Gundersen’s Latest: 60 holes in bottom of Fukushima-type reactors make core melt-through easier — Fuel only had to get through a thin pipe, not inches of steel (VIDEO)

Published: September 20th, 2011 at 5:06 am ET


Fairewinds Introduces a Japanese Language Edition and Identifies Safety Problems in all Reactors Designed Like Fukushima, Fairewinds, September 19, 2011:

At 8:55 in (Summary)

  • Boiling water reactors have control rods that come in from bottom…
  • Unique problem and important difference between boiling water reactors and pressurized water reactors…
  • Fukushima is a boiling water reactor, which has holes in the boittom…
  • Easier for core to melt through because of those 60 holes in the bottom of reactor…
  • Only has to melt-through very thin walled pipe and scoot out the hole in the bottom of the reactor…
  • NRC says holes for control rods form channels for hot molten fuel to get out of reactor a lot easier and a lot quicker…

Fairewinds Introduces a Japanese Language Edition and Identifies Safety Problems in all Reactors Designed Like Fukushima from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

h/t Anonymous tip

Published: September 20th, 2011 at 5:06 am ET


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28 comments to Gundersen’s Latest: 60 holes in bottom of Fukushima-type reactors make core melt-through easier — Fuel only had to get through a thin pipe, not inches of steel (VIDEO)

  • manes

    The transcription of what Arnie says is right under the video on the fairewinds site. That’s great.

    However, this is not great:

    Arnie says, “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission puts the lowest possible value on a human life of any of the agencies in Washington.”

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Thanks, manes. I’d rather read the transcript.

    • lam335 lam335

      “The cost-protection rule adopted in 1988 has insulated the industry against major upgrades without proof that human health benefits exceeded those costs. In the calculation, a human life was valued at about $3 million. Critics say the rule undervalues human lives, noting that other federal agencies place a value on a human life of between $5 million and $9 million for the purpose of cost-benefit calculations in other areas.”

      David Lochbaum also wrote a letter about this, I think to the NYT, this summer, but I can’t find that right now.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      SAMA, how can they put a price on human life? Life is priceless. IMHO

      • many moons

        Yes, and it’s not possible to go out and buy another ocean! We can’t replace the Pacific ocean or the gulf of mexico….there isn’t ever going to be enough money for that…so it’s clearly not a good deal for the human race…

    • What about the lives of ‘all other’ life forms? They always forget that calculation. (?)

      Birds, Fish, Dogs, Kittens, Bees, etc…

      Like most genius’s, they can be good at math, but lack in common sense.

  • arclight arclight

    merci, all those at fairwinds!
    “The net effect is that when a cost to make a modification is compared against the benefits to society, this computer code distorts the benefits and lowers them. So, it appears that there’s no need to make the change because the costs are too high and the benefits to you and I, and society, are too low. Fukushima has taught us that that’s just not true. The costs to clean up Fukushima are going to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars U.S. [The costs will be] at least two hundred billion dollars U.S. And yet, this computer code that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses never, ever, calculates a high number like that. Unless we adjust the cost/benefit analysis, what will happen is: as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission identifies problems that should be corrected, their own computer code will show that it’s not justified, that the risks to society are really too low, that we don’t need to spend that money. The problem is in the computer code, and until we upwardly adjust the cost of a human life, and the cost of damage to property we won’t be able to come up with an effective way of judging the costs and the benefits of these safety modifications.”

    wow! thought for the day!!

    • dharmasyd dharmasyd

      Re: Cost – Benefit Analysis —

      ABC news gave a spot today to research being conducted to develop an earthquake early warning system for California, similar to the ones used in Japan.

      It would give us an 8 second alert, time enough for me to make it to the strongest structural part of my building. But…

      While the system cost $500 million for Japan, it would cost $100 million to install in California.
      The story ended by saying that in these economic times there was probably no possibility of implementation.

      Frankly, I think it is even more important to get rid of Capitalism than to get rid of nuclear energy. It is the greedy, get rich quick sickness of capitalism which fosters the evils and destructions of nuclearism.

    • Bobby1

      Human life is worth zero to these greedy sociopaths… not to mention the life of all the other species on the planet.

      It’s all about $$$ in their pockets.

  • Buffalojam

    arclight – This is more like the thought of the year. I can’t help but wonder what kind of madness allows us to be governed by an NRC, which presumably functions to to serve and protect us, that has adopted such a a lopsided cost benefit analysis in favor of the industry. Many thanks, Arnie, for your thought provoking commentary!

  • Darth

    Some humans want nuclear power. Said humans justify its safety, etc. creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Some humans don’t want nuclear power. Said humans point out problems with nuclear power.

    Put the two together and what do you get.


    So why do we still have these “things”?

    Because the criminal elite have made it so.

  • StillJill StillJill

    Right Darth,…and ‘they’ LOVE to say, “We’re all one,…we’re the same, we’re just like you,…” Oh Paleeease,..NO YOU’RE NOT!

    • Grace Grace

      Arghhhh, @ StillJill, I reckon you’d be hard pushed to find a pro-nuker with an advanced sense of spiritual awareness.
      Please stop the sly attacks directed at me – I am not stupid you know, and I do have feelings and I don’t like to be falsely accused.
      All because on my first post here I missed some quotation marks, please re-read my first post and it will be plain to you that I was expressing confusion at the bare-faced industry cover-up.
      We are all one.
      Peace, love and light to you.

  • Steven Steven

    I’m starting to think that Arnie is optimistically mopping up spilled milk while the cows are exploding spontaneously out in the meadows. My union job delegate’s nose is twitching, it’s telling me the issues mentioned above are what’s on the table and nothing more, and even those are subject to negotiation. If we get lucky they might throw us a bone.

    And here I was, hoping for TPTB to follow Germany in total abandonment of nuclear power.

  • maaa

    Can’t believe Arie is still trying to hang onto nuclear energy. Don’t you get it? We can’t afford to make anymore mistakes with nuclear energy. So what we make a foolproof mark 1nuclear reactor? There are tons of other designs.

  • Lets insist on Clean and safe energy. We can lead the world by making more clean energy investments. Tell the president here.

  • theypoisonus

    Arnie’s Co. does decommissioning. He has to ‘play nice’ with nuclear to a point to get that bus.. but I agree and definately not supporting his choices. I have stayed skeptical to a degree of his motives, altho, he has given us better info than most.

    Even with Arnie, the buck is his bottom line 🙁

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Fairewinds here is working for the legislature as a consultant, not a company to do the actually decommissioning.
      Report Asks Entergy to Update Price Tag on Dismantling Reactor
      “’The whole TLG report is wrong,” charges Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, a Burlington consulting firm hired by the legislature to scrutinize VY’s decommissioning plans. “So, we’re going down the road based on no good information on what it’s going to cost to decommission this plant.”’
      “Gundersen’s report is the second of three that Fairewinds has prepared for the JFO and JFC. “

  • desert_lady desert_lady

    Wooo! Fairewinds now has a Japanese website! Thank you Arnie!

    Arnie is trying to reach the nuclear industry and regulators with his warnings. His work is aimed directly at them but of course we all benefit from his knowledge. I applaud him for his clear diagrams and action-points.

    The more we know about the nuclear plants already in existence, the quicker they can be shut down. I, for one, did not understand that the industry and the regulators (in league with a subservient, corporate-sponsored media) never admit to leakages or problems, no matter the danger. Once I realized that these industries and gov’ts LIE ON PURPOSE so people “don’t panic” (or to further political /profitable agendas), I can see thru any smokescreens. I won’t be fooled again, no matter the topic.

    The one shining GOOD that will come of Fukushima is that millions will now awaken to that fact. Millions who never thought their gov’t would lie to them or hurt them, will begin the painful truth process. It is very unnerving at first, it feels like one’s whole world is dark, sinister and unsafe. But after a time, after much research and talking with others who’ve also done this research, a new awareness comes. A new stability. Each person who takes this sad but important journey will never read a headline, or a gov’t pronouncement, the same way ever again.

    Somehow, this must be vital for humanity, or it wouldn’t be happening. The internet is a mighty force for human consciousness.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Let’s see, we have old plants that were not built substantially. Dangerous plants that have been over looked.

    Thank you Arnie and all your associates for your time, information, and for the Japanese website.

    They are not going to clean up their act, it hasn’t happened in the past, it’s not going to happen in the future.

    The only thing that will stop the dangerous waste left behind or accidents is, a new, safer, cleaner energy. They know how to do this, and it should be implemented.

    Nuclear Power ~ To Big Of A Risk

  • many moons

    My first Question is…..

    Why build a fuel containment that is inches thick of steel then leave holes at the bottom?
    They could have saved a lot of money and made that containment vessel out of tin.

    Are those NRC folks including their own peeps when trying to decide if profit is more important than human lives?

  • many moons

    I love Arnie, but I was shocked to hear him say the clean up could be as high as 200 billion. In my opinion that is wonderful…only 200 billion….great, lets get started…I was under the impression that this problem didn’t have a solution or an approach to clean up etc. I thought it was an evolving mess that was out of control and we and it could end up anywhere…I hope this problem does cost 200 billion to cleanup

    • Steven Steven

      “I thought it was an evolving mess that was out of control and we and it could end up anywhere”

      Me too. As much as I appreciate Arnie’s commentary, I still believe this. Perhaps if the general public knew that some things just can’t be fixed with cash there would be more opposition to these monsters.

    • bmurr bmurr

      Arnie also said that in order for the vents stacks to be operational, and employee would need to turn a wheel 200 times. He also said that once the tent is put up, radiation will vent through the stacks. Now, were they opened ? I thought that the buildings are off limits. We are so far into speculation, we can just start making things up …?