Gundersen: Unit 4 reactor building has not been reinforced — Floor of fuel pool was, but not strong as original

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 9:52 pm ET


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


“All the available information continues to show the situation at Fukushima Dai-ichi is stable, both for the reactors and the spent fuel pools,” NRC spokesman Scott Burnell replied via email. “The available information indicates that Spent Fuel Pool #4 has been reinforced.”

But nuclear experts, including Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president who coordinated projects at 70 U.S. nuclear power plants, and warned days after the disaster at Fukushima last year of a “Chernobyl on steroids” if the spent fuel pools were to ignite, strongly disagreed with this assessment.

“It is true that in May and June the floor of the U4 SFP [spent fuel pool] was ‘reinforced,’ but not as strong as it was originally,” Gundersen noted in an email to AlterNet. “The entire building however has not been reinforced and is damaged by the explosion in both 4 and 3. So structurally U4 is not as strong as its original design required.”

Gundersen, who is chief engineer at the consulting firm Fairewinds Associates, added that the spent fuel pool at unit 4 “remains the single biggest concern since about the second week of the accident. It can still create ‘Chernobyl on steroids.'”


Read the in-depth report here

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 9:52 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. 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
  2. Gundersen soon after 3/11: Photo shows nuclear fuel is exposed to air at Fukushima Unit 4 fuel pool — Clean path for plutonium to escape offsite (VIDEO) February 23, 2013
  3. AP: Bulging wall at Unit 4 renews concerns — Gov’t regulators order investigation of fuel pool and reactor building May 26, 2012
  4. 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
  5. Gundersen: 200 brand new fuel bundles in Fukushima Unit 4 pool are most at risk to start nuclear chain reaction — If too close together during removal, there will be a criticality — “They have to be very, very cautious” (AUDIO) September 27, 2013

62 comments to Gundersen: Unit 4 reactor building has not been reinforced — Floor of fuel pool was, but not strong as original

  • Thanks Arnie! It does not surprise me a bit though. My guess is they are hoping someone (likely the US) will come and bail them out so they don't have to spend anything.

    • stopnp stopnp

      Nope. The U.S. only bails out banks.

    • CB CB


    • desara3

      The Gunderson guy is strange. It is not that I disbelieve. But this guy always has a grin and a speech impediment or wierd throat tic when he is viewed at live or recorded speech. I do not enjoy listening to him talk and there is nothing to smile or grin about in the case we are talking about.
      I really would like hard core testimony of the breech. The people of Japan are more convincing. I am sure it happened but I would prefer the news from another source aside of the Arnie Gunderson Guy(always grinning,etc…) This is nothing to grin about in any stretch of the imagination. Unless you are happy about it. Well, I am not smiling or grinning.

      I have kept up with since the disaster. I FEEL i have obtained as much as everyone here. As with the main stream news ,there are some things that do not quite add up. And with the objective news some things seem a little negated.The one thing I am sure of, we will never know the full truth about the happenings there.

      • patman

        Desara3: Arnie Gundersen is a professional engineer, and to a certain extent, they are all like that. Usually earnest men and women, they have bigger issues to attend to than our personal comfort. So be it.

        The most pathetic used car salesman in the world is an out-of-work P.Eng. On could argue the slick ones are those we should be keeping one open eye on.

        One understands what you say, Desara3,, one must appeal to look past the package of these guys/girls and listen to the message. What they communicate is what we must resolve whether we are being fed a bunch of B.S. or not.

        Feel free to use all resources available to research the veracity of anything that comes out of a 'Professional Engineer's mouth.

        Mr. Gundersen, P.Eng., would probably agree, I think.

  • jackassrig

    It's the walls of the SFP IMHO is the important part of the structure. The connection at the corners is an area of high stress.

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    Is it possible (yes, though would require worldwide innovation and effort) to create a structure that would keep R4 level in the event of subsidence of the ground beneath it?

    • stopnp stopnp

      Couldn't they run a giant steel truss through the whole building? The footings could be outside of the building for peets sake.

      • patman

        Perhaps it's the weight of all that uranium material in the spent fuel pool. A truss 100 feet tall and able to support the fuel pool weight as well as be resistant to an earthquake may require a lot of real estate under the pool.

        Reducing some of the mass may be problematic, there are many 'fresh' fuel bundles stored in SFP-4 put there because of reactor maintenance just before the March 11/2011 earthquake.

        These 'fresh' fuel tubes cannot be removed from cooling water lest they exotherm, oxidize and exotic alloy tube material catches fire.

        Any fire is bad-o and can't be risked, so it's a waiting game until enough fissionable materials have decayed to handle safely in a few years.

        So we are told.

        • stopnp stopnp

          I understand. I'm thinking solely about support. Not removal as it's still too hot.

          Something. Anything to keep the pool from falling until the disintegrations slow down enough.

          • patman

            I think the helplessness we find ourselves in, is our zeitgeist. If there was something that could be done, it would be done.

            Short of building a two hundred foot wall around SFP-4 and filling it with soil, What can be done? Even that simplistic and cock-eyed solution is impotent in face of a sustained earthquake, as soil liquifies, settles and becomes a fertile flowerbed for a falling heavy, hot mass of metal hell bent to burn it's way to the water table.

            Interesting how dispersed we watchers are around the globe. We follow our interest in this whole SFP-4 matter, most people don't. Continued stability of SFP-4 is our pet peeve, how much it costs us individually over the next four or five years is anyone's guess.

            Most people are oblivious to this SFP-4 concern; some days one is envious of them, but now we know. Unfortunately, we bit the Apple in the Garden of Eden. We know we can't run or roll back a clock and avoid learning what we now know.

            Watch and see, I guess.

            Popcorn, root beer, internet service,


            • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

              @patman ..I agree..except about the reference to the apple of knowledge..supposed forbidden knowledge.
              The "bite" was from those that defied the basic laws of science.
              The knowledge we bear..I feel.. stands in the light of mercy and truth.
              The true word of the Creator.

              • patman


                Thank you for your thoughtful reply. To explain myself better, the question that I am alluding to is whether – I – am better off knowing about such a serious threat to all of us.

                Apple of knowledge one speaks of is the information dug up as one sought to understand what was going on in the first few hours after Fk-1, r1 went off. What exactly blew up was what my inquiring mind wanted to know.

                We knew early on it was hydrogen, but was it leaked coolant for turbine shaft seals or was it hydrogen being dissociated from oxygen in water molecules as a result of extreme reactor conditions?

                The process of finding out revealed an astounding misrepresentation of the dangers presented by our complete nuclear industry about those four runaway reactors in Daiichi, and suspicions of at least ten other reactors there and else where in northeastern Japan. You should have seen the nuclear industry wags bombing discussions on comment boards in Canada. It was sickening.

                On reflection, It was good to research how this particular apple tasted. I am a man of my times, as the rest of you persons are also. On these comment boards, we are an exceedingly few who are following this important story, with the guts to comment somewhat publicly. It has colored many aspects of my personal life; 'conspiracy guys' at work who discuss and research all forms of JFK theories won't touch 'Fukushima' with a barge pool.

                These 'pseudo-scientists intuitively know something too big…

  • NoNukes NoNukes

    May 4, 2012, and NO mention of the blackened remains of reactor 4 visible on the public webcam?! We all have to pretend that nothing has yet happened?

    What isn't up for discussion?
    May 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm · Reply
    A little capture of a strange blue glow at what appears to be the CSFP or the rare gas facility.. No enhancement, except zoom…

    May 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm · Reply
    Sorry, tried to link it to FB for the 311 Watchdogs, but they are blocking posts for 24 hours in honor of Japan going "no-nukes" in like 8 hrs.. So had to U/L to Youtube after all..

    Report Comment

    May 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm · Reply
    Very pretty.

    Here is an explanation of what the blue glow is:

    Is the AIR Supposed to be Blue? By: Aaron Datesman

    Report Comment

    May 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm · Reply
    Yep, ionization caused by criticality, in what I believe is the CSFP building… Very scary indeed.. Worse than SFP 4 by many times..

    Report Comment

    May 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm · Reply
    Also on my Youtube, from Jan 29, a narrow, tall mushroom cloud, like a tactical nuke, from the direction of Diani…

    • Discordian

      Noticed today and yesterday that you seem quite certain from camera evidence that SFP4 has already gone down. Will you be so kind as to expound your reasons why in great detail? You have caught my attention more than anything on the Web this week; and with all the earthquakes reported from that region even since the beginning of 2012, I have a hard time believing that SFP4 can still be on its feet.

      Thank you in advance!

  • nedlifromvermont

    the dithering is beyond ridiculous ….

    what a bone-headed bunch of fools we have been to buy into this bargain …

    Somebody please tell me how Jeff Immelt is supposed to admit his company's (GE's) machines are failed systems, without triggering a punitive damage award lawsuit which would bankrupt his employer? Is there no way in capitalism to admit responsibility? If not, this is reason enough to abandon this system, and NOW.

    So Immelt, and, by extension, we, too, are trapped by laws on damage awards into lying, obfuscating and denial, are we not?

    But what about Obama? Who has his gonads in the vise, so that he cannot admit to the reality of this situation? BARACK, these nuclearists want to kill your daughters, Sasha and Malia, like a thief in the night; give them cancer and mutate the genes in their egg cells! Aren't you a caring father? Why are you carrying water for Big Nuclear, when they are hell bent on destroying all life on this, our only planet?

    A fully loaded spent fuel pool fire release of radioactive inventory … many times worse than atom bomb attack, due to amount and type of radioisotope release, low to ground, lots of cesium 134 and 137 and strontium 90. And much more plutonium.

    Why no immediate dry cask campaign required by toothless NRC? Why are regulators emasculated fakes? Self-satisfied, smug, henchmen of the Apocalypse! Thought they wouldn't be so bland. They'll be here in Brattleboro in 18 days. We'll give em a…

  • nedlifromvermont

    … warm welcome! On behalf of you blesses posters here on ENENEWS!!!

    Peace ………. Out.

  • StillJill StillJill

    Nice rant nedlifromvermont! 🙂

  • StillJill, There you are "Baby Girl", What's Up ??

  • StillJill StillJill

    Hi Doc!

    I am up,…..trying to care for Mama dog,…who is in the throws of dying! 🙁

  • StillJill StillJill

    13 years,…since she was 3 weeks old. Best friend God ever drew breath into. This one's gonna leave quite a mark!

  • StillJill StillJill

    Did you respond to my, "Watch what you pray for" comment? 🙂

    A "stillJill on your door stoop? 🙂

    I didn't find that post I'd left,…nor any response. I was probably too embarrassed to look. Sometimes I freak myself out with some of the things I say and think.

    Feeling too many emotions tonight to do much more than listen to friend's talk.
    So,…what's up with you Doc?

  • StillJill StillJill

    Have told my roomie that if I move, it will be to Fla.

    Brazil, many moons, weighed heavily also. Fear has me in it's grips. I'll shake it,…I always do,…with God's help of course!

    You are my Knight in Shinning Armor, my friend(s)!
    Surely God thanks you for taking my terror away!

    I KNOW that where I go is, 'in the books', so to speak.
    I'll suit up and show up,…one day at a time!

    I love you all!


    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Morning StillJill, so sorry to hear about your dog….I remember her / him being ill already after 3/11, right? Or ever since?

      If you plan to move, please check the future of any US coastal areas beforehand:
      We surely want our Jill to find a safe place to stay!!

      *peace friend

  • Smoking gun and fill out the survey on the right, nuke survey

    German Report on Fukushima, Interview with ex PM Kan
    Excellent video, German reporters in Japan, investigating Fukushima.

    For anyone doubting how the Nuke Cartel operates, this is the smoking gun.

    The whole lies, report fabrications, regulatory capture, are laid bare in this sub-titled report. At minutes 11 and 16 ex Prime Minister Kan details in no uncertain terms how the Nuclear Village operates through lies, extortion, personnel insertions into government and then back into TEPCO.

    This is coming right from the top. This has been reviewed by a Japanese national who is also fluent in English and they agree that the translation is absolutely correct.

  • howardtlewisiii

    9-11, the DH oil well in the GoM, and now this. Are you guys dd and d? HAARP with a chimp at the wheel. Unfortunately, the US congress, US Marshalls, and military, do not have the opportunity to demonstrate that they understand radioactivity.

  • Half-Life Half-Life

    Anyone favour eugenics as a motive for this madness?

    • datura17

      no this is the result of John D. Rockefeller'ism as in he told tesla if he cant put a meter on it, he dont want it. and pulled his funding. remember tesla wanted to give electric to everyone for free.
      this madness is caused by fear. no one has ever been here before and nobody knows what to do, because anything they do could make it worse and noone wants to take any responsibility. since this is effecting everyone, granted some more than others, it is not eugenics, it is a tragic accident caused by mans arrogance. if this turns into an extinction level event it is not eugenics. life and extinction is they way of the earth just look back through time.

    • Discordian

      Eugenics via genocide. Nothing has been done and nothing will be done until a major culling of the herd has been accomplished (which is why I despair of any petitions or anything like that having any effect at all). It's all spelled out plainly on the Georgia Guidestones, which are ironically not that far upstream from the site for the new reactors.

      Datura mentions Tesla. I have heard (I believe from Rense and/or David Wilcock) that Tesla technology exists which could clear the situation, but I fear that is merely hope-based optimism.

  • RutherfordsGhost

    What is required is 250,000 Kamikaze volunteers to clean this up.
    Rail way lines, wagons, processing plants off-site, earth movers, and suction lines to suck up the ocean floor.
    This is an industrial chemical processing problem, and a mining issue. Empty the ponds, stop the criticalities, reprocess the materials for safe storage and clean up the site.
    The Nagasaki Girls Scouts would have had it done by now.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Do people think nothing is going to change their world?

    To late, it already has. The new crops will soak in that radiation. It's the spice you don't want to have.

    Sounds like they are just patching, since it's not strong as original.
    How strong was the original, not strong enough.

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    New one from Christina dated TODAY
    Which will collapse first, the economy or the spent fuel pool at Fukushima? | End the Lie – Independent News via @endtheliedotcom

    • Discordian

      Great link, though I fear that no amount of agitation will stir TPTB into corrective action. Genocide is their goal, and they aren't going to heed the voice of the victims.

      Love your avatar, btw. Yes is the best band to ever exist. Their last album, Fly from Here, is uncharacteristically sad and pessimistic, and it ain't just because Jon Anderson wasn't on the album. I think they know it's all over, too.


        Yes… the core of nuclear industry is owned by the ROTHSCHILD
        (many uranium mines and industries of heat exchangers, etc).

        In Italy they "bought" the mind and soul of the former leftist
        ecologist of the Italian Democratic Party CHICCO TESTA… who for
        a certain time wrote his name "CHICCO TESTA-BANCA ROTHSCHILD".

        So, we many got scared of the political and persuassive power of
        the nuclear industry, we believed no one in the government
        and in the so called "progressist opposition"… so three very
        small parties raised a signature for a new referendum in 2011…
        in order to ratify the anti-nuclear stand already taken in 1986
        with a precedent Italian national referendum…. 56% of the
        population went to vote… 97% against nuclear energy.

        The ROTHSCHILD have been denounced as satanist many times…

        It was hard to win it, because mainstream media preferred to
        ignore the problem… is the convincing power of the DEVIL…


        The ROTHSCHILD have been denounced as satanist many times!

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Voice of the streets 5/6/2012 “Can I have a baby ? -Cesium is measured from her urine. ” | Fukushima Diary:
    Heartbreaking stories…

  • JLHNuke

    I spent 12 years as an IH for one of the largest nuclear plant operating organizations in the world and was directly involved with more than 8 refuels and dry cask storage shuffles for fuel from GE- Mark-I and Mark-II reactors. I was also directly involved with each and every exercise and drill required during that time period by the NRC regulations and INPO commitments. Afterwards, I worked for one of the largest decommissioning organizations in the world.
    Mr. Gunderson is accurate in his assessment of the Fukushima catastrophe and has quite honestly given the world his strategy for when the SFP falls.
    Fall it must, it is only a matter time. Anyone who knows these reactors knows this.
    Resettlement options are being prepared for both residents of Japan, such as the negotiations for purchase of the Kuril Islands and for people within the US, witness the recent military drills in Minnesota, and the NDAA.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Interesting, JLHNuke! Thanks for your post. It would be great if you could comment more often….


    We must realize that TEPCO and Japanese government are
    in a state of complete brain palsy… since they never
    expected something like that to happen…

    And TEPCO is completely broken (has no more revenues).

    Could some military forces take charge of it?
    (Japan + USA + Canada + USA + Russia + Cina)

    They should take the following steps:
    1) Excavate a channel from the sea to the
    proximity to the reactors.
    2) Build some type of giant bridge-crane, with
    the legs over modified battletanks…
    use some type of old fashioned propulsion…
    maybe petrol-powered steam turbines.
    3) Bring an old missile launcher submarine
    into the channel (take away the nuclear reactor
    and install a diesel engine)
    4) Put giant lead-bottles instead of the missiles…
    put the spent fuel mixed with the new fuel.
    5) Go over a not vulcanic place in the bottom
    of the sea… maybe over 5000 mts of ocean depth.
    6) Capsize the submarine… let the bottles
    descend to the ocean floor?

    Could it work? Would it be safe?

    • andii

      "We must realize that TEPCO and Japanese government are
      in a state of complete brain palsy… since they never
      expected something like that to happen…"

      Of course they did know. It was just taboo to talk about it and those that warned them weren't looked in a good light.

      It's a culture thing, it's about brain washed society. Really weired and twisted psychology stuff which you can't make sense of even if you stood on your head.

  • irradiatedinbako

    A rare tornado hit eastern Japan today. Forget worries just about earthquakes .. forget that the ground beneath the reactors might just be slipping away as insolvent .. forget another tsunami ..

    What if this mofo hit the Fuku plant?

    This event made MSM news today. Put 2 and 2 together .. and gitter done folks. A plastic tarp ain't gonna do it .. reinforcement ain't gonna do it .. dry cask .. entomb .. IMMEDIATELY! Call all nations and volunteers!!