We’re at a point where merely opening a door can cause a radiation leak of some kind. That’s what plant operators had to deal with today, as they opened the doors to Fukushima’s No. 2 plant to cool things off and let some air inside. They hope to install a cooling system to prevent an explosion in the plant. Meanwhile, they hope to restart the cleanup process quickly, which was recently stalled. To give you an idea of what they need to clean up, let’s put it this way: 110,000 tons of highly-radioactive water, enough to fill 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools which absolutely nobody should swim in. Officials fear that things could get really bad — think water overflowing all over the place — if they don’t act soon to deal with the water. source
No one knows what will happen to Tepco in the future. We don’t even know whether the company will remain a private company or will the government take it over.Fujimaki Japan’s Takeshi Fujimaki • Explaining why Tepco’s stock went down significantly today — at one point as far as 28 percent — after a financial report that suggested the company was in very bad shape. Simply put, many investors don’t think Tepco is long for this world as a private company and will need significant help from Japan to survive. The company could face $7 billion in losses for the current fiscal year — already on top of $15 billion lost in the prior fiscal year, which ended in March. That’s before any compensation costs are taken into account, by the way. Investors are betting on bankruptcy and/or public-sector takeover. source (via • follow)
» That’s $18 billion dollars, guys: While many parts of Japan struggle to recover from March’s earthquake, TEPCO’s financial loss — part of the reason the company’s president, Masataka Shimizum, likely plans to step down —would be downright dramatic. When it announces earnings today, the loss could be absolutely insane. But it wouldn’t be a record. That dubious honor goes to Mizuho Financial Group, which lost ¥2.38 trillion ($20.3 billion) in a single fiscal year back in 2003. Meanwhile, TEPCO struggles with power outages, a nuclear meltdown, and huge radiation-related claims that could top ¥11 trillion ($134 billion). These factors combined — which won’t be one-time payments — may force Japan to take the power company over.
» That number isn’t changing: While they’ve discovered more damage than they originally anticipated — such as damage to fuel reactors — and are still dealing with meltdowns. Despite these discouraging discoveries, officials are sticking to this timetable, saying that the reactors are continuing to cool despite the more extensive damage. ”The point [Japanese Prime Minister Naoto] Kan is making is that the reactor cores are being cooled down despite the apparent meltdown,” said Goshi Hosono, the prime minister’s special adviser on the issue.
» The penalties: People who violate this rule could face a fine of up to ¥100,000 (roughly $1,220) or 30 days in jail. On top of the possibility that you might get affected by radiation. (EDIT: This post was edited to remove a two-second quip that probably requires a post of its own.)
Examining doctor Takeshi Tanigawa says the workers could risk death. The doctor, who checked the beleaguered workers recently, has said the personal responsibility they feel to halt the crisis, along with terrible sanitation, little food, little sleep, and pressure from their families not to continue is causing extreme levels of stress, and could lead to depression or death from overwork. That’s all without mentioning the high level of radiation, which is extremely deleterious to health on its own. Tanigawa says TEPCO should mobilize all their employees and give these most dedicated workers a break: “Employees engaged in the dangerous work have human rights and wives and children just like others. We should not treat their lives without due respect.” source