At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, closed since the Tohoku Tsunami March 11, 2011, homeless men are used for clean-up of rubble. They are housed and fed in dormitories so expensive they are left with little or no pay at the end of a month. There are fears of radiation for these inexperienced workers, but it is difficult to get others to agree to even wash down houses within the Fukushima Prefecture. Besides, homeless and hungry men are easily persuaded to do work that will provide them shelter, food and a few hundred yen, consequences to be considered later.
In the meantime, fuel is being removed from the Unit 4 flooded fuel storage and taken to the common pool. This activity is expected to require at least most of 2014 to complete. Movement of these fuel assemblies has been slowed recently by events at Unit 3.
Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 after H2 Explosion
Unit 3 has been steaming at irregular intervals of late, with the steam events lasting longer and longer and the time between events shortening. It is feared that during the initial Unit 3 meltdown and explosion, chunks of raw nuclear fuel were blown into the fifth floor cooling pool where they are now melting down and heating the water in the process, causing the release of radioactive steam. The truth is that no one truly knows whether this is the case or not, because both the government and the owner (the Tokyo Electric Power Company – TEPCO) have, in an apparent attempt to set some sort of record for incompetence, done everything but deal effectively with the risks associated with this disaster. There is no way to measure radioactivity or heating in Unit 3.
There are many field-constructed tanks intended to hold radioactive water on the Daiichi site. These tanks have been poorly constructed and are leaking into the groundwater. In addition, water from the plant is still escaping into the sea and radioactive sea water is being carried by currents toward the west coast of the USA and Canada. This has lead to a map of projected tsunami wave heights that was published immediately after the earthquake being modified from a 3-D to a 2-D map and passed off as a map of radioactive Cesium being carried to the Americas. Doomsday conspiracists have been using the possibility of a full meltdown of Unit 3 and this map to hype (utterly dishonestly) the idea that the American government is lying about the risk of radioactive material reaching the US borders. This appears to be mostly one more cynical attempt among thousands to discredit the Obama Administration than anything else, never mind the unnecessary fear it engenders.