Nuclear Watchdogs Fear Fukushima Leak Is Getting Worse

Nuclear Watchdogs Fear Fukushima Leak Is Getting WorseA nuclear expert has told the BBC that he believes the current water leaks at Fukushima are much worse than the authorities have stated.

‘A good deal worse’

Mycle Schneider is an independent consultant who has previously advised the French and German governments. He says water is leaking out all over the site and there are no accurate figures for radiation levels. Meanwhile the chairman of Japan’s nuclear authority said that he feared there would be further leaks.

The ongoing problems at the Fukushima plant increased in recent days when the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted that around 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the site. But some nuclear experts are concerned that the problem is a good deal worse than either Tepco or the Japanese government are willing to admit.


‘Leaches into the sea’

They are worried about the enormous quantities of water, used to cool the reactor cores, which are now being stored on site. Some 1,000 tanks have been built to hold the water. But these are believed to be at around 85% of their capacity and every day an extra 400 tonnes of water are being added.

Several scientists also raised concerns about the vulnerability of the huge amount of stored water on site to another earthquake. The storage problems are compounded by the ingress of ground water, running down from the surrounding hills. It mixes with radioactive water leaking out of the basements of the reactors and then some of it leaches into the sea, despite the best efforts of Tepco to stem the flow.

Do you think Fukushima’s radiation problem is actually worse than we know? In connection to this problem, should Tokyo’s Olympic bid be withdrawn?

Source: Matt McGrath | BBC News

Image: The Washington Post

Italian Scientists Resign To Protest L’Aquila Quake Verdict

Italian Scientists Resign To Protest L'Aquila Quake VerdictTwo scientists resigned their posts with the government’s disaster preparedness agency Tuesday after a court in L’Aquila sentenced six scientists and a government official to six years in prison. The court ruled Monday that the scientists failed to accurately communicate the risk of the 2009 quake, which killed more than 300 people.

‘Impossible to forecast’

Luciano Maiani, the physicist who led the National Commission for the Prediction and Prevention of Major Risks, resigned in protest of the verdict Tuesday afternoon, Italy’s Civil Protection Agency announced. In addition, Mauro Dolce quit as director of the office that monitors volcano and earthquake threats, the agency said. Dolce will be given another post, it said.

Seismologists were aghast at the court’s decision, noting that earthquakes remain impossible to forecast with any kind of accuracy.

“If scientists can be held personally and legally responsible for situations where predictions don’t pan out, then it will be very hard to find scientists to stick their necks out in the future,” said David Oglesby, an associate professor in the Earth sciences faculty of the University of California, Riverside.


‘Inaccurate information’

Prosecutors argued that the scientists gave “inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory information about the dangers” facing L’Aquila at a meeting a week before the magnitude-6.3 quake. The experts determined that it was “unlikely” but not impossible that a major quake would take place, despite concern among the city’s residents over recent seismic activity.

The Italian geophysics institute expressed “regret and concern” about the verdict in a statement Monday. It said the ruling “threatens to undermine one of the cornerstones of scientific research: that of freedom of investigation, of open and transparent discussion and sharing of results.”

Do you agree with the court’s decision to hold the six scientists guilty of multiple manslaughter in the deadly L’Aquila earthquake? Share your thoughts and opinions with us!

Source: CNN

Image: The Jordan Times