The clean up crew at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant just can't catch a break. Just a day after Japan's nuclear watchdog raised the severity of a recent water leakage incident from a one to a three on the international scale, experts are stepping forward to say that the problem is actually much worse.
The problems currently plaguing Fukushima have everything to do with the 1000 or so water storage tanks spread out across the grounds. Earlier this week, workers discovered that one had sprung a leak creating extremely radioactive puddles, but nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider says that there are actually leaks everywhere. "What is the worse is the water leakage everywhere else — not just from the tanks," Schneider told the BBC. "It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that." He added, "It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse."
Schneider isn't the only one who believes this. The head of Japan's nuclear regulation authority also expressed concern in a press conference on Wednesday and said that he feared there were further leaks. These leaks, of course, are in addition to the plant's radioactive groundwater problem, which Japan's prime minister described as an "urgent problem". If things really are as bad as experts say, there's a good chance that the radioactive water is making its way out into the ocean where it's sure to contaminate local seafood and cause health problems.
Tepco and friends are working on a solution, though it sounds a little bit ridiculous. They want to build a giant wall of ice to contain the leaking water, a feat that's apparently not that difficult to pull off. But first, it would probably be a good idea for them to figure out the true scale of the problem and go from there. Diligence is a good thing, especially when it comes to catastrophic nuclear disasters like this one. [BBC]