Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Sad Anniversary - Fukushima Still Struggles

March 11, 2011
Fukushima is Stricken

It has been four years since the disaster struck in Japan. The problems continue to surface and grow. I could not bear to post the pictures of mutated animals and plants, a reality that seems all too cruel to cast your eyes upon. Instead I turn once again to the beautiful Cherry Blossom design from a Japanese artist, so beautiful, so serene and so hopeful.

"... four years later, the nuclear crisis continues to unfold: both the environmental contamination and the ongoing human suffering caused by the disaster."

Here are some excerpts from the Greenpeace blog post. Staggering numbers.

"Just how big is TEPCO’s radioactive water problem?
Well, let's get down to the numbers:
  • 320,000 tons – the amount of highly contaminated water as of December 2014 waiting in about 1000 massive tanks onsite for "treatment" to remove the 62 radioactive elements contaminating it – except for the radioactive hydrogen isotope, tritium.
  • 300 tons – water per day sprayed into the reactor vessels to cool the molten reactor cores in Units 1-3: cores that no one actually knows the exact location of.
  • 800 tons – the amount of groundwater migrating onsite every day. Of which, 300-400 tons becomes radioactively contaminated.
  • 400 tons – the amount of highly radioactive water flowing into the Pacific Ocean every day – a figure that does not include this latest leak announced in February.
  • 11,000 tons – the estimated amount of highly contaminated water sitting in trenches – which TEPCO has attempted to pump up for treatment with limited success.

The crux of this is that, not only does the contamination continue to flow from the reactor site and into the environment, but the locating of the reactor cores and decommissioning of the site are themselves contingent upon controlling this onsite watery onslaught."
"Decontamination efforts are generating a massive amount of radioactive waste. This waste is packed into huge cubic meter black bags and moved to temporary sites. 54,000 thousand such open-air, temporary, rad waste storage sites lie scattered throughout the surrounding areas, including in the backyards of homes, parking lots, and parks. Official estimates of the storage volume required to house this mountain of radwaste are between 15 and 28 million cubic meters of waste, enough to fill 12 to 23 Tokyo Domes.
In short, the decontamination efforts are not getting "rid" of the radioactive problem – they are simply moving it, and sometimes not very far."
In another article from - Microbial Soil Cleanup at Fukushima a ray of hope emits from the gloom of today's problems, perhaps it will be the Cherry Blossoms about to bloom.
"Proteins from salt-loving, halophilic, microbes could be the key to cleaning up leaked radioactive strontium and caesium ions from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant incident in Japan. "

Let's hope more answers are found then questions that arise. Still in the United States is the under-reported story of the sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. The USS Reagan was sent to Fukushima immediately after the disaster to offer aid. Many of the sailors have fallen ill due to radiation exposure. 

Read Der Spiegel US Navy Sailors Search For Justice After Fukushima Mission

It's been four long years since the horrific natural disaster occurred. Four long years of cover-up and lies. And four long years that have filled buckets and buckets with the tears of so many Japanese people. Yes, it is a sad anniversary for so many.

Cherry Blossom Haiku

blossoms scatter in the storm . . .
his withered hands catch
a cherry petal wish

  by Yilin Wang, 2012      

Interesting follow-up reading:


  1. Pretty poetry. As you say, at least there's that. I was struck by the statement about radioactive cores "that no one actually knows the exact location of." It's such an insane situation. Eventually, these irradiated tanks will cover all the available space in Japan. It's just a matter of time, given that no one has a clue how to handle this. And the news media continues to ignore Fukushima. That's the scariest thing. PS: I liked the repeat shout-out regarding the USS Reagan. Again, no American news source covers this. How can that be? Those sailors must be in deep depression. It's as if no one cares. Thanks for writing this.

  2. Thanks K. This story just breaks my heart and the fact that so few care shatters the remaining parts. Sigh.