Ambassador’s comments translated by Asahi: Another accident at No. 4 reactor building could cause the “final catastrophe of the world”

Published: May 21st, 2012 at 3:43 pm ET
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Subscription Only: Officials try to calm fears about spent nuclear fuel rods
Asahi Shimbun AJW
By HIROSHI MATSUBARA
May 21, 2012

[...] Experts from around the world are becoming increasingly concerned about the state of the No. 4 reactor building. [...]

Mitsuhei Murata, former ambassador to Switzerland, also told an Upper House hearing in March that another accident at the reactor building could cause the “final catastrophe of the world.” [...]

See also: Former Japan Ambassador Warns Gov't Committee: "A global catastrophe like we have never before experienced" if No. 4 collapses -- Common Spent Fuel Pool with 6,375 fuel rods in jeopardy -- "Would affect us all for centuries"

Published: May 21st, 2012 at 3:43 pm ET
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50 comments

Related Posts

  1. Former Ambassador: No. 4 reactor a top national security issue for entire world — Could start “the ultimate catastrophe” May 11, 2012
  2. Former Japan Ambassador Warns Gov’t Committee: “A global catastrophe like we have never before experienced” if No. 4 collapses — Common Spent Fuel Pool with 6,375 fuel rods in jeopardy — “Would affect us all for centuries” April 6, 2012
  3. Tepco: No. 4 reactor building can withstand 6-plus intensity quake -Asahi August 31, 2012
  4. CNN: Spent fuel rods are “very damaged” — Fires from heat at SFP No. 4 are believed to have damaged reactor building (VIDEO) December 16, 2011
  5. Gundersen: Unit 4 reactor building has not been reinforced — Floor of fuel pool was, but not strong as original May 5, 2012

50 comments to Ambassador’s comments translated by Asahi: Another accident at No. 4 reactor building could cause the “final catastrophe of the world”

  • durando durando

    has detonating a nuclear explosion at the site to burn up the nuclear fuel been debunked?


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    • In my opinion if this happened: An apocalyptic amount of radiation would have consumed the entire planet. Hence why the reactors are still standing today…

      It is an interesting theory, that I will agree.

      However, when you look into the amount of fuel bundles, and pellets on site. Taking into account the amount of materials that would have ignited and perpetuated the initial explosion; One can easily maintain that this would be a last resort. Plaguing mankind's ability to walk among the forests for eternity.

      We are dealing with apocalyptic amounts of radiation.
      Had any 'one' reactor had even the smallest of nuclear implosions take place within or outside its primary containments. Catastrophic amounts of fissile materials, would have to be accounted for. Although the reactor 3 explosion was nuclear in nature. It is a small comparison of contamination as to what would have happened, in the event of a implemented nuclear demolition within its structure. The fuel pools and cores would have released the bulk of their decayed fuel cells immediately into the environment. Leaving scores of radiation in the 100's if not 1000's of Sieverts. Likely killing every resident of Japan, The United states… And Possibly the entire planet.

      I doubt that the Militaries, deep underground bases would survive such a pandemic. As the amount of heat that would be released alone would likely suffocate or boil the surface of the earth, for centuries…

      Pandoras box comes to…


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    • markww markww

      I wrote about using a Nuclear bomb to instantly burn the fission but never heard anything back from anyone including scientists. I do think if it is detonated all the nuclear materials will instantly be destroyed and fission all eaten up but NO WORD back from anyone as to the solution. I also wrote three other solutions as to adding 7 elements to concrete and shielding and burying the complex nothing back on that. Also another was to pump elements and concrete under the whole complex to give time as to working on solutions nothing back on that either.

      Elements were

      lead powder
      graphite
      sand
      powdered shuttle tile
      concrete
      Boron Liquid or powder
      powered glass particles

      I also sent a theory to Gundersen as to a dual round water filled puller to pull nuclear rod bundles into a inner container filled with water,and the containers and fuel rod bundle each put into a cask system nothing back on that either mark


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      • Newton

        Detonating a nuclear device at Fukushima would be the equivalent of the world's dirtiest bomb.


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        • nowisthetime

          I posted on this here a while back, but came to think that this would not be possible. The amount of fuel there would create an inconceivably large explosion.

          However, nobody scientifically analysed this as far as I know. I'm guessing the explosion would significantly and immediately effect Tokyo, and therefore a slow and less immediate non-solution is preferable, and I'm not certain whether or not I disagree with that approach because there is little data.

          I think that everybody who reads a comment like this should realise that nuke-fuke-suggesters are not joking or stupid, but would like to find out real data about predictions based on the current circumstances.

          I'm stopping watching most of the time. I know the precarious states of the reacotrs, and I know most people around me don't care. I know if there is a significant strength earthquake the oceans will be unusable for food. I really hope that doesn't happen. What else can you do but hope that the assholes in charge realise that it is about them too?


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          • getoutwhileyoustillcan

            "What else can you do but hope that the assholes in charge realise that it is about them too?"

            Keep trying to educate people. Only a few may listen at first, but it'll catch on eventually (it could take a while for "nuclear apocalypse" to sink in). Then the assholes in charge will have a lot more people to answer to. And if they don't fix the damn thing (which they probably won't, because most are just useless windbags) they'll no longer be in charge, and will just simply be assholes. Then hopefully we'll get someone else in charge, that can and will do something. Otherwise we may not survive, and we'll take all the other living things on this planet with us.


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        • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

          @Newton…..Thank you!

          I was wondering how to explain it without starting a flame war.

          And just to make it easier for everyone (who doesn't get it) to understand….

          If there was a way to get rid of radioactive material, it would already be well known. Greed would generate a thriving industry based on the neutralization of it.

          This is an issue that goes to the very heart of the fundamental nature of the physical world as we know it.

          We have no practical technique or method for making radioactive material "go away".

          Blowing up buildings simply turns the building in to a lot of very smaller pieces. There is no volume reduction of the original buildings contents or materials.

          A million cubic feet of building or a million cubic feet of dust and debris. Take your pick.

          It does not "go away", since there is no such place as "away" for anything to go to.

          The illusion of "away" has created 2 significant planetary events during the last 20 years.

          The largest human made structure on Earth was the pyramids (ruins) at Teotehuacan circa early 1990s.

          Not to be outdone, the Chinese added on to the Great Wall
          to make it the largest.

          Then the garbage dump pile at Fish Kill in NY state
          became the largest human made structure on the planet by around 1994. It can easily be seen with the naked eye from the Space Shuttle.

          The bomb idea would simply pulverize/vaporize what is already there and at the same time spew it even further
          than it…


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      • SnorkY2K

        The reaction would not go to completion burning up the fuel. Instead fires and heat would loft fission by-products high into the air to be distributed everywhere. One must not think of nuclear fuel as burning a piece of would where a small ash remains. Also, spent fuel differs from fresh fuel in that it is filled with a large portion of fission by-products. Some of the fission by-products are going to be less likely to sustain a reaction and other by-products are going to be far more like to initiate a reaction. The imbalanced reaction will just fizzle and fart for 1000 000's of years.

        Reactions can take multiple forms with some causing heavier transuranics that are going to be more of a problem than the plutonium. If plutonium gives you nightmares, look up technetium, americium, californium, and curium that would be created and distributed throughout the world.

        However, related to your idea would be covering heavily contaminated soil with melted glass to prevent it from immediately blowing in the wind. That may be worth investigating to save Korea.


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  • FaraFola

    Not any country in the world could detonate a nuke on peacetime, constitution cannot approve that kind of action in any circumstances i believe


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    • markww markww

      May have to use one to stop the whole earth death if the reactors decide to burn people world wide would be dead in a matter of days. So that is why I sent materials and things to scientists to see if it would be feasible and work

      mark


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      • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

        @markww: regarding the use of thermonuclear dispersion of SFP4: the efficiency of the initial detonation would have to guarantee that you're simply not releasing a dirty-bomb into the atmosphere. Keep in mind, we're talking tons of MOX fuel. The efficiency could be increased, but at the cost of the adjacent countries; and Japan, itself, would likely require vaporization.

        As the possibility of failing to efficiently vaporize the target-load risks the entire planet (in a short period), such a remediation strategy would be unacceptable. And as the necessary vaporization of Japan and residual contamination of the adjacent countries would also be unacceptable (to the people of that region and the Japanese), the suggestion of thermonuclear dispersion is off the table.

        All said, I still like your pragmatic approach to this nightmare. Unlike the 'experts', at least you've got the guts to think outside the box…


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        • markww markww

          I just had a wild thought about 7 months ago there was a video from one of the science guys online who had in his home one of those stand up room air cleaners that uses long plates, where dust and things hang to the plate. I JUST REMEMBERED that he was getting radiation in his home and the plates cleaning the air would do like a BIG BUG ZAPPER make a loud crackkkkkkkkkk and would produce something like a bluish purple lightning bolt. I wonder if it was neutralizing the radiation. IF IT WAS I think a unit could be built on top of the rectors and neutralize the radiation Need some input here from everyone and maybe some scientists.

          Markww


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      • getoutwhileyoustillcan

        I think it would be too unpredictable, and we could end up with a much worse situation (if you could imagine that).


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    • richard richard

      hi FaraFola; the mob.media.orp.guv doesn't give two hoots about a constitution, unless they can use it against you. remember, we face entrenched corruption to get over this problem – murderous entrenched corruption at that.


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    • stopnp stopnp

      You mean the constitution that the govcorptocracy is using to wipe their asses right now? They're too busy taking all our rights and liberties away under the treasonous patriot act and the ndaa.


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  • jayjay jayjay

    I still cant my head around the fact that so many countries around the world WANT to Continue with the madness of yet more Nuke plants. Is everybody becoming BRAIN DEAD!!! ??? or am I just very odd?


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  • http://cwarn.org/

    Above is the web address to receive 'text' (sms) alerts of seismic activity in Japan. I advise readers here to use this system (assigning themselves to receive these alerts); As there is a recent rash of seismic activity occurring now in Japan which I 'feel' will continue to escalate.

    This is an early warning system; Which will allow you to take precaution from the potential effects of an EQ. Which may in all reality cause the collapse of reactor 4;

    I truly feel that this system will allow users here 'some' comfort in the event that a large scale seismic event takes place. Providing them First hand with an update as to when and what type of events and dangers have occurred.


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  • Myme

    Talk about twisted logics…

    Ikko Nakatsuka (senior vice minister of the Cabinet Office) "After the Fukushima accident, we must no longer use the term 'safe' without evaluating actual risk… So, government officials should not talk about ‘safety’ without presenting concrete risks.”

    It's the same twisted logic that the Japanese government officials like him used before 3/11/11, in ignoring the historical earthquake/tsunami data and published reports detailing the shortcomings of Fukushima Daiichi design. They said "there is no need to take counter measures because there has been no evidence the nuclear facility would damage from it, because we've not seen a tsunami or earthquakes beyond our expectation" prior to 3/11.

    The same sick, twisted logic now they use "there is no need to evacuate babies, children, and women because of lack of evidence that low radiation is harmful," rather than "let's assume the worst and evacuate them to safety because there is lack of evidence the low radiaiton is not harmful."

    Ikko Nakatsuka is a psychopaths.


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  • durando durando

    its to bad that the anti nuke movements of the 50s and 60s weren't sucessful. I mean I'd rather live with designated black out times (at least until they got more traditional / green power generation in place) than live with this nuclear threat there are still 100s of fukushimas waiting to happen and we may not survive this one.


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    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi durando, which percentage of overall electricity does nuclear provide in your country? 10, 15, 20%?
      So, let's seriously start with efficiency measures, we can ALL do with 20% less without even noticing, and let's shut down the beasts today.

      PS: let's make the anti-nuke movement of 2012 a success, ok? :-)


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  • truetone500

    Question:

    If #4 is such a threat, and would spell the end of human existence – then how would we be dealing with it for hundreds of years? I'm just say'in…

    I've seen videos of animals that are living less than 100 yards away from the reactors – yet they're just fine. They seem to in excellent health! ?


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    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      I guess they're not.


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    • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

      The animals were near reactors that were still intact.

      And you likely saw animals that had intermittent activity around the NPP.

      I suggest you go see the photos available for children born shortly after Hiroshima and Nagasaki detonations, along with down wind 2nd generation survivors of Chernobyl.

      Also consider long term genetic damage passed down for many generations to come.


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  • labmonkeywithagun labmonkeywithagun

    Did anybody catch this? I-131 in SFP #4 finally admitted by Tepco 5/16/2012. Measured 4/12/2011 recriticality after 3/11/2010. See what you think


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  • Myme

    Hi labmonkeywithagun,

    The data you are referring to, from the table "Iodine Radiation At Fukushima Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool, are actually 2011 data, even though the title of the handout itself is "TEPCO Handout 5/16/2012"

    In the table, see the dates "H23 4/12," "H23 4/28," and "H23 5/7" ? "H23" means Heisei year 23 = 2011. So these data were from 2011 April 12, 2011 April 28, and 2011 April 23.

    I know it is confusing. I don't know why TEPCO is using the last year's data in the report dated 2012. Maybe so that they can show the lower cesium levels, it can fool people that nothing more came out after last May.


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  • toaster

    I think its already too late, we await catastrophe. The scenario will play out exactly like the old movie 'on the beach' in a year or possibly two the entire northern hemisphere will be rendered uninhabitable, with the radiation slowly spreading into the southern regions, extreme southern Argentina and Tasmania will be the last to be capable of sustaining life, and then they will be gone too.


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  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    Fuku cannot be fixed by a nuclear detonation. The following is from the Wikipedia article on the Little Boy Bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, near the end of World War II: "Approximately 600 to 860 milligrams of matter in the bomb was converted into the active energy of heat and radiation (see mass-energy equivalence for detail). It exploded with an energy between 13 and 18 kilotons of TNT (54 and 75 TJ) (estimates vary). It has been estimated that 130,000 to 150,000 people had died as a result of its use by the end of December 194[4] ". The point to take away from this is that even when highly enriched uranium is perfectly configured to produce a nuclear explosion, the vast majority of fissile material remains, to rain back down on the land as fallout. And even if you could convert ALL the Fuku nuke dump into energy, you wouldn't want to, since all that would be left of Earth is a burnt up little old cinder floating in space.


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  • Hmmmm...

    Nuking the site: http://resistancetononsense.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/fukushima-daiichi-tepco-fubar/

    "A ground burst detonation will expend 35 percent to 45 percent of it’s nuclear yield as radiated thermal energy which means within one millionth of one second the temperature within the fireball (the inner core known as the isothermal sphere) is several tens of million degrees. Everything inside of this fireball vaporizes, in this case, the site, its melting cores and spent fuel in storage ‘ponds’ – everything within 110-150 meters of detonation"


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  • sstrim4459@aol.com

    I think this Fuku event was planned to cull the population. I also think the elite have a way to clean the radiation up but they need to cull first.


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  • chrisk9

    A nuclear bomb contains only a few pounds of uranium or plutonium and yet the fallout affects a large area with measurable radioactivity for miles and miles. The nuclear reaction excites particles that were not radioactive before the blast and creates a much larger inventory of radioactive material. The bridge that was at ground zero becomes particles of lead, iron and cobalt some of which are now excited and radioactive.

    Bombing the site would make the situation much worse. When the fuel bundles are delivered to a utility one can walk right up to them and touch them. Their gamma dose rate is practically zero (I've surveyed them myself). After the reactor is started the uranium gets to an excited state immediately and becomes very radioactive. Some of it changes into plutonium. Any bombing of the site would create large amounts of plutonium and other high number elements that are much worse than the current situation.

    There is only one solution to the Fukushima problem, move the fuel out of all the fuel pools as quickly as possible and then entomb the site in concrete. Entombing may create problems with ground water, direct leakage into the ocean and residual releases, but it is sadly the best alternative.

    There was no planning to this accident, it was the result of using technology that was much too advanced for us humans to manage safely that was influenced by the greed inherent in many of us.


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    • Sickputer

      How about a neutron bomb (several shaped charges 1000 feet on the mountain side) and have 10,000 cargo planes ready to drop a million tons of lead, borax, cement and sand in the ocean in a single pass. It would be the greatest air armada in World War III. Yes, we are fighting an alien being in a world war for human survival. Perhaps the other 450 slumbering aliens will be a little easier to kill after Fukushima.

      Just thinking outside the box. I bet this idea is not out of the top ten suggestions.. They are just waiting until Tepco flees the plant to move it up. They better drill holes now while they have time or Bruce and I will have a tougher job. A joke, but no happy smilie. ;-(. I would give my life for my family and mankind to solve this crisis in a heartbeat without hesitation.


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  • Here's what TEPCO says it is doing for Unit 4:

    Intake channel seafloor paving complete
    21 May 2012
    http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=72&storyCode=2062433

    "First, measurements of the height of the water level on 7 February 2012 and 12 April 2012 around the edge of the 12mx10m spent fuel pool and 11m-diameter reactor well at the fifth floor have found the same distances around all sides of the pool, suggesting that the building has not tilted.

    Second, TEPCO said its analysis suggests that the building will not collapse even if hit with an earthquake with a magnitude of 6 on the Richter scale (equivalent to the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake).

    Third, work to shore up the bottom of the spent fuel pool with props has increased its seismic resistance by 20%, it said.

    Fourth, regular inspections will be carried out to confirm the soundness of the building. The first regular check is water level measurements. The second regular check is optical measurements of the outer walls of the building will use unspecified 'optical equipment' to measure the distance to fixed points mounted on the western and southern faces of the wall (northern and eastern faces are blocked by other buildings). The system will pick up a tilt as a deviation from perpendicularity."

    more …

    http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=72&storyCode=2062433


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    • Sickputer

      Where did the magazine find Tepco used the Richter scale for level 6? The pdf file from Tepco May 16 did not use that term. I assumed they meant the shindo scale.

      There's an awful lot of Level 6 Richter scale earthquakes in Japan… Not very many shindo 6.


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  • Reactor 3

    (just a reminder)

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/20/1092637/-Fukushima-Reactor-4-In-Danger-Of-Making-Northern-Hemisphere-Uninhabitable

    Reactor 3 has less fuel inside its cooling pool, but it has not been strengthened since the disaster and poses a greater risk of failing.

    "Reactor 3 has a little less consequences but a little more risk, and Reactor 4 has more consequences but…a little less risk," he [Gundersen] said.


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    • BillyRaz

      Reactor 3 has "less" fuel inside it- If Uncle Arnie can prove there still is sfp 3 I would be happy to see how many nuke poles are left in it- But there is no reactor and no spent fuel pool that I can locate behind door number 3


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  • Tumrgrwer Tumrgrwer

    I agree chrisk9, no plan to punish Japan for whatever. This was an accident waiting to happen. When we finally come to this conclusion then we realize there are over 400 of these horrid beasts still alive and poliuting our beautiful planet. A miricle is what is necessary.

    Please, let us continue to be kind, one to another, for we are each of us together in our pain! Scorn Tepco!


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  • chrisk9

    Can any of these building withstand another 9.0 quake. There were a number of predictions by the experts right after 3-11 that another one could strike. Could they withstand another tsunami?

    All I care about is solving the problem ASAP before a larger disaster strikes. Just solve the problem, bring in "The Wolf" or whatever it takes.

    It is quite sad but if they solve the fuel pool problems and nothing gets worse then nuclear power will probably go forward with hardly a blip. But if there is a fuel pool collapse then nuclear power will probably end everywhere, but the price we pay will be gigantic. Lose/lose?


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  • A useful email address below – to Stars and Stripes:

    Concerns grow over stability of Japan nuclear plant
    By WYATT OLSON
    Stars and Stripes
    Published: May 23, 2012

    http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/earthquake-disaster-in-japan/concerns-grow-over-stability-of-japan-nuclear-plant-1.178053

    olsonw@pstripes.osd.mil


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