The head of an IAEA mission to Japan has suggested that Tepco dump contaminated water into the sea.
TEPCO may consider discharging contaminated water into sea: IAEA
Noting that groundwater flowing into the complex and its reactor buildings is adding to TEPCO’s struggle to store the contaminated water in makeshift storage tanks, some of which have sprung leaks causing radioactive materials to be released into the sea, Juan Carlos Lentijo, head of the IAEA’s mission floated the idea of releasing radioactive water into the ocean.
“Controlled discharge is a regular practice in all the nuclear facilities in the world. And what we are trying to say here is to consider this as one of the options to contribute to a good balance of risks and to stabilize the facility for the long term,” Lentijo, told a news conference in Tokyo Wednesday. (link)
So they say that it’s OK because all nuclear facilities do this. Most or all of them are located on seashores, rivers, or lakes, and they utilize this water for cooling, and they also use it as a nuclear dump. The Limerick nuclear plant dumps iodine-131 into the Schuylkill river in Pennsylvania, which ends up in Philadelphia’s water supply. Water authorities then blame the radioactive iodine on peeing thyroid patients.
Tritium cannot be practically removed from the contaminated water, since it is radioactive hydrogen, which bonds with oxygen to make radioactive water.
But while TEPCO is increasing the number of storage tanks as it scrambles to contain the radioactive water within its compound, remove highly-volatile fuel assemblies and work to lower the levels of contamination in wastewater, Tanaka highlighted the fact that while highly radioactive water could be decontaminated in around seven years, the amount of water containing tritium will keep rising, topping 700,000 tons in two years.
Tritium is internationally classified as one of the least dangerous nuclear materials, but nuclear experts have repeatedly pointed out that the radionuclide is still a significant radiation hazard when inhaled, ingested via food or water, or absorbed through the skin. (link)
This is misleading. While tritium is less dangerous per becquerel than say, cesium or plutonium, that doesn’t mean it’s less dangerous. Tritium is extremely mobile in the environment. It shows up everywhere there is water. Our bodies are 70% water. Water is in the plants and foods we eat. Water vapor contains tritium… if you complain about high humidity on a hot summer day, you are breathing tritium. So we get exposed to ALL the tritium, while something like plutonium, which is phenomenally dangerous, binds tightly to soils, especially clay soils, and releases at a much slower rate. And since tritium evaporates like water, because tritiated water is water, it doesn’t stay in the ocean either, but ends up in rainfall over land.
Nuclear experts have repeatedly warned that tritium is a significant radiation hazard when inhaled, ingested via food or water, or absorbed through the skin. Environmental advocates also urge leaders to remember that the oceans must be protected from being used as dump sites for all hazardous substances, regardless of their concentration. Marine biologists taught us the link between the ocean’s health and our own. The combined message of all of these people is that the world must protect the environment and marine lives.
Tritium damages DNA and chromosomes, and will lead to increasing damage over each generation to human (and all other) genomes, which more autism and birth defects, as well as leading to cancer and autoimmune diseases.
TEPCO plans to start full-scale operation “multi-nuclide removal system (ALPS)” to remove the radioactive material of 62 species from contaminated water, but tritium with properties similar to water can not be removed. (link)
The ALPS system, which does not remove tritium, will be employed to remove other isotopes, such as strontium, cesium, and plutonium. This system was recently found to be compromised with rust and corrosion. This is to be expected with the extremely high amounts of radioactive substances this system has pumped into it. And it did not remove all the strontium-90 that went into it. Also, Iori Mochizuki from Fukushima Diary noted that there was a large amount of strontium-89 in the water, as of March 2013. Since this isotope has a half-life of 50 days, that would indicate that fission has been occurring. Sr-89 is much more energetically radioactive than Sr-90.
And the contaminated waste water from the ALPS system, where does that go? Into tanks? Nobody said anything about what they do with the waste. How much you wanna bet that they will dump that into the ocean too?
In a well on the east side of Unit 2, a record 1.3 billion becquerels per liter of all-beta radionuclides were recently found. A new record for cesium was also detected on the 4th, in seawater outside the silt fence (link).
So it appears that the radioactive dumping is well under way already.
Here is a video about what happens when you drop cesium into water. Hydrogen gas is released explosively… this would be radioactive hydrogen in this case, or tritium.