The Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan has declared a leak at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant an “emergency.” An underground barrier from the accident has been breached an undisclosed amount of highly radioactive water is being released into the Pacific Ocean. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) took countermeasures to the nuclear radiation leaking from Fukushima by pumping 100 tons of groundwater out of the area by August 10th. After much criticism for the secretiveness and poor handling of the nuclear meltdown two years ago, Tepco admitted that between 20 and 40 trillion Becquerel were dumped into the ocean during the aftermath of the disaster. A Becquerel is a standard unit of measurement for radioactive emissions.
In March of 2011, a major earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused the world’s second largest nuclear disaster in Japan. Water flooding the backup generators caused a meltdown after the reactors failed to cool. While there was concern expressed for the sickness that the radiation leak could spread, most experts believe the risk for radiation poising is low. So far, there has been no evidence of harm from radiation exposure from the plant. An investigation determined that the disaster was preventable and due largely to poor design and emergency protocol on the part of the electric company. Tepco did not admit responsibility for the disaster until last October.
The current cleanup of nuclear radiation leaking from Fukushima is being managed by Tepco and is estimated that it will take between thirty and forty years and $11 billion to complete. High radiation areas are currently off limits. The Nuclear Regulation Authority says that Tepco’s “sense of crisis is weak” and that people must remain diligent in demanding more action.