Japan Times, Nov 4, 2015 (emphasis added): The former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, Mitsuhei Murata, recently suggested that Japan should stage an ‘honorable retreat’ from hosting the 2020 Olympics due to the unpredictable situation at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Japan Times (Hotline to Nagatacho — Brian Victoria, Kyoto), Nov 4, 2015: [F]ormer Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, Mitsuhei Murata, recently proposed… for Japan to stage an “honorable retreat” from hosting the 2020 Olympics… [I]n the September issue of Gekkan Nippon, Murata… noted the danger still posed by large numbers of spent fuel rods suspended in spent fuel pools in reactors 1, 2 and 3 [which] can’t be removed from the damaged reactor buildings due to the high levels of radioactivity surrounding these reactors… Murata’s gravest concern is a number of troubling indications of recurring criticality [ i.e. uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions] in one or more of the reactors at Fukushima No. 1. For example, he notes that in December 2014, both radioactive iodine-131 and tellurium-132 were reported as having been detected in Takasaki city, Gunma Prefecture [~130 miles SW of Fukushima Daiichi]. Given the short half-lives of these radioactive particles, their presence could not be the result of the original meltdowns at Fukushima.
Ambassador Murata to Dr. Thomas Bach (President of the International Olympic Committee), Jun 15, 2015: Allow me to send you a letter, motivated by my sense of mission to inform you of the worsening situation in Fukushima, which regrettably is being downplayed by our Government and does not seem to be well known internationally… Contrary to the assurances of the Japanese Government and [TEPCO], the situation at the site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is not at all under control… Not only do we have a continued contamination of the groundwater and the Pacific Ocean… but the brittle structure of the damaged plant represents itself a serious threat, in particular in our earthquake prone region.
Ambassador Murata to Susana Malcorra (United Nations Chef de Cabinet), Aug 27, 2015: I am sending you my fourth message to President Bach of The IOC. I inform him of my message addressed to Prime Minister Abe. In my message… I ask for the first concrete international cooperation concerning the method of cooling spent fuel rods making use of zinc instead of water. This is crucially important. The Pacific Ocean is more and more contaminated with the daily release of more than 300 tons radioactive groundwater. I remind Prime Minister Abe that the decision to retreat from the Tokyo Olympic Games and carry out an international verification of the suspected re-criticality is urgently needed… My interview article was published in the magazine “Monthly Japan” (September). The article entitled “An honorable retreat from the Tokyo Olympic Games” is given a central place. Reactions are noteworthy and encouraging. Conscientious citizens start questioning the integrity of the IOC. Please convey my warmest greetings to Secretary-General Ban-kimoon.
Interestingly, two weeks ago the head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority addressed the recriticality issue:
Fukushima Minpo, Oct 20, 2015: Nuclear regulator chief says Fukushima Daiichi recriticality “physically impossible” — Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, visited the Minamisoma city government for talks with Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai on Oct. 22. Regarding Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tanaka said, “We are no longer in a situation that prevents residents from returning (to their evacuated hometowns). Recriticality is physically impossible.”
See also: MIT professor: “There is a high probability that, if a quake of magnitude 7.9 or above, or some other serious event, strikes Fukushima, a ‘criticality’ will occur… The next criticality may be far more serious”
Published: November 5th, 2015 at 4:07 pm ET