Lewis Diuguid

Fukushima plant radioactive leaks remind world of nuclear power dangers

If there is ever any doubt about the destructive potential of nuclear power, the Fukushima station in Japan serves as a constant reminder.

The government of Japan continues to try to find ways to stop the leaks of radioactive water from the plant. The Fukushima Dai-ichi station has been leaking tons of contaminated underground water into the sea since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the compound, The Associated Press reports.

The Japanese government is expected to spend about $470 million through March 2015 on an ice wall and on upgrading water treatment units that are supposed to remove all radioactive elements except water-soluble tritium. The ice wall would be created through a system of pipes carrying a coolant down to minus-40 degrees.

The ice wall would freeze the ground to a depth of up to 100 feet. It is an attempt to block the contaminated water from the facility and keep underground water from entering the reactor and turbine buildings, where much of the radioactive water has collected.

Tokyo Electric has pumped water into the damaged reactors to cool the nuclear fuel that melted when the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit, zapping the plant’s power and cooling system. Tokyo Electric has built more than 1,000 tanks holding 335,000 tons of contaminated water at the plant, and the amount daily increases by 400 tons. Some tanks are leaking onto the ground.