be planned for limited duration.

  • annrein

    Oh yes you can contain it on land. Figure it out!! You have no right contaminating the rest of us!

    • JenniWest

      You need some better sources of info.

      • annrein

        How so? So you’re ok with them dumping it? You need better sources of common sense.

        • http://www.eagle.ca/~gcowan/ GRLCowan

          Sense becomes uncommon when big bucks are in play, and the bucks the Japanese government has been making, on increased fossil fuel use, are very big. All advanced countries’ governments share this conflict of interest. Are you government-funded?

  • Birte Petersen

    Japan -please STOP it NOW !!!

  • Birte Petersen

    Japan -please STOP it NOW !

  • Then Again


    • http://www.eagle.ca/~gcowan/ GRLCowan

      A Ministry of Truth, presumably.

      But ministries of truth have the reputation of being A-OK with lies that benefit the privileged, and ‘yournewswire”s headline is just such a lie.

  • Joffan

    I guess “Tepco to release about a shot-glass full of radioactive water” doesn’t sound frightening enough. But that’s how much radioactive material is actually in the scary-sounding large amount of treated water.

    The reactors are not now leaking radioactive water into the ocean, and have not been for almost two years. In Oct 2015 the steel seawall was finished and stopped the seepage of contaminated groundwater from under the reactors.

    It’s that groundwater that, after treatment to remove dissolved contaminants, has gradually filled up the tanks at Fukushima Daiichi. It’s not deadly and won’t harm the ecosystem even in the immediate vicinity of the plant (provided it’s run out slowly – it is freshwater after all).

    The stadium proposed for the Olympic events is 50km from the plant, and has background levels of radiation below many more populated areas around the world, even as the radiation contamination levels continue to fall steadily.