'Urgent' Fukushima Crisis Demands More Public Money, says Japan

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by
Common Dreams

'Urgent' Fukushima Crisis Demands More Public Money, says Japan

300 tons of 'highly radioactive water' pouring out of crippled nuclear plant

by
Jon Queally, staff writer

Officials in Japan have called the situation "urgent" as new revelations show that as much as 300 tons of "highly radioactive water" from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant are pouring into the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis.

The nation's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself said the government would now step in where the plant's owner, TEPCO, has failed. Though the government has already stepped in to "bail out" the private energy compay, Abe now says even more public money will be necessary to fight the ongoing and seemingly growing disaster.

"Stabilizing the Fukushima plant is our challenge," he said at a government task force meeting on Wednesday. "In particular, the contaminated water is an urgent issue which has generated a great deal of public attention."

The Japan Times reports:

The public must help fund Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s effort to freeze the soil around the reactor buildings at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, creating a barrier to prevent more groundwater from becoming radioactive, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday.

“There is no precedent in the world to create a water-shielding wall with frozen soil on such a large scale (as planned now at the Fukushima complex). To build that, I think the state has to move a step further to support its realization,” Suga told reporters.

TEPCO has been slammed for mishandling the nuclear disaster since the beginning, but new evidence of the leaking water was declared an "emergency" situation earlier this week.

"The worsening leaks of contaminated water at the Fukushima nuclear plant prove TEPCO is incapable of dealing with the disaster," said Greenpeace in a statement.

"Japan's authorities must now step in and ensure action is finally taken to stop the leaks," it added.

As CNN reports:

Scientists have pointed to ongoing high radiation levels in the waters off the plant for more than a year to warn of an ongoing leak. The Tokyo Electric Power Company admitted to the problem in July, disclosing that it had found high concentrations of reactor byproducts tritium, cesium-137 and strontium-90 in test wells and in the harbor outside the coastal power plant.

Correction: An earlier version of this article gave a mistaken number regarding the amount of contaminated water leaking from the plant. That has been corrected.

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