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Japan Dumping Radioactive Water Into Ocean

Japan Earthquake 2011 Natural Disasters

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#1 Mark

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 07:01 AM

Mark: Yes, Japan is now resorting to dumping radioactive water into the Pacific ocean. 10,000 tons of contaminated water (about 5 Olympic swimming pools) will be dumped. Experts are saying the vast amounts of ocean water will dilute the radiation concentrations.
I don't like this at all!

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Overall, the dump equates to about 3 million gallons, notes Gary Was,  a nuclear engineering professor from the University of Michigan.

Yet  Hidehiko Nishiyama, an official with Japan's nuclear and industrial  safety agency, said, "We've decided that discharging the contaminated  water into the sea poses no major health hazard."

Experts say  this is a fair assessment, given the likelihood the contamination should  quickly dilute, especially if the tainted material is largely  iodine-131, which loses half its radiation every eight days.

"To  put this in perspective, the Pacific Ocean holds about 300 trillion  swimming pools full of water, and they are going to release about five  swimming pools full," said Timothy Jorgensen, chair of the radiation  safety committee at Georgetown University Medical Center. "So hopefully  the churning of the ocean and the currents will quickly disperse this so  that it gets to very dilute concentrations relatively quickly."

First they over-fish, they hunt whales illegally, now they want to intentionally dump water with very high levels of radioactivity into our ocean?  :unsure:

Radioactive Water Dumped Into Pacific
Mark
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#2 Balthamos

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 07:35 AM

I think the "experts" might just have it right. The water has to go somewhere though. Of course, if it's "only" 5 olympic swimming pools and the halflife of the radioactive iodine is 8 days the longer they wait the better. I wouldn't be too concerned though.

#3 Nikcara

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 07:54 PM

I'm hardly thrilled by the news, but what else are they supposed to do with it?  Keeping it on land would be a very difficult undertaking right now, and given the amount and the half-life I'm confidant that the ocean can handle it.

I don't like it, and I certainly hope that Japan uses safer means of getting energy in the future, but right now what viable alternatives do they have?  Japan is trying to cope with the fallout of 3 major disasters (no pun intended) and it's resources and infrastructure are stretched to it's limit.  

Yes, I know that they could/should have had better safety and building design of the plant.  But that can't be changed now, and pointing fingers at that fault isn't going to solve the question "what do we do now".
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#4 offworlder

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 08:43 PM

hhmm, why cant they just put it in a locked pool, like up north, like just west of Misawa or something, and leave it there for three hundred years; instead of in a live place like their own shoreline ocean? just think of those poor fishermen..
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#5 Mark

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 12:07 AM

Mark: Yes, Offworlder, I was thinking about similar scenarios.  I was wondering what kind, and how many tanker trucks could be used for such an undertaking of transporting tainted water? Surely there is a better option than just dumping it right off their shoreline. Perhaps pump it into a small oil-type tanker, and dilute it with ocean water a bit, then dump it in smaller amounts in areas of the ocean with rapid current, and a relatively small amount of marine life.  I don't know...I'm just thinking out loud.

Considering this probably won't be the only dump they'll be forced to perform, maybe they should be considering future contingencies. Like making a radiation-resistant  holding reservoir...to pump future amounts of radioactive water into.  Oh, wait...they're doing that for reactors No.1 and No.3, but they're dumping all the water from reactors No. 5 and No. 6 directly into the Pacific.

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Reactors No. 1 and No. 3, which have lower levels of water, need to  be drained as well. Tokyo Electric's plan is to pump that water to other  storage tanks, including some that still need to be set up. Water in  and around the Nos. 5 and 6 reactors is being jettisoned directly in the  sea, officials said.


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Another big problem may be that authorities still don't know how  exactly the gushing water got contaminated, where it came from or how to  fix potential leaks and cracks deep inside the reactor complex and  nuclear fuel.

Michael Friedlander, a former senior U.S. nuclear  engineer, said late Monday that authorities will continue to have  problems related to excess, radioactive water -- and the need to dump  some of it -- as long as they inject huge amounts in to prevent fuel  rods from overheating in reactors' cores and spent fuel pools.

"This  is not a one-off deal," Friedlander said of dumping radioactive water  into the ocean. "This issue of water and water management is going to  plague them until they can get (fully operating) long-term core  cooling."


Wait, now we've got the problem of unexplained water "gushing" from somewhere around reactor No. 2?

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...series of setbacks Japanese authorities faced Tuesday, including the  detection of radiation in a fish and news that the water gushing into  the Pacific had radiation levels millions of times above the regulatory  limit. Readings from samples taken Saturday in the concrete pit  outside the turbine building of the No. 2 reactor -- one of six at the  crisis-plagued plant -- had radiation 7.5 million times the legal limit,  a TEPCO official said. Newer findings, from Tuesday afternoon, showed a  sizable drop to 5 million times the norm.

The  utility company also noted Tuesday that the radiation levels diminished  sharply a few dozen meters from the leak, consistent with their  assessment that the spill might have a minimal effect on sea life. But  even in these spots, radiation levels remained several hundred thousand  times the legal limit.

,,,Both the utility and Japan's nuclear  safety agency said they didn't know how much water is leaking into the  sea from reactor No. 2  


But engineers have had to pour nearly 200 tons  of water a day into the No. 2 reactor vessel to keep it cool, and....regulators say they believe that is the water leaking out.

The idea is to expeditiously pump the tainted water from around the  No. 2 reactor's turbine building, lowering levels inside so that water  no longer rushes out into the sea, a Japanese nuclear safety official  said. This came after the first two failed attempts to plug the  problematic crack -- one by pouring in concrete, the other using a  chemical compound mixed with sawdust and newspaper.


Okay, okay... okay! They pumped sawdust and newspaper into it. :think:

This article is probably relating exactly what this situation really is...a Japanese cluster-#%&!    
After reading, and re-reading this article, I now have as much confidence in Tokyo Electric, and Japan's nuclear agency, as I do in the Japanese characters in a Godzilla movie, as they run around screaming, "GAWDZIRA, GAWDZIRA"! :eek:
Folks, Japan is in a world of hurt, and if we aren't careful, they'll make our world one of hurt too. Maybe the Japanese "officials" in charge of the nuclear disaster have been too much affected by stress, or maybe even radiation, to really make sound decisions. I've heard at least one United States nuclear authority at, Los Alamos National Laboratories, praising and complementing the Japanese about their knowledge regarding their current situation. Did that guy blow as much smoke up my arse as these Japanese regulators, and authorities are seemingly trying to do?

The title of the news article I linked to in my original post said that  the "radioactive water leak from the reactor had been stopped". Later however, the article stated..."The top priority, however, is stopping the water that's been gushing  directly into the Pacific through a cracked concrete shaft outside the  No. 2 reactor"! Now, it's either one or the other...but I give up trying to make sense of what the Japanese are telling us, for the moment.
Mark
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#6 Tricia

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 10:38 AM

I'm not as worried about the radioactive water as I am about the fish.

There was talk in the reporting last night of the tuna which are currently feeding off the coast of Japan but will be migrating to the US Pacific Coast soon.

But as been said here, what's done is done.  We have to deal with it now and hopefully learn from mistakes made.

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#7 Mark

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 10:57 AM

View PostTricia, on 06 April 2011 - 10:38 AM, said:

I'm not as worried about the radioactive water as I am about the fish.

There was talk in the reporting last night of the tuna which are currently feeding off the coast of Japan but will be migrating to the US Pacific Coast soon.

But as been said here, what's done is done.  We have to deal with it now and hopefully learn from mistakes made.

Mark: Yes, my concern is for the marine ecosystem as well.
Mark
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#8 Nikcara

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:39 PM

View Postoffworlder, on 05 April 2011 - 08:43 PM, said:

hhmm, why cant they just put it in a locked pool, like up north, like just west of Misawa or something, and leave it there for three hundred years; instead of in a live place like their own shoreline ocean? just think of those poor fishermen..


They just had a massive earthquake followed by a massive tsunami.  How many roads are broken or impassible because of that?  Japan isn't exactly a huge island anyway - their space is finite.  Where are they supposed to put it?  Near people?  How many regions in Japan AREN'T near population centers?

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Mark: Yes, Offworlder, I was thinking about similar scenarios. I was wondering what kind, and how many tanker trucks could be used for such an undertaking of transporting tainted water? Surely there is a better option than just dumping it right off their shoreline. Perhaps pump it into a small oil-type tanker, and dilute it with ocean water a bit, then dump it in smaller amounts in areas of the ocean with rapid current, and a relatively small amount of marine life. I don't know...I'm just thinking out loud.

I don't think there are many dead zones near the Japanese coast, honestly.  Or even lightly populated ocean areas.  Also, how are they supposed to get the tainted water into the tanks without exposing more people to radiation in the first place?  And once you do get water into the tanks (I suppose you could use the equivalent of a giant shop-vac) where would you take it?  Ocean currents being a strong and involving as much water as they do, the radiation is going to get spread pretty quickly regardless of where it's let out.
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#9 Vapor Trails

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 06:18 PM

Mark, what are your thoughts on what many scientists have said, insofar as the half-life of the radioactive iodine polluting the waters off the coast of the reactor?
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#10 Vapor Trails

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 06:27 PM

Ya know...something has been on my mind for quite a while, since this disaster started...

I've long heard about Japan's robotics. Why haven't they created some sort of robotic devices to help deal with this disaster?
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#11 Mark

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:35 PM

View PostAnalog Kid, on 06 April 2011 - 06:18 PM, said:

Mark, what are your thoughts on what many scientists have said, insofar as the half-life of the radioactive iodine polluting the waters off the coast of the reactor?

Mark: Who knows, AK? Because everything is being filtered through Japanese officials and business authorities, I'm certain the real story has not, nor ever will reach our ears until those officials and authorities are long-dead.
Already, however, one of our atomic agencies here in the U.S. has said this incident ranks a 5 on their list...right beside Three Mile Island, also with a 5. Chernobyl rated a 7. So this is far from over, and I have a feeling the worst is yet to come. :unsure:

I'm sure Japan has robots that could help in some situations. I can't wait to see the ones that put the nuclear rods into a safe device designed to keep them from melting down. The rods in some (at least one I know of) of these reactors WILL melt down if their cooling systems can't be repaired in a timely fashion. They can only spray ocean water on these hot potatoes far so long...but these babies are still in the oven, and the oven is currently set to broil. If meltdown occurs, it WILL create a radioactive cloud that will spread around the atmosphere, doing much more damage than it has so far. Remember Chernobyl!
Mark
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