Ex-Chairman of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Upcoming ‘attempt’ to remove Fukushima Unit 4 spent fuel is very, very unprecedented — Pool has significant structural damage — Will be very risky (VIDEO)

Published: September 24th, 2013 at 9:45 am ET


Title: Jaczko, Johnson & Tsutsui, The Ongoing Fukushima Daiichi Crisis
Source: Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan
Date: September 24, 2013

At 45:00 in

Gregory Jaczko, Former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: There’s very risk significant activities happening in the next several months with the attempt to remove fuel from the Unit 4 spent fuel pool.

That’s a very significant activity, and it’s also unprecedented.

There’s significant structural damage to the Unit 4 spent fuel pool. New structures had to be created.

They’re going to have to lift significant debris from the pools.

These are all very, very unprecedented activities.

Watch the FCCJ event here

See also: [intlink id=”yale-professor-fukushima-unit-4-pool-in-perilous-condition-all-of-humanity-will-be-threatened-for-thousands-of-years-if-not-able-to-be-kept-cool-danger-of-it-collapsing-in-storm-or-during-a” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: September 24th, 2013 at 9:45 am ET


Related Posts

  1. 220 Million Bq/liter of Cesium now in No. 2 Spent Fuel Pool — SFP No. 1, 2, & 3 “clearly have significant spent fuel damage” (VIDEO) August 28, 2011
  2. NRC March Email: Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 was likely dry enough to lead to catastrophic explosion — Structural damage to pool area known to exist — Pool leakage likely January 7, 2012
  3. TEPCO: Nuclear fuel rods in No. 4 spent fuel pool are “confirmed to be damaged” — First time damage revealed at any pool April 13, 2011
  4. Nuclear engineer: Enormous amount of plutonium at No. 4 spent fuel pool in danger of catching fire; Pool is cracked and leaking (VIDEO) April 13, 2011
  5. Confirmed: 35-ton machine “sitting on top of the spent fuel rack in the pool” of Reactor No. 3 — Extent of damage not yet known (VIDEOS) April 17, 2012

74 comments to Ex-Chairman of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Upcoming ‘attempt’ to remove Fukushima Unit 4 spent fuel is very, very unprecedented — Pool has significant structural damage — Will be very risky (VIDEO)

  • MichaelV MichaelV

    In lay terms,, 'it can't be done'…

  • They left the melted fuel that was welded to the sides, according to a recent poster.

    What if most of what was in #4 melted and welded itself to the sides and bottom?

    • hbjon hbjon

      They must research into the bonding nature of the substances that have melted inside that pool. Some materials will form crystal layers that will part easier than others. My educated guess is that the fuel is not going up out of the pool. I wonder what would happen if the floors beneath the pool were rigged with explosives and they let the pool drop all the way into the water-filled basement. Cross your fingers and toes?

    • At TMI, they left fuel inside and could not remove it, due to being welded to sides.

      • We Not They Finally

        They also probably did not have an open-air Leaning Tower of Pisa in soggy soil and ready to collapse. But I'm sure you already know that.

  • ftlt

    It must be tried… Or is there something else to be done…

    What about earthquakes during the process??? YIKES!!!

  • or-well

    I think Jaczkos' opening remarks make his position fairly clear;
    (haha, as clear as they can be from someone taking a "nuanced" – read "hedge your bets" – position).

    He is not anti-nuclear. He is not a nuclear abolitionist.
    He wants nuclear that is safe. He wants a degree of safety that in my opinion is not possible in the real world.

    If he speaks against restarts of any current reactor in Japan, well and good. But there are more risks than seismicity.

    • He has come out and state categorically that all US reactors should be shut down.

      • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks


      • or-well

        Dr. Goodheart, it is not generally reported that he qualified his remarks made at a side session of the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference.

        at the link it's discussed how he made mention of other nuclear tech such as modular nukes.
        In any case, his remarks at the press club do not suggest he is now categorically opposed to nuclear power. I wish he were.

        I will try and find a transcript of his address.

        • Cisco Cisco

          Right on there or-well…
          “In any case, his remarks at the press club do not suggest he is now categorically opposed to nuclear power.” Just another shill making the rounds, prostituting his resume.

          Following are some of Gregory Jaczko remarks during Q&A at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.
          “In terms of the overall question of impact of the accident. Ultimately it becomes a question of resources. In principle you can clean up and decontaminate and decommission everything essentially back to the reactor buildings, predominantly. It simply becomes a question of cost.”

          “You can re mediate soil, you can move soil, and you can clean decontaminate buildings, you can remove all this material. So, it just becomes a question of how much cost you want to incur and how much dose you want to incur.”

          Fukushima Daiichi assessment: “It’s an ongoing challenge, it is not an ongoing crisis and it will be an ongoing challenge for decades to come. In terms of the reactor safety itself, there does appear to be sufficient cooling. Re-criticality does not appear to be a problem, or an issue of concern.”

          Later and the best yet, “These are all very, very unprecedented activities.” That's code for… ‘we’re/you're fu#ked’.

          I hope Dr. Jaczko feasts on those highly prized fresh vegetables and meat from Fukushima. And, I hope he has some good long runs in Tokyo, in the morning.

          • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

            all nuclear engineers have sick personalities by default. The truth of this statement cant be realized if you think its fine for your kids to play Russian roulette with loaded guns

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        Do you have a link for that? And has he stated that there should be none built in the present and future?

        • or-well

          Hi anne.
          read at the link my post @12:34 above.
          His remarks were made at a side session as stated above, hosted or sponsored by the
          Independent Investigation Committee of the
          Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation.
          Maybe you'll have better luck than me finding a transcript.

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          “WASHINGTON — All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology, the former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday. Shutting them all down at once is not practical, he said, but he supports phasing them out rather than trying to extend their lives….”

          • or-well

            Yes, anne, that's the one so many sites reference and repeat.
            "However, Jaczko said that perhaps "the solution" would be to design and build a replacement fleet of "more distributed" smaller modular reactors with 'low energy density"".
            That's the part that concerns me (from the first link I provided).

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Comment by anonymous, 2013-04-12 13:41
          “1) They are ALL intrinsically flawed
          “2) They cannot be fixed
          "’All 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed’
          “Dr. Jaczko made his remarks at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington in a session about the Fukushima accident. Dr. Jaczko said that many American reactors that had received permission from the nuclear commission to operate for 20 years beyond their initial 40-year licenses probably would not last that long. He also rejected as unfeasible changes proposed by the commission that would allow reactor owners to apply for a second 20-year extension, meaning that some reactors would run for a total of 80 years.
          “Dr. Jaczko cited a well-known characteristic of nuclear reactor fuel to continue to generate copious amounts of heat after a chain reaction is shut down. That ‘decay heat’ is what led to the Fukushima meltdowns. The solution, he said, was probably smaller reactors in which the heat could not push the temperature to the fuel’s melting point.,,,”

    • We Not They Finally

      Jaczko sort of got fired from the NRC for being better than the others. So let him evolve. It's better that he's out there than that he's not.

      • or-well

        I'm fine with him evolving. I'm not trying to portray him as angel or devil. I'm just saying people need to know his full position, not just the high profile quotes and positions that get repeated over and over.
        According to beyondnuclear in the link above, as recently as earlier this year, he has made mention of alternative NUKE technology as preferable to existing nuke tech. That doesn't sound like categorically anti-nuke to me.

        • or-well

          Here. Jaczko interview.
          "But there certainly are attractive features of nuclear power. We need to rethink the current design to have better designs such as small modular reactors."
          Scroll down to near the end.

          • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

            These people are all either smoking crack and/or stuffing it down their throats purposefully, thank God we went into/invaded Afghanistan!

            Nobody will ever run out of their/any needed supplies..

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    In lay terms: "Problematic." 😉
    Spent fuel assemblies will spill fuel pellets on floor of SFP4.
    Criticalities will ensue.

  • PragmaticBeliever

    I don´t understand… (or maybe I do and I don´t want it to be true)… There´s the possibility of the end of all Japan, and maybe the entire northern hemisphere, and the whole Earth biosphere… and they DO WANT to remove it piece by piece…

    Do they want the rods that much? Do they cost that much? Are they willing to risk the entire planet just to not to have to dump those rods below a sea of concrete?

    Let´s not forget that the term "SPENT FUEL POOL" is WRONG. The ENTIRE 4th reactor is there… There´s nothing "spend" in that pool…

    • Go Flying

      Unfortunately they can't just dump the contents of SFP4 beneath a sea of concrete. SFP4 contains not only spent fuel but also fresh new fuel AND the fuel contents of reactor 4 which were removed prior to 3/11 in order for the PCV shroud to be replaced.

      By the grace of god there has been enough physical separation between the rods and fuel debris that criticality has been kept at bay (not counting the SFP 'fire' just after 3/11. If those rods were simply dumped into, for instance, a hole in the ground 100 metres deep (and that is almost unthinkable given the hydrology of the terrain) and then this hole were filled with, let's say a million tons of concrete, the rods would continue to heat up (as they still have much decay heat) then melt and either fission or possibly go prompt critical, and would simply burn their way out or blow the whole shebang sky high showering huge areas with radioisotopes. The contamination released thusfar would be as nothing compared to the contamination released by the contents of SFP4.

      There unfortunately is no simple solution. If SFP4 is left 'as is' it is inevitable that an earthquake will collapse the structure with effect as per above.

      The rods and fuel fragments MUST be removed.

      The risks of removing the rods are HUGE, but not as great as the risk of doing nothing.

      I don't see jaczko as an alarmist. When he talks about 'VERY risk significant activities' the wise might do well to pay attention.

      • PragmaticBeliever

        Believe me, I´m thinking the same as you. I follow this amazing site everyday and I know about the possibility of recriticality in the SFP4. And that´s what gives me nightmares.

        What I do think is that the entire effort is not to protect the planet (and all of us in it) but to retrieve the rods for economic purpouses.

        I know it sounds far fetched, but I don´t think TEPCO is doing anything at all thinking in our safety.

        And, btw, I´m way far south in the world… And I´m as concerned as you are.

        Thanks for the reply. I think you´re 100% right

        • Go Flying

          Depending on perspective, SFP4 rods are either worthless without very significant amounts of expense in reprocessing, or are priceless as hugely radioactive resources that terrorists would do much to possess.

          Ignoring for moment the terrorist aspect, the amount of expense required to remove, transport and reprocess the rods would likely be so far in excess of the cost of manufacturing new rods as to be economically unviable.

          The rods have to be removed because much, much worse things can yet happen if they are left in place.

        • We Not They Finally

          PB, I don't think the worth of the rods is at issue here! It is spent fuel, more radioactive even than when it was fresh, and in a horrendous state apparently — twisted, melted, fused. They don't want to HAVE the rods. They want them to just go away!!

          The issue isn't that they "want the rods back" — it's that the structure they are in, on the fifth floor of a disastrously damaged, tilted, sinking building, could collapse at any time, and the cooling water run out like through a sieve. That could set off massive new criticalities, as well as start a forever nuclear fire that could also spread to other parts of the plant.

          • We Not They Finally

            P.S. to PB: They cannot just "dump the rods under a sea of concrete" ANYWAY. They can't just dump anything under anything over there. Many parts of the site by now are too radioactive to even get near without dying quickly. And they don't see to have a clue about the CORIUMS sunk beneath the ground or what to do about them. They may well be the source of astronomically escalating radiation pouring daily into the ocean.

            And yes, it's very hard to wrap one's head around!!

          • larry-andrew-nils

            so you're saying the lack of water due to it being sieved out is what will cause criticality?


            do you ever think about melting all this stuff together with 1000 tones of thermite?

            a thermite can't be used as a trigger for a nuclear bomb right?…

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    The "risk" is always there with nuclear.

    A calculated gamble.

    • Sol Man

      The calculation was done without input of sense, logic, or thoughts of a safe world for all future generations. The pull of greed and something else.

  • NoNukes NoNukes

    Back in 2011:

    NRC CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Yes. So, again, just to repeat, we believe pool No. 4 is dry, and we believe one of the other pools is potentially structurally damaged?

    CHUCK CASTO: That’s correct.

    NRC CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Okay. And again –

    CHUCK CASTO: That’s the best we know.


    CHUCK CASTO: And we certainly know, I think we absolutely know that pool No. 4, though, the walls have collapsed –


    CHUCK CASTO: — on pool No. 4.

    NRC CHAIRMAN JACZKO: And again, because I’m going to get asked the question, where’s that coming from. I’m going to say it’s from a team that is in Japan that is embedded that is working closely with the Japanese utility and the Japanese regulatory agency, is that correct?

    CHUCK CASTO: Correct."


    • NoNukes NoNukes

      CHUCK CASTO: That’s what I was saying, you can’t get water in it.

      BILL RUAN: Yes, because there’s no fuel pool left.

      CHUCK CASTO: Right.

      BILL RUAN: Unit 3, he believes


      And basically, everything else is gone, and at least in his opinion, and, of course,

      Chuck knows this, Jim’s opinion is there’s no water in the pool.


      BILL RUAN: Unit 3.

      Unit 2, he believes it’s drying out. If you look at the top of the building now, that hole that they created, there’s steam coming out of that hole.

      CHUCK CASTO: It’s in dryout.

      BILL RUAN: They’re drying it out.

      And, then, the only pool that might be okay is Unit 1.


      • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

        well…if the above is true then everything else is just a lie. But they would all have to be in on it…a kind of …conspiracy. A wild, implausible conspiracy, a crackpot theory dreamed up by environmental terrorist types

        • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

          Love conspiracies…look for them everyday..thrive on conspiracies!

          • Time Is Short Time Is Short

            It's a major conspiracy to keep all the damage from Fukushima under wraps, involving thousands of people, and so far, they're doing a pretty good job.

            I never had faith that any of the SPF's were intact. Just look at the pictures and say anything inside survived those blasts.

            • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

              This is exactly what happens when you give any collective the ability to write your laws, while giving that same collective the ability to enforce those same laws they wrote for you to obey, along with the ability to by force tax you to death to pay for it all…

              There was no way that the non-government civilian could win or possibly hear any truth in such a by design created system..

              Ergo: Why we now find ourselves in our/this current dilemma..

        • Anthony Anthony

          The whole thing is an after the fact, public relations nightmare of epic proportions. It has probably been our intuitiveness and scientific environmental leanings which brought each of us here for an obvious reason. The time we should have been wringing our hands for us, most likely, has already played out. At the current pace of new reveals we should get the really bad news I figure within two weeks. Maybe less. They are really cranking up what we have already shrieked about here even two years ago. The archives here tell the whole story we are reading now publishing already lived between us before.

          I guess then we may already know whats to play out in a way.

      • Anthony Anthony

        Those pesky details again….

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        There may not be a fuel pool left. But were they processing nuclear weapons in the basement? Is this what they will be trying to extract?

        • Anthony Anthony

          Like ionjean said that resonates with me, we are not going to get straight answers until there are actually decent people, with people instead of money or industry on their minds and priorities. Instead of real truth what we really get is the whitewash of the situation always foremost geared to protect the asses of Tepco the Japanese Govt and their unnamed affiliates.

        • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

          wherever the greatest amount of plutonium left intact there will be the sacrificial men still working

          Is it possible the entire Fukushima site is less deadly than Chernobyl?

          IAEA says Chernobyl killed only 56 people, but Ukrainian UNCRP says 35,000 died. WHO says there were 50,000. Others say 80% of the 700,000 have had their lives destroyed.

          Plutonium….worse than kryptonite and there is no superman

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    More data concerning Unit 4.

    Fukushima FOIA Docs 5 – Did We Know This??
    Jan 24 2012


    "March 15th: Daiichi Units Degrading – Zirconium Fire at Reactor 4 SFP – Reactor 2 Possible Vessel Breach & Ex-Vessel Core Reaction

    March 16: Assessing SFP Damage – SOARCA – Uncovered Spent Fuel Reports – Leak at Unit 4 SFP

    March 17: Draft EDO Update – Concern about SFP – 50 Mile Evacuation

    March 18: Consequences of criticality in SFP not significant in comparison to consequences of SFP remaining empty

    March 20: Band of elevated dose rates to 18 mi from plant to northwest seems to coincide with “Lube Oil Fire” in Reactor 4 SFP

    March 27: UPDATE from 2000 Telecon on Fukushima Daiichi Events

    March 29: Isotopic makeup of spent fuel 5% enrichment"

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    There is no money value left anywhere on site and the talk of value of anything left is senseless.

    The pool needs to be brought down as a single unit in an undisturbed state. It should not be touched by anybody until the entire International Community abolishes the use of this Nuclear Technology Worldwide!

    If we can not agree on this Legal Word Crafted Document from an International Standpoint then it is right that the planet and all humans be exterminated now and not later..

  • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

    Removing spent fuel rods has never been attempted manually, it was always done by computer, however all the computer systems were destroyed 3/12. The Japanese stack their rods differently making them even more difficult to remove without inducing criticality. If humans get close to this area , they are only able to stay a few moments, unless they are suicidal, and there will probably be casualties like the workers at Chernobyl.

    I have been having nightmares about the soggy ground around #4. Whenever the crane gets near the pool to pull out the rods, the soil collapses.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Yes, we have quite the catch 22, and yes we can resolve this issue, but nothing should be done until we as humans get smart and the only smart thing to do at this point, is to ban all Nuclear Power Generation on Planet Earth!

    If we do not do this right now, then Bobby will just get dirty again in the near future!

    Bobby does not like to get dirty!

    Does anyone care about what Bobby wants/needs?

    • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

      Imagine a three hundred foot tower full of death…I mean spent fuel rods.

      New first person game title at Game Stop: "Fukushima" Test your skills….remove the spent fuel rods and save planet Earth.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    NRC Head Jaczko Satisfied With Response to Fukushima Crisis
    “…U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said he’s satisfied with Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s efforts to end the crisis at the wrecked Fukushima atomic plant.
    The melted fuel in the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant has cooled enough to prevent any further releases of radiation beyond the station, Jaczko told reporters today in Tokyo after a visit to the station….”

    • So why is #3 steaming then?

      Arnie said recently that they are probably close to being cool enough, but if the rods touched or got dropped, all bets are off, especially if not in water.

    • Jebus Jebus

      "NRC Head Jaczko Satisfied With Response to Fukushima Crisis"

      Gregory is a hypocrite. He is yappin too much and placing the blame on Tepco. He may be out of the NRC, but he is pitching the words for the nuclear industry. NDA's and a handsome income have corrupted his thought process. There was a moment in time, just after he was group canned, that he reflected upon his mantra. That has been muddied with money now. He has taken the path most traveled.

      Ex-US Nuke Regulator: Japan Slow on Fukushima Leak

      When the plant was in critical condition with three reactor cores melted and in dire need of cooling water, Jaczko said, Japanese and U.S. officials disputed how much water should be put in because of the imminent leaks of radiation contaminated water and measures needed to contain that problem.

      He said the Japanese government was concerned that the flooding those reactor vessels and reactor buildings with cooling water "would lead to greater leakage of ground water," whereas the NRC emphasized the need to keep reactors cool and under control to minimize airborne contamination.


      Keep yappin Gregory, your words are piling up…

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    “More recently, though — in 2011 and 2012 — construction has begun on new units at existing plants. There are now five such plants under construction in the United States: Watts Bar 2 in Tennessee, Summer 2 and Summer 3 in South Carolina, and Vogtle 3 and Vogtle 4 in Georgia….
    “Not surprisingly, SMRs still have their critics.

    "The Union of Concerned Scientists has long been concerned about the safety and security risks of SMRs, especially if the vendors and DOE succeed in convincing the NRC to weaken regulatory requirements in areas such as plant staffing, security and emergency planning zone size," warned Ed Lyman, UCS senior scientist, in a 2012 report entitled, "Does DOE's Funding Announcement Mark the End of its Irrational Exuberance for SMRs?"

    "We articulated these concerns in our testimony to the Senate in July 2011, and in testimony to the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board in May 2012," Lyman said, "but have not seen any indication that our concerns are being seriously addressed."


  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    OK then everything is finally resolved, that was a close one…

    Now we humans just have to pick/argue about which line they want us in.. A, B, or C!

    C will be a very popular line!

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Jaczko and the NRC: deception and information suppression
    Feb 17 2013


    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      Jack and Tom are classmates in fifth grade. Both dream of becoming engineers. They learn from their teacher Keza that plutonium is the most poisonous material in the universe and you cant even stand next to high level radioactive waste without getting killed.

      But Jack has a dream of powering his train set and other gadgets and begins collecting radioactive bits from old smoke alarms and lantern mantels. Finally he has enough to kill everyone in the house many times over and has contrived a device that may blow up and he has no idea how to store the toxic stuff. Tom tells Jack this is not such a good idea.

      The two boys grow up, learn about responsibility, risks, value of life, etc and graduate with high degrees. Tom designs solar but Jack…get this…Jack designs plants that use the most toxic material in the universe that nobody has figured out how to safely dispose of, the contraptions may blow up, killing millions of people…and he goes through with this idea against the protests of his friend Tom and millions of concerned people.

      Clearly, Jack does not have the right kind of brain for engineering and should not be trusted either as a kid or adult, and needs psychological treatment.

      All nuclear engineers are like Jack. Even Arnie was making those things, when a child of twelve with common sense could see the utter foolishness and irresponsibility of playing with uncontainable, uncontrollable, super deadly, destroy the world explosive poison.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne


  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    That does not sound very good! I am glad to see you are coming around..

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Gee, I guess that is one you will have too ponder..

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Plutonium (one speck can kill) drifted from Fukuhsima to Lithuania. And circling earth every 40 days.

    Hey lets go out and play! … NOT.

  • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

    The United States Military conducted top secret experiments on the citizens of St. Louis, Missouri, for years, exposing them to radioactive compounds, a researcher has claimed.


  • no one would be surprised that i have an affinity for crypts….
    as such…i say they shore up this blight on the land…
    anything they can find to super support the structure…
    clean up the mess and a new roof …facelift….

    the standard rods are to stay in pool 5yrs before removal…
    nothing standard here …hotter than h€ll….
    endless water either way….

    more i think about this attempt to extract…
    more it sounds like psyops….liquid fear….

    i vote they get some d….work done immediately and secure that mess…

  • razzz razzz

    I am going to put Jaczko on the same list I have Kenny of Woods Hole on. They both mix their agendas with science and it comes out sounding like gibberish.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    First photos of new cranes, and interior of unit4 Crane Support Structure are in today's SimplyInfo: