A nuclear expert has claimed that the radiation leaks from the Fukushima plant may be worse than originally reported.

Mycle Schneider is an independent consultant who has previously worked on behalf of the French and German governments.

He claims that radioactive water has leaked all over the site and there are no accurate figures for radiation levels.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted that around 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the site and the chairman of Japan’s nuclear authority said that he feared there would be further leaks.

The Japanese nuclear energy watchdog raised the incident level from one to three on the international scale that measures the severity of atomic accidents.

This is one of the first public acknowledgements that the power station was in its greatest crisis since the reactors melted down after the tsunami in 2011.

However some nuclear experts are claiming that the scale of the problem is much worse than  either Tepco or the Japanese government are willing to admit.

According to a report which appeared in TIME, an underground barrier built to stop the leakage was breached, and storage tanks designed to hold up to 1,000 tons of toxic water for at least five years have degraded within two, drawing criticism that they were poorly constructed and vulnerable to spillage should another earthquake strike — entirely possible in such an active zone. There are also fears that many of the 2000 people who work at the plant are at risk of thyroid cancer despite company attempts to downplay their exposure.

Most of the tanks designed to hold the water are 85 per cent over their capacity, while there are over 400 tonnes of water being added every day.

One immediate concern is that the leaks will get into the groundwater of the seaside plant, essentially feeding a radioactive river into the ocean, contaminating seafood and creating new health threats. There is also the danger that another earthquake could strike and rupture some of the storage tanks, or that saltwater could corrode steel bars in the walls containing the spent fuel rods, causing tainted water to rush out of the pools.

Mr Schneider, lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports, told the BBC: “The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic. What is the worse is the water leakage everywhere else – not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that. It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse.”

Dr Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who has examined the waters around Fukushima. He said that this crisis is worse than Chernobyl.

He explained: “It is not over yet by a long shot, Chernobyl was in many ways a one week fire-explosive event, nothing with the potential of this right on the ocean.

“We’ve been saying since 2011 that the reactor site is still leaking whether that’s the buildings and the ground water or these new tank releases. There’s no way to really contain all of this radioactive water on site.

“Once it gets into the ground water, like a river flowing to the sea, you can’t really stop a groundwater flow. You can pump out water, but how many tanks can you keep putting on site?”

There are also fears that the spent nuclear fuel rods that are being cooled and stored in water pools on site. Mycle Schneider says these contain far more radioactive  caesium than was emitted during the explosion at Chernobyl.

The “worsening situation” at Fukushima has prompted a former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, to call for the withdrawal of Tokyo’s Olympic bid.

In a letter to the UN secretary general, Mitsuhei Murata says the official radiation figures published by Tepco cannot be trusted. He says he is extremely worried about the lack of a sense of crisis in Japan and abroad.

Akashic Times is the UK’s only online, fully independent not-for-profit weekly newspaper that brings you real news from across the globe.

If you want to keep ahead of what is really going on in the world, subscribe to our newspaper via the subscribe button and join our Facebook & Twitter pages. Subscription is completely free ofcourse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(Spamcheck Enabled)