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Fukushima crisis prompts radioactivity concerns worldwide 후쿠시마 인뎁스 8/23/13

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    More than two years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, and Japanese authorities are st



    More than two years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, and Japanese authorities are still trying to contain radioactive water from leaking out into the Pacific Ocean.

    While it could take years to get an accurate understanding of what damage has been done, the concerns are very real today,.

    including here in Korea.

    Our Kim Hyun-bin joins us in the studio to tell us more.

    Hyun-bin., so, how serious is the situation there?

    Tokyo Electric Power Company officials said that plant workers apparently overlooked signs of leaks and failed to notice an open valve for several weeks.

    The result was 300 tons of water with radioactive particles such as cesium and strontium linked to bone cancer leaking out of the Fukushima Daiichi plant and into the Pacific Ocean.

    Japan has come up with numerous methods to contain the leak, but all of them have failed so far.

    The latest idea is building an underground containment wall made of ice to try to halt the flow.

    And are authorities confident that this particular method will work?

    There's too much uncertainty to be confident.

    The containment wall won't be completed until 2015, meaning that contaminated water will continue to leak from Fukushima for the next couple of years.

    If and when it is completed, the wall will be 1-point-4 kilometers in length, which would make it the world's longest continuous stretch of artificially frozen earth.

    But how effective will it be?

    "It's a serious issue and it's going to be hard to contain it.

    First of all, the area is too vast and there are too many radioactive leaks.

    Concerns and doubts are on the rise about whether they'll be able to successfully seal the leaks."

    So Hyun-bin, you said 300 tons of radioactive water has leaked out so far.

    How is that going to affect us here in Korea and the rest of the international community?

    Well, the majority of the radioactive materials are cesium, strontium and tritium.

    That is what's flowing from the water at Fukushima.

    Of those materials, cesium is most predominant.

    It makes up nearly 90 percent of the radioactive substances, and it can travel in water, while the other two, strontium and tritium, sink to the ocean floor because they are too heavy.

    These two substances are the ones you have to worry about, because they can accumulate in your body for roughly 30 years, but since they sink to the bottom of the ocean floor, there's little concern to be had.

    For a better understanding of what is going on, let's have a look at a graph.

    The Fukushima disaster occurred in March 2011, leaking hundreds of tons of radioactive water and hundreds of thousands of becquerels into the ocean,.

    a becquerel being the way radioactivity is measured.

    The radioactive materials traveled in ocean currents to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and as time goes on, the radioactive levels of those materials traveling around the Pacific will diminish.

    Currently, that material is estimated to contain four becquerels of radiation per cubic meter, which is a two becquerel increase from before the accident.

    By 2016, the current will move the contaminated water to western Canada or the northwestern U.S., and by that time the contaminated water will be at 3-point-5 becquerels, a slight decrease from its current level.

    By the time that water makes its way all around the Pacific and back to Korea, it will be the year 2022 or so, and by that time, the contamination level will have decreased to it normal state from before the accident,.

    to about two becquerel's per cubic meter.

    Here in Korea, there's been some controversy over imported fish from Japan with high amount of radioactive materials found.

    What is the Korean government doing to prevent this?

  • # Radiation# Fukushima
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