“Ability for Unit 4 to withstand another seismic event is rated at zero” -Nuclear Watchdog

Published: May 4th, 2012 at 6:46 pm ET


If Fukushima Unit 4 Falls, Hazardous Radioactive Cesium-137 Release Could be Eight Times Worse Than Chernobyl
Enews Park Forest Service
May 4, 2012

Beyond Nuclear today joined with concerned Japanese citizen groups and US Senator, Ron Wyden (D-OR), urging that swift international action be taken to prevent a catastrophic high-level radioactive waste fire at the precarious Unit 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

Unit 4 is leaning and could topple if hit with another earthquake or tsunami, resulting in a deadly high-level radioactive waste fire. The ability for the unit to withstand another seismic event is rated at zero.

Today, a coalition of concerned Japanese citizens is urging United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, to properly inform the Japanese people of the perilous situation at Fukushima Daiichi, and to work together to prevent what would be an irreversible disaster that would release huge amounts of lethal radiation, dwarfing the scale of the original disaster.

Since the nuclear catastrophe began in March 2011, Beyond Nuclear has called attention to the ongoing risks of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi high-level radioactive waste storage pools. A similar danger persists at the 23 identical GE Mark I boiling water reactors still operating in the US.

“If the cooling water supply is lost to the high-level radioactive waste storage pool in Unit 4, it could be just a matter of hours before the irradiated nuclear fuel is on fire,” warned Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear. “A fire in the Unit 4 high-level radioactive waste storage pool could release up to eight times more hazardous cesium-137 than the Chernobyl reactor explosion. That in turn would mean the site would have to be evacuated, risking the potential for all seven high-level radioactive waste storage pools at the site to ignite. If that happened, Fukushima Daiichi would release 85 times the levels of cesium released by Chernobyl, potentially forcing an evacuation, and permanent condemnation, of hundreds to thousands of square miles,” Kamps added.

Cesium-137 fallout from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe has already been measured by the US Geological Survey across the US, although the agency has downplayed the risks, despite the position long held by the National Academy of Sciences that there is no safe dose of radiation.

US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) visited the stricken Fukushima site several weeks ago and was particularly alarmed by the slow response of Fukushima Daiichi utility owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which has a several year-long plan to secure Unit 4 and its fuel pool, and urged swifter action.

“Loss of containment in any of these pools, especially the pool at Unit 4, which has the highest inventory of hottest fuel, could result in an even greater release of radiation than the initial incident,” Wyden said.

The letter to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, initiated by Japanese environmental groups Green Action Japan and Shut Tomari, demands that Japan ask for international support to avert disaster. The groups are urging organizations around the world to sign on.

“Given the fact that collapse of this pool could potentially lead to catastrophic consequences with worldwide implications, what the Japanese government should be doing as a responsible member of the international community is to avoid any further disaster by mobilizing all the wisdom and the means available in order to stabilize this pool,” the letter states.

“It is clearly evident that the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool is no longer a Japanese issue but an international issue with potentially serious consequences,” the letter continues. “Therefore, it is imperative for the Japanese government and the international community to work together on this crisis before it becomes too late. We are appealing to the United Nations to help Japan and the planet in order to prevent the irreversible consequences of a catastrophe that could affect generations to come. Specifically, the Japanese people are asking that the UN organize a Nuclear Security Summit to take up the crucial problem of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool. In addition, the UN should establish an independent assessment team on Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 and coordinate international assistance in order to stabilize the unit’s spent nuclear fuel pool and prevent radiological consequences with potentially catastrophic consequences.”

Organizations around the world are urged to sign on to the letter by emailing their support to info@greenaction-japan.org. The full text of the letter plus endorsements can be read at: http://wp.me/p1FMPy-B6

Published: May 4th, 2012 at 6:46 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Tepco on risk at Unit No. 4: Spent Fuel Pool can withstand up to a lower-6 intensity quake without collapsing May 11, 2012
  2. Tepco Makes “Critical” Admission: Fukushima Unit 4 quake testing “does not take horizontal shaking into equation” — Claims it can withstand a “6+” quake only apply to VERTICAL shaking September 5, 2012
  3. Expert in 2010: Megathrust quake predicted to hit Fukushima around Nov. 2013… Recurrence interval of 75 years with last rupture Nov. 1938 — Planet’s most powerful type of seismic event October 30, 2013
  4. Tepco: No. 4 reactor building can withstand 6-plus intensity quake -Asahi August 31, 2012
  5. WSJ speculates: “Is process of emptying the Unit 4 pool starting?” — Will Tepco continue taking out more racks? — Law forbids disclosing when nuclear fuel is moved July 19, 2012

86 comments to “Ability for Unit 4 to withstand another seismic event is rated at zero” -Nuclear Watchdog

    • The amount of "greenhouse gasses" created correcting the nuclear screw-up can never be measured.

      • SnorkY2K

        Don't forget that water vapor is a strong green house gas as well. Nuclear power puts out 3 watts of steam for every watt of electricity produced. Not clean as soon as the switch is on.

    • gerryhiles

      Sorry Whoopie, but it is all over.

      No amount og huffing and puffing can alter the global extinction event that began with the use of atomic power hostile purposes, never mind Fukushima. The writing was on the wall since Nagasaki and before. I personally knew that nearly 60 years ago.

      Even if thorium reactors had been used, instead of uranium reactors producing plutonium for nuclear weapons, the outcome would have been similar.

      There is nothing 'carbon neutral' about ANY alternative form of energy that fuels infinite consumption of the worlds finite resources.

      CO2 is a red herring.

      Flapdoodle is correct about the nuclear screw-up.

      It is also correct that wind, wave, solar, etc. power use FAR more conventional, e.g. coal, oil and gas, than can be produced.

      Sorry Whoopie, but really all you want to do is retain the world you know, including the internet.

      That WILL go down, one way or another.

      Heaven help us all post ELE/WW3.

      Personally I do not believe in a heaven, nor a kindly god.

      I figure that we humans are just another species in the infinity of the universe … and we stuffed up, as far as the existence of life-forms is concerned.

      Does it matter? Who knows?

      • gerryhiles

        Even my typos do not matter,

        • jump-ball jump-ball

          gerryhiles: personally, I knew it 30 years ago, gave up driving and debt-based consumption in favor of road biking, gardening and simple living, and have ridden 3000 miles/year for 30 years, 90K miles, almost 4 times around the world, without ever leaving town, with excellent mileage, and almost no emissions.

          Age has gradually been diminishing my biking performance over several years, only now it is unclear whether, or how much, over the last year, I am being affected by hot particle ingestion during 3-4 hours/day of CA desert biking, or other radiation contamination in CA weather, or CA vegetables and Pacific seafood.

          I suspect we are all now entering own own respective nuclear twilight zones, and the slow-motion damage will be impossible to see or anticipate, but I'll keep riding, even "on the (low-tide) beach".

      • apostrophes

        Nice apocalyptic wiew, and probably correct. The problem for us is simply …… when?

      • StPaulScout StPaulScout

        I tend to agree with your take on things Gerry.

      • Anthony Anthony

        Good points.

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    What a load of crap! Arnie has already figured that the amount of cesium released from Fukushima (not sure if to date, or within the first few days) is about the same cesium released when 6,000 nuclear bombs go off. Not to mention the uranium and plutonium, which are the most lethal compounds known to science:


    And if you're a smoker (doesn't matter what), you're double screwed:


    Another dose of 800 nuclear bombs worth of cesium scattered to the atmospheric winds is absolutely negligible in the overall scheme of this disaster.

    I hope everyone spewing the 'party line' about SPF #4 is first in line at the radioactive buffet. Children to be served last.

    • When will they be back from vacation ?
      When the earth stops shaking ?

      : |

    • Discordian

      What if you are a CIGAR smoker? 🙂 Your name says it best, Time is Short – and as for me, I have adopted a hedonisitc, Epicurean attitude towards this ELE event, and have decided to enjoy life to the fullest for as long as possible. It has taken a year to get there, to accept it all, but here I am. It looks like hell on earth may finally be a ubiquitous reality – but we might as well make it like AC/DC's hell instead of the Other One…

  • sschu

    "seismic event"

    Define what this means as there have been nearly ongoing "aftershocks" in the 4-5 Mag range.

    It is good to see some recognition of how precarious the situation at R4 SPF has become. Do not expect much to come of it all however.


    • The truth is, We WILL NOT BE TOLD WHEN IT FALLS I an sure !
      Keep track of quakes and time to get here and the length the pools will burn !!!!! ?????

      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        Xdr…I think it is already gone. The last 4 days, any vids which are clear enough to view show a black blob nothingness at #4, with #3 blacked out above ground floor.

        Just a thought. Maybe I've given in to my more hysterical genie!

        • NoNukes NoNukes

          Me too.

          • Sickputer

            I remain confident that the Sword of Damocles still waves.

            Remember we have had the predictions before Unit 4 had burned up (our banished poster James mainly in January).

            I feel if Unit 4 SFP had burned this week the sky would have never cleared and the video feeds would be gone forever for the public. The only people viewing live video if Unit 4 burns in situ or as more commonly expected collapses to the ground will be the Japanese, American, Russian, and Chinese military using drones.

            I have said all along when it gets really bad our troops will be evacuated. It certainly is bad, but obviously not bad enough. Watch for those evacuations and you will then know the remaining spent fuel ponds are engulfed in nuclear fire.

            The triplets (Corie, Corie, and Corie) gave us the weird pink and yellow light show this week. They will be back again and could deliver the coup de gras probably just as easily as an earthquake or a loss of cooling.

            Quite a lot of excitement for the little Dr. Frankenstein wannabes studying nuclear engineering…the University of Missouri must be proud they kicked their education dean to the curb because he offended the nuclear cabal. They keep sucking at Westinghouse's teat like nothing has changed.

            But I digress…I am looking for two things to warn me. Loss of video feed for more than several days (7 days should be enough to let you know all is lost at Daiichi) and the airlifting of the 70,000 American troops in Japan.

            • Sickputer

              Are you convinced then that Tepco won't simply insert re-runs, leading us to conclude falsely that all is well at the plant?

              I did read that one US military base in Japan was evacuating 1/3 of the soldiers but I don't recall which one and a quick search is not finding the story.

              Just curious?

              best wishes all–I'm off to bed now…

              • Sickputer

                If Black Hawk Down taught America anything it was that cellphones in the hands of many was too powerful for a small army to overcome a city of millions. Same principle in play here… We will hear from Japanese citizens when TSHTF. I have no doubts.

            • Jebus Jebus

              You know the military knows they have a little time in Japan, for the troops, to get to their maximum exposure, deemed safe by those in charge at the top. There are already indicators that the exodus has started for US troops.
              Think about, why now the sudden about face on taking troops out of Okinawa…

              United States agrees to move 9,000 soldiers out of Japan

              The new plan will involve transferring thousands of marines to regions including Guam, Hawaii and Australia, nearly halving the number of US troops in Okinawa to 10,000.

              The deal, announced in a joint US-Japan statement, was unveiled just days before Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s prime minister, heads to Washington next week to meet with his counterpart President Barack Obama….

              ….The US military has been high-profile in Okinawa since the end of the Second World War, when the region was occupied by the US before being returned to Japan in 1972….


              Makes room for the troops closer to the disaster, to move soon?

              • Sickputer

                I have friends (with cell phones) 😉 in Guam and Okinawa. No troops have left Japan as previously announced. Typical Ugly American mistakes made by our leaders… did they really think the Guamanians wanted a firing range on their ancestral Chamorro land? And the Diet didn't come up with the promised 3 billion for their share.

                You can count on three speeds of emergency planning for Washington and the Diet… Slow, slower, and slowest.

              • SnorkY2K

                Japan needs Okinawa to evacuate Honshu residents

            • Buffalojam

              Sickputer – Logically, the loss of the video feed for an extended period of time and the mass airlifting of U.S. troops from Japan could be taken as signs that the S really HHTF. Unfortunately, I still believe such events can either be covered up or presented in such a way as to serve the thought manipulation schemes of those in charge. As for the Japanese people alerting us to the reality of the situation, the vast majority of them along with the vast majority of the rest of us seem to believe anything that is put in front of us. My guess is that most of us will not know an ELE has occurred (it may already have) unless those in power want us to know.

              • apostrophes

                Well said B. I believe that we will not be told. We must do our best to infer, on the best evidence available.

              • Sickputer

                All it takes is one dissident with a smart phone and important news goes global. The Arab spring was not a coincidence of time. I send this on a phone as you read it. I could tell you any eyewitness event I witness.

                The keitai culture in Japan dwarfs all countries of the world. We will hear news quickly and the most important tip may come from the 50% of elementary school kids who have Internet phones. I have no doubts bad news will travel faster than the Jetstream.

                • a_beautiful_nightmare

                  And if the SHTF and they disable phone networks and block internet access? What then?

            • Anthony Anthony

              Wait till we see the new coriums of sfp4 and the common pool`s once that hits the fan.

        • dharmasyd,
          When was the last quake and how big ?
          But it may not be a quake to finish it off !

          What are we breathing, is the sky fallin ?
          I enjoyed life with you all ! Thx U !

        • dharmasyd dharmasyd

          Indeed majia, no nukes, xdrfox, and all you enenewsers …even if I have not always agreed with you, I want to say that I'm very happy to have kept company with you through this incredibly stupid and unnecessary tragedy.

          I'm supposedly a buddhist, but I don't know what I really think of reincarnation. However, I do believe nihil ex nihilo! So, there is some kind of continuation even though I don't know what it is or if it is anything more than a reassembling of fundamental building blocks.

          Perhaps we'll all contine to be here. But, just in case, thanks for the company!

        • moonshellblue moonshellblue

          I don't know how they could hide Reactor 4 going as it would cause the entire facility to blow. They could not hide that no matter how hard they tried. Not with the internet and at least one of the workers over their would spill the beans. Also there are so many individuals with geiger counters not only in Japan but Hawaii, and Calif. The CPM's would sky rocket, no pun intended thus we will know. JMHO

  • jackassrig

    What in God's name do they want us to do. No solutions. Just talk about how awful the situation is. A year ago did anyone sound the alarm. No the fuel was still in the containment. Now the boneheads want to do something. What! What do these nincompoops want us to do?

  • eatliesndie eatliesndie

    its become very clear that we will all need a new planet to live on really, really soon. Buggar. SFP4 is not about to be fixed but it is about ready to fall over. and it seems like tepco is waiting for that to happen before……..? There is nothing they can do now or WHEN it falls. Maybe tepco is just looking for a good excuse run.

    • Centaur Centaur

      "There is nothing they can do now or WHEN it falls."

      Half true… from my (and many others) point of view they STILL COULD do really much more NOW than they actually do. WHEN one of the SFP's falls (or runs dry), it's finally "Game Over" @ Daiichi… that's true.. at least i heard no doubt about that anywhere.

      • eatliesndie eatliesndie

        I believe if there was anything that could be done it would be happening now. But now tepco are on holidays. They are keeping up appearences to keep things civilised and it appears most people aren't too concerned about Fuku. There are big parts of this story we aren't privy to and therefore it's anyones guess.

        • dharmasyd dharmasyd


          >>>big parts of this story we aren't privy to and therefore it's anyones guess.<<<

          As our Nucklechen would say, "Yape!"

  • snowwy snowwy

    i think i mentioned before but i have this theory that there will be no action taken as the situation is sorting out the economic decline… its like war without the bombs…

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      Well said.

      However, it's my take, after 35 years of following nuclear power (ex-Navy nuke), that the technology/science to deal with these issues were never developed. Regardless of the reasons – whether technical, political or just pure greed – there are no solutions to this crisis.

      Now, the global economic decline started before Fukushima by a few years. So, here is where you are correct, the inability to correct the Fuku disaster dovetails nicely with the world's inability to deal with the economic crisis. Whether Fuku was HAARP-induced (not readily plausible, but possible) or not, we are all double-f&^ked.

      It would have been nicer if those in charge hadn't destroyed the world economically just before they destroyed it through their voracious greed (Fuku could have been avoided with proper planning and construction). Oh, well. I think I'll have a radioactive beer! Nothing brewed before 3/11 is any good anymore. Doesn't store like red wine.

      Oh, shit! Jackpot! Bottles of red wine bottled before 3/11 are non-radioactive! Those are going to skyrocket in price! Off to the liquor warehouse! Two years from now, when everything liquid is radioactive, how much will people spend to crack open a bottle of pre-3/11 wine? More precious than gold!

      • apostrophes

        When you are struggling for survival in Madmaxland, I think that thoughts of red wine will be long gone!

      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        Dear @Time Is Short…You stated our situation realy well — actually, perfectly. I agree with everything you said so well. I particularly; like your statement that"…the technology/science to deal with these issues were never developed." We were not ready to think like the native Americans, to think about the next 7 generations, let alone the next thousand generations implied in a nuclear age.

        Perhaps, if we had had the patience to think it forward into multiple generations, we would have matched the phyical power with ethical power. But we did not do this.

        I want to say to those here younger than I am, young enough to still care about future generations, that I encourage you to think ahead in this situation, to think forward. Hopefully many with healthy gene pool chromosomes will survive to carry better wisdom forward.

        As for me, at 79, personal survival is not important. But I would be very sorry to see this little experiment in evolution die out because of our own inability to understand what must be done.

        Thank you.

  • demo demo

    We have to create enough public pressure that "they'll" do what's in their own interest and against the short-term profit corporate interests that put them in power. Villas in Paraguay will not protect their kids/grandkids because if everyone in the northern hemisphere eventually dies, there'll be no one to maintain fuel rod cooling and all 400+ nukes will melt down. They don't want to live underground, and can't forever anyway, nor could they move to another planet, so it's not an intentional depopulation. They're in denial and can be awakened/educated. They have to shore up unit 4 until the fuel rods can be removed in 4 years and put into dry cask. They can build a huge pool around and under the one that's at risk, so it won't leak dry. With all the amazing bridges, skyscrapers etc. that humans have built, surely this is doable.
    US Capitol Hill switchboard 877-662-2889 TOLL FREE

    • demo,
      Let's have our cigars ready to light up !
      The Fat Lady's gonna sing soon !

    • apostrophes

      I like your view of the future when all 400+ go. But my impression all along has been that, though it's not intentional depop, the order went out early on to "let it burn". This is why nothing substantive has been done, and as far as I can see, will be done.

      • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

        I do not believe either that it was intentionally done. But with 14 reactors in "extreme condition", I know they are taking advantage of the situation to let em burn. Those arrogant enough to force Nuclear & its well known danger to humans believe that they can buy their way to safety. I also believe that many of them have already been protecting their food supplies as far back as Chernobyl or before. And those arrogant enough to think it cannot affect them will share our lead lined beds.

        And I assure you that money changed hands & more of the elite invested in cancer treatments & the medical industry to ensure they made money of our demise.

  • Let's be clear here… it's rated as “ZERO”.

    I do NOT like those odds!

    I would say it's like a unbelievably BIG bomb with a timer on it. Except we're not exactly sure when it's set to go off. (?)

    …and the fail safe devise is no longer functional and cannot be repaired! All we really know, is that it's ticking.

    • … when you disarm an explosive device you get a choice of cutting the red wire or the blue wire.

      At least that makes the odds a 50/50 chance.

  • Spectrometising

    I wonder what kind of "nuclear watchdog" it is? Labrador, poodle, blue heeler??

  • If you remember TEPCO wanted to bale right at the beginning. Then Japan Prime minister forced them to stay. But if he could do that why can't he (or who ever replaced him, memory fails me)force them to do more? All pure conjecture as they are hiding the truth. Do they know it'll eventually all go south anyway or are they just too selfish to spend the money or are the yakuzi thugs in charge or is it an economic conspiricy to avoid panic or a combination of all that? Its morbidly fascinating. Don't know whether to go to prayer meeting or the bar…..Either way God Bless

    • truthseek truthseek

      Well said Mark, whether to pray or get tanked…

      This is like a really messed up
      Breaking Bad / 24 episode/series

    • Anthony Anthony

      I`d say go to both Mark!

      • StillJill StillJill

        Just make sure you place both destinations in their proper order. I'd suggest the prayer meeting BEFORE the bar,…..just sayin'! 🙂

        But, then again,…if you go to the bar first,….you could wind up needing prayer. Tough call Mark! 🙂

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  • Jebus Jebus

    And if you want another possible little teaser that something is up….Sell…
    Some are grabbin some cash.

    U.S. Stocks Fall as S&P 500 Has Worst Weekly Drop in


  • weeman

    All the scientist that helped invent the atomic bomb and nuclear fission signed a letter to the president pleading with him to not use it, as they did not understand it and did not want to use it, as they could not explain we're all the energy was coming from and the implication on the molecular scale
    I would rather site in the dark than have nuclear power my home, we must all suffer and adapt, we can do it

  • Half-Life Half-Life

    Does anyone else find it odd that the media have jumped aboard this issue so readily, after downplaying then ignoring all the other troubles for over a year? Could it be a diversion from the disaster that is already affecting the world?
    This sentence: "in order to stabilize the unit’s spent nuclear fuel pool and prevent radiological consequences with potentially catastrophic consequences” from the above article implies that a catestrophic event has not yet taken place, which is false.
    So if the world comes to the rescue and stops the building from falling, or even, if the building falls and the fuel doesn't catch fire, then we have averted disaster and there is nothing to worry about. So continue using nuclear power!

    • I get your point Half-Life but I think way too much damage has been done to hide the scale of the disaster over time.

      Chernobyl's children give us a taste of what can happen.

      Despite a media blackout, news like that leaks out.

    • Good eye Half-Life. They MUST have mistyped this.

      In my opinion it more accurately read:
      "prevent [additional] radiological consequences with potentially [greater] catastrophic consequences.”

      They use the word consequences a lot. A total of 5 times in the article. hmmm…?

      …and WHY didn't 'they' think of all the consequences prior to building these Death Machines?

      When I hear the word 'safe' in the same sentence as 'Nuclear Power Plant' it makes me want to explode!

      Soon, some will be using the word 'regrettable', others, will just continue saying "It's of no immediate concern". 🙁