Nuclear Operator Raises Alarm on Crisis – more bad news from Fukushima
From the New York Times:
TOKYO — The operator of Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear power plant sounded the alarm on the gravity of the deepening crisis of containment at the coastal site on Friday, saying that there are more than 200,000 tons of radioactive water in makeshift tanks vulnerable to leaks, with no reliable way to check on them or anywhere to transfer the water.
It’s worth reading the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/24/world/asia/nuclear-operator-raises-alarm-on-crisis.html
I couldn’t visualize 200,000 tons of water, so I converted into a volume I COULD visualize. Assuming I did the math correctly, 200,000 tons of water is about 48 million gallons. The typical highway tanker truck you would see in the US, perhaps delivering fuel to your local gas station, has a capacity of around 10,000 gallons of gasoline. But gasoline weighs considerably less than water and such a truck probably couldn’t legally transport 10,000 gallons of water (in the US – I have no idea what the commercial vehicle load limits are in Japan). So allowing for the reduction in truck capacity, even if they had a place to take that water it would require more than 5000 truckloads to move it. That is a whole lot of radioactive water.
It’s always good to do visualizations like that. There are photos of people standing near the huge water tanks at Fukushima. When you consider they have about 1000 of those tanks, it gives an idea of how large the problem is.