Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (9501) claim that radioactive water leaking into the sea from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant is confined to the coast doesn’t make scientific sense, according to a U.S. researcher who surveyed waters off the site last month.
Japan’s government has supported the utility’s statement that the irradiated groundwater flowing into the Pacific Ocean at a rate of some 400 tons a day remains in an area of 0.3 square kilometers (0.12 square miles) within the bay fronting the atomic station.
The Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant stands in Okuma, Fukushima on Oct. 3, 2013. Source: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) — Dale Klein, the chairman of an advisory panel to Tokyo Electric Power Co. and a former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, talks about the ongoing problems at the wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant and the prospects for the decommissioning of the reactors. He spoke with Bloomberg Television’s Aika Nanao in Tokyo on Sept. 13. (Source: Bloomberg)
“These statements like a 0.3 square-kilometer zone are silly,” Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution senior scientist Ken Buesseler said in an interview. “It’s not true to the science,” said Buesseler, who was on a Japanese research vessel 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) off Fukushima from Sept. 8 to Sept. 14.
The growing stockpile of radioactive water stored in tanks at the plant and leaks from the tanks into the sea is an increasing threat to ocean ecosystems, said Buesseler, who holds a joint Ph.D in marine chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole. Founded in 1930, Woods Hole is the world’s largest private non-profit oceanographic research institution, according to its website.
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