Japan’s Fukushima atomic energy facility spilled 100 metric tons of water containing large amounts of radioactive contaminants, Reuters reports.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant operator said the radiation-tainted liquid probably did not reach the ocean — located nearly half a mile away from the site of the spill — due to the absence of any nearby outlet. The water flowed out of a massive container on Wednesday, when workers accidentally left transfer piping open and permitted more fluid to escape between parts of the damaged complex than intended.
“We are taking various measures, but we apologize for worrying the public with such a leak,” Tokyo Electric Power spokesman Masayuki Ono said.
The Fukushima facility’s overseers have struggled to control massive volumes of radioactive water at the site since March 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami led to meltdowns in three of the facility’s six reactors. International Atomic Energy Agency experts last week pressed Japan to consider authorizing further “controlled discharges” of water from the seaside complex, enabling the nation to release fluid containing lower concentrations of harmful materials.
Water in the latest spill is nearly eight times more contaminated than fluid the operator can legally dump into the ocean.
The 2011 disaster prompted the shutdown of Japan’s other atomic reactors for safety checks, and their possible reactivation has been subject to domestic controversy. One insider, though, said the country’s government now plans to reference the value of atomic generators in a forthcoming power strategy for coming years, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Japanese Cabinet officials are expected to endorse the plan next month, according to the wire service.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.