Summary: While we worry about other things, including the possible fate of the world in 2100, the oceans are dying. Dying right now. The world’s oceans were suffering from pollution and overfishing, destroying the major fisheries. Now we administer another blow, with radiation from the Fukushima reactors flowing into the Pacific. Here we look at some of the sad details. Our indifference to the ocean’s death is more evidence of our dysfunctionality
“The planet’s future has never looked better. Here’s why.”
— “Earth Day, Then and Now“, Ronald Bailey, Reason magazine, May 2000
Oil might not be the worst pollutant
- Radiation flows on the oceanic highways
- “Mishaps Underscore Weaknesses of Japanese Nuclear Plant”
- “Japanese Nuclear Plant May Have Been Leaking for Two Years”
- “State withholds more than 60% of Fukushima cleanup budget”
- “TEPCO’s plan to halt spread of radioactive water based on shaky theory”
- Destruction of the world’s fisheries
- For More Information
- Another view of the oceanic highways
(1) The worlds oceans are highways for radiation
NOAA developed a model (see map below) to show where radioactive debris from Fukushima will circulate in the Pacific Ocean. (NPR, 9 March 2012):
From NOAA via NPR, 9 March 2012
(2) “Mishaps Underscore Weaknesses of Japanese Nuclear Plant“, New York Times, 10 April 2013 — Excerpt:
More than two years after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a series of recent mishaps — including a blackout set off by a dead rat and the discovery of leaks of thousands of gallons of radioactive water — have underscored just how vulnerable the plant remains. Increasingly, experts are arguing that the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, cannot be trusted to lead what is expected to be decades of cleanup and the decommissioning of the plant’s reactors without putting the public, and the environment, at risk.
At the same time, the country’s new nuclear regulator remains woefully understaffed. It announced Wednesday that it would send a ninth official to the site — to monitor the work of about 3,000 laborers. “The Fukushima Daiichi plant remains in an unstable condition, and there is concern that we cannot prevent another accident,” Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said at a news conference. “We have instructed Tepco to work on reducing some of the biggest risks, and we as regulators will step up monitoring.”
The biggest scare at the plant in recent days has been the discovery that at least three of seven underground storage pools are seeping thousands of gallons of radioactive water into the soil. On Wednesday, Tepco acknowledged that the lack of adequate storage space for contaminated water had become a “crisis,” and said it would begin emptying the pools. But the company said that the leaks will continue over the several weeks that it will likely take to transfer the water to other containers.
… Tepco stores more than a quarter-million tons of radioactive water at the site and says the amount could double within 3 years. But as outside experts have discovered with horror, the company had lined the pits for the underground pools with only two layers of plastic each 1.5 millimeters thick, and a third, clay-based layer just 6.5 millimeters thick. And because the pools require many sheets hemmed together, leaks could be springing at the seams, Tepco has said. “No wonder the water is leaking,” said Hideo Komine, a professor in civil engineering at Ibaraki University, just south of Fukushima. He said that the outer protective lining should have been hundreds of times thicker.
(3) “Japanese Nuclear Plant May Have Been Leaking for Two Years“, New York Times, 10 July 2013 — Excerpt: