Three years ago, the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant devastated Japan. At the time, Californians were terrified of being contaminated; by now we have all but forgotten the incident. Unfortunately, forgetting isn’t an option for the Eastern coast of Japan. Groundwater is constantly being contaminated by the site, and must be pumped out and stored in tanks to contain the damage. Although 340,000 tons of water have been collected, there is no stopping the “hundreds of tons of contaminated groundwater that still flow unchecked into the Pacific every day.”
These tanks temporarily contain the problem, but are by no means perfect. Last week a leak in one of these holding tanks was discovered after one hundred tons of water escaped—water that had 3.8 million times the radiation contamination that Japanese drinking water standards allow, and contained significant levels of particles known to cause cancer.