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Fukushima's Water Issue Is Growing. The Ice Wall Isn't Enough

Experts: It's working, but other methods are also needed to keep groundwater around plant clean

(Newser) - A government-commissioned group of experts concluded Wednesday that a costly underground ice wall is only partially effective in reducing the ever-growing amount of contaminated water at Japan's destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., says the ice wall has helped reduce the radioactive water... More »

World's Biggest Nuke Plant Gets a Long-Awaited OK

TEPCO gets OK to restart nuclear reactors, to the displeasure of some

(Newser) - The biggest nuclear power plant in the world sits idle, as it has for nearly seven years. But that state is set to change, and not without public trepidation. The Guardian reports that Japan's nuclear watchdog this week gave Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) the green light to restart two... More »

A Loaf-Sized Robot Just Took This Important Photo

Locating melted fuel at Fukushima is key, and this is believed to be it

(Newser) - An underwater robot captured images of lava-like lumps Thursday inside a damaged reactor at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant , spotting for the first time what is believed to be nuclear fuel that melted six years ago. Locating the fuel in each of the three wrecked reactors is crucial for... More »

Fukushima Operators Begin Super-Delicate Stage

Removing reactor covers is next step in decades-long decommissioning process

(Newser) - It's going to take decades to completely decommission the Fukushima nuclear power plant , but a critical step in that process began in earnest today, reports NBC News. One of the six 136-foot covers draped over one of the plant's nuclear reactors to keep radioactive materials from seeping out... More »

Fukushima Springs Big New Toxic Leak

100 tons of radioactive water flow from tank

(Newser) - Almost three years after Japan's triple disaster, there has been yet another leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant, seriously shaking public confidence in the ongoing cleanup and containment effort. In the latest leak—the biggest since last August —around 100 metric tons of highly contaminated water overflowed from... More »

Fukushima Springs a New Toxic Leak

Contaminated water likely went into Pacific Ocean

(Newser) - For the second time in less than two months , a tank holding highly contaminated water has overflowed at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, Tepco said today. The tank was tilted on uneven ground and a worker misjudged its capacity; about 113 gallons of water spilled over a period as... More »

Tons of Fukushima's Tainted Water Entering Pacific

And we literally mean tons, some 300 a day

(Newser) - Things have gone from bad to worse to this at Fukushima: A government official says roughly 300 tons of contaminated water are leaking from the crippled nuclear plant into the Pacific each day. The New York Times paints a mental picture: That's enough to fill one Olympic-sized pool per... More »

Fukushima Leak Now an 'Emergency'

Underground barriers not working, radioactive water now rising to ground level

(Newser) - Just weeks after TEPCO finally acknowledged that radioactive water is leaking from its Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, the head of Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority has called the situation an "emergency." Shinji Kinjo tells Reuters that TEPCO's "sense of crisis is weak" and the country can'... More »

Fukushima Leak Finally Declared Reality

TEPCO admits radioactive water likely seeped into the sea

(Newser) - More than two years after disaster struck the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, TEPCO has confirmed what pretty much everybody thought: radioactive water that leaked from the wrecked reactors is believed to have seeped into the underground water system, TEPCO officials finally admitted today at a regular news conference. Japan's... More »

Fukushima Fishermen: No, You Can't Dump That Water

Tokyo Electric sought permission to pump radioactive groundwater to ocean

(Newser) - The Tokyo Electric Power Co. went before Fukushima fishermen yesterday and asked permission to start pumping "low-level" radioactive water into the ocean where they fish. And the fishermen said, um, no. This was a surprise, apparently, with a report in the Asahi Shimbun stating that TEPCO "officials underestimated... More »

Fukushima Workers Battle Radioactive Flood

Experts warn plant is still accident-prone

(Newser) - More than two years after a quake and tsunami crippled Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, workers are battling yet another crisis, the New York Times finds. Huge amounts of groundwater have been pouring into the plant, leaving workers struggling to contain a flood of 75 gallons of radioactive water... More »

Fukushima Watchdog Doing Crummy Job: Experts

Regulators routinely approve TEPCO plans: investigators

(Newser) - Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority was launched in September to keep a closer watch on the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and TEPCO's work there—but what was supposed to be a more independent, tougher regulator is simply running "the same old routine," says an investigator. The NRA... More »

Japan: 40 Years to Fully Shut Down Fukushima

Removing nuclear fuel will require tech not yet invented

(Newser) - The predictions are getting worse: Japanese officials today said that it could take as many as 40 years to decommission the Fukushima nuclear plant, upping the previous estimate of 30 years. According to the detailed roadmap, TEPCO intends to spend the next two years clearing the spent fuel rods out... More »

Radiation Found in Japanese Baby Formula

Levels not high enough to pose health risk, parents told

(Newser) - Nearly nine months after the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami wrought havoc on Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant, the country's nuclear nightmare is continuing. Traces of radiation have been found in infant formula for the first time and while government experts say the levels aren't high enough to... More »

New Trouble for Fukushima Reactor

Officials detect radioactive xenon, but reactor is stable

(Newser) - A potential new setback for Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: Utility officials have detected radioactive xenon particles inside the No. 2 reactor, suggesting unexpected nuclear fission may have taken place. Boric acid, which can counteract nuclear fission, was injected as a precaution, but Tokyo Electric Power says that... More »

Tepco Knew of Fukushima Design Flaw, Did Nothing

Electric switcher swamped by tsunami, killing plant's cooling system

(Newser) - Senior Tepco engineers were aware of design flaws at five of its Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors for decades, but complacency and cost-consciousness prevented the company from fixing those problems, reports the Wall Street Journal . While newer reactors have backup diesel generators and electrical switchers placed securely in the well-protected reactor building,... More »

Japan's Tepco Rebuffs Push to Exit Nuclear Biz

But shareholders urge bosses to 'jump in a reactor'

(Newser) - Despite insults from a huge crowd of fuming shareholders, Tokyo Electric Power Co. voted down a motion to end the company’s stricken nuclear business. At its biggest-ever shareholder meeting, attended by more than 9,000, the firm also managed to appoint 17 board members, the New York Times reports.... More »

Tepco Halts Water Filtering at Fukushima

Power company running out of room to store contaminated water

(Newser) - Tokyo Electric launched its much-hyped water filtration system yesterday at its foundering Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant—only to shut it down a mere five hours later. The setback is very serious, notes the New York Times, with Tepco in grave danger of running out of room for the tens of... More »

Inside Fukushima Cleanup: Willy-Nilly Safety, Training

Many workers lack training, equipment needed

(Newser) - Three months after the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant began, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at safety measures in interviews with seven of the people they're designed to protect. One contractor had just a 30-minute briefing before stepping onto the grounds in the... More »

TEPCO Head Resigns Amid Huge Losses

Masataka Shimizu steps down in disgrace over Fukushima disaster

(Newser) - Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu said today he was stepping down in disgrace after reporting the biggest financial losses in company history. Shimizu, criticized for his low profile during the early days of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant disaster, said he was resigning to take "responsibility" but... More »

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