Japanese Trying to Stabilize Radioactive Fuel Pools, But Are Moving Too Slowly … By a Decade
by Washington’s Blog
April 18, 2012
Tepco Moving To Secure Spent Fuel Pools … But They May Be a Decade Too Late
Scientists say that the big Japanese earthquake last year has increased the chance of a big earthquake near the Fukushima reactors.
The Wall Street Journal reported in February:
The heft from last year’s powerful March 11 earthquake shocked a sleeping fault line close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant back to life, according to a new scientific study. And based on their findings, the scientists who conducted the study warn the battered nuclear power plant should brace itself for another big one.
The new study from the European Geosciences Union, published on Tuesday, cautions that the seismic risk at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has increased because the magnitude 9 earthquake jolted the plates underneath the area into a more precarious position. But that’s not all: The real problem may be the fluids forming as a result of the Pacific plate digging under the adjacent Okhotsk plate. Japan’s northern region lies directly above the Okhotsk plate.
According to the scientists, the fluids threaten to swim up toward fault zones, where they can soak into the brittle crust of the earth along the fault line, reducing friction, pulling the fault lines apart and triggering another large earthquake.
While the epicenter of the March 11 quake occurred about 100 miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the scientists say the next big earth-shaker could be centered much closer. The scientists concluded it would be wise to strengthen the plant’s infrastructure accordingly. The report did not predict when the earthquake will hit, except to say it would be in the “near future.”