Tag Archive: nuclear power

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Published on Feb 13, 2014

TEPCO released a report entitled, TEPCO’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Roadmap, that contained some astounding information regarding Unit 3. Follow Fairewinds Energy’s Arnie Gundersen as he shows you the 35-ton refueling bridge that fell in the Unit 3 spent fuel pool during the Unit 3 detonation explosion. Do the math. The bottom line here is that TEPCO has just acknowledged that at least 50-tons of rubble has fallen on top of and into the spent fuel pool in Unit 3. What does this 50-ton pile of debris mean to the Unit 3 spent fuel pool and its cleanup?

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File:Nuclear Fuel Cycle.png

Nuclear Fuel Cycle  (Public Domain)

Image Source  :  Wikipedia.org

Author  Tungsten.



Two Former Japanese Prime Ministers Try to Shake Up Japanese Politics to Kill Nuclear Energy

Japan may have enacted a fascist state secrecy law which outlaws independent reporting on Fukushima … but there might be some hope yet.

Specifically, two former Prime Ministers are speaking out on Fukushima and Japan’s energy future.

EneNews gave an excellent roundup last week:

Kyodo, Jan. 14, 2014: Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa said Tuesday he will run in the upcoming Tokyo gubernatorial election with an antinuclear agenda after securing the backing of popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi […] The move […] could have game-changing impact on the race for the helm of the Japanese capital […] “I have made my decision to run in the Tokyo governor election,” Hosokawa told reporters after meeting Koizumi. “I have a sense of crisis myself that the country’s various problems, especially nuclear power plants, are matters of survival for the country.” […] Koizumi indicated the main focus of the election will be whether to pursue nuclear power or not, calling the election “a war between the group that says Japan can grow with zero nuclear power plants” and the group that says it cannot. […]

Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 14, 2014: […] “I have a sense of crisis that various problems facing Japan today, especially the issue of nuclear power generation, will endanger the existence of our country,” Hosokawa said, explaining the reason for his candidacy. […] Koizumi said the Tokyo gubernatorial election will be a contest between pro- and anti-nuclear forces. “My belief is that Japan will be able to do without nuclear energy. Hosokawa also has the same belief. That is the biggest reason for my support of him,” he said. […] Koizumi told reporters, “I expressed my respects to Hosokawa from the heart. I will do my utmost so that Hosokawa wins the election.” Koizumi said the Tokyo gubernatorial election could have “the biggest influence ever on national politics.” “If the Tokyo metropolitan government shows that it can go without nuclear power generation, it will certainly be able to change Japan,” he said. Koizumi also said, “If Hosokawa becomes Tokyo governor, he will have a major influence that could shake national politics on the issues of energy and nuclear power generation.” […]

Wall St. Journal, Jan. 14, 2014: [Former Prime Ministers Hosokawa and Koizumi] are expected to stir up the gubernatorial race and bring the energy debate back into the national spotlight. That will likely dismay of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which would rather not have the divisive issue become an election focal point. […] Mr. Hosokawa said […] “I have a sense of crisis that our nation’s survival is at stake over nuclear power.”

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Protests Grow in Japan: “We Want to Bring Our Message to the World to Stop Nuclear Power Plants”

democracynow democracynow·

Published on Jan 17, 2014

http://www.democracynow.org – Recent moves by the Japanese government to restart the country’s nuclear power plant facilities have been met by growing protests “I think this is a problem of the world, not just of Japan,” Kato Kaiko told Democracy Now! at a protest outside the Prime Minister’s private residence in Tokyo. She describes how there is increasing expectation that voters will decide which candidate to choose in the upcoming election based on their position on nuclear power.

Watch our entire special broadcast from Japan at http://www.democracynow.org/topics/japan……

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Nuclear power plants world-wide, in operation, as of 18 January 2013

Number of reactors in operation, worldwide



Former NRC Commissioner: Trying To Solve Global Warming By Building Nuclear Power Plants Is Like Trying To Solve Global Hunger By Serving Everyone Caviar

And Nuclear Pumps Out a Lot of Carbon Dioxide

It is well-documented that nuclear energy is very expensive and bad for the environment.

Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Peter Bradford notes:

If asked whether we should increase our reliance on caviar to fight world hunger, most people would laugh. Relying on an overly expensive commodity to perform an essential task spends too much money for too little benefit, while foreclosing more-promising approaches.

That is nuclear power’s fundamental flaw in the search for plentiful energy without climate repercussions, though reactors are also more dangerous than caviar unless you’re a sturgeon.


Nuclear power is so much more expensive than alternative ways of providing energy that the world can only increase its nuclear reliance through massive government subsidy—like the $8 billion loan guarantee offered by the federal government to a two-reactor project in Georgia approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this year.


Many more such direct government subsidies will be needed to scale up nuclear power to any great extent.


John Rowe, former chief executive of Exelon Corp., an energy company that relies heavily on nuclear power, recently said, “At today’s [natural] gas prices, a new nuclear power plant is out of the money by a factor of two.” He added, “It’s not something where you can go sharpen the pencil and play. It’s economically wrong.” His successor, Christopher Crane, recently said gas prices would have to increase roughly fivefold for nuclear to be competitive in the U.S.


Countries that choose power supplies through democratic, transparent and market-based methods aren’t building new reactors.

Indeed, nuclear is not only crazily expensive, but it also pumps out a huge amount of carbon dioxide during construction, and crowds out development of clean energy.

Nuclear may also provide a lower return on energy invested than renewable forms of alternative energy. In other words, it might take more energy to create nuclear energy than other forms of power … which is worse for the environment.

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Number of reactors in operation, worldwide, 2013-01-18 (IAEA 2013, modified)

Nuclear Power Plants July 2012



Number of reactors under construction

Number of reactors under construction, 2013-01-18 (IAEA 2013, modified)



Nuclear share in electricity generation
Nuclear share in electricity generation, 2011 (IAEA 2012, modified)



Nuclear Power Is Expensive and Bad for the Environment … It’s Being Pushed Because It Is Good For Making Bombs

Since the 1980s, the U.S. Has Secretly Helped Japan Build Up Its Nuclear Weapons Program … Pretending It Was “Nuclear Energy” and “Space Exploration” …

As demonstrated below, nuclear energy is expensive and bad for the environment.

The real reason it is being pushed is because it is good for helping countries like Japan and the U.S. build nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Energy Is Expensive

Forbes points out:

Nuclear power is no longer an economically viable source of new energy in the United States, the freshly-retired CEO of Exelon, America’s largest producer of nuclear power [who also served on the president’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future], said in Chicago Thursday.

And it won’t become economically viable, he said, for the forseeable future.


“I’m the nuclear guy,” Rowe said. “And you won’t get better results with nuclear. It just isn’t economic, and it’s not economic within a foreseeable time frame.”

U.S. News and World Report notes:

After the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan last year, the rising costs of nuclear energy could deliver a knockout punch to its future use in the United States, according to a researcher at the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment.

“From my point of view, the fundamental nature of [nuclear] technology suggests that the future will be as clouded as the past,” says Mark Cooper, the author of the report. New safety regulations enacted or being considered by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would push the cost of nuclear energy too high to be economically competitive.

The disaster insurance for nuclear power plants in the United States is currently underwritten by the federal government, Cooper says. Without that safeguard, “nuclear power is neither affordable nor worth the risk. If the owners and operators of nuclear reactors had to face the full liability of a Fukushima-style nuclear accident or go head-to-head with alternatives in a truly competitive marketplace, unfettered by subsidies, no one would have built a nuclear reactor in the past, no one would build one today, and anyone who owns a reactor would exit the nuclear business as quickly as possible.”

Alternet reports:

An authoritative study by the investment bank Lazard Ltd. found that wind beat nuclear and that nuclear essentially tied with solar. But wind and solar, being simple and safe, are coming on line faster. Another advantage wind and solar have is that capacity can be added bit by bit; a wind farm can have more or less turbines without scuttling the whole project. As economies of scale are created within the alternative energy supply chains and the construction process becomes more efficient, prices continue to drop. Meanwhile, the cost of stalled nukes moves upward.

AP noted last year:

Nuclear power is a viable source for cheap energy only if it goes uninsured.


Governments that use nuclear energy are torn between the benefit of low-cost electricity and the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, which could total trillions of dollars and even bankrupt a country.

The bottom line is that it’s a gamble: Governments are hoping to dodge a one-off disaster while they accumulate small gains over the long-term.

The cost of a worst-case nuclear accident at a plant in Germany, for example, has been estimated to total as much as €7.6 trillion ($11 trillion), while the mandatory reactor insurance is only €2.5 billion.

“The €2.5 billion will be just enough to buy the stamps for the letters of condolence,” said Olav Hohmeyer, an economist at the University of Flensburg who is also a member of the German government’s environmental advisory body.

The situation in the U.S., Japan, China, France and other countries is similar.


“Around the globe, nuclear risks — be it damages to power plants or the liability risks resulting from radiation accidents — are covered by the state. The private insurance industry is barely liable,” said Torsten Jeworrek, a board member at Munich Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurance companies.


In financial terms, nuclear incidents can be so devastating that the cost of full insurance would be so high as to make nuclear energy more expensive than fossil fuels.


Ultimately, the decision to keep insurance on nuclear plants to a minimum is a way of supporting the industry.

“Capping the insurance was a clear decision to provide a non-negligible subsidy to the technology,” Klaus Toepfer, a former German environment minister and longtime head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said.

See this and this.

This is an ongoing battle, not ancient history. As Harvey Wasserman reports:

The only two US reactor projects now technically under construction are on the brink of death for financial reasons.

If they go under, there will almost certainly be no new reactors built here.


Georgia’s double-reactor Vogtle project has been sold on the basis of federal loan guarantees. Last year President Obama promised the Southern Company, parent to Georgia Power, $8.33 billion in financing from an $18.5 billion fund that had been established at the Department of Energy by George W. Bush. Until last week most industry observers had assumed the guarantees were a done deal. But the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry trade group, has publicly complained that the Office of Management and Budget may be requiring terms that are unacceptable to the builders.


The climate for loan guarantees has changed since this one was promised. The $535 million collapse of Solyndra prompted a rash of angry Congressional hearings and cast a long shadow over the whole range of loan guarantees for energy projects. Though the Vogtle deal comes from a separate fund, skepticism over stalled negotiations is rising.

So is resistance among Georgia ratepayers. To fund the new Vogtle reactors, Southern is forcing “construction work in progress” rate hikes that require consumers to pay for the new nukes as they’re being built. Southern is free of liability, even if the reactors are not completed. Thus it behooves the company to build them essentially forever, collecting payment whether they open or not.

All that would collapse should the loan guarantee package fail.

Bad for the Environment

Alternet points out:

Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Vermont Law School … found that the states that invested heavily in nuclear power had worse track records on efficiency and developing renewables than those that did not have large nuclear programs. In other words, investing in nuclear technology crowded out developing clean energy.

Many experts also say that the “energy return on investment” from nuclear power is lower than many other forms of energy. In other words, non-nuclear energy sources produce more energy for a given input.

And decentralizing energy production and storage is the real solution for the environment … not building more centralized nuclear plants.

Read More Here


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missingsky102 missingsky102

Published on Jan 17, 2014

Former Official in Fukushima: “This is a disaster of all humanity… the entire world” — “It’s on an international level, huge consequences” — “Now bigger than anything we can cope with”

TV: “Many young people in Fukushima who are in high school have died suddenly”; Officials “ignore all the problems” — Former Mayor: People are always told “any disease they have is not caused by radiation”

Mayor of Town That Hosted Fukushima Nuclear Plant Says He Was Told: “No Accident Could Ever Happen”
Democracy Now With Amy Goodman
We speak with Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of the town of Futaba where part of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant is located. The entire town was rendered uninhabitable by the nuclear disaster. We ask him what went through his mind after the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011. “It was a huge surprise, and at the time I was just hoping nothing that had happened at the nuclear power plant. However, unfortunately there was in fact an accident there,” Idogawa recalls. He made a decision to evacuate his town before the Japanese government told people to leave. “If I had made that decision even three hours earlier, I would have been able to prevent so many people from being exposed to radiation.” For years he encouraged nuclear power development in the area; now he has become a vocal critic. He explains that the government and the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, always told him, “‘Don’t worry, Mayor. No accident could ever happen.’ Because this promise was betrayed, this is why I became anti-nuclear.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Music from the film Nuclear Nation: The Fukushima Refugees Story. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. This is the third day of our broadcast from Tokyo, Japan, and the final day. We are talking about moving in on the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. Nineteen thousand people died or went missing on that day, March 11th, 2011, and the days afterwards, when the earthquake triggered a tsunami, and three of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant melted down.
We’re joined right now by Futaba’s former mayor, Katsutaka Idogawa. For years, he embraced nuclear power. Now he has become a vocal critic. He is featured in the film Nuclear Nation.
We welcome you to Democracy Now! And thank you for traveling two hours to join us here at the studios of NHK International for this conversation. Mayor, explain what happened on that day—special thanks to Mary Joyce, who is translating for you today—on that day, March 11, 2011, and the days afterwards, when you decided it was time for the thousands of people who lived in your town, Futaba, to leave.
KATSUTAKA IDOGAWA: [translated] On that day, there was an earthquake of the scale of something we’d never experienced before. It was a huge surprise. And at the time, I was just hoping that nothing had happened to the nuclear power plant. However, unfortunately, there was in fact an accident there. And then I worked with the many residents, and thinking about how I could fully evacuate them from the radiation.
AMY GOODMAN: You made a decision to evacuate your town before the Japanese government told the people in the area to do this, but not before the U.S. government told Americans to leave the area and other governments said the same.

All material provided on this channel is for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement intended.

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry


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Published on Dec 14, 2013

RT News-“Breaking the Set” with Abby Martin
David Martin, chief executive at the Weinberg Foundation, talks about the many potential energy benefits of thorium, a largely unexplored element that poses far less risks than uranium and plutonium.


The Thorium reactor energy option

Thorium backed as a ‘future fuel’

LFTRs in 5 minutes – Thorium Reactors


Sellafield is a nuclear reprocessing site, close to the village of Seascale on the coast of the Irish Sea inCumbria, England. The site is served by Sellafield railway station. Sellafield incorporates the originalnuclear reactor site at Windscale, which is currently undergoing decommissioning and dismantling, andCalder Hall, another neighbour of Windscale, which is also undergoing decommissioning and dismantling of its four nuclear power generating reactors.
The total cost of decommissioning, which will be born by UK taxpayers, is now considered to be in excess of £70 bn.[1]

Sellafield snafu: UK nuclear site shutdown totals $160bln amid cost overruns

Study on IAEA website: Core meltdown risk now around 1,000% higher because of Fukushima — Engineer: Nuclear disaster “a certainty” over next 30 years in Europe

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry









The Energy Collective

Thorium Reactors: Nuclear Redemption or Nuclear Hazard?

Posted by: Herman Trabish


Could thorium be the faltering nuclear industry’s salvation — or is it a mirage? Is the U.S. missing an immense energy opportunity?

“We should be trying our best to develop the use of thorium,” former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix recently told BBC News. “I am told that thorium will be safer in reactors – and it is almost impossible to make a bomb out of thorium.”

Thorium is up to 200 times more energy dense than uranium and as common as lead. It could be a safer, cheaper nuclear fuel, GTM reported shortly after the 2011 Fukushima disaster: “China, India, Japan, France, Russia and the U.S. are all currently developing thorium-based reactors.”

Yet thorium-based nuclear power is still a hypothesis. Maybe because, Blix noted, besides the technical obstacles, there is a multi-billion dollar uranium-based nuclear industry “backed by vested interests.”

“Uranium, which is much better for making bombs, took over the stage” during World War II, explained SuperFuel author and thorium advocate Richard Martin on NPR’s Science Friday last year. Thorium was “pushed aside.”

It could be coming back. India, with the world’s biggest thorium resource, is committed to a program using “thorium compounds as breeder fuel to produce more uranium.” It plans to get “30 percent of its electricity from thorium reactors by 2050,” according to the November Economist.

China is developing “a next-generation reactor which its supporters say will enable thorium to be used much more safely than uranium,” BBC News said. And Norway’s Thor Energy is developing thorium technology through an “evolutionary approach” that will use thorium “in existing reactors together with uranium or plutonium.”

TerraPower, backed by Microsoft billionaires Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold, is a uranium-based small modular reactor (SMR) technology that reuses stockpiled nuclear waste.  The NY Times recently called it  “a very long term bet.”

Thorium technologies fit the nuclear industry’s move toward SMRs. Flibe Energy’s modular liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) and “known thorium reserves” could supply “advanced society for many thousands of years,” according to a Flibe fact sheet.

LFTR’s external nuclear chain reaction also reuses stockpiled nuclear waste and safely eliminates the need for containment vessels because it shuts down automatically if there is a disruption. Thorium is cheaper and more efficient than uranium and LFTR modular reactors would be mass produced cost effectively, use less water, and provide waste heat and marketable byproducts.

Nobel laureate and former CERN Director Carlo Rubbia leads advocacy for an alternative accelerator-driven system (ADS) thorium technology that would give thorium “absolute pre-eminence” over other fuels, Rubbia said recently. Norwegian nuclear industry player Aker Solutions purchased Rubbia’s patents earlier this year and is investing $1.8 billion in their development.


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AGreen Road Project AGreen Road Project

Published on Oct 25, 2013

All Things Political host Steve Leal interviews chief engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education and financial analyst Russell Lowe. The show discusses the recently released Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission report; the San Onofre steam generator modifications and ensuing complications in California; loan guarantees for the nuclear industry; radiation concerns worldwide; whistleblowers and domestic nuclear issues; and a future with energy alternatives.

Arnie Gundersen / Fairewinds:

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AFPCalifornia AFPCalifornia·

Published on Aug 30, 2013

Climatologist Dr. Fred Singer explains how climate alarmism is ruining California’s prosperity. California’s efforts to force CO2 emission reductions on its citizens will do nothing to impact the earth’s climate and will only drive more jobs out of the state.

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Reblogged from  :   Earth First News Wire

17 May

Cross Posted from JapanTimesOpponents of nuclear power started a hunger strike Thursday to press the government to drop a lawsuit demanding they remove their tents from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

They sat down in chairs in front of the tents, wearing headbands and happi coats.

“We are not removing the tents,” they announced in a statement. “We are against the restart of nuclear power reactors.”

“People who are fighting for the end of nuclear power generation meet here and get information here,” said Setsuko Kuroda, 62, of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, who frequently visits the tents.


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Hazmat –  Nuclear  Power  Truths


The vehicle was contained for exceeding the legal radioactive emission limits/ europics

09.05.2013 HAZMAT Switzerland Ticino, Bellinzona Damage level Details

HAZMAT in Switzerland on Thursday, 09 May, 2013 at 14:29 (02:29 PM) UTC.

CALLS are growing for more routine radioactive screening at borders after a second lorry containing unshielded radioactive material was stopped on a European road. The startling discovery in Switzerland came only five days after a group of Romanians carrying unshielded nuclear material were stopped in neighbouring Austria. A lorry from Lithuania on its way to Italy has been found to contain dangerous levels of radioactivity by customs officials. The lorry was cordoned off, while the surrounding 300 feet around the vehicle was evacuated and the Customs border crossing point was closed. A specialist team from the Bellinzona fire service and specially trained police officers were called in to investigate further, discovering that the radioactivity was from a package being transported in the lorry which was confiscated and secured. Davide Bassi, from the Swiss Border Control Office said: “It is not unusual that lorry’s have a low level of radiation, and we do carry out controls to check that this limit is not exceeded.” They were currently examining the package to find out why it was irradiated and what it contained, he said speaking to the Austrian Times. Wolfgang Mueller from Greenpeace Germany said: “It is clearly a growing problem and about time that tougher action was made to cut down on the number of dangerous nuclear transports that seem to be taking place on our streets.”


Nuclear fears in Europe after unshielded radioactive material is found

CALLS are growing for more routine radioactive screening at borders after a second lorry containing unshielded radioactive material was stopped on a European road.

Published: Thu, May 9, 2013

The startling discovery in Switzerland came only five days after a group of Romanians carrying unshielded nuclear material were stopped in neighbouring Austria.

The vehicle was contained after it was discovered to be exceeding the legal radioactive emission limits.

Shockingly, the men had even stored their sandwiches and drinking water in with the radioactive material.

In Austria the men admitted they had made the journey from Germany to Romania carrying similar radioactive loads dozens of times and had not realised how dangerous it was.

Calls are growing for more routine radioactive screening at borders/ europics

It is clearly a growing problem

Wolfgang Mueller

Now, a lorry from Lithuania on its way to Italy has been found to contain dangerous levels of radioactivity by customs officials.




An earthquake, a tsunami, a nuclear meltdown — residents of Japan’s northeast coast suffered through three intertwined disasters after a massive 9.0 magnitude temblor struck off the coast on March 11, 2011.

TOKYO — Like the persistent tapping of a desperate SOS message, the updates keep coming. Day after day, the operators of the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant have been detailing their struggles to contain leaks of radioactive water.

The leaks, power outages and other glitches have raised fears that the plant — devastated by a tsunami in March 2011 — could even start to break apart during a cleanup process expected to take years.

The situation has also attracted the attention of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which sent a team of experts to review the decommissioning effort last month. They warned Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to clean up the site. A full report is expected to be released later this month.

Journalists have been given a rare glimpse inside Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled in the 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit the country two years ago. NBC News’ Arata Yamamoto reports.

The discovery of a greenling fish near a water intake for the power station in February that contained some 7,400 times the recommended safe limit of radioactive cesium only served to heighten concern.

There was also some reassuring news in February, when a report by the World Health Organization said Fukushima had caused “no discernible increase in health risks” outside Japan and “no observable increases in cancer above natural variation” in most of the country.

But for the most affected areas, the report said the lifetime risks of various cancers were expected to increase. For example, baby boys were predicted to have up to a 7 percent greater chance of getting leukemia in their lifetime and for baby girls the lifetime risk of breast cancer could be up to 6 percent higher than normal.

Independent nuclear expert John Large — who has given evidence on the Fukushima disaster to the U.K. parliament and written reports about it for Greenpeace — said there would be hundreds of tons of “intensely radioactive” material in the plant.

He said normally robots could be sent in to remove the fuel relatively easily, but this was difficult because of the damage caused by the tsunami.

Large said the plant was close to the water table, so it was difficult to stop water getting in and out.

“Until you can stop that transfer, you will not contain the radioactivity. That will go on for years and years until they contain it,” he said. “The structures of containment start breaking down. Engineered structures don’t last long when they are put in adverse conditions.”

Larged added: “It may have some marked effect on the health of future generations in Japan. What it will create is a Fukushima generation — like in Nagasaki and Hiroshima – where girls particularly will have difficulty marrying because of the stigma of being brought up in a radiation area.”

Leaks into the sea would not only affect the marine environment, Large said, as tiny radioactive particles would be washed up on the beach, dried in the sun and then blown over the surrounding countryside by the wind.


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