Tepco now admits radioactive water entering the sea at Fukushima No. 1

Fisheries exec shocked by utility's flip-flop on groundwater's flow

AFP-JIJI

Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tepco on Monday admitted for the first time that radioactive groundwater is flowing into the sea, fueling fears that marine life is being poisoned.

The admission came a day after voters handed the largely pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — and ally New Komeito — a handsome majority in the Upper House.

Earlier this month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said groundwater samples taken at the battered plant showed that levels of cesium-134 had shot up more than 110 times in a few days.

Although unable to explain the increased readings, Tepco had nevertheless maintained the toxic groundwater was likely being contained, largely by concrete foundations and steel sheets.

“But now we believe that contaminated water has flowed out to the sea,” a Tepco spokesman said Monday.

However, the spokesman insisted the impact of the radioactive water on the ocean would be limited. “Seawater data have shown no abnormal rise in the levels of radioactivity.”

Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, voiced deep concern.

“It was quite shocking,” he told NHK. “(Tepco’s) explanation is totally different from the one in the past.”

Fishing around the Fukushima plant was halted shortly after the crisis, and production of beef, milk, mushrooms and vegetables was banned in surrounding areas, crippling the prefecture’s thriving fishing and agriculture industries.

Tepco, which is surviving thanks to a massive infusion of public funds, said it would step up efforts to reduce underground water by consolidating soil near its harbor.

Radioactive substances released by the reactor core meltdowns at the aging plant following the huge quake and tsunami of March 2011 have been leaking from damaged buildings and mingling with the ground water, which usually flows out to sea.

Environmental experts warn that the festering radioactive sore could contaminate the food chain by tainting marine life and ultimately, the humans who eat it.

Tepco said earlier this year that a fish found with radiation more than 2,500 times the legal limit had been caught in a port on Fukushima No. 1′s premises. It also said last week that around 2,000 people who worked at the plant now face a heightened risk of thyroid cancer.

This is 10 times more than Tepco’s previous estimate for potential thyroid cancer victims and came after the beleaguered utility was told its figures were too conservative.

  • Klaus D. Orth

    It would be nice to have an independent international group examine this whole “affair”. Whatever TEPCO, its representatives and other “officials” told us so far was never the truth. “There was no meltdown, well, there was a minor one, but no problem for the environment, the people and so on, well, some contaminated wated leaked, but again no problem, oh well, some ground water was contaminated, one fish that was caught had higher levels of contamination than normal, well, actually it was 2000 times the allowed amount” and it just continues like this. And the latest news is (after declining this too) that more than 2000 workers who worked at the plant (when??) “might” have a higher risk of thyroid cancer. What will be the next news?

    • YoDude12

      The next news is that the LDP is re-elected by the drones. Oops, its Monday!

    • Guest

      “And the latest news is (after declining this too) that more than 2000
      workers who worked at the plant (when??) “might” have a higher risk of
      thyroid cancer.”

      That was inevitable – it just comes from the fact that these workers have over the cumulative limits that the epidemiologists say there is an increased cancer risk down the road. It was easy to assume 2 years ago that that would be the case for any long-term worker at the plant (and I remember it being discussed at the time).

      Not good, but someone’s got to do the work there, right?

      • Mark Garrett

        “Not good, but someone’s got to do the work there, right?”

        Only if they’re operational.

      • Guest

        Nope, people will be working there for the next 40 years to decommission and clean up the site. It’ll never be operational again.

      • Mark Garrett

        Oh yeah, of course, we can’t forget all of the individuals who will needlessly have their lives shortened due to disaster cleanups and decommissionings. I guess what I meant was if they were never operational in the first place.

      • Guest

        “Oh yeah, of course, we can’t forget all of the individuals who will
        needlessly have their lives shortened due to disaster cleanups and
        decommissionings.”

        I’ll put my disclaimer in front of this comment in case you think I am being insensitive – cancer runs in my family and I lost my brother to thyroid cancer at a very young age. So I am acutely aware of the emotional impact of increased cancer risk.

        SO: To look at the risk to those working at the plant and say they will needlessly have their lives shortened – well that’s a gross oversimplification. The standard figure quoted is a 100mSv dose results in 0.5% increase in cancer risk. There is no deterministic relationship between radiation exposure at lower doses and getting cancer – it’s essentially a random distribution, the 0.5% just indicates an increased likelihood. An individual may be more or less susceptible due to many factors. Of those who may get sick, who knows what the mortality rate would be? Looking at these men as if they have a death sentence is certainly not productive and not conducive to them leading a healthy life in the future – have you seen the studies about the effect of stress from Fukushima? It’s a lot worse than the cancer risk from radiation exposure.

        I’m still wondering about your opinion as to the increased incidence of respiratory illness due to the burning of fossil fuels as a replacement for the shuttered nuclear plants. A heck of a lot more people get sick from the pollution associated with the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels each year than have ever died as a result of nuclear power.

      • Spudator

        Not good, but someone’s got to do the work there, right?

        Indeed. Thank God it’s some other sucker and not you, eh?

        You know, you really should listen to yourself. Better still, try repeating that complacent, unfeeling, I’m-all-right-Jack crap to the wife of one of the young guys cleaning up Tepco’s shit so you don’t have to. I’d love to see you get your face slapped.

      • Guest

        You don’t know me, son, so don’t act like you do.

        You are very susceptible to uninformed, knee-jerk opinions in your posts, and now it seems like you are inclined to violence. Perhaps you should take a step back from your computer and get some perspective.

      • Spudator

        You don’t know me, son, so don’t act like you do.

        Well, that’s simply not true, is it? You plaster your prejudices, misconceptions and hypocrisies across these discussion threads like a Facebook newbie high on that first rush of revealing every intimate detail of their life to the world. With such a surfeit of data, it really doesn’t take much in the way of Sherlockian deduction to figure out your more obvious traits.

        Let me give you an example. In one of your posts, you declared yourself to be “probably one of the most leftist persons [one will] run into”. Based on this, I’d expect you to be something of a socialist with a genuine concern for the welfare of workers. But no: in your flippant “someone’s got to do the work” remark about the unfortunate workers cleaning up the mess at Fukushima, you showed yourself to be callously indifferent to the dangers faced by those workers and how they must feel toiling under such dreadful conditions. Imagine a trade unionist dismissing so cold-heartedly the plight of workers struggling in a dangerous job. It’s inconceivable. There can be no doubt whatsoever that you’re not a leftist at all. And that you believe yourself to be left-wing clearly indicates that you really are full of it.

        Another quick example: after claiming to be a leftist, you go on to state, “I’m just very pro-science and anti-ignorance.” So says the man responsible for the schoolboy howler of believing that the Fukushima water table extended no further than that test well six metres from the sea, as if the groundwater could come to an abrupt halt for no apparent reason. Honestly, your knowledge of rudimentary science is pitiful. That you have no doubt that you’re scientifically minded just shows how conceited you are.

        You are very susceptible to uninformed, knee-jerk opinions in your posts, . . .

        Is that a fact? So point out some posts where my opinions amount to knee-jerk reactions and explain to me why they’re uninformed. I told you before that if you want me to take you seriously, you’re going to have to give me more than unsubstantiated assertions. But, of course, unsubstantiated assertions are all you have. In truth, you’re just making this stuff up because it’s the only way you can berate me.

        . . . and now it seems like you are inclined to violence.

        And it seems that psychoanalysis is yet another area that you conceitedly and erroneously consider yourself to have expertise in. How on earth did you come to that preposterous conclusion? Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing how you reached it because, yet again, you provide no evidence to support it, no proof, no elaboration, no nothing—just your opinion. Is this your idea of intelligent argument?

        Perhaps you should take a step back from your computer and get some perspective.

        Perspective on what exactly? Again, you don’t say. Just more empty, time-wasting, electricity-wasting words. There’s got to be some irony in the fact that I’m paying Tepco for the electricity that allows your vacuous pearls of wisdom to appear on my computer screen.

        By the way, did you really call me son? (“You don’t know me, son, . . . .”) Oh my goodness; I can’t believe it. It’s been decades since anybody addressed me in that way. Is that supposed to be some kind of put-down designed to make you come across as being older and wiser than I am? Or are you just trying to sound like a tough guy? (And you accuse me of being violently inclined.) Who knows what your intention is? As always, you sabotage your purpose with your lack of detail. But thanks for the chuckle. Son indeed!

      • Guest

        “I’d expect you to be something of a socialist with a genuine concern for the welfare of workers. But no: in your flippant “someone’s got to do the work” remark about the unfortunate workers cleaning up the mess at
        Fukushima, you showed yourself to be callously indifferent to the dangers faced by those workers and how they must feel toiling under such dreadful conditions.”

        Huh. Since you are the expert, are you saying someone DOESN’T have to do the work, that there is no work to be done? Shall we just let the site sit there festering? No? Then what exactly are you on about?

        You don’t know my feelings about the workers, and if you think you know my feelings from a single sentence posted in these comment then you are a fool.

        “So says the man responsible for the schoolboy howler of believing that the Fukushima water table extended no further than that test well six metres from the sea”

        Never said any such thing. I said that finding contamination 6m from the sea is not the same as finding contamination in the sea, which is plainly obvious. Now they have determined there is contamination in the sea. Now we have evidence. Evidence, not supposition.
        It’s important.

        “Honestly, your knowledge of rudimentary science is pitiful.”

        I’m a working scientist. It’s my job and I am good at it. So yet again, what you think you know is incorrect.

        “I told you before that if you want me to take you seriously”

        I quite honestly could not care less if random internet commenter Spudator takes me seriously or not. You can feel free to ignore everything I say for all I care.

        “Just more empty, time-wasting, electricity-wasting words.”

        Yet here you are, spending untold time in the middle of the night responding to them. Hmm. Your words say one thing, your actions say another.

      • Spudator

        Since you are the expert, are you saying someone DOESN’T have to do the work, that there is no work to be done?

        Nice try at pretending you don’t know what I’m talking about. Too bad your ploy is so obvious.

        Then what exactly are you on about?

        You know exactly what I’m on about, so stop pretending you don’t; I made it quite plain. I’m on about your hypocrisy. You call yourself a left-winger—which for me means you must be a socialist and a supporter of the working class—and then show your true colours by talking glibly about the need for workers to risk their precious health cleaning up the mess at Fukushima while expressing not one iota of compassion for those workers. Where’s the socialist sentiment in that?

        You don’t know my feelings about the workers, and if you think you know my feelings from a single sentence posted in these comment [sic] then you are a fool.

        Calm down, dear. It’s affecting your typing.

        So why don’t you tell me your feelings? You had an opportunity to do that just now; instead, you chose to waste it in order to malign me. You could have used the opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings in more than a smattering of words and let me hear that you’re seriously worried for the workers at Fukushima, that you truly regret that they have to work there, and that you’re profoundly grateful to them for their sacrifice. This is what I would expect to hear from someone who has a genuinely socialistic conscience and honestly cares about people. But you gave up on that opportunity because you can’t bring yourself to say such things; because you’re not a socialist, not left-wing at all; because, in truth, you don’t give a damn about the workers at Fukushima.

        It’s not what you said that gave me an insight into your character; it’s what you didn’t say.

        I said that finding contamination 6m from the sea is not the same as finding contamination in the sea, which is plainly obvious.

        What you actually said was that it’s a “good thing [the contaminated water is] 6m from the Pacific and not in the Pacific”. So you clearly stated that, on the basis of a single sample taken six metres from the ocean, the contaminated groundwater must have stopped six metres short of the ocean.

        But to accept that is to believe that, by an incredible coincidence, the water had stopped in its tracks at the exact point of sampling. It’s to believe that the water table couldn’t possibly extend beyond the point of sampling. It’s to believe that the surrounding soil and rock wouldn’t exhibit porosity and hydraulic conductivity. It’s to believe that the probability of the water stopping exactly at the well would be far greater than the probability of it extending further towards the sea. It’s to believe in things that anyone with half a brain would dismiss in an instant.

        I’m a working scientist. It’s my job and I am good at it.

        Yet a problem requiring only high-school scientific knowledge and a modicum of intelligence left you looking like a clown. You know, one thing I’ve learnt over the years is that the world is full of people doing jobs they may be qualified to do on paper, but really shouldn’t be doing because they lack the aptitude, imagination and talent to excel in those jobs. In fact, I’ve become convinced that it’s because the world is full of people doing jobs they shouldn’t be doing that the human race and this planet are in such a God-almighty mess now. In my mind, there’s absolutely no question that the real reason Fukushima Dai-ichi is a smoking ruin and the surrounding area a no-go zone for the next God-knows-how-many decades is that the top people responsible for running the plant were holding jobs they weren’t fit to hold.

        So don’t expect me to be impressed by your being a working scientist (yeah, I know: you don’t care what some random guy on the Internet thinks) or by your highly subjective, unsupported self-assessment that you’re good at your job. I’ve seen your schoolboy howler of a response to the test-well data. If I were your boss, I’d be seriously considering whether I should continue to employ you.

        I quite honestly could not care less if random internet commenter Spudator takes me seriously or not. You can feel free to ignore everything I say for all I care.

        So why are you so desperate to explain youself to me and for me to understand you. If you really don’t care what I think, why did you bother replying? Oh, OK: maybe you care what the other people on the thread think. But they’re just random people on the Internet, too. Come to think of it now, why do you bother posting anything at all on the Japan Times discussion threads when your entire readership consists of random people on the Internet? Why are you so anxious for people whose opinions you don’t care about to know what you think? You’re making no sense. Or maybe you’re just not being honest with me. This is all just the same old same old, isn’t it? You claim to be one thing, but in reality you’re something else.

        Yet here you are, spending untold time in the middle of the night responding to [my empty, time-wasting, electricity-wasting words].

        You call 11:45 p.m. the middle of the night? Wow! What time do you go to bed? Eight o’clock?

        When I mentioned your “empty, time-wasting, electricity-wasting words”, it was in the clearly stated context of your perpetual failure to say exactly what you mean. You continually write things that are so unclear as to be meaningless and therefore worthless; that’s why your words are empty, wasting time and electricity (yours as much as mine). I don’t mind responding to your comments; I just wish you’d give me something to get my teeth into.

      • Guest

        “Nice try at pretending you don’t know what I’m talking about. Too bad your ploy is so obvious.”

        It’s not a ploy, you make no sense on this. I could write 50,000 words on the plight of the workers and their families and friends and it would do nothing to change the fact that right now, someone has to be there doing this work. Hopefully they are making informed choices to the risks and getting paid proportionally well for that risk.

        “This is what I would expect to hear from someone who has a genuinely socialistic conscience and honestly cares about people. But you gave up on that opportunity because you can’t bring yourself to say such things; because you’re not a socialist, not left-wing at all; because, in truth, you don’t give a damn about the workers at Fukushima.”

        <> I have to hand it to you, that is some pro quality troll work. Well done.

        “If I were your boss, I’d be seriously considering whether I should continue to employ you.”

        <> Beaten only by this. Fantastic. Impressive.

        “So why are you so desperate to explain youself to me and for me to understand you.”

        Oh, but I’m not. I love quality discussion on the internet, and fortunately the vast majority of commenters here and other sites provide that without the passive-aggressive abuse (though you have shifted into simple aggressive abuse now). It’s enriching. Also, I love to argue, hopefully with people who I can learn from. Am I concerned with what people actually think of me? Sure, if it’s someone I have developed a relationship with (I have quite a few friends on Twitter who I care about, for example). But someone who just waltzes in and insults me? Nope, don’t care. Developed too thick of a skin for that. But I still enjoy the argument.

        “You call 11:45 p.m. the middle of the night?”

        It’s by definition the middle of the night. In fact, 15 minutes later and it’s actually called “midnight”.

        “You continually write things that are so unclear as to be meaningless and therefore worthless; that’s why your words are empty, wasting time and electricity (yours as much as mine). I don’t mind responding to your comments; I just wish you’d give me something to get my teeth into.”

        Zzzz. After your quality trolling above – and I admit, it’s really good work, top drawer, I can almost believe that you truly think that way – this is unworthy of you. I hope for your next reply you can do better.

      • Spudator

        I could write 50,000 words on the plight of the workers and their families and friends and it would do nothing to change the fact that right now, someone has to be there doing this work.

        Sigh. Are you being deliberately obtuse or are your reading comprehension skills really as bad as they seem? I’m not talking about someone having to be there doing the work. The issue I brought up was your claim to be a left-winger and how that claim is pure hypocrisy in view of your clear lack of compassion for the workers at Fukushima. (Jesus, how many times have I got to explain this?) You don’t have to write 50,000 words; a simple, sincere sentence showing you have genuine concern for the workers is enough. But, of course, even that’s too much because you have no concern for them. Let me put it like this: will you be lying awake tonight worrying about these guys? No, of course you won’t. So stop pretending you’re a socialist.

        I have to hand it to you, that is some pro quality troll work [referring to my explanation of why your claim to be left-wing is a sham]. Well done.

        It’s not trolling at all. (Do you even know what trolling is?) It’s a statement of the obvious: when challenged to prove that your socialism is genuine, your response is a deafening silence. But, of course, this inability to back up your claim is something you’d rather not talk about because nobody likes to contemplate the idea that they might be a hypocrite. So by all means misrepresent my statement as trolling if that allows you to avoid answering it; playing the “you’re nothing but a troll” card is the perfect way of making points you can’t refute vanish into thin air. The trouble is that when you play that card, you admit that you’ve lost the argument.

        Beaten only by this [my point that your schoolboy howler over the test well and the water table calls into question your professional competence]. Fantastic. Impressive.

        Well, well; how about that? You’ve got loads of these “you’re nothing but a troll” cards up your sleeve. It’s OK; I understand completely: what scientist wants to confront the fact that he made a blunder involving a natural phenomenon that any window cleaner who’s ever chucked a sponge into a bucket of water understands perfectly. It’s really embarrassing, isn’t it? Best to hush it up, hope it goes away, and pray to God not too many people saw you with your trousers around your ankles.

        Oh, but I’m not [desperate to explain myself to you and for you to understand me].

        Nice try. The problem here is that you say you’re not desperate to explain yourself to me, having previously dedicated an entire post to explaining yourself to me. So your assertion is patently false. And you obviously realise this, because you then spend the rest of the paragraph vainly trying to convince me that it’s the truth. But in trying to convince me, you yet again demonstrate your need to explain yourself to me. This is the inescapable Catch-22 paradox that thwarts—and will continue to thwart—every attempt you make to feign indifference to me and to what I think about you. The harder you try to convince me you don’t care, the more you end up proving you do. To pretend you’re ignoring me, you’re forced to pay attention to me. Talk about a dilemma. It really is a bugger, isn’t it?

        Frankly, the fact that you can’t seem to recognise this double bind, having blundered into the same booby trap twice in a row, makes me wonder just how smart you are. (Well, that’s not quite true: your inability to understand such basic science as capillary action has already been an epiphany for me in that respect.) There’s only one way to show you don’t care about me, and that’s to ignore me completely and not respond to my posts. Indeed, if you genuinely didn’t give a damn, this is exactly what you’d do. But I expect you think that if you do this, it’ll look like I’ve won this little jousting match we’re having. You really are in a bit of a quandary, aren’t you?

        It’s by definition the middle of the night. In fact, 15 minutes later and it’s actually called “midnight”.

        Crikey, you’re right! I’d never realised it. Midnight equals middle-of-the-night. Whodathunkit? So, as you’re a scientist and know all about this kind of stuff, let me just run this by you for confirmation: day starts at 6 a.m.; midday’s at 12 noon; night starts at 6 p.m.; and midnight’s at 12. . . er . . . midnight. Hang on a sec, though; isn’t that a bit simplistic? I mean don’t days and nights vary in length according to latitude and season? For instance, doesn’t the night disappear altogether if you’re at the North Pole in summer, so that at midnight it’s still day? And then, to make matters even more complicated, there’s daylight saving time, which means that when you wake up on a winter’s morning, it’s still night. Oh, what the heck; this is all too confusing for me. If you say twelve midnight is the middle of the night, then I think I should trust you. After all, you’re a scientist who’s good at his job. You couldn’t possibly be mistaken. And I can be sure you’re what you say you are because you’ve told me it’s true.

        After your quality trolling above – and I admit, it’s really good work, top drawer, I can almost believe that you truly think that way – this is unworthy of you. I hope for your next reply you can do better.

        Another nice try. You know, if you’d stopped there, you could have exited with your tattered credibility still hanging on by a thread. But you just couldn’t resist a wee bit more sarcasm, could you? I guess nobody’s ever told you that once you’ve made your point you should stop. So you went for one last jibe and, as a result, exited with your trousers around your ankles again. The offending item? This:

        </clap></clap>

        Hilarious, utterly hilarious—schoolboy howler number two.

        You see, when people do this kind of thing, they’re pretending to be using XML tags. So the correct syntax is . But even that’s not right because there’s nothing between the tags. I’ve never seen anyone get this wrong before; perhaps you shouldn’t try to impress people with knowledge you don’t have. Anyway, let me give you an example of how it’s done so you won’t embarrass yourself in future:

        Clap, Clap

        Get it? Maybe not. Judging by your glaring inability to insert blockquotes in your comments, I don’t think you understand markup at all, do you?

        In the film Back to the Future Part II, there’s a nice exchange between young Biff Tannen and old Biff Tannen, his counterpart from the future:

        Young Biff: Why don’t you make like a tree and get out of here?

        Old Biff: It’s leave, you idiot! “Make like a tree, and leave.” You sound like a damn fool when you say it wrong.

        Old Biff’s right. When you try to be funny but get the humour wrong, the joke’s on you.

      • Guest

        “a simple, sincere sentence showing you have genuine concern for the workers is enough”

        I’ve done so many times. I’m not jumping through any hoops for you because you choose to read incorrect subtext into a single sentence I wrote. Your problem – not mine.

        “There’s only one way to show you don’t care about me, and that’s to ignore me completely and not respond to my posts. Indeed, if you genuinely didn’t give a damn, this is exactly what you’d do. But I expect you think that if you do this, it’ll look like I’ve won this little jousting match we’re having. You really are in a bit of a quandary, aren’t you?”

        You fail to understand how much I enjoy pushing in the keys on my keyboard. Has nothing to do with you. When I get a little red “message” indicator on my Disqus panel I read the message and almost always respond. Don’t think you’re special, you are just a little red “message” indicator like so many others.

        “Crikey, you’re right! I’d never realised it. Midnight equals middle-of-the-night. Whodathunkit?”

        Apparently not you! Else you wouldn’t have made such a “Schoolboy Howler” of a mistake! How ridiculous! It’s hard to take anything you say seriously now! I question your reading comprehension skills that you can’t even notice that “midnight” means “middle of the night”! Even my cat knows this. If you were my cat and you didn’t know this, I’d send you to the pound.

        “Hilarious, utterly hilarious—schoolboy howler number two.

        You see, when people do this kind of thing, they’re pretending to be using XML tags.”

        I LOVE your failed assumptions! Here’s what I typed, originally:

        less than less than clap clap clap greater than greater than

        Which Disqus assumed was XML tags that weren’t closed. But they weren’t – I just chose to use those symbols as brackets.

        Go ahead, try it!

        And you will see that you made another incredibly foolish assumption. Again. Like always. QED.

      • Spudator

        I’ve done so many times.

        Give me some links then.

        I’m not jumping through any hoops for you because you choose to read incorrect subtext into a single sentence I wrote.

        Where on earth do you get the idea that I’m not making you jump through hoops? Not very quick on the uptake, are you?

        Your problem – not mine.

        It depends. If you view this exchange as a duel—which I think you do—then, yes, it’s my problem (although I shan’t be losing sleep over it). But if you can transcend that infantile perception and view the exchange for what it is—a debate—you’ll understand that your repeated failure to back up your assertions and prove the truth of what you say to those observing the debate is very much your problem, your task as a debater being to convince them, not me.

        You fail to understand how much I enjoy pushing in [sic] the keys on my keyboard. Has nothing to do with you. When I get a little red “message” indicator on my Disqus panel [sic] I read the message and almost always respond.

        Well, thanks for sharing something else about yourself with me. I feel privileged that you want me to know so much about what makes you tick. So, for a second time you blundered into the Catch-22 booby trap I warned you about, and now you’re trying to kid me it was due to your need to comment. Pull the other one. Your feeble excuses are so transparent I could start a glazing business with them. The kicker is that, in trying to kid me about that second blunder, you’re forced to go crashing into the booby trap for a third time. You’ve really got this slapstick routine down pat, haven’t you? Most entertaining!

        Don’t think you’re special, you are just a little red “message” indicator like so many others.

        Well, I’m sure all the other people you debate with will be delighted to hear they’re not human beings but just little red indicators to you. They now probably regard you as unbelievably arrogant and offensive.

        Apparently not you! Else you wouldn’t have made such a “Schoolboy Howler” of a mistake! How ridiculous! It’s hard to take anything you say seriously now! I question your reading comprehension skills that you can’t even notice that “midnight” means “middle of the night”!

        Five exclamation marks!!!!! Calm down dearie before you wet your knickers. What would your old English teacher say about such abuse of punctuation? Has nobody ever told you to be sparing with these particular stops? Given than they’re nicknamed screamers, I should probably ask you to stop being hysterical.

        I’ve got to say, though, that I love the way you seem to think that turning my own jibes (“schoolboy howler” [note: capitals not required] and “reading comprehension skills”) against me constitutes giving me a taste of my own medicine. How childish. And how incredibly unoriginal. Is that the extent of your creativity? No clever jibes of your own? Oh well, they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I should be happy you’re stealing lines from me. I must have really touched a nerve when I originally used them on you.

        Even my cat knows this. If you were my cat and you didn’t know this, I’d send you to the pound.

        Now you’re just being puerile and gratuitously offensive, and I’d probably be justified in reporting your abuse to The Japan Times. This is supposed to be a discussion, not a slanging match. I’ve never once resorted to name-calling. Grow up and show a little adult decorum.

        Here’s the thing: I’m afraid that you’re the one making the schoolboy howler with your literal interpretation of language and your lack of general knowledge. Yes, of course, midnight literally means the middle of the night. But this sense of the word is a throwback to agrarian times when people regulated their lives according to the sun, farming from dawn to dusk and using the night purely for sleeping. In those times, midnight was the middle of people’s sleeping period, and the idea of the middle of the night being the middle of one’s sleeping period became established.

        But we don’t live like that anymore. We work in offices and factories according to fixed schedules that don’t depend on the sun. At home we have artificial lighting and facilities like TV that allow us to turn night into day and use it for leisure, and the evening and the hours leading up to midnight have become part of our waking period. For many people, the sleeping period—the night proper—begins close to midnight. However, the concept of the middle of the night being the middle of one’s sleeping period lives on; but with most of us sleeping roughly from 11 to 7, the middle of the night is now no longer midnight but somewhere around 3 a.m.

        The ancient solar middle-of-the-night has been replaced by an anthropocentric middle-of-the-night. This is a fact of modern life whose ramifications even children understand, and I’m flabbergasted you’re unaware of it. Have you never wondered at what point in the 24-hour period consisting of morning, afternoon, evening and night, evening ends and night begins, and night ends and morning begins? Your original remark that by posting a comment at 11:45 p.m., a time when people are still watching TV, I was doing so in the middle of the night is utter drivel, going completely against modern thinking and common sense.

        I LOVE your failed assumptions! Here’s what I typed, originally:

        less than less than clap clap clap greater than greater than

        Doh! They’re not less-than and greater-than symbols; they’re left and right angle brackets. How can you call yourself a scientist and yet be unable to recognise angle brackets, which are used in bra-ket notation in quantum mechanics? Sheesh. However that’s beside the point, which is that despite my “failed assumption” (more on that later), you still screwed up—and royally, too, as I’ll explain shortly.

        Which Disqus assumed was [sic] XML tags that weren’t closed. But they weren’t [sic] – I just chose to use those symbols as brackets.

        You really need to calm down; your grammar and sentence logic are going to hell. Try taking some deep breaths until you regain your composure. By the way, Disqus handles a limited subset of HTML, not XML. Do try to get it right.

        Go ahead, try it!

        I did, and what I got was <<clap clap=”"</clap (without the closing angle bracket, probably because I ended with a carriage return). Hardly what you got, but almost identical to two previous instances of <<clap clap=”">> in your reply. (These had had me baffled and thinking you’d totally lost it. However, I’d kept quiet about them to spare you further embarrassment.) Anyway, I reproduced your claptrap, which means that (drum roll) you’re absolutely right. Yay! Finally, something from you that’s actually true. But don’t get too puffed up with pride. Here comes the fall:

        Sorry to break this to you, but your supercilious belief that, because this is a bug in Disqus, you’re absolved from all blame, and that the high estimation you have of yourself is in no way diminished, is misplaced. Quite simply, you dropped another clanger. By failing to understand that Disqus can parse basic HTML, you screwed up with your choice of characters, entering tag-like elements that caused Disqus to choke, and so made yourself look foolish.

        The thing is it’s not Disqus’s fault; it’s yours for being ignorant about how Disqus works and for failing to check the comment as Disqus rendered it. Don’t you ever do that? Don’t you proofread your comments after posting them to make sure there aren’t any typos or other errors in them? Disqus gives you a pre-moderation preview function to spot errors and an edit function to correct any you find; do you never use these functions? If you had, you’d have been able to remove all that misrendered garbage and save yourself from looking like a clown. You needlessly blotted your copybook by posting a comment containing three correctable instances of pure gibberish. Hopeless.

        So the joke’s still on you. The gibberish is all your fault. At best you were lazy; but more likely, you were in just too much of a hurry to get your comment out the door and so heap scorn on me. Maybe you should use scowling emoticons instead of sarcastic comments in angle brackets in future. In other words, use a more conventional form of juvenile text decoration. Alternatively, try writing like an adult.

        And you will see that you made another incredibly foolish assumption. Again. Like always. QED.

        Is that a fact? The only foolish assumption I made was about the nature of your blunder. I thought you were erroneously trying to show how clever you are; in fact you were successfully proving how clueless you are. You weren’t parodying XML; you were unwittingly sabotaging Disqus. As for “QED”, what exactly has been demonstrated by this load of, er, clap except that you’re a sloppy workman who doesn’t know how to use his tools, pays no attention to detail, and doesn’t check his work? QED: Quality of Execution Dismal.

      • Guest

        This was quite honestly a very boring and meaningless response (not that previous ones were not). I see no point in responding. You can take that concession as a little victory if you want to put a little gold star in your Disqus profile. I don’t mind. Up to you.

        Enjoy your schoolboy howlers (see, lower case this time! Aren’t you happy?)

  • Anita Railing

    Fish: it’s what’s not for dinner anymore!

    In another 2 years they’ll be saying, oops sorry but we’ve been catching saba and sanma and selling them, but we lost the results if any of the testing, that was not mandatory anyway.

  • MeTed

    No doubt there was pressure from the Abe cronies to keep this under wraps until after the election. When will the Japanese ever do something about their political system (when they start dying I guess)

    This is becoming more and more serious. How much food can be tested? Once it’s in the ocean say goodbye to eating any fish.

    • Guest

      Well the general election showed that people didn’t vote for the anti-nuclear parties anyway so I don’t see how this info would have made a difference for this week’s election either.

  • Baban Gangadhar KolsePatil

    Only remedy is to make the WORLD NUCLEAR ENERGY FREE. No short cuts,please.

  • Max_1

    Never have I seen a WINDSPILL poison the water we drink…
    Never have I seen a SUNSPILL poison the food we eat…
    Never have I seen a TIDALSPILL poison the air we breathe…

    … But I have seen OILSPILLS, FRACKING and NUCLEAR ACCIDENTS poison you and me.

    • Guest

      If you can get sufficient energy density and stability of supply from wind/sun/tide I don’t think you will find a soul who disagrees with you. These technologies need to be developed, but there are still TONS of challenges to using them to power a nation of 120m.

      • Mark Garrett

        Ahhh…research. It makes winning arguments sooo much easier!

        http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/17/1460431/solar-world-land/

      • Guest

        Sounds more like a press release than science – the linked article from WWF within that link has very sparse details about assumptions and methodology. I’m quite interested in how they came to their conclusion, and 1% of the land mass of the planet is hardly an unsubstantial area.

        You should also note prominently in your own link:

        “Obviously this is a theoretical exercise, and 100 percent of the planet’s electricity needs are not actually going to be filled through solar.”

        It seems to me that solar works well on a micro level – for houses and smaller power requirements – but it’s very difficult to scale to an industrial level, or to power public transportation, etc. There’s also the not-insubstantial question of batteries to store the energy generated – how is this done on a city scale let alone on a national scale?

        I’m not saying these obstacles can’t be overcome somehow – probably through a mix of many energy sources – but it’s not at all obvious that enough wind farms and solar arrays and batteries could be built to reliably power a country. That’s why some details about the linked study within your link would be nice to see.

        Do you have any details?

      • Sam Gilman

        Googling to find a link that appears to support what you want without checking its quality isn’t research. It’s an exercise in confirmation bias. Also, solving our energy problems is more important than you appearing to “win” an argument on the internet. It’s about honestly examining different forms of energy for their ability to supply us with adequate energy, as well as the harm they cause in doing that.

        As for this WWF report, it’s actually an industry-funded report, openly compiled with the help of nice capitalists who make their money out of solar. That doesn’t discredit it, although if someone supporting nuclear cited BNFL or Areva as a source, no doubt you’d be up in arms. What it means is that we should consider the report’s claims veerrrrrrry carefully because there’s a clear conflict of interest. I can find two really big problems.

        The first one is that the study is based on Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Turkey, and the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. That is, on parts of the world with, as they admit, particularly high average levels of sunshine. No one disputes the idea that larger scale solar power is a good idea in places with high and predictable levels of sunshine. However, even according to their own insolation map, Japan is not part of that group. We shouldn’t be pointing to Morocco as an example of what Japan can achieve with solar.

        The second big one is to do with the well-established technical issues that need to be addressed: grid integration and storage. Because solar power is intermittent, we need a grid that can manage the fluctuations in power. Current grids can’t do this above a certain level (WWF themselves cite a 20-30% renewables grid penetration limit with current systems), so we need to build smart grids that can handle this – ie rebuild the entire grid with very new technology. And because solar is not “on” all the time (nighttime, cloudy times) the energy needs to be stored if we are going to be 100% solar. We don’t currently have the technology for such large-scale and long-term storage, with the exception of pumping water up hills. What does this report say?

        “Of course, grid integration, storage and balancing are important issues to address for renewable energy to be successful. These topics are beyond the scope of the atlas but are covered in The Energy Report by WWF. ”

        OK… so if you go to the Energy Report, it reveals that for storage they are basically thinking of CSP (concentrated solar power) storage currently in the design stage, which according to the report can hold energy for up to (drum roll….) 15 hours. That’s not long enough to provide stable energy. The report does cover grid integration, but they admit it’s going to take a huge amount of investment. Ask yourself: why didn’t the industry-based report linked to want to deal with the full timescale, cost and feasibility of actually having large-scale solar? Do you feel confident trusting their conclusions about how good their product is?

        I’m not against solar, I’m against solar being waved around as if it’s the answer to our problems such that we can all go home and stop worrying.

      • Mark Garrett

        “Googling to find a link that appears to support what you want without checking its quality isn’t research.”

        I’ve actually read numerous articles in various forms from several sources but chose to use this particular report because the WWF is a well respected international non-governmental organization. I can appreciate your points regarding the contributing sources and agree that it is certainly in their best interest to show numbers in a positive light (pun intended), but as you admitted, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

        I take a bit of umbrage with the insinuation that I believe that solar is the answer to our energy problems. It most certainly is not, which you outlined quite eloquently. However, I strongly feel that it is a better alternative than nuclear (or carbon based fuels). The only clear safe path to reducing our carbon footprint is a comprehensive multi-pronged effort not the least of which is cutting consumption. The premise that we need nuclear to sustain our current usage only holds true if we continue to turn a blind eye to the waste and inefficiency all around us.

        The bottom line is that we don’t need nuclear and if we’ve learned anything from this disaster it’s that we cannot trust the government and corporations to put the safety of the people first. We’re two and a half years into this mess and the news keeps getting worse.

      • Mark Garrett

        By the way, here is an excellent report on Germany’s decision to be nuclear-free by 2022. It shows not only the progress and advances in alternative energies they’ve made, but also the challenges, obstacles, and even backlash they face.
        http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2013/07/the-energiewende-transforming-germany%E2%80%99s-energy-sector

      • Sam Gilman

        As one energy expert has said, one must be very careful of drinking the Energiewende Kool-Aid. What Germany is doing is trying to replace a stable low-carbon electricity source with other less stable ones, while stalling in its attempts to tackle climate change. A sizeable amount of its renewables is actually biomass, and biomass rolled out large-scale is a Very Bad Idea. There is a strange split in the environmental movement in general, between those who see combatting global warming as the priority, and those who see moving to renewables as the priority. Germany is a case of the latter. Here is a link for you about how Germany’s CO2 emissions are rising.

        In short, subsidised solar is forcing lower CO2-emitting gas out of the peak supply (load following) market (thus increasing the cost of standby gas which intermittent energy sources need), while baseload low CO2 nuclear is being replaced with cheap baseload high CO2 coal. Meanwhile getting the supply of windpower up (a better source than solar, to be honest) is being stymied by grid connection problems. It’s actually a mess. You wouldn’t know that from the renewables crowd and their numerous websites, but I’ve learnt to trust them as much as I’d trust Exxon on climate change.

        My priority – my urgent priority – would be reduction in CO2 emissions. Studies which have been done by people not constitutionally/ideologically opposed to nuclear (which excludes Greenpeace, WWF, FOE etc.) but still independent of the nuclear industry have found that attempts to decarbonise without nuclear will take at least a couple of decades longer, time which will likely cost lives numbered in the millions if global warming continues at its current pace. Also, if you look around Europe now, all of the low carbon-intensive-electricity countries are a mixture of nuclear and hydro, the only two proven sources of large-scale low CO2 baseload electricity. Germany and Denmark are nowhere. Yes, we should invest in renewables, but it’s irresponsible not to examine whether or not they are yet ready for purpose.

        And that’s the point. The 100% renewables goal is laudable, but laudable does not mean currently feasible. Meanwhile, the planet is getting hotter and hotter.

    • Matt Whitlock

      The environmental impact of manufacturing a wind turbine is not negligible, especially considering how relatively little energy one such turbine is capable of producing over its expected lifetime. Do you know how big those things are and how much industrial lubricant has to go into one of them and how many toxic compounds are released if one of them catches fire due to mechanical failure or lightning strike? Even ignoring the low and inconsistent power output, wind is not a panacea for our energy production needs.

  • gnirol

    Someone tell me why Mr. Nozaki has believed one word that TEPCO executives have told him the last two and a half years without making me laugh sardonically at his naivete. Need anyone be reminded (I guess Mr. Nozaki needs to be) that the people running the company at first tried to save the plant (and hence their profits) by delaying the injection of sea water (which effectively put the plant out of commission forever) for a significant number of hours while the plant was running (those fuel rods don’t figure out they’re supposed to stop functioning on their own) amok?

    • Starviking

      Some claim the seawater injections were delayed, but facts on the ground were that freshwater was being pumped into the reactors which needed them, and Reactor 2′s emergency cooling system was operational for a time.

  • Max Erimo

    At last the story surfaces in the Japanese press. After the election, which in no way touched on the Fukushima Problem. No doubt because there is no problem. I refuse to by produce from that area. I think that any store that sells produce, especially fruit and vegetables is acting irresponsibly. Just my opinion though.
    International pressure is required to clean up a problem that obviously can’t be left to the Japanese Government and people alone. They are poisoning our seas.

    • Starviking

      What area do you mean Erimo? The evacuated area? All of Fukushima? Tohoku? Eastern Japan?

      As for the pollution of the seas, the Pacific Ocean is very, very large.

      • Robert Zraick

        But a little radiation goes a long way.

      • Starviking

        Sure, light goes on forever.

      • Max Erimo

        To be safe at least all of Fukushima. Possibly Tohoku.
        It’s large so it’s OK to pollute it? I’m sure that’s not what you’re saying.

      • Starviking

        You do know that areas south of Fukushima got a large amount of radioisotope contamination? Akita, Iwate, Aomori, Yamagata, western Fukushima and most of Miyagi got little contamination.

        As for it being ok to pollute the Pacific – it’s not like there is a choice. The fact remains, the Pacific is big.

  • Spudator

    Unfortunately, it was only to be expected that radioactive groundwater would end up in the sea. About a month ago Tepco discovered contaminated groundwater in a monitoring well 27 metres from the Pacific and then, a week or so later, in a well six metres from the ocean.

    When the Japan Times reported the latter case, it was interesting to note how the nothing-to-see-here brigade on these threads, who for some reason want to pretend that exploding nuclear power stations aren’t anything to be concerned about, tried to downplay the discovery by accusing the newspaper of making a mountain out of a molehill. The rationalisation for this accusation was that there was still six metres between the contaminated groundwater and the ocean, and a miss is as good as a mile. It didn’t matter that this argument depended on the ludicrous assumption that the water table came to an abrupt end at the exact point the well had been sunk.

    Now that Tepco has admitted what anybody not afflicted by chronic denialism had already deduced—that contaminated groundwater is indeed entering the Pacific—the nothing-to-see-here brigade are uncharacteristically tongue-tied.

    • Guest

      “who for some reason want to pretend that exploding nuclear power stations aren’t anything to be concerned about”

      You sure love your strawman arguments. Keep setting up arguments nobody makes and keep knocking them down if it makes you feel like Big Man.

  • Starviking

    You should really be the one to be giving examples – you made a sweeping statement about commenters on previous threads without giving any solid proof

  • Spudator

    Well, I’ll have to take your word that I’ve made statements without providing examples to support them because, unfortunately, you haven’t provided any examples of the offending statements. In pointing out a failing on my part, you’ve fallen victim to the very same failing yourself. I think that’s called being hoist with your own petard.

    What puzzles me is why you’re responding to an off-topic two-week-old comment in a groundwater-related thread that’s gone cold. My comment was merely an aside—a brushing off of some carping remark by another commenter—and is completely irrelevant to the groundwater problem. Since there are more recent, more troubling reports about the problem and, now that its magnitude has become clear, more pertinent comments about it, why aren’t you responding to some of those comments?

    I’m sorry if my post bothered you; but, quite honestly, with 300 to 400 tons of radioactive water flowing into the Pacific each day, and with a permanent fix to the problem perhaps a year away, I think there are more worrying issues to discuss.

  • Starviking

    Responding to a cold article because…I haven’t been able to devote much time to online matters for some weeks.

    As for being hoisted by my own petard – 1) My net access at the time of my reply was on the cut & paste unfriendly iPad and 2) You made the claims – you are responsible for illuminating your claims.

  • Spudator

    Responding to a cold article because…I haven’t been able to devote much time to online matters for some weeks.

    That’s a bit weak, isn’t it? I could understand your revisiting a cold thread if you’ve got something important to say about the corresponding article. But why go there only to respond to something completely unconnected with the article? Isn’t that rather pointless?

    As for being hoisted by my own petard – 1) My net access at the time of my reply was on the cut & paste unfriendly iPad. . .

    Yes, I noticed from your mangled post that you’d had one or two problems in the editing department. (Would it have been so hard to fix that mess?) OK, so you seem to be saying that you were going to copy and paste some links into your post, but the curse of Steve Jobs put the kibosh on your plan. Fair enough. But assuming that, when you typed this latest reply, you were on a more copy-and-paste-friendly machine, why didn’t you take the opportunity to finally give me those links? Wouldn’t that have been the sensible thing to do?

    . . . and 2) You made the claims – you are responsible for illuminating your claims.

    There you go again—insisting that I provide examples of what I’m referring to while not providing examples of what you’re referring to. I presume that when you visit the doctor because you’re feeling unwell, you point out where the problem is. You don’t just expect the doctor to read your mind or make a guess. So that’s what you need to do here: you need to point out where the problem claims are so I can deal with your criticism intelligently. Is that asking too much?

    Alternatively, we could just give up flogging this long-dead horse, give the poor beast a proper burial, and move on to more recent and more interesting threads. Got a spade with you?

  • Starviking

    Sorry,

    I meant to refer to the comment you made up thread which starts “it was interesting to note how the nothing-to-see-here brigade on these threads…”

    Apologies for my poor post.