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Gov't Solution to Fukushima Crisis? A Costly 'Wall of Ice'
Critics blast officials for moving to restart other nuclear plants as radiation spikes with no end in sight
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday the government plans to invest nearly $500 million in a giant "ice wall" surrounding the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in a desperate bid to stop dangerous radiation leaks as the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) fails to quell the ballooning crisis and the plant continues to spring new leaks.
Greenpeace was quick to criticize Abe for rushing to restart other nuclear facilities in Japan as the Fukushima crisis continues to deepen.
"[T]he heavy financial cost of a meltdown is inevitably borne by the public, not by the companies that designed, built, and operated the plants," Greenpeace declared in a previous statement. "None of the world’s 436 nuclear reactors are immune to human errors, natural disasters, or any of the many other serious incidents that could cause a disaster."
"[Yet] the Japanese government is eagerly pushing to restart reactors, against the will of its people, and without learning true lessons from Fukushima," the statement adds.
Abe's announcement comes as the humanitarian and environmental crisis continues to spiral, touched off by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the melt down of fuel-rods at several reactors and continues to unleash toxic radiation into the air and sea. Over 160,000 people have been evacuated, transforming nearby areas into ghost towns in the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
The disaster only appears to be growing more severe, as radiation levels at the plant have were found to be 18 times higher than TEPCO previously claimed, climbing to a high of 1800 millisieverts per hour—enough to kill a person in just 4 hours.
The shocking levels may have exposed the thousands of relief workers to levels far above what they were told, and well beyond the maximum of 50 millisieverts set by Japanese law as the safety threshold for nuclear plant staff.