Sloshing with Japanese sea water, the 5-gallon plastic jugs crowding Ken Buesseler’s laboratory at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution contain evidence of an ongoing nuclear crisis.
Collecting samples off the coast where the Fukushima nuclear power plant was damaged in a March 2011 earthquake, the WHOI senior scientist measured higher than normal radiation levels long after the original disaster.
“It was very concerning,” Buesseler said during a recent interview in his lab, dubbed “Cafe Thorium,” after the naturally occurring radioactive metal.
In the meantime, the Japanese are not able to locate three molten reactor cores. There is ongoing discussion of whether the cores have undergone a meltdown or a melt-through of the containment vessels, Buesseler said.
“You can’t send humans in there. It takes decades to come up with a plan,” he said. “It’s bad. It’s definitely not over yet.”