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Fukushima costs

Japanese government set to borrow additional $30 bn for Fukushima costs

Thursday, November 14, 2013 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
Tags: Fukushima costs, radioactive contamination, Japanese government

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(NaturalNews) The price tag for the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan just jumped $30 billion.
The Japanese government has recently announced a new borrowing spree to increase cleanup funds of the dilapidated area from $50 billion to $80 billion.

This will increase cleanup spending by over 35 percent as the reality of the damage continues to set in. Along with cleanup costs, some of the money will be used to compensate those people who won't be able to return to their homes.

30 plus years to decommission Fukushima reactors, costing hundreds of billions of dollars

The owner of the Fukushima plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., is scheduled to pay the money back in the coming decades. (It will take 30 or more years to decommission Fukushima's six reactors.) The costs will be covered up front by Japanese government bonds, and the $80 billion is just the beginning. TEPCO says it will need at least $137 billion to clean up Fukushima alone. Outside estimates report that the disaster itself has cost over $250 billion already, with projections reaching $500 billion in the next decade.

New, cost-effective method of nuclear waste disposal discovered

In the United Kingdom, at the University of Sheffield, researchers have established a nuclear waste disposal method that drastically reduces the volume of high activity wastes, which can, in turn, bring down the total cost of waste disposal.

By mixing plutonium contaminated waste with blast furnace slag (a byproduct of steel production), engineers can turn radioactive waste into glass, reducing the volume of contaminated waste by 85 to 95 percent. Researchers from the university's engineering department now report that this method locks in radioactive plutonium, therefore creating a generally safe, stable end product.
The researchers believe that this method can reduce nuclear waste and shrink its foot print to areas seven times smaller.

Current treatments use cement encapsulation, which increases volume of waste. This method, not as stable, is used to bury the waste in the ground. The new glass-forming method shrinks volume of waste over seven times. This process, called vitrification, solidifies the waste in glass, making for safer, more stable underground storage.

Zeolite effective for radioactive waste cleanup

Already deployed at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is large amounts of mineral zeolite. This mineral forms when lava meets sea water. This exotic mineral traps radioactive particles inside its negatively charged, cage-like structure. Positively charged radioactive particles are attracted to zeolite and trapped inside. In the past, zeolites were used at the site of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl for decontaminating radioactive cesium and strontium from water sources. Zeolite is currently being used in the Pacific Ocean near contaminated water outlets. Weighed down by sandbags, zeolite is lowered into the water where it will attract the radioactive particles.

Zeolite is a great mineral to consume as well. Since the Pacific Ocean is already contaminated, with marine life now harboring radioactive particles, it will be important in the coming years to have zeolites working within the human body to eradicate radioactive particles.

As Japan asks for further aid from other countries, it will be important for people to go beyond the price tag and look at how this disaster can affect their future, their health and the livelihood of generations to come. Mining for zeolite will be the work of the future. Using zeolite to detoxify the planet's population will be the future of preventive health care all around the world.

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