The NYT, talking about efforts to stopping continued flooding at the Fukushima nuclear plant:
The buildings managed to keep the water out until the accident on March 11, 2011. Either the natural disasters themselves, or the explosive meltdowns of three of the plant’s six reactors that followed, are believed to have cracked the buildings’ basements, allowing groundwater to pour in. Nearly 40,000 gallons of water a day keep flooding into the buildings.
Once inside, the water becomes highly radioactive, impeding efforts to eventually dismantle the plant. During the accident, the uranium fuel grew so hot that some of it is believed to have melted through the reactor’s steel floors and possibly into the basement underneath, though no one knows exactly where it lies. The continual flood of radioactive water has prevented engineers from searching for the fuel.
Since the accident, five robots sent into the reactor buildings have failed to return because of high radiation levels and obstruction from debris.
The water has also created a waste-management nightmare because Tepco must pump it out into holding tanks as quickly as it enters the buildings, to prevent it from overflowing into the Pacific. The company says that it has built more than 1,000 tanks that now hold more than 800,000 tons of radioactive water, enough to fill more than 320 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Well, I imagine this should all end well. I especially like the bit about the robots failing to return.
I was going to make some snarky remark about how we should remember that nuclear power is totally safe, but I figure as soon as I do, we will find out that mass production of solar panels is pumping mercury directly into babies and kittens.