Gundersen: Fukushima Unit 4 fuel racks distorted from quake and roof falling into pool — Nuclear rods likely to snap and won’t be able to be removed (AUDIO)

Published: September 12th, 2013 at 6:56 am ET


Title: #117: Olympic Insanity + If Gundersen were in Charge at Fukushima
Source: Nuclear Hotseat
Host: Libbe HaLevy
Date: Sept. 10, 2013

INTERVIEW: Former nuclear industry insider Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education paints a clear picture of the current state of problems at Fukushima Daiichi… and then explains what he would do if he were in charge of the disaster site.

At 31:00 in

Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education: Think of a fuel rack as a pack of cigarettes and you try to pull a cigarette out, you pull the cigarette out, it will come out just fine. But if the pack is distorted and you pull the cigarette out, it breaks. Well that’s the problem they’re going to encounter on Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4. The racks are distorted from the earthquake — oh, by the way, the roof has fallen in, which further distorted the racks.

The net effect is they’ve got the bundles of fuel, the cigarettes in these racks, and as they pull them out, they’re likely to snap a few. When you snap a nuclear fuel rod, that releases radioactivity again, so my guess is, it’s things like krypton-85, which is a gas, cesium will also be released, strontium will be released. They’ll probably have to evacuate the building for a couple of days. They’ll take that radioactive gas and they’ll send it up the stack, up into the air, because xenon can’t be scrubbed, it can’t be cleaned, so they’ll send that radioactive xenon up into the air and purge the building of all the radioactive gases and then go back in and try again.

It’s likely that that problem will exist on more than one bundle. So over the next year or two, it wouldn’t surprise me that either they don’t remove all the fuel because they don’t want to pull too hard, or if they do pull to hard, they’re likely to damage the fuel and cause a radiation leak inside the building.  So that’s problem #2 in this process, getting the fuel out of Unit 4 is a top priority I have, but it’s not going to be easy. Tokyo Electric is portraying this as easy. In a normal nuclear reactor, all of this is done with computers. Everything gets pulled perfectly vertically. Well nothing is vertical anymore, the fuel racks are distorted, it’s all going to have to be done manually. The net effect is it’s a really difficult job. It wouldn’t surprise me if they snapped some of the fuel and they can’t remove it.

Full interview available here

Published: September 12th, 2013 at 6:56 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Gundersen: Spent fuel likely to break when pulled from Fukushima Unit 4 pool — Racks have been distorted; Fuel rods overheated — Suspects some will be stuck there for long, long time (AUDIO) September 9, 2013
  2. Nuclear Industry Report: ‘Reduced stability’ of fuel pool in Fukushima Unit 4; Admits there’s damaged fuel inside? — Gundersen: Fuel racks moved and damaged; Fallen debris distorted tops (AUDIO) September 27, 2013
  3. Nuclear Engineers: Fukushima pool is “distorted” — Material blown up into air and came down heavy inside, damaging fuel — The roof fell in, of course things were distorted (VIDEOS) October 4, 2013
  4. Nuclear Expert: Fuel rods in Fukushima Unit 4 “may not be in their original position” — Concern over “way the spent fuel is sitting in pool” (AUDIO) November 1, 2013
  5. Ex-Fukushima Worker: High risk they’ll break fuel rods in Unit 4 pool — Gundersen: Moving fuel risks nuclear chain reaction; You can’t stop it, no control rods to control it August 14, 2013

67 comments to Gundersen: Fukushima Unit 4 fuel racks distorted from quake and roof falling into pool — Nuclear rods likely to snap and won’t be able to be removed (AUDIO)

  • zardoz2012 zardoz2012

    The actual details and physics of the operation are beyond the comprehension of most people and TEPCO knows this, so TEPCO will pretend its a cakewalk.

    Most people don't even understand how radiation works. And if they can't see it, hear it or smell it, then it doesn't exist and it is no threat to them, until they start dying.

    • hbjon hbjon

      Oh, and by the way the building that the pool was in blew to SMITHEREENS by a nuclear detonation of the fuel inside the pool. Can that distort the fuel too Arnie?

  • zardoz2012 zardoz2012

    Most people can't comprehend a span of time no larger than 3X their natural lifespan in my opinion. We can't see a time beyond our children being grandchildren. Anything farther away in time than that is a blind spot.

    So when you say that an area of the world will be uninhabitable for 1000 years, or when you say that we have to maintain the ruins of a bad idea to keep it from destroying the world for 1000 years, people see that number as a joke; the number 1000 might as well be 1,000,000. People laugh and dismiss the idea.

    I can't even see modern civilization lasting more than another 100 years at most. It probably will, but the people who are alive after this time? I don't even know them and I have nothing in common with them except for being human.

    They will make the same mistakes we did, because they are human.

    • We Not They Finally

      That's all true. But people also do understand LOCAL. Like in Fallujah, Iraq, there is by now an 80% chance of children being born with birth defects (according to Helen Caldicott, who is of course a pediatrician as well as an anti-nuke activist.) And that's from U.S. depleted uranium weapons only.

      But Fallujah is tucked away in war-torn Iraq and few have gone in to even check, or to film the calamity for those people LOCALLY.

      But what if there is suddenly an epidemic of deformed babies born in L.A. or in New York? More difficult to keep it out of people's face.

      Not wishing that horror onto ANYONE. But sometimes people do see what is right in their face because they cannot LIVE with it, yet they HAVE to live with it.

      Or what happens when there is no food LOCALLY because the food chain has been torpedoed or the bees have been killed off?

      People will be forced to go through the likes of this LOCALLY and maybe SOON. And it may well manifest as panic and chaos, but it will be in their faces.

      By the way, St. Louis (possibly for a number of reasons) currently has rad readings of 108 times usual background (as per Michael Collins). No, NOT 108 CPM, 108 TIMES. That's not sustainable without damage showing up relatively soon.

      And yes, mankind is adaptable. Our greatest strength but ironically, our greatest weakness. But a lot of this is going to get LOCAL and sooner than people think.

    • Gasser Gasser

      Silent running

      Go here first;
      Take the children and Geiger counter

      And hide out in the cellar

      By now the plume will be close at hand
Don't believe the Professors and experts

      And everything they tell you
Believe in yourself, your the high command.

      Can you hear us, can you see us?

      Can you see us posting, can you hear us calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me factulizing?
Can you hear me logically, can you hear yourself calling you?

      There's a gun and ammunition
Just inside the doorway
Use it only in emergency
Better you should load it now

      The Father and the Spirit
Can't protect you from up here.

      Can you hear us, can you see us?
Can you see us posting, can you hear us calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me factulizing?
Can you hear me logically, can you hear yourself calling you?

      Don't swear allegiance to any flag
Whatever flag they offer
Never hide at what you really feel
Teach the children common sense
For some day sons and daughters

      Will rise up and fight while we stood still.

      Can you hear us, can you hear us running?
Can you hear us running, can you hear us calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

      Can you hear us, can you see us?

      Can you see us posting, can you hear us calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me factulizing?

      Can you hear me…

      • Excellent choice of surreal video and a classic audio track too.

        It seems like we're living in the future. By that I mean that our world is changing so quickly that we can't catch up…so the present feels like the future. We have a temporal debt.

        The future will favor those who find creative and engaging ways to communicate their message.

        Like the above post from Gasser. The future is now.

        Play the video in one window and read along in another window.

  • jec jec

    With all the high tech, if it can withstand high radation, has TEPCO been able to MAP the actual cells and the racks..say with radar or other imaging technique to build a template to play with? Like human brain surgery? Isnt this as important as critical surgery?? Don't know if the technology is possible, but with imaging, couldn't they figure out possible best approaches? Or have they, and they know its don't want to worry or spend money..(mostly spend money).
    The poor workers selected for fuel removal…or are they using robots..??

  • hatrick penry

    Debunking ‘Alternative’ media disinformation on Fukushima Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool:

    I have a more extensive article with twice the evidence from the NRC FOIA documents that debunk Arnie and all the other pro-nuclear shills on unit 4…the article will be finished in less than a week…

    • bo bo


      So interesting.

      So what is the alternative media not responding to this find ???

      • bo bo

        I meant why, not what

        • Good question.. PH makes some points, that everyone has to make up their own mind about.

          Sometimes, unconscious motivations rule peoples actions and make them seem like they are the opposite of who they represent themselves to be.

          Unconscious motivation

          "Some psychologists believe that a significant portion of human behavior is energized and directed by unconscious motives. According to Maslow, "Psychoanalysis has often demonstrated that the relationship between a conscious desire and the ultimate unconscious aim that underlies it need not be at all direct."

          Cognitive dissonance theory
          Herzberg's two-factor theory
          Intrinsic motivation and the 16 basic desires theory
          Approach versus avoidance

          • Psychological projection was conceptualized by Sigmund Freud in the 1890s as a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world.[1] For example, a person who is rude may accuse other people of being rude.

            • Narcissism

              An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
              Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
              A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)
              Difficulty with empathy
              Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
              Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults (see criticism and narcissists, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
              Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
              Haughty body language
              Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)
              Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)
              Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
              Pretending to be more important than they really are
              Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
              Claiming to be an "expert" at many things
              Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
              Denial of remorse and gratitude


              • Whether one believes that the CIA is controlling the alternative media, or unconscious matter colors it, or personality issues are involved, or a combination of the these, it is a very interesting subject for discussion.

              • MichaelV MichaelV

                Man, that's my girlfriend totally; former model & pageant winner, cover girl, media personality.

                I'm a technical geek who detests the MSM/entertainment complex. I'm an avid reader that makes up his own mind without being assimilated into the collective/zeitgeist.

                I suppose opposites attract (?)…

              • Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true.[1] The same word, and also abnegation, is used for a psychological defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.[2][3]


                • We Not They Finally

                  At the far end of that, of course, is sociopathic/psychopathic behavior. Everyone else is guilty, I'm innocent; and if I kill others off, I'm only reacting to the crimes of others.

                  What's unique/scary now about not just Japan, but the whole state of the global corporate world, is that NO ONE IS EVEN ADMITTING THAT THERE ARE CRIMES, or that those crimes are KILLING people.

                  The whole millennia-long model of "killing the enemy" has morphed into callous indifference to human life. Like TEPCO would not call their nation's own women and children in northern Japan "the enemy." They are just being callously, indifferently killed off, with no dialogue even allowed.

                  I wonder if we have psychological models for this at all. The dis-identification with other humans almost seems demonic.

    • Sickputer

      I tend to agree Unit 4 has burned up a large percentage of the fuel into air or flushed out of the pool.

      But I do take issue in lumping Arnie in the category of "pro-nuclear".

      They hounded his family into bankruptcy 40 years ago. He drove a truck and taught school to survive after giving up a lucrative 6-figure salary with the nuclear industry.

      I agree with Arnie most of the time and I think we all will find out more about Unit 4 when the extraction work commences. I fear it will be tragic on top of the already enormous misery unfolding at Daiichi.

      Let's wait for the fat lady to sing before making firm assumptions.

    • Songie Songie

      ok, that was pretty thorough and it seems clear that the majority of SPF 4 fuel has already burned off. so, if the worst has already happened, what does that mean exactly?

      • #4 issues that may not even exist at all, are being brought up over and over again as CIA disinformation campaign, in order to cover up WORSE stuff.

        3 coriums

        plutonium release


        potentially life extinction event,

        potential collapse of whole ecosystems

        the interconnected nuclear/military industrial complex and the 1%


        • Songie Songie

          i have been closely following the articles and posts on enenews for almost excatly one year.

          one month ago i got fed up with seeing wildly different radiation readings from the various sites,including radiation network & netc…so i bought my own geiger counter.

          luckily, the cpm in my living room has remained fairly steady between 25.8 and 26 cpm for the last month, rain and shine. i am not disagreeing that plutonium has already been released…that there are already buckyballs blobbing around, that ecosystems are continuing to collapse….but why hasn't the cpm in my living room increased?

          please don't be annoyed….i know there are many non-scientific people such as myself who are trying to grasp the reality and the severity of this ongoing fuku f*ck up, esp as it affects us in our own homes…..thank-you for you time and information….

          • The releases/leaks into the ocean of highly radioactive water are increasing, not decreasing. See link below. Why?

            It looks like they stopped measuring the radiation in fish in the harbor, due to it going up too much, or all of the fish died.. We would love to see something more recent.

            As the radiation levels increase at the site overall, which is happening right now in groundwater, (but may rise up to the surface) it will make it more and more difficult to work and 'clean' up at FUKU. It may get to the point of being impossible for humans to survive there.

            Then things go rapidly downhill. Nothing gets repaired, no water is filtered, no more storage of highly radioactive water in tanks, no cooling of coriums or spent fuel pools; and it all goes into meltdown/fires, etc. ELE event.

            Plutonium/buckyballs released may have already sealed the fates of millions/billions of people globally. No way to measure, no way to protect, no way to deal with it, unless disclosed first. Since they are denying it happened, it makes it much WORSE. Incubation period clock is running…

            3 coriums can still wreak havoc on FUKU plant, ocean, globe. This may be what we are seeing; as things get rapidly worse… Coriums may finally be showing their mettle..

            How bad will it get? No one knows, never happened before…

            • Songie Songie

              thank-you,Dr Goodheart, that makes sense.

              if the site is abandoned then we have a ELE event in the near term.

              as it stands now…we are all just slowly dying & getting sick, some faster than others, depending of course, whether or not one eats seafood or milk, etc,,,,(which I haven't for at least 10 years now anyway), how close to the site, prevailing wind currents, etc…

              i have been trying to tell anybody who will listen–which so far is only about 2 people–not to eat pacific seafood/seaweed etc….

              so, in my humble estimation from everything i have read and seen, best case 20 years, worst case 5 years…sound about right?

            • mopar69 mopar69

              Sometimes we need a reminder of the tenacity/resiliency of "life". I'm not throwing in towel just yet……

        • mairs mairs

          The MIC is not about to let us get rid of nuclear power plants, no matter how many people they kill.


            it's no longer their choice, mairs. It'll happen whether they go along with it or not. It's now a matter of pragmatism; what you're willing to trade-off against what you're likely to gain…

        • bo bo

          This thread has been most enlightening, thank you all. I don't have much info to contribute but now I have a different perspective on SPF 4 – and how people report it. It is obviously a very hard issue to deal with and it's important to understand the psychology behind such a heavy issue, too, thanks dr.G.

    • mairs mairs

      Hatrick, have you sent this info to Arnie himself? I remember not too long after the meltdowns that he said Fukushima will be the bookend at the end of nuclear power. Certainly no pro-nuker would state that this is the beginning of the end of the nuclear age.

    • norbu norbu

      Ok PH, you believe the NRC? I don't, Not as far as I can throw them. They lie most of the time. Maybe it did burn. actual proof would be good. OH by the way, Arnie is a good guy. Do not pick on him. Who do you work for?

    • We Not They Finally

      HP, we follow your good work. But please do NOT call Arnie Gundersen "a pro-nuclear shill." He's doing whistleblowing as loudly and as best he can. He's a naturally cautious man who has stepped on every boundary he once held firm. He is one of the VERY FEW highly knowledgable ones out there who is even willing to do it.


    • We Not They Finally

      The NRC is your "reliable source"? WHY???

      • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

        I suggest reading the FOIA documents that HP has referred to. There are many 1000's he has sifted through for his book. During the first few days of the emergency in Fuku, there were hourly status reports. Also, reading his free E-Book Plumgate would be a great eye opener for everyone who has not read it already. It will give insight into how the NRC kept the truth from the USA that we were getting pounded with fallout, how the spent fuel pools in 4 was on fire and more. FOIA link:

        As for Arnie, maybe his cautious stance is based on what happened to whistleblowers; Karen Silkwood, Matt Simmons, Philip Marshall, Michael Hastings, State Rep. Jessica Upshaw. Could be that Arnie is still alive for the reason he has tread lightly?

  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    I think one of the major take away's from that interview are

    A) TEPCO was informed of a viable corrective measure at the time and failed to implement it (regardless of cost)
    B) TEPCO is an operating company, not an engineering company.

  • Mass Die Off Of Starfish, Chitons, Abalone, Mussels, Sun Stars, Salmon In Pacific Ocean California To Vancouver; via @AGreenRoad

    • Anthony Anthony

      Hmmmm…. wonder why THAT'S happening? Still believe them that the real danger is still two years away from us?

      I don't.

      Ask the starfish.

      • There is a small chance this is a local event due to pollution, spill, bacteria, disease, etc.. but the pattern of a lot of species having the same issue, more or less, tends to point away from this…

        Time will tell all as reality hits.

        This mega disaster is just at the beginning.

    • We Not They Finally

      Dr. G, it is also interesting that the mass die-offs began PRIOR TO Fukushima. The blackbirds in Beebee, Arkansas. I think that was January 2010. So we thought that since it was always flocks of (the same) birds or schools of (the same) fish, that maybe it was disruption of their magnetic compass.

      It doesn't mean that radiation does not make everything worse! It does. But it seems like a lot of factors of global disintegration are all closing in at once.

  • or-well

    IRID to take over Fukushima Decommissioning Research

    • "have a vested interest in seeing Fukushima Daiichi cleaned up so it stops being a source of bad press for the industry. Since these same players also want to get back to business as usual, selling and generating nuclear power, it does come with some potential conflicts of interest. The institute was established in spring 2013 and given some form of official authorization from METI on August 1st. The institute has about 4 billion yen in funding for 2013 and will have about 600 total members or staff. It does seem a bit odd that the nuclear village is getting taxpayer money to figure out how to fix their screw up."

      Just a 'bit' odd?

      Getting paid to fail.
      Getting paid to fail again.
      Getting paid to fail yet again.

      Nuclear bombs destroy genome.
      Nuclear plants destroy land and genome, while making bombs.
      Nuclear meltdowns destroy land, genome and future of human race.

      • It is interesting that they are still calling it


        This is a full blown, out of control, flat out INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY/CRISIS!

        So they hire a bunch of yes men. Will they keep covering up everything and not solve a thing? Time will tell what 4 Billion Yen buys taxpayers…

        Denial is a very deep unconscious? motivation driving a lot of actions these days…

        • or-well

          Their plans involve things they don't know how to do yet.
          EX-SKF pointed this out a long time ago.
          Japan's nuclear village remains intact.

        • We Not They Finally

          Dr. G, I get where you are coming from, but I don't think that "denial" or "projection" (the usual psych models) covers it. It's callous indifference to human life. All the normal psych models imply a connectedness to other human beings, even if that connection is hostile.

          The people in power in Japan (though others in other parts of the world too, I'm sure) have discounted that others are even human. I don't think that they think the fate of even the humans in their own country is their concern. Japan especially (unfortunately!) seems to have a historical model of "let the weak perish." If you are strong, you are somebody, if you are weak, you are nobody.

          Then again if you dehumanize your own TOO much, homicide can easily morph into suicide! That country has no future.

          • NoNukes NoNukes

            Please stop writing these sweeping generalizations about Japan, We Not They Finally. Nothing you have said about Japan could not be said about the United States, too. Talk about dehumanizing the weak! Plenty of genocides here to reference, starting with the Native Americans.

            Think of how readers from Japan would feel, when they know that they have been protesting the use of nuclear much more than people in the U.S. since 3/11.

            The global nuclear mafia is to blame, it is transnational, producing death and destruction across all borders.

  • rockyourworld

    every day more bad news. only they knew most of it all along. now they can say "we told you" it must be really bad if they have to come clean now.

    • It is still only 1% of the total that they are disclosing.. 99% remains hidden and denied.

      There is a rather large glowing, green elephant swept under the rug in the living room. No one wants to admit it is there, so they talk about the fringes of the carpet looking 'dusty'.

      Even a blind man can see this one… thanks to the Internet.

      • We Not They Finally

        Yes, even unit 4 may be a smokescreen. No one KNOWS whether there is fuel left in unit 4, if so how much. Or it could have already fallen many weeks back — when the already-astronomically-high rad readings suddenly got exponentially worse. NO ONE has explained that, yet it is the FIRST question that should have been addressed. All we ever got was "We don't know where it is coming from." That's crazy. They had to at least have known where it was LIKELY coming from.

  • demo demo

    Synopsis-Gundersen expressed the need for an international group of independent experts to craft a risk-based strategic plan, and the need for a public, independent process to oversee implementation. He suggested that Americans, especially on the west coast, lobby Congress to pressure the Japanese government.
    What he'd do if in charge:
    1. Fire Tepco. They are not engineers, don't know what they're doing. Bring in a large engineering company.
    2. Instead of protecting the nuclear power industry, tell the Japanese people the truth. Fukushima will cost about a half a trillion US dollars.
    3. Pump down the ground water table where clean water is continually leaking into the site and becoming contaminated. (300 tons daily is leaking into the Pacific ocean.)
    4. Remove the spent fuel rods from units 3 and 4 manually.
    5. Build a sarcophagus over each of the three melted down reactor carcasses. Let their radioactivity decay for a century. The radiation will then be ten times weaker.
    6. The entire "tank farm" is held together with plastic pipes that won't withstand an earthquake, so pray. Over a thousand of these poorly constructed tanks hold highly radioactive water.

    (paraphrased, if I understood correctly)

    • We Not They Finally

      Gundersen is knowledgable and at least TRYING. He should not be faulted by back seat drivers. But even he realizes that no. 4 above cannot work. They cannot just remove the fuel rods. Even the prospect of getting equipment in there remotely onto soggy sinking land, is most unlikely to happen.

    • He's saying what he can say. He's in print.
      Why don't you get in print?
      Good Idea!

    • voltscommissar

      @demo, you got it right. that's exactly what I got by listening to the informative mp3 stream 😉

  • rockyourworld

    haliburton made the earthquake under fukushima to cover up the radioactive mess they made in this country. if japan ever figures it out, goodbye. haliburton will leave north america a rotten stinking corpse and japan takes the rap.

    • bo bo

      That is an interesting thought. Like making someone crap in the room at a party so nobody will notice you just farted big time … lol At least they're prob relieved to have this huge excuse to hide behind… both haliburton and monsanto.

  • rockyourworld

    if they'd frack us with nukes, causing fukushima is not that far fetched. fukushima was plan b to avoid public lynchings.

  • mairs mairs

    I loved listening to Libby HaLevy in the podcast above, "Nuclear Hotseat". I didn't know about her before. Extremely sharp. I didn't know she lived through TMI.

  • In case someone here hasn't seen these…
    Here's the High Res Pics taken from Helo flyover Fukushima Daiichi
    Mar 20 and 24 2011…they will certainly support the notion that if there is anything in Unit 4 all hell is to be paid…
    What if there's nothing left in there and we're just waiting to get fried…
    Bad thing to worry about.

  • voltscommissar

    There's another very important take home message from Nuclear Hotseat #117

    In that radio interview stream/download available from nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education states that Japanese physicians have been in contact with Fairewinds: allegedly Japanese health administrators are telling doctors to lie to their patients about clinical symptoms — symptoms the doctors believe are due to Fukushima's anthropogenic nuclear pollution.

    It is easiest to locate the relevant part of this long interview by downloading the mp3 file from and listen to Gundersen speak to this medical ethical problem at 41' 20" through to 43'10"

    In his measured speech Gundersen describes this reckless experiment on the Japanese public as "awful". I would argue it is unconscionable, and possibly criminally negligent: an apparent dereliction of duty by senior Japanese health officials.

    If you heve bothered to download the mp3, it is definitely worth listening to the entire clip on your smartphone, iPod or mp3-player.