Asahi: Secret cable shows highest-ranking U.S. military officer ‘deeply concerned’ about Fukushima Unit 4 after 3/11 — Fuel pool “might be empty” and needed water from above

Published: February 7th, 2013 at 7:51 pm ET


Title: PROMETHEUS TRAP (6): SDF poised for dangerous mission into Fukushima
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Date: February 08, 2013

[…] The discussions at the [March 15, 2011 emergency meeting of senior Japan officials] focused on the No. 4 unit at the plant, which had just suffered an explosion that morning. The attendees were also informed that the confidential cable had said top U.S. military officer Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was deeply concerned about the risk posed by the No. 4 unit.

[…] the U.S. military had pointed out the possibility that the spent fuel pool for the No. 4 reactor might be empty and urged that measures be taken immediately to cool the reactor first […]

The debris scattered by the explosions at the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors had made it difficult to spray water on the crippled reactor from the ground. […]

Burton Field, commander of U.S. Forces Japan […] stressed the need to inject water into the spent fuel pool for the No. 4 reactor from above, effectively reiterating the point made by Mullen and described in the secret cable. […]

See also: [intlink id=”paper-military-keeping-quiet-about-women-children-ordered-evacuate-base-300-kilometers-fukushima-when-radiation-alarms-after-311″ type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: February 7th, 2013 at 7:51 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Reporter on Unit 4 Pool at Fukushima: Water was muddy and brown — Fuel inside not visible February 21, 2013
  2. UPI: Fukushima spent fuel pool a source of growing concern — Calls for more efforts to empty and secure Unit 4 continue in Japan and beyond May 23, 2012
  3. Gundersen: New data shows Fukushima exceeds Chernobyl… Plumes seen emanating from both the Unit 3 fuel pool & reactor — Nuke Engineer: Broken fuel rods are above all 3 melted down reactors — Gov’t Experts: Unit 3 explosion may have damaged spent fuel & released even more radioactive material (VIDEO) February 9, 2015
  4. Power still not restored at Fukushima Unit 3 fuel pool and Common Fuel Pool — No fresh cooling water for over a day — Tepco: Extremely sorry it took so long to announce blackout March 19, 2013
  5. Gundersen soon after 3/11: Photo shows nuclear fuel is exposed to air at Fukushima Unit 4 fuel pool — Clean path for plutonium to escape offsite (VIDEO) February 23, 2013

33 comments to Asahi: Secret cable shows highest-ranking U.S. military officer ‘deeply concerned’ about Fukushima Unit 4 after 3/11 — Fuel pool “might be empty” and needed water from above

  • 16Penny 16Penny

    As I was saying in a previous thread, no way the US was unaware of the scope of the nuclear threat from Fuku. Ignorant, sure but not unaware.

    • Jay

      Satellites , SATELLITES !

      That's how Ronald Regan Captain knew IN TIME about the danger at Fukushima , among other 'things' …

      In Other words , the Pentagon.CIA Must know every second what is going on plus how radiaoactive is the mouse fart in Fukushima …

      Remote Sensing of Radiation

      Newer Earth-observing satellite remote sensing instruments typically make observations at many discrete wavelengths or wavelength bands.

      36 wavelength bands covering the wavelength range 405 nm (blue) to 14.385 μm (infrared)



      Remote Sensing of Radiation

      Even newer Earth-observing satellite remote sensing instruments make continuous multi-spectral observations across a wide wavelength range using CCD arrays or cameras.

      Two wavelength channels:

      270-380 nm (UV)

      350-500 nm (Vis)

      with 0.45-1.0 nm resolution (FWHM)

      Aura OMI

      Remote Sensing of Radiation

      Wavelength resolution or bandwidth is typically given as the Full-Width at Half-Max (FWHM), assuming a triangular slit-function.

      • Jay

        … yet check this :

        " … However, NASA’s Earth-observing satellites are unable to directly measure radiation-containing plumes, such as those experts fear may have wafted from a damaged Japanese nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture. …. " .

        and this excuse :

        " … The radiation consists mostly of negatively charged electrons from so-called “beta decay” of radioactive products of the nuclear fission reactions, as well as positively charged alpha particles, which are identical to a helium nucleus (for example, two protons and two neutrons all bound together into a single particle). 

        NASA does have detectors in space that measure such charged particles, but the great majority of these particles don’t come from Earth.
        Rather, they come from the sun, which emits a very large number of charged particles in what is called the “solar wind” — which is especially intense when the sun is active.
        The particles can also come from sources outside our solar system, so-called galactic cosmic rays, or GCRs, that become more detectable when the sun is less active … " .

      • We Not They Finally

        Satellites or not, the USS Ronald Reagan did NOT know anything "in time." That's why the Navy personnel who were there have already gotten sick enough to sue, and the U.S. is shutting off medical monitoring for 70,000 military personnel. But isn't it enough to be ill from radioactivity? Do we all need to be made ill from inhumanity? If the U.S. military cannot take care of its own, what happens to civilians?

        • 16Penny 16Penny

          Does anyone know how to get in contact with an organization that is helping the sailors or their families from USS RR? Any information would be helpful to me.

  • CB CB

    Remember the speedy data withheld from the general public.

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      SPEEDI Network

      "On 28 June 2012 NISA officials made their apologies to mayor Yuko Endo of Kawauchi Village for the fact that NISA failed to release the American-produced radiation maps in the first days after the meltdowns."

      What 'American-produced' radiation maps? This sewer is just getting bigger.

      It's a great read, whoever put it up on Wikipedia.

      • static66 static66

        From the Wikipedia page, click the history tab. You will find on the page that opens a link to a list of contributors, there is also an edit history, you can look at who did what their.

        No need to wonder who did it, it is but a few clicks away.

  • Myme

    It seems the empty SFP4 was not that top secret to Americans back then. Interesting that it is now coming out in Japan and they find it shocking, what we knew all along from the beginning.

    I recall, in March-June 2011, the US gov't and nuclear experts on EMENEWS and even CNN pointed out the SFP4 risk to the Japanese. The Japanese Ambassador, in response, came on CNN to refute it, declaring there is no risk of meltdown or explosion (what a fool he was). For the next 15 months, the Japanese gov't and TEPCO put all out efforts to discredit foreign experts and bloggers who mentioned "meltdown", instead of saving its citizens.

    I remember this vividly because I had to translate and write everything I read on ENENEWS to my sister in Japan for over 6 months, since JP media were not reporting anything useful and everyone there was repeating official lies.

    It was late fall 2011 when my sister called to say, "Everything you told me back in March, the meltdown happening and explosions, all came true. Can you believe the Japanese media finally started mentioning meltdown and most folks here are now in shock…"

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Empty SFP #4? We are aware from several reports SFP #4 has had two fires in it. At least one person here has stated once the SFP begins to "burn" it cannot be extinguished.

      Why do you state #4 pool is empty? What source or sources are you using for that information? Either source(s) are incorrect in stating #4 SFP is empty, or it is not the ELE-level or grave threat experts like Robert Alvarez #4 SFP collapse would be.

      We really need to stick to known facts here. The consequences of the SFP #4 or Common SFP burning up completely have grave, grave consequences.

      Some here, such as Pattie B., have said = 1 or >1 SFP is burning. The common pool? Based on how I'm feeling physically, lately (in comparison to April – May, 2011) it may be true. Maybe that radiation cloud which passes overhead every 40 days has just passed over my area.

      Background radiation levels in the U.S. haven't risen sufficiently to indicate another fuel pool is burning away.

      Does anyone have evidence of high CPM counts or other measures of recent increases in radiation, either in Japan, or elsewhere? If so, please post. (I haven't looked at the Forum to see what people are saying there.)

      Also — if there is follow up on the status of burning spent fuel pools, please post it.

      All that being said, I'm among those who believes SFP #3 was at least partially vaporized in March, 2011. Likely mos

      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        The CSFP has burned many times…from :00 onwards
        July 26 2012..

        Unit 4..'busy'

      • Myme

        "SFP4 possibly empty" mentioned on the March 16th, 2011 NRC letter, reported by ENENEWS via Enformable:

        "In a briefing with Joe Giitter that just ended, we were informed that the situation is now much worse in Japan. The walls of the Unit 4 spent fuel pool have collapsed, and there is no water in there. There were a large number of fuel assemblies in the pool, and the fuel may no longer be intact. The radiation levels are increasing so much that it may prove difficult to work on the other 5 reactors at the site, which could lead to more fuel damage and releases."

      • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication

        @Ho Taters

        Correct me if I am wrong, but having read all the official FOI transcripts of telephone conversations of the NRC at the time, (4,000 pages) I believe it was known early on that spent fuel pool #4 had an explosion and had gone dry. In fact the NRC staff member sent early on to Japan said he would stake his career on it having burned dry and exploded early on.

        However, I thought there was an additional common spent fuel pool near (or between) #3 and #4 at Fukushima and that it has not blown yet?

        There were high readings around St. Louis and Phoenix last year but that was before Alexander Higgins website went down due to Hurricane Sandy. My recollection is that the readings in St. Louis were on the order of 800 cpm at times.

        Ho Taters, I am so sorry if you are feeling so badly. I also have over the last year become somewhat weaker and my lips now appear as though I am wearing lipstick although I have not worn any cosmetics in years. Something is not right.

        Oh, yes, and don't forget the NRC has now hired a former manager at Target to be sure our plants are up to snuff as far as safety is concerned. (What a joke).

  • Myme

    So, I'm grateful for ENENEWS and everyone who pitched in timely information back then and since then. You guys made a big difference for my family in Japan.

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      I hope you're not a US military family, Myme:

      "For your good work over the last decade, we’re going to ruin the military; we’re going to make it harder for you to have the equipment you need to fight, and we’re going to reduce benefits to your family?’ ” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R., S.C.)"

  • Myme
    I agree that early on the western media reported much more detailed info about the disaster until the veil of silence was iimposed in May of 2011

    I think the Japanese media have been trying to break that silence but the western media are not even covering the story any more

    So, we are left with very alarming early data and no follow-up

    What mattered to decision makers are the short term viability of nuke and Japan's economy– the long term risks to human health come in last

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      No different than in the U.S., majia. Someone was able to get almost all the Ft. Calhoun coverage stopped. The operator and NRC simply repeated non-information about 'everything is OK' to anyone who asked. No information was provided about the spent fuel pool.

      Ft. Calhoun is the smallest reactor (500MW) but stores all of Nebraska's spent fuel in their SPF – 1000 tonnes of used rods. It's mostly below surface level, but the top is open at the surface. The Mississippi can flood it. This would flush out all the borated water and deposit tons of silt and mud around the bottom of the rods. You can't pull the spent fuel rods out – there's nowhere to put that many at Ft. Calhoun *if* you could even get them out during a flood. The coolant pumps wouldn't work after they were clogged with muck.

      Did that happen at Ft. Calhoun during the last flood? Could that still happen? That was a beyond-design-basis event per the NRC, so nothing really has to be fixed here (besides maybe a token PR earthen berm or two). It's beyond probability that it even happened, and/or will ever happen again.

      This reinforces the NRC/DOE's internal justifications for a news blackout; they are more likely to do the same thing in the future.

      Remember the NRC's motto: "…Let's keep this away from FOIA…"

      • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication


        Due to the high readings in St. Louis last summer, I concluded that something had gone horribly wrong at Ft. Cooper and that TPTB would never tell us nor would the media report it. Just speculation on my part.

        • Time Is Short Time Is Short

          Speculation about what, NP? That Ft. Cooper is a nuclear accident and the .gov would lie about it?

          Just like Ft. Calhoun? Like SONGS?

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    This is more or less the "smoking gun" which tells us high level officials worldwide have known of the danger of damage to #4 SFP from early on. If they were aware of how serious a possible collapse or fuel pool fire are/were, they had to have known how deadly serious the situation was for both the Fukushima Daichi and Daini plants.

    And they had to have known about the 14 or more reactors which were damaged, all over Japan.

    And they had to have known how gravely serious it was that immediately after Reactor #3 exploded, the wind shifted onshore and carried the plume over Tokyo and surrounds.

    Maybe this was the official who cried?

    Maybe it was Robert Alvarez. He "gets it" and has been trying to influence others in power to take action, since the beginning.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      The nuke industry knows how dangerous nuclear power is period. Gee sixty years to decommission the plant in Florida and even dry casks are not full proof. This industry needs to be shut down, yesterday. JMHO

  • nomoretrust

    @HoT I have seen no sudden increases in CPM on southern Vancouver island. My higher counts are increasing though highest so far 1500CPM back in November 2012.

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      Someone in Australia reported sky high readings that corresponded with PattyB's timeline for CSFP fires. Can't find the link, was in a previous article here.

      What is truly scary is the steady increasing of rad counts, and according to the physicists, they're going to increase for millions of years.

      At what point will we no longer be able to live in a radiation soup?

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    Now the US military can't afford to refuel their nuclear carriers:

    Our enemies are following closely how poorly our .gov treats our military personnel, and our lack of ability to keep one of our most sophisticated carriers in operation.

    But we give the banks trillions of dollars to keep the rich supplied.

    Where is the money going to come from when the NPP owners walk away from these old crumbling wrecks? Who is going to pay for the hundreds of billions of dollars in maintenance and decommissioning costs?


      all purposeful, Time Is Short. If most Americans knew what was going on, they'd be in a big-time panic…

    • static66 static66

      As a usmc veteran let me say this, all this silly talk of how badly the military is treated is a red herring. Nothing nice about being in the military other than the friendships you develop and some of the travel you get to do. Everything else is about the business of killing, which isn't nice anyway you cut it.

      Nothing nice about sending marines house to house to find and kill anything that moves. It's taken me years to overcome the programing and reconcile the reality that I was programmed into a highly efficient killing machine. My life is now dedicated to science, discovery and education, it has been a tough transition.

      Our military is overfunded, you want to find something underfunded in the us, look no further than education and environmental agencies.

      "Our enemies" are not the other nations they would have you believe. All this blather does is fuel the MIC and their fleecing of us all.