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TEPCO Admits Delaying Report Of Major Radiation Leak Into The Pacific Ocean For 10 Months

TEPCO Admits Delaying Report Of Major Radiation Leak Into The Pacific Ocean For 10 Months thumbnail

While faith in Japanese ‘economics’ is starting to falter (borne out by the split in the BoJ and endless macro data disappointments), trust in TEPCO and its governmental operators must be about to hit a new record low. Having promised and given up on the ice-wall strategy to stop radioactive water leaking into the ocean, Bloomberg reports TEPCO officials have admitted that it’s investigating the cause of a spike in radiation levels (23,000 becquerels/liter vs the legal limit of 90) in drainage water that it believes subsequently leaked into the Pacific ocean from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant. The bigger problem, as NBC reports, TEPCO failed to report the leak for 10 months!

The radioactivity increase was ‘reported’ on Sunday, the company said in an e-mail yesterday, and as Bloomberg reports,

No workers were exposed and tests of radiation levels in sea water in the port adjacent to the plant showed no significant increase, the company said.


Ocean water tests will be increased to daily sampling from weekly as it investigates the leak, it added.


Rainwater is believed to have become contaminated through contact with radioactive substances and then flowed into drainage ditches, a spokesperson for the Tokyo-based company said today by phone, asking not to be named because of company policy. The company is unable to estimate the size of the radioactive water leak, the person said.


Tepco, as the company is known, detected 23,000 becquerels per liter of cesium 137, from rainwater accumulated on the roof of the No. 2 reactor building, the utility said yesterday in a statement. The legal limit for releasing cesium 137 is 90 becquerels per liter.



Tepco has had repeated failures in stemming radioactive water leaks at the plant since it had three reactor meltdowns almost four years ago following an earthquake and tsunami.

But the fact that a massively radioactive leak occurred is not the worst of it.. As NBC News reports,

The operator of Japan’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant admitted it failed to report a radioactive rainwater leak from the facility for about 10 months.


The company noticed a spike in radiation levels in the plant’s drainage system, particularly after rainfall, in April, according to a Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) official who spoke at a televised press conference on Tuesday.


“This was part of an ongoing investigation in which we discovered a water puddle with high levels of radiation on top of the Reactor No. 2 building, and because this also happens to be one of the sources for this drainage system, we decided to report everything all at once,” the unnamed official said to explain why the findings weren’t reported immediately.



The governor of Fukushima Prefecture Masao Uchibori criticized TEPCO’s withholding of information.


“It is extremely regrettable the swift release of information and the importance of that awareness — these basic things were not carried out,” he said in comments carried by Nippon TV.

*  *  *

Good luck at The Olympics… though we suspect it will be hard to run in a lead vest?


69 Comments on "TEPCO Admits Delaying Report Of Major Radiation Leak Into The Pacific Ocean For 10 Months"

  1. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 5:26 pm 


    All valid points, though I would question whether they’re having problems keeping it cool enough.

    But if war or disaster means there is no one to man the control room yeah, it’s vulnerable. The moderation rods should descend automatically, but if the pumps don’t continue to run, that’s a problem.

    You’d have meltdown. I’ve tried to point we had three meltdowns at Fukushima with seemingly minimum impact so far. But people did intervene. If there’s no one around, though…

    As you might imagine, being the techno-hopium type, I’d favor replacing our current fleet of light water reactors with something that is far less inclined to meltdown without humans around.

    I’d refer folks to EBR-II, out of the Idaho National Lab, for the prototype. And that is 30 year old tech.

  2. ghung on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 5:27 pm 

    TemplarMyst – yeah, I don’t want you to think I haven’t considered your point of view, and you make some good points. Those of us who were trained in and around nuclear power are trained to never become enamoured or entranced by its power, and I know nuke folks on both sides of this issue. I reached the point where I realized we have to make hard choices, and saying no to a lot of things. Societies have a hard time saying no (excepting to stupid shit like pot and gay marriage), but I decided a couple of decades ago to say no to nuclear power and coal, personally, and understand full well what it means to take an energy hit. Funny thing is, it wasn’t a big deal.

    We’re as adaptable as we decide to be, for the most part. Woe be unto me if I expect most folks will be compelled to adapt rather than just getting on with it by making wiser choices. We have far more energy slaves than we need, enough to deny those who don’t much of a chance at any energy equity. If I was king, I would give everybody solar panels (like Peru just did), batteries and whatever balance-of-system stuff they need and tell them ‘This is it. If you’re as clever as you think you are, you can do a lot without high-carbon and extremely long-lived, dangerous waste streams. Best thing is, your children won’t be forced to pay the costs..

    Not a chance…..

  3. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 5:39 pm 


    I agree we will very probably require a crisis to change our ways, and a global crisis will be a hell of a time to figure out whether we’re able to do so.

    I further agree we will need BAU energy to transition out of BAU. I guess what we’re all debating is what does the post BAU world look like?

    I haven’t a clue, but I’ve tried to imagine one that didn’t get us all killed and have us take down the biosphere with us.

    I’ve mentioned this a couple of times in other comments. I would envision a transition away from suburbs and into cities, and away from highways and cars and back to trains. Go vertical instead of continue to expand horizontal.

    Singapore and Hong Kong come to mind, and I think Singapore is probably out ahead. They’re consciously dealt with their water and waste issues, which is an essential, but they’re still doing it with massive fossil fuel input.

    I’m not sure they have the square mileage to build out a renewable solution, but I believe they’ve at least implemented some. So perhaps keep an eye on them from that perspective as well?

  4. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 5:47 pm 


    And I, for my part, have read your posts and enjoyed our discussions and think you raise a number of good points too.

    To the idea of providing everyone a low energy option and telling them to make due, you clearly see how that is an issue. And I agree with you some of us use way too many energy slaves and correspondingly deny others who have none. We do need to address the equity issue.

    And I further postulate that we would agree that any potential solution has to work for enough people to be considered viable. I’ve stated before I’d like renewables to be able to do the job, and perhaps with a few tricks (that unobtainium of grid-level storage) we can manage it. We can certainly get much more energy efficient, and I think we are.

    It’s a start, anyway.

  5. Makati1 on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 6:13 pm 

    Templarmyst must be a bot for the nuclear industry. Otherwise he would see the dangers and not try to BS you into believing nuclear is safe.

    Tuna can accumulate radioactivity until it dies. A cancer victim can walk and talk and live a ‘normal’ life until he/she is in the last stage. Then it is all over. The difference is that people do not eat people (normally) so the accumulation is not passed on.

    Time to shut down ALL of the nuke plants now, while we still have the ability to do so safely.

  6. Davy on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 6:26 pm 

    Temple, I can tell our different orientations. I respect and enjoy our discussions. It is funny because you advocate urban and vertical and I am the opposite.

    Trains are great but we cannot run BAU with trains nor will BAU have resources or time for more trains. We see the huge waste currently with complex energy intensive high speed rail. The exact wrong thing to build. When BAU crashes these trains will sit idle. Less complex trains may still be moving.

    Energy efficiency has hit dimminishing returns of time, money, and will. Who can afford to insulate when it may cost more than what they save and that over years. It is the same energy trap AltE is in with huge upfront costs and long payback. We are broke now where is the money coming from?

    G-Man and I are on the same wave. If I were king small scale solar to as many as possible. The grid would be shrunk and decentralized. Any new tech of any kind shelved for tech that will survive descent of complexity and energy intensity.

    So Temple I like your talk but we are on the other side of the fence. Yet, it will take a 1000 ideas of all kinds with salvage and mixing in a hybrid effort of the old ways and the modern. This is likely at least in the beginning. Eventually it will be anyone’s guess because human nature cannot be predicted. We do know mother nature so we do know that side of the equation.

  7. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 6:54 pm 


    I have stated elsewhere, and on this site, that I am not employed by, paid by, or otherwise associated with the nuclear industry, outside of having some friends who have worked in it and others who have served, as I believe ghung has stated he has, in the US nuclear submarine fleet.

    And as with the others I have asked here, I would respectfully request the sources for your assertions concerning tuna dying from accumulated radioactivity, or the assertion that people accumulate these isotopes to such a degree that it causes them to develop cancer.

    I’ve provided my sources. I don’t think I’m asking anything unfair or irrational.

  8. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 7:01 pm 


    And I fully respect your and ghung’s perspectives, of course.

    Just to reiterate what I’ve said before, I would be more inclined towards the less-is-better approach if I didn’t think we will need to at least attempt to reverse the error of our ways with respect to green house gases.

    Hansen and others indicate 350ppm is about the max to keep things from unraveling. We’re around 400 now.

    I’m thinking we need to go backwards, and I’m further thinking we need lots of juice to do that.

    That’s what keeps me from thinking a push to power down might be viable.

  9. Apneaman on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 7:08 pm 


    Critics: Turkey Point Sucking Us Dry
    January 14, 2015 6:22 PM

    Florida Power & Light cooling canals at Turkey Point nuclear power plant still too hot
    Canals that keep two Turkey Point nuclear reactors from overheating need millions more gallons of water to stay cool.

  10. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 7:17 pm 


    Thanks. Give me a bit to go over them. Got to take care of a couple things now, but I will respond after I’ve read the references.

  11. TemplarMyst on Thu, 26th Feb 2015 9:22 pm 


    Okay, got a chance to take a look. Thanks for bringing this back to my attention. I vaguely remember mention of this last year, and in fact I may have read the oldest of the articles you posted (NPR) when it came out.

    So I stand corrected. There is some concern about the cooling water at Turkey Point. I think the NRC extending the temperature range falls within the design specs from what I’ve read, but if the canals continue to be an issue, and PFL can’t get them cleared sufficiently, south Florida might need to look to an alternative source of electricity at some point.

    That’s a lot of juice to replace. But I would not support continued use of a nuke plant if it is unsafe to do so. They are seriously over-engineered by design, (note their design specs for wind speed, sited in the Wikipedia article you linked to above),but they have parameters.

    I’m hoping they get the issues resolved. They made mods to accommodate a need for more juice, (same source). That would seem to indicate south Florida is using more electricity, not less.

  12. Makati1 on Fri, 27th Feb 2015 12:44 am 

    Temp, maybe tuna die and you don’t see them? After all, few tuna even survive the nets to get that old anymore. But the fact that they accumulate masses of radiation and them it is caught and canned for human consumption should make you think about the food chain, and not defend the massive poison industry called nuclear energy.

    “…Bluefin tuna can live to be up to 30 years old and, because they’re near the top of the marine food chain, they’re unusually prone to building up high levels of pollutants in their bodies….”

  13. Dredd on Fri, 27th Feb 2015 4:08 am 

    Fukushima Update

  14. Determinedhunter17 on Fri, 27th Feb 2015 9:09 am 

    I would think a good comparison for low level radiation exposure would be radon in homes and depleted uranium ammunition. Both of these sources of radiation are extremely damaging.

  15. Beery on Fri, 27th Feb 2015 2:52 pm 

    “As I’ve tried (with minimal success, I admit) to point out on other comments related to Fukushima, the legal levels for various types of release are based on best guesses by those doing the regulation.”

    That’s not because they don’t know the safe level – it’s because the idea that ANY level is safe is ludicrous.

  16. Simon on Sat, 28th Feb 2015 8:22 am 

    Referring back to the transition point.

    Renewables currently make up about 25-30% capacity, and are predicted to grow.

    Whilst storage is an option, the other being used now is large scale interconnectors, allowing electricity to be moved between regions (countries) when needed.

  17. Davy on Sat, 28th Feb 2015 9:06 am 

    Simon, where are you getting your 25%-30% AltE numbers? Is this in a country or region? It is surely not global. There is no proven scalable storage and no integrated large scale grid operating above 20%? That I know of. AltE seems to be stuck at the 20% level. If it is higher say in Denmark or Spain that is a small regional thing.

    These AltE systems are unproven above a level that makes them an Alternative in a BAU.2. Our debt and energy trap almost surely will restrict much grow out of AltE or an alternative like fusion. Our time frame is 10 years or less before POD & ETP of oil strikes.

    I wish you were right. I am ready to embrace a seasonal, variable, and lower complexity world. I want to see all those excesses of consumption and poor attitudes ended. I want Nature to be healed. Anyway prove me wrong and I will be joyful but let’s not delude people into thinking there is hope when there is none.

    At the bottom we can maybe find hope with localized lifeboats embracing end user AltE technology and lifestyle changes but at the BAU level globally there is little hope I can see. I read and watch the news daily MSM and the alternatives and I see nothing that points to a future AltE BAU.2.

  18. Simon on Sat, 28th Feb 2015 9:18 am 

    Hi Davy

    Long time no speak.

    I am in a small region now granted, but am working on the weekend, and looking right at the figures.

    Now this may not be a scalable solution, and may not support BAU as we know it.

    My point was with pumped storage and large scale interconnectors, simply writing renewables off, is a mistake.


  19. Davy on Sat, 28th Feb 2015 9:32 am 

    OK, I pray you are right Simon but I think this will be a regional affair. Many across the globe will never see this. It is not happening here in MO quick enough which is unfortunate for me. We are seeing end user AltE but nowhere near enough to allow a BAU.2 across the board. We have hydro, NUk, and coal nearby and that is the dominant sources. Coal dominating with some new AltE (wind) coming in from the north west of the state. We have a huge amount of coal in ILL across the river that I am sure will be used eventually. In the past the high sulfur content meant it has been underutilized but in the future it will be ready to go.

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