Exactly one week ago (13.02), Japan was hit by a powerful shock M7.3. The most damage was recorded on the eastern coast of the Tōhoku region. It was in this area that the powerful tsunami of 2011 struck, devastating the entire coast and causing the disaster at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, killing tens of thousands of people.
Fukushima prefecture authorities and TEPCO, the operator of the nuclear power plant, said the latest earthquake has led to further damage at the facility. The situation seems to be more hopeless than it was a week ago. A strong seismic shock damaged two of the destroyed reactors. In both, the cooling water level dropped, which means that the temperature rose there and that the radiation level increased.
As a result, engineers will now have to pump much more water into the facilities to cool the reactor debris and the nuclear fuel there. This is bad news. There is already less and less space on the site for contaminated water tanks. The new damage will require additional tanks. The process of discharge of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean will most likely be accelerated, which is feared by residents and environmentalists.
The Japanese government in autumn 2020 decided to carry out such an action as early as 2022. In the face of new problems, this process may take place later this year. Experts from TEPCO say that every 4 days a new tank is erected, which can hold 600 tons of water. At the moment, there is as much as 1.5 million tons of contaminated liquid on the site of the power plant. It is already held in 1,300 tanks.
Gradually draining the water into the ocean seems like a good idea, albeit highly controversial. It is dangerous to store such amounts of contaminated water and other substances in one place, and in extremely seismic areas. The recent shock showed that the plant was not well protected, if a still powerful quake were to hit and new tsunami waves struck, the effects would be far more deplorable than the gradual discharge of water into the Pacific Ocean.
But this is not the end of the bad news, the authorities sadly stated that leaks of contaminated water will seriously hamper further decommissioning work. For several months, the Japanese have been testing technologies and are slowly starting to remove solidified nuclear fuel from the inside of the destroyed reactors. Now this process is getting very complicated. Representatives of TEPCO do not hide that the liquidation process may be extended by another several years.
Currently, in all blocks of destroyed reactors there are approx. 1000 nuclear fuel rods. The government wants to remove several dozen rods a year. TEPCO, the government, and experts believe it will take at least 20 years to complete the recovery work of the worst-ever nuclear disaster, costing hundreds of billions of dollars.
Source: GeekWeek.pl/APNews / Fot. TEPCO/Twitter
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