Imagine 270 million cardboard book boxes (9,000,000 cubic metres), end-to-end, encircling the world of radioactive waste. This amount has been stored in black bags as a result of the disaster. However, according to estimates, there is another 13,000,000 cubic metres of radioactive soil yet to be accounted for.
And, there’s still more, the cleanup operations only go 50-100 feet beyond roadways. Plus, a 100-mile mountain range along the coast and hillsides around Fukushima are contaminated but not cleansed at all. As a consequence, the decontaminated land will likely be re-contaminated by radioactive runoff from the hills and mountains. Indubitably, how and where to store millions of cubic metres of one-tonne black bags filled with radioactive waste is no small problem. It is a super-colossal problem. What if bags deteriorate? What if a tsunami hits? The “what-ifs” are endless, endless, and beyond.
“The black bags of radioactive soil, now scattered at 115,000 locations in Fukushima, are eventually to be moved to yet-to-be built interim facilities, encompassing 16 square kilometers, in two towns close to the crippled nuclear power plant,” Ibid.
By itself, 115,000 locations each containing many, many, mucho one-tonne bags of radioactive waste is a logistical nightmare, just the trucking alone is forever a humongous task, decades to come. According to Japanese government and industry sources, cleaning up everything and decommissioning the broken down reactors will take at least 40 years at a cost of $250 billion, assuming nothing goes wrong. But dismally, everything that can possibly go wrong for Tokyo Electric Power Company (“TEPCO”) over the past 5 years has gone wrong, not a good record.
The 2020 Olympics
Yet, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant remains totally out of control with no end in sight. As far as that goes, Olympic events alongside an out of control nuclear meltdown seem unfathomable. As recently as October 30, 2015, The Japan Times reported: “Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for the utility to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors at the plant.”
On the other hand, according to TEPCO, preparation is underway for removal of the melted nuclear fuel, scheduled to begin in 2021. “But it is difficult to know what is happening inside the reactors, and there are no established methods for doing so… It is not difficult to get a camera inside the reactor. The problem is the camera breaks down due to high levels of radiation,” according to Toru Ogawa, director of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Collaborative Laboratories for Advanced Decommissioning Science (Kiyoshi Ando, senior staff writer, Long Road Ahead for Fukushima Cleanup, Nikkei Asian Review, Feb. 19, 2016).
Beyond the remote possibility they find the melted nuclear core aka: corium, engineers have not yet figured out how to cart the molten core away, assuming it can ever be located, and somehow handled. Meantime, if molten core burrows through the steel-reinforced concrete containment vessels into Earth, then what? It is likely a disaster for the ages! But, what about the Olympics? If perchance melted nuclear core penetrates its steel-reinforced concrete containment vessel and burrows into the ground, it likely results in deadly isotopes uncontrollably spreading erratically, ubiquitously into surrounding underground soil and water. It is difficult to imagine Olympic events where melted nuclear core is still at large.
“Sporting events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are to be held in the Japanese region of Fukushima… Spectators and athletes in the Olympic village will be served with food from the region as part of an effort to restore the reputation of Fukushima, formerly one of Japan’s richest agricultural regions,” Fukushima to Host Olympic 2020 Events, The Times, Feb. 25, 2015.
Japan has declared a state of emergency due to recent events at the Fukushima nuclear reactor.
Officials have said that the damages at the reactor are "far worse than previously thought". They have found that melted fuel has contaminated underground water and melted core appears to have spread out over an "extensive area". Furthermore, a gaping 2-meter wide hole has been found under the containment vessel.
A camera probe was sent in to survey the damage and it revealed that part of the grating is missing as well. Three days later a plant operator announced that the radiation levels at the reactor have soared to levels never before seen. Readings taken inside the containment vessel at the number 2 reactor of the disabled nuclear facility stood at 530 sieverts per hour, the highest recorded since the disaster. Before these recent readings, the highest reading ever recorded was 73 sieverts per hour.
These recent developments have been described by many as "unprecedented" and "unimaginable". Many in the field state that they have never considered the possibility of working with levels as high as these. Another disturbing disclosure came as a boss revealed that 600 tons of fuel had melted and cannot be found. "Nobody really knows where it is he stated". There had been hopes of decommissioning the reactors in the past, but these recent developments show that it will be impossible to do so. With the cores missing, decommissioning or containment becomes impossible. Uncontrolled fissioning continues under the site.
This is by far the worst nuclear disaster to ever occur on earth. With no end in sight. Uncontrollable fissioning will continue for years to come.