Fukushima Steam a catastrophic sign: 89 tons of deadly radioactive fuel could reach US soon
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Fukushima's Reactor Building 3 exploded on 13th March 2011 as a result of a hydrogen buildup, breaching the building's containment and emitting a huge plume of radiation. The reactor itself is in meltdown.
Now fresh plumes of steam have been seen coming out the structure. These have now been confirmed by the plant's owner TEPCO, from 19th December onwards. The company believes the steam is coming from the fifth floor of the building.
It does not however know the cause of the steam. Lethal levels of radiation and the physical damage to the structure have so far made entry and inspection impossible.
Summaries from experts conclude that this may "be the beginning of a 'spent fuel pool criticality (meltdown)' involving up to 89 tons of nuclear fuel burning up into the atmosphere and heading to North America".
Educated guesses suggest that the steam is "coming from what’s left of the fifth floor of the mostly-destroyed building".
TEPCO has admitted that "they do not know why this steam is being generated, but matter-of-factly revealed today (December 28) the steam was first spotted on December 19 for a short period of time, then again on December 24 and again on December 25".
The general held belief is that "pellets of radioactive fuel, ejected when the reactor exploded, went into the spent fuel pool above the reactor and have begun melting down so seriously they are boiling off the water in the spent fuel pool".
Should this be the case "the situation could escalate rapidly out of control".
TRN is warning of preparatory measures that should be taken by those living on the West Coast of America because, after "releasing 89 tons of deadly radioactive fuel directly into the air", it would be a matter or 2 to 3 days before the deadly material would fry North America "by [the] levels of airborne radiation and ‘hot particles’ which could kill".
Homeless people in Japan are being paid less than minimum wage to clean up the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and often end up in debt once their accommodation is docked from wages.
One recruiter, Seiji Sasa, explained how he is one of many who visit the Sendai Station every day to round up homeless men desperate for food and shelter as temperatures drop to near freezing.
Sasa is paid $100 (£60) per person he recruits to work on the $35bn taxpayer-funded clean-up operation.
Despite being one of the most undesirable jobs in the world, homeless men will accept minimum wage, if not less.
The practice of using homeless has become increasingly prevalent, with Japanese gangsters infiltrating the Fukushima labour broker industry and companies with contracts on the operation.
Most construction companies involved use temporary workers hired by subcontractors run by gangers and illegal brokers.
Arrests were made after the construction giant Obayashi Corporation's decontamination subcontractors were infiltrated, with members of the yakuza illegally sending workers to the site.
In October, men were rounded up and put to work clearing radioactive soil in Fukushima City for less than minimum wage. The most radioactive areas are most lucrative because of the $100 hazard allowance allocated per worker per day.
The report found that problems have risen because no one is taking responsibility for the hiring and safety of staff coming from hundreds of small firms involved in the clean-up.
"In reality, major contractors manage each work site," said Hide Motonaga, deputy director of the radiation clean-up division of the environment ministry.
"If you started looking at every single person, the project wouldn't move forward. You wouldn't get a tenth of the people you need," said Yukio Suganuma, president of Aisogo Service, a construction company hired in 2012 to clean up radioactive fallout in Tamura.
After hiring the homeless, Reuters found that workers are handed on through a chain of companies, during which time just a third of the money meant for wages reached them. After deductions for food and accommodation, some homeless men actually went into debt; others ended up with around $10 each month.
Yasuhiro Aoki, a Baptist pastor and homeless advocate, said: "Many homeless people are just put into dormitories, and the fees for lodging and food are automatically docked from their wages. Then at the end of the month, they're left with no pay at all."
Shizuya Nishiyama, 57, was recruited for clean-up work but said homelessness was a preferable option as he would not get into debt: "We're an easy target for recruiters. We turn up here with all our bags, wheeling them around and we're easy to spot. They say to us, are you looking for work? Are you hungry? And if we haven't eaten, they offer to find us a job."
Speaking to Reuters about the ethics of recruiting, Sasa said: "I don't ask questions; that's not my job. I just find people and send them to work. I send them and get money in exchange. That's it. I don't get involved in what happens after that."
Voice of Russia, The Ecologist, gizmodo.com, IB Times, Reuters