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Fukushima’s Waste 6 Years Later

Six years ago an earthquake and tsunami crippled a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. Since then nuclear waste has been a nightmare. First, the melted fuel requires roughly 400 tons of water to cool off, and the company in charge of the plant, Tokyo Electric, has filled 1000 tanks with nearly one million gallons of contaminated water. The company would like to rid the dirty water by dumping it in the Pacific Ocean, but understandably the local fishing industry opposes that plan.


Second, using the water to cool the fuel creates radioactive sludge, and more than 3500 shipping containers have been filled with sludge. Third, about 6000 workers a day must discard the protective gear they wear, including everything from facemasks to shoes. The items have been compacted and placed in containers equivalent to 17 million gallons.

Fourth, the 212-acre site has produced more than 3000 shipping containers worth of radioactive rubble and sits on three-and-half billion gallons of contaminated soil. The Japanese Government and Tokyo Electric expect to begin removing the fuel debris from the reactors in another four years. They estimate the program to restore the area as a “safe state” to cost more than 188 billion dollars.  


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