« "Radioactivity levels in Fukushima groundwater increase 47-fold over 5 days" | Main | "Attorney Generals Fight for Public Access in Nuclear Issues" »

Japan NRA: Fukushima Daiichi's radioactive water leakage into Pacific Ocean now an "emergency" situation

As reported by Reuters, Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority has admitted that Fukushima Daiichi's ongoing radioactive water leaks into the Pacific Ocean now constitute an "emergency" situation. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), responsible for the nuclear catastrophe in the first place, is in charge of dealing with the on-site aftermath. There is growing concern about TEPCO's incompetence -- or worse, lack of commitment -- at rising to that challenge.

TEPCO admits that Fukushima Daiichi has already released 20-40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium into the Pacific since March 11, 2011 (a becquerel is one radioactive disintegration per second).

As also reported by the Asahi Shimbun:

'...That is about 10 to 100 times the volume emitted over a one-year period of operating the nuclear plant.

“There is only a minor effect on the environment because it is about the same level as the upper limits of emission standards during operating periods,” a TEPCO official said...'.

TEPCO's admission, and spin, is startling. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe, in this regard, is only 10-100 times worse than "normal" operations used to be at the six reactor complex for a single year?! Obviously, Fukushima Daiichi released large amounts of hazardous tritium into the environment as part of its "routine" operations for four decades before the earthquake and tsunami devastated the site!

TEPCO's attitude is not unlike that of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which has washed its hands of an epidemic of tritium leaks into groundwater at U.S. atomic reactors. NRC, at the highest levels, has stood by its assertion that tritium leaks have "no nexus with health and safety." After all, NRC allows tritium to be "routinely" discharged in large amounts into the living environment, by permit, since it cannot be filtered from nuclear power plants' liquid releases.

This of course flies in the face of the fact that tritium -- radioactive hydrogen -- is a clinically-proven cause of cancer, birth defects, and genetic damage. Tritium, with a hazardous persistence of 120 years, can integrate at the most intimate levels of the human anatomy, right down to the DNA molecule. If tritium organically binds, it can remain lodged in the human body for long periods of time, doing significant damage. The health hazards associated with tritium exposure have been well-documented, including in peer-reviewed scientific journals, despite the nuclear establishment's downplaying of the risks to the contrary.