After three months of meltdown, Japan is finally recommending evacuations from towns as far as 25 miles from Fukushima Nuclear Plant, according to Japan Times.Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano recommended evacuations from places like Date and Minamisoma, where levels of radiation exceeded the equivalent of 20 millisieverts per year. Evacautions are not mandatory.
While America and other foreign governments evacuated people within 37 miles of the plant in March, Japan has been extremely slow to evacuate. Until April 11, Japan maintained a non-mandatory evacuation zone extending only 15 miles from the plant. Until today, Japan has mandated evacuations within 15 miles and recommended evacuations within 19 miles.
Meanwhile containment at the nuclear plant has shown little progress.
Former nuclear industry executive Arnold Gundersen told Al Jazeera yesterday:
“Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind.”
“Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed,” he said, “You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively.”
“The problem is how to keep it cool,” says Gundersen. “They are pouring in water and the question is what are they going to do with the waste that comes out of that system, because it is going to contain plutonium and uranium. Where do you put the water?”
“The fuels are now a molten blob at the bottom of the reactor,” Gundersen added. “TEPCO announced they had a melt through. A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor, and a melt through means it has melted through some layers. That blob is incredibly radioactive, and now you have water on top of it. The water picks up enormous amounts of radiation, so you add more water and you are generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water.”
“We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl,” said Gundersen. “The data I’m seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man’s-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometres being found 60 to 70 kilometres away from the reactor. You can’t clean all this up. We still have radioactive wild boar in Germany, 30 years after Chernobyl.”
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