Seven Tons of Radioactive Water an Hour (via New York Times)

My father tells me that the news from Fukushima is all over the cable news. I wouldn’t know. I’m careful not to watch. I prefer my sources, BBC, Reuters, the New York Times, McClatchy, AP and a few others. The 24 news programs generate a lot of nonsense and I only occasionally use clips.

For my taste there should be more news about these events in the more regular media.

James Pilant

From the New York Times –

Experts estimate that about seven tons an hour of radioactive water is escaping the pit. Safety officials have said that the water, which appears to be coming from the damaged No. 2 reactor, contains one million becquerels per liter of iodine 131, or about 10,000 times the levels normally found in water at a nuclear plant.

“There is still a steady stream of water from the pit,” Mr. Nishiyama said, but workers would continue to “observe and evaluate” the situation overnight.

The leak underscores the dangerous side effects of the strategy to cool the plant’s reactors and spent fuel storage pools by pumping them with hundreds of tons of water. While much of that water evaporates, a significant portion also turns into dangerous runoff that has been discovered in various parts of the plant, endangering workers at the plant and hindering repair efforts. On March 24, three workers were injured when they stepped into a pool of radioactive water in one of the plant’s turbine buildings.

In recent days, workers have tried to clear the contaminated pools, but have struggled to find places to store the water. Meanwhile, levels of iodine 131 that are over 4,000 times normal, as well as levels of cesium 137 that are 527 times normal have been detected in seawater taken 1,080 feet away from the plant, raising fears of damage to sea life.

Tokyo Electric has said it has little choice but to pump more water into the reactors at the moment, since the normal cooling systems at the plant are inoperable and more radioactive material would be released if the reactors were allowed to melt down fully or if the rods caught fire.