Tepco to Dump Low-Level Radioactive Water into Ocean

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BY ALLIE SPILLYARDS AND TRACY PFEIFFER ANCHOR CHRISTINA HARTMAN You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy After days of pumping water into the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to cool damaged reactors, Japanese emergency workers have another problem: what do they do with all that water? With more than 11,000 tons of radioactive water needing somewhere to go and more runoff on the way, Tokyo Electric has turned to the Pacific. LEE COWAN: “Engineers have now had to prioritize. So what they’re going to do is they’re going to pump several tanks worth of lesser radioactive water directly into the ocean that is to make room for the really radioactive water.” (NBC) On-site storage tanks have already filled up, and a writer for TIME explains -- the decision to release water into the ocean is part of an ongoing struggle restore the plant’s electric-powered cooling systems. “The problem is maddeningly circular: workers can’t safely fix the power connection while there is so much irradiated water around, but workers can’t stop dousing the plant with water while the electricity is down. Dealing with the water will require its own processes.” Meanwhile, highly radioactive water has been gushing into the ocean through a large crack in a pit at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Polymore, cement, sawdust and shredded newspaper have all been used to try and stop the leak. The Wall Street Journal’s Mariko Sanchanta talks about the frustration. “It does sound pretty haphazard. When we heard that they were throwing in shredded newspaper yesterday, three bags full. But we don’t have any idea the volumes they’re using, the quantities ... but as far as we know the crack has not been sealed yet.” Water leaking from the pit has been measured at as much as 1,000 millisieverts - meaning just 15 minutes of exposure would tap out workers’ yearly radiation allowance of 250 millisieverts. But as a writer for the BBC reports, THAT water will not be purposefully dumped. “Tepco says the low-radioactive water it intends to deliberately release into the sea has iodine-131 levels that are about 100 times the legal limit. But it stressed in a news conference on Monday that if people ate fish and seaweed caught near the plant every day for a year, their radiation exposure would still be just 0.6 millisieverts. Normal background radiation levels are on the order of 2 millisieverts per year.” And while there has been some concern over radiation reaching shores across the Pacific, ABC’s Neal Karlinksy puts this latest update into perspective. “Experts on both sides of the Pacific agree that is not a threat at any distance other than the immediate area and also in the air. Even here in Tokyo, the levels are minuscule and certainly much smaller than that in the United States.” 'Like' Newsy on Facebook for updates in your news feed Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy Transcript by Newsy