Associated Press, Dec 15, 2015 (emphasis added): Fukushima decommission chief [Naohiro Masuda] warns with surprising candor: Nothing can be promised… not even robots have been able to enter the main fuel-debris areas so far… “This is something that has never been experienced. A textbook doesn’t exist for something like this,” Masuda told The Associated Press… “Before, it was a war zone,” Masuda said quietly… [E]ven the most optimistic projections estimate the work will take about half a century. Masuda said without hesitation that more delays could be in order. No one knows exactly where the melted nuclear debris is sitting in the reactors, let alone how exactly the debris might be taken out… New science will have to be invented for the plant to be cleaned up… The March 2011 catastrophe is unprecedented… [T]he containment, where the morass of fuel lies, has been breached… And as devastating as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was in what is now Ukraine, that involved one reactor, not three. When asked about what he wanted to tell the people worried about contaminated fish, such as on the West Coast of North and South America, Masuda said the radiation leak into the Pacific Ocean has been reduced to a level one-millionth of what it was in 2011… “They don’t need to worry, and, if there is anything to worry about, we will be out with that information,” he said… Masuda also acknowledged that Japan has not done as good a job as it should have on relaying the harsh realities at the plant.
Interview with Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Nuclear Hotseat with host Libbe HaLevy, Dec 16, 2015:
- 37:45 – Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland: “It’s common knowledge Fukushima is not at all under control.”
- 42:45 – Murata: “There is an important findings by a Christian who is engaged in helping people in the disaster area. He made 560 interviews and he has found out that the mothers are extremely worried about the health of children. They say waiting 5 years is the maximum, and even being divorced if necessary, they will emigrate from the actual place. He foresees a large scale movement of residents – evacuations and emigration. He thinks on the occasion of the fifth anniversary — next spring, next March 11th — all data foreign and Japanese journalists have amassed so far will be made public. They must wait for this special occasion, otherwise they couldn’t obtain incomes. This fifth anniversary will be an occasion to disclose this data. This will change completely the atmosphere and he foresees even a social change, just like 3/11 has brought about.”
- 44:30 — Murata: ”We are most seriously worried about the health of children… In Fukushima the government has allowed the residents to come back at 20 millisieverts [per year, compared to Chernobyl's limit of 5 millisieverts per year]… This is most serious humanitarian matter, if we think about the health of children. So I am asserting the evacuation of children is urgently needed.”
- 45:30 – Murata: “The most important thing is to let the world know the situation in Fuksuhima is serious. In order to obtain this result, the honorable retreat from Tokyo Olympics is urgently needed — and most effective. I think the whole world needs this because, as you know, it is unstoppable accident. Daily, huge amounts of radiation is coming from the Fukushima site — the Pacific Ocean — there is no prospect for solution. More than 700,000 tons of contaminated water might finally be released into the sea… So the situation of the Pacific Ocean is very serious. That is why I’m asking for an honorable retreat, to cope with the shameful criticism that Japan is now harming the global environment.”
Published: December 17th, 2015 at 2:19 pm ET