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震后6年,福岛的核废料困局仍然无解

更新时间:2017-3-13 18:48:30 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Struggling With Japan’s Nuclear Waste, Six Years After Disaster
震后6年,福岛的核废料困局仍然无解

FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR POWER STATION — Six years after the largest nuclear disaster in a quarter-century, Japanese officials have still not solved a basic problem: what to do with an ever-growing pile of radioactive waste. Each form of waste at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, where three reactors melted down after an earthquake and a tsunami on March 11, 2011, presents its own challenges.

福岛第一核电站——25年来最大的一场核灾难过去六年之后,日本官员依然没有解决一个基本的问题:如何处理数量不断增加的放射性废物。2011年3月11日一场地震和海啸过去之后,福岛第一核电站有三座反应堆熔融,产生的每一种形式的废弃物都构成不同的挑战。

400 Tons of Contaminated Water Per Day

每天产生400吨污水

The Tokyo Electric Power Company is pumping water nonstop through the three reactors to cool melted fuel that remains too hot and radioactive to remove. About 400 tons of water pass through the reactors every day, including groundwater that seeps in. The water picks up radiation in the reactors and then is diverted into a decontamination facility.

东京电力公司在不停地让水流经这三座反应堆,以便冷却熔化的燃料。这些燃料温度依然太高,放射性太强,难以去除。每天有400吨水流经反应堆,其中包括渗入的地下水。这些水在反应堆中受到辐射污染,然后被转移到一座净化设备中。

But the decontamination filters cannot remove all the radioactive material. So for now, all this water is being stored in 1,000 gray, blue and white tanks on the grounds. The tanks already hold 962,000 tons of contaminated water, and Tokyo Electric is installing more tanks. It is also trying to slow the flow of groundwater through the reactors by building an underground ice wall.

但这些净化过滤器不能去除所有的放射性物质。所以这些水目前被储存在地上的1000个灰、蓝、白色蓄水池内。这些蓄水池已经容纳了96.2万吨污水,东京电力公司还在建更多的蓄水池。它也在通过修建一座地下冰墙,试图减慢地下水渗入反应堆的速度。

Within a few years, though, and no one is sure exactly when, the plant may run out of room to store the contaminated water. “We cannot continue to build tanks forever,” said Shigenori Hata, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

但是这维持不了几年,没人知道这座核电站究竟会在什么时候用尽储存污水的空间。“我们不能一直不断地建蓄水池,”日本经济产业省(Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)官员秦茂则(Shigenori Hata)说。

The authorities are debating whether it might be acceptable, given the relatively low radioactive levels in the water, to dilute the contaminated water and then dump it into the ocean. But local fishermen are vehemently opposed. Many people still do not trust Tokyo Electric because of its bungled response to the disaster, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

当局在讨论,考虑到这些受污染的水放射程度相对比较低,是否可以将它们进行稀释,然后倒入大海里。但当地渔民强烈反对。许多人依然不信任东京电力,因为该公司在应对这场自切尔贝诺利事件以来最严重的核反应堆事故时表现拙劣。

3,519 Containers of Radioactive Sludge

3519箱放射性污泥

The process of decontaminating the water leaves radioactive sludge trapped in filters, which are being held in thousands of containers of different sizes.

在净化这些水的过程中,会有放射性污泥留在过滤器内,它们被保存在数千个大小不同的容器里。

Tokyo Electric says it cannot quantify the amount of radioactive sludge being generated. But it says it is experimenting with what to do with it, including mixing it with cement or iron. Then it will have to decide how to store it.

东京电力表示,它无法确定正在产生的放射性污泥的量,但正在试验处理它的方法,包括将它与水泥或铁混合。之后核电站必须决定如何储存它。

64,700 Cubic Meters of Discarded Protective Clothing

6.47万立方米废弃防护服

The estimated 6,000 cleanup workers at the site put on new protective gear every day. These hazmat suits, face masks, rubber gloves and shoe coverings are thrown out at the end of each shift. The clothing is compressed and stored in 1,000 steel boxes stacked around the site.

这座核电站有大约6000名清理人员,他们每天都要穿一套新的防护服。这些有害的服装、面罩、橡胶手套和鞋套在每一班工作结束时都会被扔掉。它们被压缩和储存在1000个钢铁箱子里,堆叠在核电站周围。

To date, more than 64,700 cubic meters of gear has been discarded, the equivalent of 17 million one-gallon containers. Tokyo Electric says it will eventually incinerate all this contaminated clothing to reduce the space needed to store it.

截至目前,被丢弃的用具已经达到6.47万立方米,其体积相当于1700万个1加仑容器。东京电力表示,它最终会焚毁所有这些被污染衣物,以减少用来储存它们的空间。

Branches and Logs From 220 Acres of Deforested Land

从220英亩土地上砍伐下来的木头和树枝

The plant’s grounds were once dotted with trees, and a portion was even designated as a bird sanctuary. But workers have cleared about 220 acres of trees since the meltdown spewed radiation over them.

这座核电站曾经遍地林木,有一部分甚至被指定为鸟类保护区。但因为反应堆熔融曾将放射物喷得遍地都是,所以工人砍伐了220英亩(约合1335亩)的林地。

Now, piles of branches and tree trunks are stacked all over the site. Officials say there are about 80,000 cubic meters of this waste, and all of it will have to be incinerated and stored someday.

现在,成堆的树枝和树干被堆放在各处。官员们表示,这种垃圾有大约8000立方米,有朝一日它们都必须被焚毁,然后储存起来。

200,400 Cubic Meters of Radioactive Rubble

20.04万立方米放射性瓦砾

Explosions during the meltdown filled the reactors with rubble. Workers and robots are slowly and carefully trying to remove this tangled mass of crushed concrete, pipes, hoses and metal.

熔融期间发生的爆炸使反应堆内充满了瓦砾。工作人员和机器人在缓慢而仔细地竭力清除混杂在一起的水泥碎块、管道、软管和金属。

Tokyo Electric estimates that more than 200,400 cubic meters of rubble — all of it radioactive — have been removed so far and stored in custom-made steel boxes. That is the equivalent of about 3,000 standard 40-foot shipping containers.

据东京电力估计,目前已经清除了超过20.04万立方米的瓦砾——都是有放射性的——并将它们储存在了定制的钢铁箱子里。其体积相当于大约3000个标准大小的40英尺集装箱。

3.5 Billion Gallons of Soil

35亿加仑土壤

Thousands of plastic garbage bags sit in neat rows in the fields and abandoned towns surrounding the Fukushima plant. They contain soil that was scraped from land that was exposed to radiation in the days after the accident.

在福岛第一核电站周边的田地和废弃的村镇里,整齐地排放着成千上万个塑料垃圾袋。里面装的是从地面刮取的泥土,这些土地曾在事故发生后的数天里暴露在辐射中。

Japan’s Ministry of the Environment estimates that it has bagged 3.5 billion gallons of soil, and plans to collect much more. It will eventually incinerate some of the soil, but that will only reduce the volume of the radioactive waste, not eliminate it.

据日本环境省估计,目前已经装了35亿加仑泥土,而且还会收集更多。该机构最终将焚毁其中一些泥土,但那只能减少这些放射性废弃物的体积,并不能完全消除它。

The ministry has already begun building a massive, interim storage facility in Fukushima prefecture and negotiating with 2,360 landowners for the thousands of acres needed to complete it. And that is not even a long-term solution: The government says that after 30 years it will need another site — or sites — to store radioactive waste.

环境省已经开始在福岛县建造一个巨大的临时储存设施,在与2360个土地所有人进行谈判,购买建造这座设施所需的数千英亩土地。这甚至不是个一劳永逸的解决方案:政府表示30年后,它将需要建另一座——或多座——这样的设施来存储放射性垃圾。

1,573 Nuclear Fuel Rods

1573根核燃料棒

The ultimate goal of the cleanup is to cool and, if possible, remove the uranium and plutonium fuel that was inside the three reactors at the time of the disaster.

清理工作的最终目标是冷却和——如果可能的话——清除灾难发生时留在反应堆内的铀和钚燃料。

Hundreds of spent fuel rods are in cooling pools inside the reactors, and the company hopes to have cleared away enough rubble to begin removing them next year. The much bigger challenge will be removing the fuel that was in use in the reactor core at the time of the meltdown.

反应堆内的冷却池里有数百根用过的核燃料棒,这家公司希望能清掉足够多的瓦砾,以便在明年开始清除这些燃料棒。更大的挑战将是清除熔融发生时反应堆堆芯正在使用的燃料。

The condition and location of this molten fuel debris are still largely unknown. In one reactor where a robot was sent in January, much of the melted fuel is believed to have burned through the bottom of the inner reactor vessel and burrowed into the thick concrete foundation of the containment structure.

熔化的燃料残骸的情况和位置目前基本还是未知。今年1月,有一个机器人被送入了其中一座反应堆。据信这座反应堆内熔化的燃料大多烧穿了内部反应堆容器的底部,进入了厚厚的安全壳混凝土地基里。

The plan is to completely seal the containment vessels, fill them with water and use robots to find and remove the molten fuel debris. But the rubble, the lethal levels of radiation and the risk of letting radiation escape make this an exceedingly difficult task.

核电站的计划是将安全壳密封起来,将里面注满水,然后用机器人寻找和清除融化的燃料残骸。但考虑到里面的瓦砾、辐射的致命水平,以及导致辐射泄露物的风险,这将是一项极其艰巨的任务。

In January, the robot sent into one of the reactors discovered radiation levels high enough to kill a person in less than a minute. Another had to be abandoned last month after debris blocked its path and radiation disabled it.

今年1月,被送入其中一座反应堆的机器人发现里面的辐射水平足以在一分钟内致一个人死亡。另外一个机器人被燃料残骸挡住去路,辐射也导致它无法正常运转,因此被弃用。

Tokyo Electric hopes to begin removing fuel debris from the reactor cores in 2021. The entire effort could take decades. Some say the radioactive material may prove impossible to remove safely and have suggested leaving it and entombing Fukushima under a concrete and steel sarcophagus like the one used at Chernobyl.

东京电力希望可以在2021年开始将燃料碎片清除出反应堆堆芯。整个工程可能会持续几十年。有些人表示,这些放射性物质最终可能会被证明无法安全清除,因此建议将它留在里面,然后用一个水泥和钢铁建造的石棺将福岛掩埋起来,就像切尔诺贝利核电站那样。

But the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric say they are committed to removing all the waste and cleaning the site, estimated at a cost of $188.6 billion.

但日本政府和东京电力表示他们决心清除所有的废弃物,将这座核电站清理干净,这预计将花费1886亿美元。

“We want to return it to a safe state,” said Yuichi Okamura, general manager of the company’s nuclear power and plant siting division. “We promised the local people that we would recover the site and make it a safe ground again.”

“我们希望能让它回到安全的状态,”东京电力核能与厂址选择部总经理冈村佑一(Yuichi Okamura)说。“我们向当地人承诺,我们会恢复这里,让它重新变成一个安全的地方。

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