Skip to content

NEWS: Japan’s nuclear crisis a water crisis

The disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan has growing implications for harm to the surrounding area of the Pacific Ocean, as well as groundwater and tap water in Tokyo. This nuclear disaster has prompted protests in Tokyo and a number of German cities, and should cause concern in Canada as our nuclear reactors are located on Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, the St. Lawrence River and the Bay of Fundy.

PACIFIC OCEAN: CTV reports that, “…The radioactive iodine levels (from the Fukushima nuclear plant) in the nearby sea reached 1,250 times the safety limit.” The Montreal Gazette adds, “Tests on Friday showed iodine 131 levels in seawater 30 km (19 miles) from the coastal nuclear complex had spiked 1,250 times higher than normal but it was not considered a threat to marine life or food safety, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said. ‘Ocean currents will disperse radiation particles and so it will be very diluted by the time it gets consumed by fish and seaweed,’ said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a senior agency official.”

GROUNDWATER: CTV also reports, “Efforts to get the nuclear plant under control took on fresh urgency this week when nuclear safety officials said they suspected a breach in one or more of the plant’s units — possibly a crack or hole in the stainless steel chamber around the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor’s core containing fuel rods or the concrete wall surrounding a pool where spent fuel rods are stored. The development suggests that radioactive contamination may be worse than first thought, with tainted groundwater the most likely consequence.”

TAP WATER: “In Tokyo, tap water showed radiation levels two times higher than the government standard for infants, who are particularly vulnerable to cancer-causing radioactive iodine, officials said. The scare caused a run on bottled water in the capital, and Tokyo municipal officials are distributing it to families with babies.”

PROTESTS: Yesterday, a rally against nuclear power took place in front of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. headquarters in Tokyo. And PRESS TV reports, “According to Germany’s environmental lobby group BUND, some 120,000 took to the streets of Berlin, while 50,000 turned out in Hamburg and 40,000 in Cologne and Munich each (to oppose nuclear power), Bloomberg reported. …Germany had previously decided to shut down all its nuclear plants by 2021, but in October 2010 it decided to extend the life of 17 nuclear power plants for 12 more years. Organizers say the rallies were the biggest anti-nuclear protests Germany has ever seen.”

CANADIAN WATER SOLD TO JAPAN: The Vancouver Sun reports, “A British Columbia bottled water company has received a massive order from Japan after a government warning that Tokyo’s water supply was contaminated with radioactive materials. As of Friday, Polaris Water, based in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, B.C., had been contracted by a Japanese distributor to ship two million 1.5-litre bottles of water by the end of April, spokesman Chris Dagenais said. He said that’s 10 times more than what the company usually ships in April. …He said the company will donate two container loads out of 100 to the region.”

NUCLEAR POWER IN CANADA: In Canada, the Pickering and Darlington nuclear plants are located on Lake Ontario, the Bruce Power nuclear plant is on Lake Huron, the Gentilly nuclear plant is on the St. Lawrence River, and the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station is located on the Bay of Fundy. Following the Fukushima disaster, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has “ordered all reactor operators to revisit their safety plans and report on potential improvements” by the end of April. The Montreal Gazette adds, “Prolonged efforts to prevent a catastrophic meltdown at the 40-year-old Fukushima plant have also intensified concern around the world about nuclear power. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was time to reassess the international atomic safety regime.”

The Council of Canadians rejects nuclear power because it poses an unacceptable risk to people and the environment, and staff and chapters are currently campaigning against the proposed shipments of nuclear waste from the Bruce Power nuclear plant on the Great Lakes, the disposal of nuclear waste in Saskatchewan, and the building of two new nuclear reactors on the north shore of Lake Ontario east of Toronto.

Earlier campaign blogs on the Fukushima nuclear crisis and water can be read at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?s=fukushima. The news articles are at http://calgary.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110326/nuclear-power-plant-rising-fukushima-iodine-110326/20110326/?hub=CalgaryHome, http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Engineers+toil+pump+Japan+plant+radiation+spikes/4510141/story.html and http://www.presstv.ir/detail/171869.html.