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Fukushima Water Cleanup Deadline Unlikely to be Met

According to recent calculations by Bloomberg News, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) is unlikely to meet its March 2015 deadline to complete the filtering of cancer-causing radioactive isotopes at its wrecked nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Tepco’s President, Naomi Hirose, made a commitment to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September of last year to remedy the contamination of groundwater their plant has caused. Bloomberg estimates suggested that filtering out the isotope strontium, which has been linked to leukemia, from the stored water will take more time than they have left with the set deadline.

Spokeswoman Mayumi Yoshida stated earlier this month that Tepco can, “only say we’ll make efforts to achieve that target” of reaching their goal of decontamination before the deadlines that are less than a year away.

The prolonging of the cleanup process has other implications as well, including an extension on a South Korean ban on Japanese seafood imports, and an increased demand in the U.S. for an international takeover of the cleanup process. While the implications of not completing the cleanup on time have not yet been discussed, Tepco is continually seeking ways to remedy the after effects of the March 11, 2011 accident.

The levels of toxic waters are continually rising at a rate of 400,000 liters per day, and as of July 29, the site was said to have more than 373,000,000 liters of radioactive water still needing treatment. With numerous failed attempts at reducing the amount of irradiated water released, Tepco’s ability to reach the deadline is looking incredibly bleak, but Yoshida reassures, “we are doing everything we can do.”

Years later we are once again being reminded of the Fukushima crisis and the magnitude of its effects. Just as it was discussed in the aftermath of the incident, the assistance of a cloud-based, centralized data management system could help to take action on the cleanup. With today’s technology it is possible to store relevant data in a system that is accessible to all stakeholders, supplies a way to continuously monitor and analyze levels of isotopes, and offers opportunities to make better decisions and improve safety at nuclear power plants.

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