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Liquefaction threat adds to Fukushima ills [...]
[The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear] plant, part of which was built on filled-in land, also faces the risk of liquefaction if another big temblor hits. [...]
The large volume of groundwater flowing under the plant is creating [...] the possibility that the land it stands on will liquefy if another major earthquake hits.
The east side of the reactor buildings, in an area close to the sea where land was filled in, appears more vulnerable to liquefaction. [Atsunao Marui, a groundwater expert and principal senior researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology] said the reclaimed land consists of clay and crushed rocks, through which water can easily pass. [...]
And because the [underground] wall is blocking a certain amount of groundwater, the level of groundwater has risen in the fill area, raising the risk of liquefaction if and when another earthquake hits, Tepco said. [...]
“(Tepco) is seeing a danger that the area near the sea might become like mud, so it is pumping up the groundwater,” said Marui. [...]
[...] Expert commentary, including from the METI Nuclear Accident Response Director, has warned that the constant flow of water may lead to further structural instability of the buildings. Keep in mind that the risky fuel-rod removal is likely to take a good deal longer than the year projected [...] 1000 tonnes of water per day runs down from the surrounding hills, further softening the ground under the facilities (which sits over an aquifer) [...]
[...] the crisis is potentially more a threat to national security than anything the North Koreans are up to.
So, here we have a potential catastrophe unfolding in plain sight, in that the flow of water, its contamination, the constraints on storage capacity, and other factors are generally understood by the overseers. They know – or certainly should know – that they are drifting into ever more risky circumstances, as the volumes of water increasingly render the ground underneath the reactors unstable. All parties also know that Tepco is prepared to start removing fuel rods from November, in an operation made highly dangerous by the high levels of ambient contamination, the subsidence of the ground, poor coordination of human resources on the site (including multiple chains of command which prevent or at least greatly impair implementation of decisions), among other factors. [...]
Given the implications of a mishap in fuel-rod removal, as well as the myriad other problem areas at the plant, the word “shameful” seems hardly strong enough. To help bolster the Abe administration’s incentives, perhaps the IAEA, the global nuclear village, and others keen to promote nuclear power in the face of Fukushima, might take a long, hard look at the facts and provide leadership to resolve what is unraveling on site. Each crisis at Fukushima costs them too, and a catastrophe would render all their efforts for naught. [...]
A strong earthquake jolted Fukushima Prefecture [...]
[...] the preliminary magnitude was 5.9 and the focus was 17 kilometers underground in the eastern coastal part of Fukushima.
The quake measured 5 plus in Iwaki City on the Japanese intensity scale of 7. Two local women reported slight injuries. [...]
The [Japan meteorological] agency’s senior official said that a quake with an intensity of about 4 could occur in areas around the epicenter over the next week. He warned of falling rocks and mudslides.
He said that aftershocks from the March 2011 quake still remain active in the nation’s northeastern and eastern areas.
[...] TEPCO says it is checking tanks storing radioactive wastewater in the plant’s compound.
We write to you in urgency. The situation around the world at radioactively contaminated sites is not
good, and it is clear that the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor site is progressively deteriorating,
We write because of your personal interest in a sustainable future, but also because you
are the Executive for global organizations charged with protection of the public's health, public safety and
the common good when it comes to radioactivity, radiation and nuclear technology.
To gether we call upon you to act immediately to
Computer simulations show the melted fuel in Unit 1, whose core damage was the most extensive, has breached the bottom of the primary containment vessel and even partially eaten into its concrete foundation, coming within about 30 centimeters (one foot) of leaking into the ground.