Tritium levels at Fukushima No. 1 top Pacific Ocean dumping limit, Tepco reports


Water sampled from a well at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has been found to contain levels of radioactive tritium that exceeds the limit for dumping it into the Pacific, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The discovery was the first report of over the limit tritium in groundwater at the wells since Tepco began discharging water into the ocean last week.

In samples taken from one of the 12 wells on Monday, 1,700 becquerels per liter of tritium was detected, exceeding the maximum limit of 1,500 becquerels, the utility said on Tuesday.

Tritium levels in samples taken last month also topped the limit.

Tepco stopped pumping water from the well on Tuesday night, and said it plans to step up groundwater monitoring.

The utility is now releasing groundwater from the 12 wells into the sea after temporarily storing it in tanks and checking radiation levels.

Tepco hopes to use the wells to block the inflow of groundwater to the reactor buildings of the plant’s wrecked reactors, and to minimize the amount of highly toxic water building up on-site, by starting to dump water into the sea.

Also Tuesday, Tepco said it had confirmed water was leaking from a pipe in the reactor containment vessel inside the plant’s No. 1 reactor building. The utility used a camera-mounted remote-controlled robot in the operation. It was determined last November that water was leaking from the vessel’s bottom near the pipe, at a rate of up to 3.2 tons per hour.

In the No. 1 to No. 3 reactor buildings, highly contaminated water leaking from the vessels has amassed, preventing work to remove nuclear fuel from the vessels.

  • TAG

    Crimes against humanity.

  • Conrad Brean

    And the Abe Government simply sits by and lets TEPCO and its criminal band pour toxic poison into our oceans. What perhaps is worse is the complete compliance of the Western world to Japan’s crimes… In the meantime shareholders of the nuclear industry sit back without concern…

  • Sam Gilman

    Do you have a reference for that 75% figure? It looks either made-up or thoroughly misunderstood.

    It’s really important people don’t spread fantasies about solar and wind, as such fantasies will help prolong the use of fossil fuels. Germany is burning a whole lot of coal at the moment, and has been building coal plants in order to stop using nuclear power. As a consequence its CO2 emissions have risen. Germany is far from the most carbon efficient economy in Europe.

  • Sam Gilman


    I know you mean well, but global warming is an incredibly serious problem which – I’m sorry – here at least, you’re just not taking seriously at all. Did you not see what happened there? Aside from the fact that you’ve confused electricity and overall energy (electricity is less than half), three hours versus 365 days means even there you were out by a factor of 2,920. Two thousand nine hundred and twenty times two, and you didn’t even blink. You had two choices: the first was to say “oh, hell that’s right, we’ve got a much bigger task on our hands than I had understood.” That would have been honest.

    The second was to say this:

    It may not have been sustained but it won’t be long before it is.

    There are no data to support this. You’ve just insisted this without foundation. The only thing you’re doing here is protecting your own ego in an argument. Neither your ego nor my ego is more important than tackling global warming. Let’s focus on this honestly, and see how well the German Energiewende is doing.

    Massive solar investment in Germany amounts to output of approximately 6% of electricity needs. Not of energy needs, just of electricity. Investment is tailing off now; new PV installation has been falling over the past two years. Yes, solar can on occasion provide massive amounts of energy, but that reflects a serious problem: the more you build out an energy source that fluctuates so dramatically in order to up its average contribution, the harder it becomes to manage, as is happening in Germany and the transnational grids it’s part of, and the more expensive it gets as the more of it you have to curtail (ie “throw away”) because we don’t know how to store it on that scale without large hydro dams. Wind (which fluctuates less not least because it can still operate at three in the morning) does better – around 9% of electricity, and with much greater potential for expansion, but again, because it’s intermittent, there are upper cost constraints to installing capacity. A large part of Germany’s renewable sector is actually biofuels: growing stuff to burn. 17% of German arable land is currently given over to 7% of electricity needs (2% – two per cent – of energy needs). That can’t be expanded much sustainably. We are a long, long, long way from 70% all the time, even if we’re just talking about electricity. Germany has a target of 80% renewable electricity in 2050, but it’s already stalling.

    And that’s just electricity. Not even the most optimistic German targets foresee your original claim of 70% of energy “before long” from renewables over the next 50 years. To decarbonise the economy you have to convert other power forms to electricity (which is the currency of most forms of low-carbon power production). We need dramatically more electricity. Per unit of GDP (so as to fairly compare between richer and poorer countries), Germany is nowhere near the cleanest among European countries for how much CO2 it produces. That’s a stat that corporate interests in solar panel production especially don’t want you to hear. Its CO2 emissions are going up because it’s building baseload coal to replace baseload nuclear.

    All this is how the numbers work.

    So, when people go around saying “don’t worry, it won’t be long before we solve this” with wind and solar based not on evidence but ideology, it makes it very hard in reality to galvanise political and popular will to tackle climate change. Such people are simply helping corporate fossil fuel interests maintain their dominance. Have you not noticed, for example, how much good PR solar gets in the press compared to the more effective wind?

    Do you really want to give help to the large fossil fuel corporations?