While much of the world has long forgotten the horrible tsunami that obliterated much of Japan, the Japanese continue to fight an uphill battle. The Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant that was severely crippled during the earthquake and following tsunami is still experiencing problem after problem and may still be leaking radiation according to experts. Tepco, the company that operates the plant, has done a masterful job downplaying the worst nuclear disaster of the 21st century but reports of increased radiation within Tokyo and possible fission at reactor number two raise concerns of both an explosion and continued leaks.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. noticed signs of nuclear fission at reactor number two and began spraying boric acid onto the reactor to prevent possible chain reactions and explosions. Tepco said it may have found xenon, which is associated with nuclear fission, while examining gases taken from the reactor, according to an e-mailed statement today. This new discovery comes just days after another radioactive area was found in Tokyo which is roughly 180 miles from the plant. Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tepco says that similar reactions may be occurring in reactor No. 1 and No. 3 which were also damaged in the tsunami.
Since the disaster on March 11 the work to contain the radiation leaks, which have pumped more radioactive material into the ocean in human history, has been nonstop. Even though Tepco says that they will have the plant completely under control by the end of this year this fresh round of problems pokes holes in their credibility. Shareholders agreed and Tepco saw its stock drop about 6.8% which is the biggest loss since the 21 of October.
The plant which once stabilized will never reopen has experienced damage to 4 of 6 reactors, 3 core meltdowns and damage to a spent fuel pond. The discharge of radiation into the ocean was 20 times the amount that Tepco had reported.
Toshiyuki Koganeya, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says that there is nothing to worry about however. According to him even if fission is taking place in a “very restricted part” of the reactor that it won’t escape the containment vessel. That containment vessel has already been partially melted during the period that they could not cool the reactor. With such little news trickling out about Fukukshima one has to wonder how much more we and the Japanese people haven’t heard about. Trace amounts of radiation have spread across the globe in what is the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 and the crisis hasn’t improved by much. With high levels of radiation showing up in the most populated city in Japan, Tokyo, the effects of this disaster have yet to be seen. What is clear however is that 8 months after the tsunami Japan still has a rather ominous cloud looming over the whole country and possibly the world.Source: Bloomberg