Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nuclear power poisons the planet

Cleanest energy source in the world -- until it isn't. Almost two years since the big tsunami in Japan. Few now think about the major nuclear plant meltdown but the toxic waste in Fukushima is still growing. The hazmat suits alone add to the "too dangerous to handle" pile daily and that's the tiniest part of the continuing contamination.
Contaminated clothing represents just a fraction of the waste facing Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) in a cleanup that may take four decades.

The utility estimates it may be eight years before radiation levels fall enough to let workers start the main task of removing 260 tons of melted nuclear fuel. That process took more than a decade at the U.S. accident on Three Mile Island, a partial meltdown at a single reactor containing about one fifth the amount of fuel at Fukushima.

While clearing debris helps reduce radiation levels, it’s also filling the plant with toxic waste for which the utility has no ultimate disposal plan. More than 73,000 cubic meters of contaminated concrete, 58,000 cubic meters of irradiated trees and bushes, and 157,710 gallons of toxic sludge has built up, according to the utility.
Then there’s the contaminated water, already being stored in acres of giant tanks, yet still grows as ground water seeps into the damaged facility. Meanwhile, the original toxic debris is still washing onto US coastlines.

This is just from an accident. Let's not forget about the spent rods from the functioning plants, which remain radioactive for a century, and are being stored on site all over the world because there's no safe way to dispose of them. They should have listened to the hippies when we begged them not to build these time bombs in the first place. [photo via]

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