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Fukushima Fallout – Follow the money!

On the same day that news stories broke about Fukushima fallout finally finding the shores of Vancouver, Canada, another story appeared from the other side of the ocean, stating that TEPCO has suspended all treatment of its radioactive water. This is the water that is used for cooling the nuclear reactors that could never melt down but did. Yes, this is the same water that eventually reaches Canada and the U.S. This water comes into direct contact with spilled nuclear fuel and is now being stored in quickly-built tanks so that it can be decontaminated before being returned to the sea.

And here is a story where it is clear that the ineptitude of TEPCO is not due to stupidity (well, at least, partially not due to) but due to MONEY. Three recent problems were pointed out in the story. The first is that for some inexplicable reason the filters that have been cleaning the water suddenly started allowing 10% of the radioactive material to pass through and go back into the tanks. Tepco’s response was to stop all filtering indefinitely, possibly for good.

I can understand that these are high-tech filters since they must remove tiny nuclear particles and figuring out the problem may be difficult; but while you figure out the problem … keep decontaminating! Ninety percent filtration, while unacceptable, is still vastly superior than none. Many articles have been written and presumably many engineers consulted about how these emergency-built tanks cannot withstand another major earthquake. Ninety percent filtration means that when all that water pours into the sea, ninety percent less Fukushima fallout reaches the western shores of the US mainland and Canada. Ninety-percent less Fukushima fallout hits Hawaii. Ninety percent less hits any other part of the world these contaminated waters circulate to. Ninety percent is a lot less!

The choice to stop filtration — indefinitely — reeks indefinitely of TEPCO not wanting to spend money to research and solve the problem. Meanwhile, the amount of unfiltered radioactive water is increasing at a rate of 400 tons a day. Since the partially filtered water was contaminating the fully filtered water, the solution is simple. Obviously, they have tank space for the filtered water, so consolidate fully filtered water into different tanks than the ones you pump the partially filtered water into. At least, you are accomplishing a substantial improvement while you are working to solve the filtration problem.

So, thank you, Tepco, for caring more about the bottom line than about the world seven billion people live in. And thank you, Japan, because the Japanese government is overseeing all of this and consciously allowing it. It reeks of crony politics.

 

Still don’t think Fukushima fallout is due to money?

Then look at the next part of the story. A month ago one of the pumps in the filtration system stopped working. That line of the filtration system — one of two lines — was put out of service, reducing the volume of water that the system can filter by fifty percent. Hmmm.

It’s a pump!

It’s not some innovative filter just designed for filtering out radioactive particles. It’s a pump! Replace it! Right away! Is Tepco really this stupid, or are they that greedy? You have your choice. One of the first things any intelligent operation would do — especially after the publicity bloodbath Tepco has received — would be to make sure you have your backup supply routes clearly laid out with ready access to parts. A gang of thugs, of course, doesn’t care about its reputation. I’m not even suggesting you should take on the lavish expense of having a spare pump on hand (though that’s not a bad idea). Just know for certain where you can get one quickly.

Quit solving problems AFTER they become a crisis. Think ahead about what can fail and have solutions ready to go. Are all of the Japanese people working on this catastrophe really brain dead, or are those who make the decisions greedy and not wanting to spend whatever it takes to solve the problem and to hire people in charge of thinking proactively? Never mind the risk to the entire world.

It’s a pump. Replace it. Don’t sit for a month with one of your two lines shut down. Buy another freekin’ pump.

 

Still think Fukushima fallout is not about the money?

Think again and follow the Fukushima fallout trail:

In mid-January, TEPCO warned that nuclear radiation at the boundaries of the damaged facility had jumped to eight times the government safety guidelines, while, only a week into the New Year, plant operators once again had to stop using its systems to decontaminate radioactive water. Compounding their problems at the time, a crane used to get rid of the container from the ALPS [the filtration system] ceased functioning.

It’s a crane! Get a new one. Get a different one. It’s a crane, not a spaceship. We think you can figure it out.

 

Still think Fukushima fallout is not because of the money?

Read on:

Masayuki Ono, acting general manager of TEPCO’s Nuclear Power & Plant Siting Division, told the paper. “We should have been better prepared. We have no idea how long it will take to clean them if we decided to do so.”

If they decide to do so? Cleaning the recontaminated water is optional?

This isn’t a delay while they solve the problem. This is an attempt to stop the cost of filtration. No money for a new crane. No money for a new pump. Apparently no money going into researching how to get the filters to work again because TEPCO isn’t even sure it’s going to try. They cannot say they cannot figure out a crane or a pump, even if they are specialized cranes and pumps. That’s old technology. Industrial Revolution stuff.

The G.M. would rather say, “We should have been better prepared.” Really? You’re still learning that lesson after years of repeated failures at everything you do? Perhaps you should have tried maintaining your crane. Perhaps you should have had a pump maintenance program in place? Ever heard of grease? Perhaps you should have had all your supply lines figured out in advance and made sure that critical components in resolving something that is gradually seeping toward global catastrophe had backup parts available!

The health of the world hangs in a balance held by a few greedy capitalists (and, no, I’m not against capitalism, but here you see its downside, and every system has some downsides). A few greedy capitalists coupled with some crony politicians.

Words that could ring in infamy: If we decided to do so.

I wonder what stops them from deciding to do so.

You tell me:

 

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