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Japan radiation poisoning America?

Like a slow-motion train wreck, the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster is still causing damage long after the world’s media has left the news story behind.

On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan triggered a tsunami with waves that reached as high as 144 feet. These waves swamped the Fukushima nuclear power-plant complex, causing a resulting shutdown leading to the world’s worst nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The accident has been rated a level 7, on a scale of 1 to 7, on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

As a result of this disaster, the complex’s coolant pumps failed to operate and the power plant reactors overheated, leading to a release of radionuclides directly into the ocean exceeding that from any previous accident.

Water is currently being pumped into the reactors in an attempt to keep them cool and prevent further explosions, but handling the water is becoming a problem.

The contaminated cooling water is being released directly into the ocean and is making its way into the ecosphere. Water from the storage tanks has also seeped into the groundwater and from there, into the ocean. Efforts to use a various barriers to prevent contamination have not completely stopped the leakage.

In another effort to stem the radioactive water from reaching the sea, Japan has pledged to spend $470 million to construct an “ice wall” around the reactors to contain the water. Under the Japanese plan, a wall of frozen earth will be constructed around the reactors to prevent the water being used to cool the fuel rods from comingling with the sea.

“The world is closely watching whether we can dismantle the (Fukushima) plant, including the issue of contaminated water,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “The government is determined to work hard to resolve the issue.”

This is quite a change from previous statements the prime minister has made. In a speech Sept. 7 in front of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires, Abe stated categorically, “Let me assure you the situation (the contaminated groundwater problem) is under control.”

Six days later, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, disputed the prime minister’s claim at a meeting in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture.

“We regard the current situation as not being under control,” said Kazuhiko Yamashita, a senior official at Tepco.
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