Experts: NRC letting threat fester at Unit 4 because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of identically designed nuclear plants US in

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 3:34 pm ET


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

[…] nuclear waste experts say the Japanese are literally playing with fire in the way nuclear spent fuel continues to be stored onsite, especially in reactor 4, which contains the most irradiated fuel — 10 times the deadly cesium-137 released during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. These experts also charge that the NRC is letting this threat fester because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants around the U.S., which contain exceedingly higher volumes of spent fuel in similar elevated pools outside of reinforced containment. […]

“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,” [Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear] 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.”

There are 31 G.E. Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors (BRWs) in the U.S., the type used at Fukushima. All of these reactors, which comprise just under a third of all nuclear reactors in the U.S., store their spent fuel in elevated pools located outside the primary, or reinforced, containment that protects the reactor core. Thus, the outside structure, the building ostensibly protecting the storage pools, is much weaker, in most cases about as sturdy, experts describe in interviews with AlterNet, as a structure one would find housing a car dealership or a Wal-Mart. […]

“Our pools are more crammed to the gills than the unit 4 pool at Fukushima Daiichi, much more so,” noted [Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste expert at] Beyond Nuclear. “It’s kind of like a very thick forest that’s waiting for a wildfire. It would take extraordinary measures to prevent nuclear chain reactions in our pools because the waste is so closely packed in there.” […]

Read the in-depth report here

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 3:34 pm ET


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  2. Postponed: Fuel removal attempt at Fukushima Unit 4 delayed, possibly for weeks — Gov’t safety agency wants tests conducted, as another ~M5 quake hits Eastern Japan November 4, 2013
  3. Japan Vice Minister: “Uncertainties remain” at Unit 4 — Tepco Official: We will inspect reactor building to reevaluate its safety May 26, 2012
  4. Canadian Nuclear Scientist: Another, even more dangerous possibility than fire at Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 — Re-initiation of chain reaction can occur if fuel rods move slightly, an “accidental criticality” April 29, 2012
  5. IAEA Meeting: Concern of Fukushima spent fuel pool collapse as aftershock “should be caused in near future” September 24, 2012

55 comments to Experts: NRC letting threat fester at Unit 4 because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of identically designed nuclear plants US in

  • CaptD CaptD

    TEPCO and the entire Nuclear Industry is DESPERATE to avoid the concept that an BIG EQ can start a meltdown because it puts EVERY land based Reactor at RISK of creating a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster…

    TEPCO "fiddled" with the 3/11/11 operators data just enough to make it appear that the Tsunami was the "cause" because most people Globally are not afraid of Tsunamis'…

    Sure the data shows they were adding "makeup" water; but ask yourself why was that extra water suddenly required in such massive amounts? The answer is MASSIVE RADIOACTIVE WATER LEAKAGE caused by the QUAKE! Think of all the weakened condenser tubes, weakened wiring + piping penetrations, and old seam welds at supporting reinforcements all starting to fail at the same time because of the BIG ground movements caused by the EQ and the after shocks…

    We all know what happens when you shake up a soda can and then start to open it.

    Fukushima was caused by the failure of the reactor to withstand the ground movements caused by the huge EQ, which by the way, was built far beyond the spec's of US reactors…

    What will happen when CA get the BIG One,
    … better yet, can the USA afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster?

  • CaptD CaptD

    Ambassador Murata writes to UN Secretary General: “It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No. 4 reactor” – Appeals for independent assessment team
    "If Fukushima's SFP #4 collapses it will pollute the Earth",
    So please read the above article and learn more about it if you don't know already.

    How can this be, why don't you know all about it already? Great questions for all your elected State, Congressional Leaders & President.

    Want more info? I posted this on the enenews today, (+ see all the comments):

    Japan is allowing TEPCO to put Life on Earth at RISK…

    If the SFP (Spent Fuel Pool) in #4 collapses or fails to be kept cool FOR ANY REASON, in a very short time, all the fuel rods in it will destroy themselves by becoming a huge molten mass. This new radioactive mass will make the ENTIRE Fukushima complex (including reactors #5 and #6 (and their SFP's) into not only the Worlds biggest nuclear disaster but it will be so radioactive that the entire complex will be off limits to humans! This new uncontrollable molten mass will spew so much radioactivity (and keep doing so for the rest of our lives) that it will change life as we know it, because it will be spread Globally by the jet stream and or Ocean…

    • CaptD CaptD


      BTW: If you have not seen the 1959 movie "On the Beach" you should, it describes a very similar situation…

      Please demand some answers from your State and National Leaders as to why our President and Government's Leaders are not also demanding that this Potential "LIFE AS WE KNOW IT" event is not even being discussed by our MSM!



      1. TEPCO should be filling the entire #4 building with concrete ASAP in order to create a "Seismic Vessel" to completely encapsulate the SFP making it impossible for it to collapse, because the new "Seismic Vessel" would be one gigantic unit…

      2. TEPCO should have no less than 4 backup generators and 4 pumps that EACH could provide ENOUGH emergency power and water should ANYTHING happen to prevent the normal pumps from functioning. Note this includes protecting all the fuel, storage tanks, piping and controls so that it would make these pumps and their generators completely BOMB PROOF so nothing could prevent them from functioning 24/7/365 and then TEST ONE UNIT EVERY DAY UNDER ACTUAL LOAD, so that the on site workers become expert at shifting pumps!

      3. TEPCO should build and then fill enough tanks to provide standby cooling freshwater for at least one week, so that no matter what happens, the #4 SFP will be kept cool without using seawater, (which could serve as another backup source of water) if the freshwater proved to not be enough for some unknown…

      • tomarsandbeyond tomarsandbeyond

        I think On the Beach is a bit worse than the worst case scenario here. Won't kill us all. Could be 1% of the world get sick or worse. Its not close to what would happen if a few thousand nukes went off over cities and military installations (and subs). That would be so much nuclear debris kicked up it would go everywhere.
        However your things they must do ASAP 1-3 I agree with those. Maybe they have not done the concrete thing because people would have to expend their lives making that happen without collapsing the structure while doing it. The Russians could do this in the 1980's as they could force people to and they did have volunteers.
        And however expensive it might be it would probably be a good idea for huge cooling tanks (1 week of fresh water cooling) to be constructed near every nuke plant and storage facility. The cost of not doing this is in the trillions for one accident.

        • el

          you know, as hard as I try, I cant think of ANY logical reason NOT to entomb Fukushima.

          Anyone else have a good reason not to? I would personally go and work there if thats what it takes…..but I want my ashes dumped right in the mix with the concrete.

          • covelogibbs covelogibbs

            The only reason I can think of is because the spent fuel may still be too hot and needs to be cooled down for a number of years before being entombed.

        • moonshellblue moonshellblue

          Maybe storing water but I don't like the AP1000 the ones they are building in Georgia, with the water stored on top of the reactor building perhaps it's just me but this sounds insane. NO NUKES

          • covelogibbs covelogibbs

            The water in the top of the Toshiba/Westinghouse AP1000 is going to be so heavy, I can't imagine it would like a large earthquake. To build any more nukes now seems insane. No nukes.

        • Tomarsandbeyond

          Spent fuel pool fires are far DIRTIER than any nuclear bomb.

          Spent fuel pools contain far, far more radiation than found in a bomb.

          That is why Arnie Gunderson states that the cesium in SPFP 4 exceeds 800 atomic bombs' worth of cesium.

          That is why a 1% population decline is absurd, especially if you look at the effects over time.

  • Jebus Jebus

    What if three big box's of kak were just that, kak, and they went boom. Kak everywhere.
    Then one morning, everyone in the world woke up to find that they had smelly kak on them.
    Everyone looked at the person next to them and said, "hey! you have kak on you!"
    No one could wipe it of, it just kept spreading.
    I bet that someone would be scrambling to cover up the big pile of kak then…
    What if…

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Experts: NRC letting threat fester at Unit 4 because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of USA PLANTS @genpatsu @BBC @PBS @maddow @LAW @HumanRight @BetteMidler @johncusack @erinbrockovich1 @MSNBC @CBS

  • dosdos dosdos

    I am tired of inaccuracies in reporting. It's the fresh fuel in SPF that is most dangerous. The spent fuel is not something which holds no consequence, but the fresh fuel in Unit 4 is the part for which we should really show concern.

    • eatliesndie eatliesndie

      spent fuel of "no consequence"!? Are you sure?

      • dosdos used a double negative, how funny

        But I disagree

        • RutherfordsGhost

          I'm going to agree with eatliesanddie.
          Next time you should be present when fuel rods are loaded. Your meter will crackle as you get closer, and as they are assembled together, they take on a life all of their own, and the neutron counts start to climb.
          Stick enough fresh fuel together, and you will start a chain reaction, but you will have absorbed a nasty dose by then.
          ANY material that can fission is a DANGER – and deserves to be treated with the utmost respect.

    • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

      Fresh fuel is lowered in open air. Spent fuel is kept under water always.
      The spent fuel is much more dangerous. Spent fuel is a name they use to fool the muppets.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Hmmm I believe it is the old spent fuel stored that is more hazardous. Not new fuel.

    • SnorkY2K

      No. The fresh fuel is just uranium oxide and plutonium oxide. Spent fuel is uranium oxide, plutonium oxide, curium oxide, americium oxide, technetium oxide, californium oxide, and many others. Spent fuel has been subject to branching reactions and can't even be 100% predicted since as it cross irradiates itself it is still transforming with every calorie of heat that it evolves. Get over the thought that plutonium is the most dangerous stuff just because it is used in bombs because it isn't.

      • selfsovereign

        Hi snorkY2K,
        I remember Arnie saying he feels americium is more dangerous than plutonium.
        And that's the junk in a lot of peoples smoke detectors, in their childrens rooms, and such.
        Crazy world, isn't it?

  • jec jec

    And in the USA, each plant has to have 300 Million of insurance coverage by the plant owners…and then the US government provides additional coverage in a "slush" fund to cover any costs over the initial coverage. Hum..wonder how much is in the "savings account" all the companies pay into? Wonder how much is available? Good question to ask is if the funds are safe and have not been "raided"….just in case they are needed if one of those plants have a Fukushima moment.

  • labmonkeywithagun labmonkeywithagun

    Damn, look at all the red on the earthquake map

  • How you tie together all these things into one cohesive rant?

    Gold, Fear, Fukushima, Super Moon, Earthquakes, Insane Monkeys and Pychopaths

    This is a good one, check it out.

    Also the nuclear poll has 80 responses and closes in 6 days, stop by and speak your mind.

  • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

    5.2 earthquake

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Pia Christina Jensen F311wds
    I caught the attention of this guy via twitter Rod Adams
    @Atomicrod – might cause me a schill headache
    +++++++++ Whoopie:
    Rod Tweets: "Ostrich response. Simple steps reduce radiation doses – Time, Distance, Shielding. Only needed in HIGH dose rate areas" Rod would know about that seeing he's never BEEN CLOSE TO BREACHED Nuke Plants!!

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Rod's blog doesn't seem to take comments. Ain't that the shits. Typical Pro-Nuke. Doesn't ever want to discuss Anti-Nukes views, only theirs. 🙁

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Japan Shuts Off Last Nuclear Reactors @genpatsu @BBC @PBS @maddow @LAW @HumanRight @billmaher @BetteMidler @johncusack @erinbrockovich1 @MSN

  • "It would take extraordinary measures to prevent nuclear chain reactions in our pools because the waste is so closely packed in there."

    and it is packed like this everywhere because there is no final nuke waste dump anywhere.

    • RutherfordsGhost

      The pond geometry is re-stacked to increase the packing density. The fuel cycle was never completed successfully due to cold war treaty stipulations. There are 1000's of tonnes of fuel rods stacked worldwide with no one will to dispose of them, or fission the actinide waste – which is the safest possible outcome. Burn it.
      The only measure would be to pour boron into the pools, however pool chemistry is another problem.

  • Mr. Scott Mr. Scott

    Lads and Lassies,

    There's only 3 days left to get enough people to sign the following petition demanding Pres. Obama create an international effort to help contain the Fukushima crisis.!/petition/commission-fukushima-international-scientific-advisory-team-save-spent-fuel-pool-4-and-stop/Y9mVpJWH#thank-you=p

    Might do no good, but it's one small step toward saving our haggis.

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    I AM PISSED AT F311WDS for good reason. D'nun is telling us all to STOP POSTING FOR AN ENTIRE 24 HOURS in respect for JAPAN. What the fuck is going on there? Here this WELL RESPECTED WEBSITE who HELPS PEOPLE…has suddenly called for POSTERS TO BE QUIET (4 respect for the Japanese people cuz they SHUT A FEW REACTORS DOWN? WHY is he asking for:
    I'm pissed, I dont understand how BEING QUIET IS GOING TO HELP ANYONE!
    soapbox collapse

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      "MY HUMBLE RESPECTS F311WDS & JAPAN! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. Your life HAS been my life for OVER A YEAR and I will never ever stop! I am only confused by this STOPPAGE of f311wd fb?!? What good does this do to people who need help?!?! To STOP a very important FB Page when the news changes 24/7/365??
      I can understand the "meaning" you are trying to get across….but what's the point when the Nuclear Industry NEVER STOPS PUSHING NPP'S? Why stop the one lifeline that so many of us depend on?
      Makes NO SENSE TO ME —– Hugs to all Whoopie.

      Told him BAN ME i dont care.

    • many moons

      You tell um Whoopi!!!!!

      Makes no snese…how can turning off your consideration be thought of as respectful….LOCO

  • Whoopie Whoopie


    DONE FOR THE NIGHT. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  • dodge

    The old preachers used to tell people, "you can't take it with you when you go… give generously" and perhaps we could learn from that. We are attempting to protect the economy at all costs, but unless we get a handle of the nuclear accident in Japan, and actually spend the money and political will to site and safely store spent fuel in America, we are foolishly planning to die wealthy. We can't take it with us when we go, nuclear power has bankrupted our society… until we acknowledge it and do what it takes to make the future save we are all playing the parts of fools, in history's final chapter. Care to make nominations for best actor's?

  • many moons

    When you think about it or in other words when you finally have some information so you can think about it…I'm really surprised the world has existed this long with all these reactors.

    1. they have ready made holes in the bottoms of their internal vessels to insure easy melt outs.

    2. They need to have a power source 24/7 for 60 years without interuption. (when has that ever happened?)When the power does fail then their often tested and unsually faulty back up generators will flicker on and off until they either work or don't work.

    3. Once the meltdown process has begun there is not much that can be done to stop it.
    If you put all these factors together the chance of an ELE would be VERY likely if not 100 percent…so we really have don't a wonderful job avoiding the unavoidable

  • CB CB

    In the mean time~
    -“We don’t even know at this point where the melted down core is” under Reactors No. 1, 2 or 3
    -No clear answers why so many kids born outside exclusion zone are sick years after meltdown.
    -Doctor finds Uranium and Zirconium in Tokyo resident’s fingernails — “We are becoming nuclear fuel rods”
    -“No Exaggeration – Fate Of The World Depends On Fukushima Reactor 4”
    – “It would be a global catastrophe… it already has been, but it would dwarf what’s already happened”,r:1,s:50,i:200

  • ML

    The NRC and like-advocates need to pay the piper. It is time.
    Here's another White House petition to sign to shut down all nuclear plants in US that aren't 100% safe:

    and here's another one to ask for an international coalition to address Fukushima:

  • howardtlewisiii

    I think your "10 times the Cesium-137" is a typo. Or the NRC guy does not know when to spit on the floor and demand a recount. Molly coddling crooks and lying panicky drones who are in positions of responsibility when such demanding conditions prevail is just plain stupid.

  • patriot9878

    Why was this stuff ever allowed to be used to begin with? Will they just keep creating this nuke waste until they know we are screwed? I mean they've been dumping this stuff in the oceans. Something that will come back to bite us. If anyone wanted to destroy the USA all they would have to do is kill the powe to some nuke plants and then destroy the generators and you would have such a horrific meltdown a 500 mile radius around the plant would be useless for 1,000 years. The people aren't mad enough yet.