21 February 2014, 08:27

Leaked water from Fukushima may cause leukemia - expert

Leaked water from Fukushima may cause leukemia - expert

At least 100 tons of radioactive water have leaked from a holding tank at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in northern Japan. Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive and chief engineer with over 30 years of experience at Fairewinds Associates, believes the water stored in tank at Fukushima site contains isotopes that are called strontium 90, which cause leukemia.

Can you comment on TEPCO statement about 100 tons on radioactive water leaking this week from the Fukushima nuclear power plant tank? Does it really show that Japanese authorities are unable to contain the Fukushima crisis?

The tank that leaked, leaked in extraordinary amount of radiation – 230 million disintegrations per second per liter. And what that means is that think about liters of soda bottle and there would be 230 million nuclear sparks of radiation being given off by that liter soda bottle every second, so this was an extraordinarily highly radioactive leak. They claim it didn’t run directly into the ocean but almost as bad it’s leaked into the ground water. And the ground water will get to the ocean shortly. So, It is just one more source that will definitely contaminate the ocean if not now – eventually. As far as Tokyo electrics competence to operate the station, I think the leak shows that neither Tokyo electric, nor the Japanese government are taking the problems of Fukushima Daiichi seriously enough. I read a quote from Japanese executive with Tokyo Electric named Masayuki Ono and he said “such a water leak was found despite of variety of measures taken by the company. We are very sorry to have caused concern.” And I think Tokyo Electric is pretending to be the victim of these problems instead of the perpetrator of these problems. They created this problem and they have a responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen and they are avoiding the responsibility when they make statements like that and when they repeated leaks on the site that never seem to stop.

We also know that TEPCO official said that they don’t believe that contaminated water reached the nearby Pacific Ocean. In your opinion, should we believe them or will they try to avoid sparking a wide public outcry over the matter?

The water likely didn’t run across the surface of the site and directly into the ocean. But what the water did do is it went into the ground and is moving downward into the ground water, which will get to the ocean shortly. So, while the Japanese are technically correct, it didn’t run across the road and down into the ocean, it is heading for the ocean anyway along with many other leaks. The site is going to bleed into the ocean for a hundred years.

That sounds really awful.

The isotopes that are in this tank is something called strontium 90, and it is a bone seeker that causes leukemia. And it stays in the environment for 300 years. So, this problem is not going to be stopped by just fixing this tank. They have contaminated the entire ground water underneath the site and eventually all of that water will move into the Pacific.

No shutting down all the nuclear plants can be a decision in that case? Is that correct? What are the efforts needed to effectively resolve the problem of Fukushima crisis?

The first three things that need to be done is that Tokyo Electric needs to be replaced by international engineering firm. The second thing that needs to be done is that the government of Japan has to spend more money on the site. Right now they are using very poorly paid labors, people that are homeless to do this work, and they are simply not spending enough money to solve the problem. And the last piece though is that there has to be more transparency for the Japanese people to become involved in this process. Right now with the secrecy law they are not sharing with the Japanese people just how severe this accident really is. And the media in Japan is unable to tell the truth because they are afraid to go to jail.

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