‘Doomsday-like’ radiation release if fire in pool at unit 4 — “It would be a global catastrophe… it already has been, but it would dwarf what’s already happened” -Nuclear Waste Expert

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 10:57 am ET


The Worst Yet to Come? Why Nuclear Experts Are Calling Fukushima a Ticking Time-Bomb
Brad Jacobson
May 4, 2012


The Threat Not Just to Japan But to the U.S. and the World

An even more catastrophic worst-case scenario follows that a fire in the pool at unit 4 could then spread, igniting the irradiated fuel throughout the nuclear site and releasing an amount of cesium-137 equaling a doomsday-like load, roughly 85 times more than the release at Chernobyl.

It’s a scenario that would literally threaten Japan’s annihilation and civilization at large, with widespread worldwide environmental radioactive contamination.

“Japan would suffer the worst, but it would be a global catastrophe,” said Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste expert at the watchdog group Beyond Nuclear. “It already is, it already has been, but it would dwarf what’s already happened.”


Read the in-depth report here

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 10:57 am ET


Related Posts

  1. 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
  2. Radioactive Waste Specialist: Would be just a few hours before fuel catches fire in Reactor No. 4 pool if cooling water supply was lost (VIDEO) April 2, 2012
  3. Warning from Japan’s Top Nuclear Official: I am “much more worried” about fuel in Fukushima Unit 4 — Rods may break open and release highly radioactive material — Beware risks from debris, a disaster if damaged — Removal may start Nov. 8 October 30, 2013
  4. NHK: Fuel removal process underway at Unit 4 (VIDEOS) July 18, 2012
  5. “It’s Leaning”: Japan nuclear engineer concerned about collapse of Reactor No. 4 — Oxidation must have weakened building material… MORE January 3, 2012

77 comments to ‘Doomsday-like’ radiation release if fire in pool at unit 4 — “It would be a global catastrophe… it already has been, but it would dwarf what’s already happened” -Nuclear Waste Expert

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    I had a really hard time sleeping again last night. This is almost too much to bear. I know worrying doesn't help at all, but this is horrible to contemplate.

  • CaptD CaptD

    RE: #4 SFP ===> Once the radioactive pollution started coming from a Hydro-Corium Radioactive Steam Event (HCRSE) it would not stop spreading Globally, because the entire complex of what once was 6 reactors and 6 "overpacked" SFP's would become a N☢ GO Zone because of the high radiation levels.

    This means the rest of the existing "over packed" Spent Fuel Pools would then be "on their own" and could also melt down for any reason since their operation and or maintenance could not be monitored on site…

    Life "as we know it" in the Northern Hemisphere would start to change immediately and thanks to the Jet Stream the rest of the Planet would also be impacted depending on how big and long lasting the HCRSE was…

  • weeman

    We the people who the governments are responsible to demand that our government protects us.
    Plans must be made to close nuclear power plants as soon as feasible with priority first in dry cask all spent fuel in all pools, all mark one and two reactors to be shut down till spent fuel pool fuel in dry casks.
    This would be a start
    I would rather sit in dark than have my house powered by nuclear.
    Time has come for mass demonstrations surround nuclear sites, civil disobgence nothing goes in or out of plants, block access their is millions of people surrounding these facilities, let's all march to your nearest nuclear facility stand up and be counted together we can make them change, divided we fail

    • CaptD CaptD

      Lets work to make closing all Nuclear reactors a Presidential Discussion topic and then vote for the Leaders that vows to race Germany (and Others) toward a SAFE nuclear free Energy future!

      • Whoopie Whoopie

        Great idea. WE MUST FORCE them to address this.

        • Discordian

          I don't think that's possible, Whoopie. The "debates" are so controlled and scripted, and the candidates are so obviously pre-approved figureheads, that I expect zero help from governments, period.

          Though it does remind one of the Will Rogers quote: "Stupidity got us into this – why can't it get us out?"

          And to you and all other regular posters here, I appreciate the time you spend on this issue and the obvious passion that you have for the truth. I read everyday, though I rarely contribute, and I am certain that I get better information from the posters here than from any news source going.

  • Myme

    The White House petition [ wh.gov/QUi ] needs more signature by 5/8! If you know anyone associated with farming, fishing, and tourism industries in West Coast, as well as medical community, send the link to them ASAP. Their livelihood will be the first ones to get detroyed if the SPF4 collapses or catch a fire.

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Start watching at 1:40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-oEARCKUks&feature=youtu.be
    Is it lighting or CRITICAL?

    • stopnp stopnp

      Hey Whoopie, I noticed that it is raining And the tape is sped up a lot. I'm gonna go with lightning.

  • lam335 lam335

    from the article:

    So why isn't the NRC and the Obama administration doing more to shed light on the extreme vulnerability of these irradiated fuel pools… which threaten not only Japan but the U.S. and the world?

    Nuclear waste experts say it would expose the fact that the same design flaw lies in wait… at dozens of U.S. nuclear facilities. And that's not something the NRC … nor the pro-nuclear Obama administration, want to broadcast to the American public.

    "The U.S. government right now is engaged in its own kabuki theatre to protect the U.S. industry from the real costs of the lessons at Fukushima," Gunter said. "The NRC and its champions in the White House and on Capitol Hill are looking to obfuscate the real threats and the necessary policy changes to address the risk."

    Can they not see that an even bigger disaster at Fukushima, resulting from a fire in or collapse of SFP #4 will TRULY be the death blow to the nuclear industry (among other things)? They only thought TMI set back the industry. A fuel pool fire so radioactive that no person (or machine) could even approach it to try to put it out, burning out of control, forcing the evacuation of the entire plant (thus leaving the rest of its fragile, makeshift cooling systems unattended and unfixable) …

    Are they to so short-sighted that they can't imagine the impact that THIS scenario would have on their industry? …

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      The Conspiracy Theorist always comes up in me when I think of how SILENT they are about this. Could this be the NWOrder plan for the world in reducing the worlds population. GD it! They MAKE US CONSPIRACY-TYPE PEOPLE!!!

    • lam335 lam335

      Can they not see that such an event would damage their "interests" far more than assembling an international team of experts to pool their resources and knowledge and get this situation TRULY stabilized? Such an effort, if successful, could even be a public relations boon for their industry.

      Whereas an unquenchable radioactive fire spewing cesium, plutonium, etc., with no foreseeable end–tainting the air, food, water, oceans to an unprecedented extent–THAT would be devastating to their industry (along with much of the life on the planet, including themselves and their own children…)

      Why can't these people see clearly? They love to talk about putting risks in perspective–why can't they put the relative threat to their own interests from these possible scenarios into proper perspective?

      • Whoopie Whoopie

        I dont know iam. It just boggles the mind WHY WHY WHY!?

      • Discordian

        It's all talk, lam. And they can't see clearly because they are psychopaths, power addicts who will not look beyond the next moment or the next "fix".


      • Because they are in denial, of their own sins of nuke,

        And they are hoping for the best, to go back to the easy cheese and lies.

        They would rather risk your life than to learn a new skill, find a new job.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Yes, they truly are that short-sighted. Remember, the government is full of "health physicists" who are poo-poo'ing the risks. Unfortunately a lot of people in power are listening to them.

  • StillJill StillJill

    imo–too short a time in between 'flashes' to be lightening.
    If it is lightening,…it's like the 'pollen excuse', ie) radioactive pollen. If it's lightening,….it's SUPERCHARGED by radiation!

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !
    !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !* !

  • Ron

    Obama is again calling for cutting military spending and diverting that money for use at home. This is the time to remind him of his campaign pledge to build a green economy. What better way than to spend that money on the purchase of clean alternative energy for every home, office, school etc in the country? To use money that previously went to building bombs to fight wars for other countries energy supplies to building OUR OWN, self-sufficient supplies.


  • Ron

    Swords Into Plowshares.

  • demo demo

    Please sign and fwd this petition by Tues:
    Even tho you have to remember or create a password 1st, it's one of the petitions that could have the most impact if we can get 1000's of signatures by Tues. If not, I hope the authors'll try again w/ a similar new petition now that public awareness is growing.
    Also: (202) 456-1111 direct line – if you get a busy, call 202-456-1414
    Switchboard: 202-456-1414
    FAX: 202-456-2461
    Snail mail postcards, too: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500
    Take blank ones, pre-addressed, to events like Connect the Dots today and the BofA protests this Wednesday.
    Table or flyer wherever there are eco lectures or films screening.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi demo, good idea with the pre-adressed postcards! Maybe leave a stack of those at organic shops counters?

  • Kevin Kevin

    Significant aspect of quote

    " It already is, it already has been…"

    There is a lot of material that indicates what is being communicated in the general sense " the worst is yet to come " is but a strategy not a reality.

    The quote above is more likely the reality.

    However all strategies are built on a nugget of truth.

    Indeed there is one hell of a lot more stuff that can happen that will make this catastrophic tragedy, the worst event known to man. It already is, but the even "worser" case scenario is truly terrifying and that is where the communicators are working to keep all eyes trained.

    And you cant blame them really, I mean the horse has left the barn, the genie is out of the bottle.. (placeyouranalogyhere)

  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    Think about what they just said,

    "It would be a global catastrophe… it already has been, but it would dwarf what’s already happened”

    Imagine 4 tips or burns and the already 'global catastrophe' level event gets 'dwarfed'. As in exponentialy growng worse.

  • hbjon hbjon

    Everybody start your worrying. EARTHQUAKE!

  • StillJill StillJill

    hbjon,…for real,…where? How Big,….?

  • steve from virginia

    Same old nonsense, it never ends …

    – the 'solution' @ Fukushima spent fuel pools is concrete. Fill the basement of #4 w/ concrete then wall off and fill under the pool w/ concrete. Problem solved, nothing can then collapse. Time required: one month.

    – Line up 10 diesel powered pumps next to the building to pump water into the pools. If one breaks down there are nine more.

    – Empty out reactors 5 and 6. (Tepco wants to restart these reactors!) Tear the reactors down and bury them.

    – Empty the common pool. The fuel is mostly cool enough to dry cask and remove from Daiichi. The problem here is cost.

    – Build a cofferdam around the four reactors as a group. Water can be controlled in- and outside of the cofferdam. If necessary burning fuel rods could be bulldozed into a water-filled pit (ad-hoc spent fuel pool).

    – Build a railroad spur into the compound to handle heavy loads.

    – Use ordinary construction- and reactor fuel transfer equipment to remove the spent fuel from all four reactor spent fuel pools. Ordinary construction equipment runs hydraulically and can be operated by remote control: no high-tech robots needed.

    – Use horizontal drilling, diamond core bits to remove molten reactor fuel from under reactors 1-3. Hire Boots and Coots/Halliburton to engineer the process. This sort of thing is what these companies do for a living. Tepco?

    Finally, get over the idea of nuclear electricity. It's done.

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      You display a profound lack of knowledge on this subject. You know not about that wich you speak……

      • steve from virginia

        And you're [REMOVED]

        • StillJill StillJill

          Can 'we' please play nice?

          Can 'we' please disagree without name calling?

          Can 'we' please remain the cream of the crop?

        • Tumrgrwer Tumrgrwer

          WTF does that got to do with it. Son if it were as simple as you think…it would have been done. You seem to lake the understanding required for this topic. Thank you for your time and concern though. No more nukes!

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

  • fredlvie

    what's the reason that they don't empty the rods PIECE BY PIECE and bunker it each one separated and cooled so that the CANNOT act between themselves to corrode or explode?????

    • Anthony Anthony

      Hey fredlvie. Apparently several reasons; accessibility, unable to handle, broken machinery, too hot to store yet, no casks to out them in, too radioactive to approach, they are over 100 feet in the air, no where to put the casks later. I'm sure I missed some but that's a few reasons in the way of a quick solution.

  • fredlvie

    same time i beg your pardon for eventually bad english.it's not my native language but german.

  • milk and cheese milk and cheese

    I've been pretty permanently depressed since this event occurred. Since there is really nothing I can do to stop it, I am having a little pleasure in my life (moving to a new apartment). Yes, I'll still have some prep materials, but realistically I can't 'bug out' anywhere and don't have much of a support network. I just want to have a little time to enjoy nature while it is still relatively unspoilt and see some friends. The depression can kill you before the radiation does.
    I agree with some posters here that it's too much to absorb this on a daily basis; I have been lurking, but rarely post now. I just want to know how each 'daily crisis' never seems to resolve; temperatures were rising in the reactors, did they go down again?

    • selfsovereign

      Hi milk and cheese,
      Thanks for joining in…..
      I feel persistently blue about 311 as well. THE MORE I REALIZE what this means for nature, my highest form of inspiration, when only man has ever realized benefit (debateable and oxymoronical, at best), THE FASTER I FALL, in a spiral of despair.
      Perhaps, there is a direct relationship between your persistent mood and the large empathy filled soul inside of you. The mood sucks, but may indicate that you have a more highly developed sense of moral conscience. And that is a treasured rarity on this silly planet.
      If you care, smoking the leaves of Coleus Forskohlii relieves depression and protects against stroke, cardiovascular disease, treats glaucoma and 12 other diseases. I'd be happy to pass along any specifics if you are interested. PEACE

    • CB CB

      I've sat here for 40 minutes trying to think of something comforting to say milk and cheese.. . .

      Sailing by Christopher Cross

    • Anthony Anthony

      I hear you Milk and Cheese. For me this whole situation is a great exercise of the Serenity Prayer. We will have to ride through whatever is about to be or is. I have really been trying to focus on my own good life lately. Saying that, I still have to work on my own personal outlook despite the constant bad news out of Japan.

    • This too could be a reason they went in vacation !

      • Anthony Anthony

        |You totally have a point. I mean its got to be exhausting sitting in the heart of the fire 24-7. I just think its bizarre that in the middle of a nuke catastrophe we take a vacation!!!! It sounds funny!

  • StillJill StillJill

    Yup,….they got that infusion of boat loads of cash, and pulled a Steve Miller band,.."took the money and run".

  • tomarsandbeyond tomarsandbeyond

    4.8 and a 5.2 quakes in past day off coast near Sendai. What would it take to affect spent pool #4 at Fukushima Daiichi?

  • NeverAnyDanger

    "They would rather risk your life than to learn a new skill, find a new job."

    Yup. We're all downsized and outsourced and told to develop new skills. They can no doubt afford to move to a relatively livable enclave in the southern hemisphere before they get too polluted themselves.

    I read that pychopaths will let their own interests be damaged because it's exciting just to see what happens. Like setting off a hydrogen bomb that might set the atmosphere on fire. That explanation doesn't quite do it for me but I'm not a psychopath.

  • NeverAnyDanger

    Cripes – what's that huge ball of white light on the right edge of the webcam? I haven't looked at the webcam for a while. I think there's an incinerator there but I've never seen it burning like that!


    I'm afraid they're finally bringing up the subject of fuel pool #4 to get us used to the idea of what's going to happen. Then they'll tell us it's really not all that bad.

  • demo demo

    When asked how to know when Fuku unit 4 goes, Safecast and Radiation Network were recommended.
    Both are very reassuring about the amount of radiation thusfar from Fuku:

    Yes, it's precarious, but don't give up. It's SOLVABLE. Exaggerated fear-mongering is cruel and counterproductive. Everyone who is aware, please focus on creating the public pressure needed to stabilize Fuku unit 4, and then get all nukes shut down, the riskiest ones first, and all "spent" waste into dry cask storage.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Why did they go "on vacation" if it is only precarious? I haven't yet seen a solution tried or proclaimed. And taking down monitors every time they give a reading that no one is supposed to see if hardly reassuring. If the milk has radioactive cesium and strontium 90 (which it does), then people need to be told. And allowing radioactive food and goods into the US or other countries is criminal.