Seems like Fukushima is having enough trouble with containment when it’s not raining, so I wasn’t encouraged by this news today in Bloomberg Businessweek:
Tokyo Electric Power Co. crews prepared for strong winds and heavy rains at its wrecked Fukushima atomic plant, as the storm known as Neoguri drifted north after grazing Tokyo overnight.
The storm was skirting Japan’s eastern coast at about 45 kilometers (28 miles) an hour and could bring up to 20 millimeters (0.8 inches) of rain per hour to parts of Fukushima prefecture by early this afternoon, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on its website.
The Businessweek article also contains an attempt at reassurance that I don’t find all that comforting:
While the downpour may increase the amount of radioactive runoff from the plant into the ocean, it will be offset by dilution from off-shore rains, according to Kathryn Higley, who heads the nuclear engineering and radiation health physics department at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
“There may be a flushing of contaminated soils and sediments from rivers and streams out into the ocean, but I wouldn’t anticipate any increased dose effects,” Higley said in an e-mail.
Incidentally, if you are curious about how typhoons are named, Neoguri means “raccoon” in Korean.