A Year Later, Fukushima's Radiation Is Still Fatal

What a difference a year makes: none. Reactor #2 at Fukushima Daichi is still leaking enough radiation to kill you.

Al Jazeera reports "One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and much less water to cool it than officials had estimated, according to an internal examination that renews doubts about the plant's stability," adding, ominously, that safety workers "will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant. The process is expected to last decades."

Decades. And that's likely an eager estimate. With radiation levels at 10 times the fatal exposure level and coolant water evaporating away, TEPCO, the power firm which owns the plant, still has a giant radioactive mess on its bib. Sending workers toward the reactor will either kill or poison them, and pumping more water into the core will result in contaminated spillage and steam reaching the ocean and beyond.

The tech to repair the reactor doesn't exist yet. Developing that will take time. In that same time, radiation seeps inexorably in a nation of 130 million, and nearly 100,000 people within a 450 square mile dead zone can't go back home. This is only year one — the Fukushima story is far, far from over. [Al Jazeera]


Comments

    Considering it has a fifty year, or some very long, half life, it's going to be that way for a long time to come.

    Wow, I'm surprised - I thought it would have been safe after a week at most. I mean Chernobyl was fine after about an hour and a half...

      May want to check those facts

        I hope you know sarcasm when you see it.

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Sarcasm

    The vast majority of the radioactive elements coming out are short lived like iodine and strontium. Both of these are relatively safe and are frequently used in medicin in higher doses than the IAEA state are safe limits and has a halflife of about 8 days. Their terminology for lethal dose is exposure for several hours without protection. There are some very nasty elements in these buildings, will be very dangerous for many years to come. But, the same people who said these things about the Fukushima plant, said that no one would be able to go near Chernobyl for a century. Right now you can book a tour around Chernobyl and Pripyat and look for yourself. You don't get to go into Chernobyl, but there are people who do, to inspect the reactor and the tomb that was build around the reactor. The statements of green peace and their like can't be taken at face value. They are pliticians first, environmentalists second.

    Has anyone actually died from the reactor meltdown?
    I know people lost their lives from the tsunami but have not heard anything about this causing deaths or anything...

    "Sending workers toward the reactor will either kill or poison them, and pumping more water into the core will result in contaminated spillage and steam reaching the ocean and beyond."
    Is that true? or is it the excellent unbiased Gizmodo staff at work again?

    I think they should build a new and better reactor with current technology.
    Would be safer I assume than what happened here...Plus they could put the back up generators on the roof next time?

      Ahh, simple folk, your kind.

      Chernobyl killed quite a few and left others very ill. Not sure of exact the numbers, I'm sure Fukashima has made some of the volunteers very ill too if not actually killed by now. So yes.

        One worker got beta burns to his legs after he stood in contaminated water in the reactor building. He had neglected to seal his suit properly which caused the water to go over the top of his boot and inside it. several workers were killed from the tsunami and anoter had a heart attack several hours afterwards but that is all. As for the worker who got the radiation burns he did not get enough exposure to die. I saw all the forums after this story was announced and all the closet doctors were all over it straight away, diagnosing anything from 6 months to live to death any day now. Even after the ACTUAL doctors, you know the ones who have spent significant portions of their lives learning about these things, said that he was recovering and will suffer no permanent side effects. That is thanks to the fact that the water that he was exposed to was only emiting beta radiation which is electrons. Beta radiation is easily stoped by a sheet of foil or a few pages of paper, and doesnt penetrate more than a few cels deep into the skin. If any had gotten into his body, i.e. swallowed some or breathed some in, then he could be introublel, but he didn't and will go on to lead a full and healthy life.

          Whats your point? I heard and read stories about the Japanese workers getting sick, and Chernobyl was a death fest!

        Apart from some of the clean up crew in Cherynobel, only 9 children have died in 25 years of the meltdown. No deformities on newborn babies have been directly caused by the radiation leaks. Although i agree that we should err on the side of caution, there has been a group of scientists that have been studying plant, animal and human life that was subjected to the released radiation, and they have theorized that the radiation that was leaked has had hardly any effect on most living things.

          You may want to check your facts, men have. and still are. dying from the aftereffects of radiation.

    The dangerous radiation levels of 70 sieverts an hour are inside the containment vessel, which is never habitable. The change from steam(212+F) to some water at 122F is PROOF of stability. Any "doubt" of stability would include an increase in temperature, which is not the case. REAL journalism would include external levels of radiation and a comparison to US radiation worker's(x-ray techs etc.) allowable levels.

    Coal power kills more people per year than nuclear power ever has. Just saying.

    100,000 people is a lot of recovery housing even for a country that population and wealth but the main problem I see with the Chernobyl comparisson i

    100,000 people is a lot of recovery housing even for a country that population and wealth but the main problem I see with the Chernobyl comparisson i

    bloody laptop and fumbling hands ....It ends is the reactor location itself and the future effects of management and recovery of the grounds affected by the localised radiation what aren't they telling us about the whole story and how it possibly ends ? Run out of water???? run out of moeny???? run out of control measures ???? I don't think a comparison with Chernobyl is valid just yet But I'm not really a nuclear physicist just an ordinary non-tech worker :)

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