HuffPo: Large amounts of radioactive materials could be deposited across 1,000s of miles if water lost at Fukushima fuel pool — Media just beginning to grasp that danger to world is far from over -Nuclear Expert

Published: April 22nd, 2012 at 4:54 pm ET
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Title: Robert Alvarez: The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Is Far From Over
Source: Huffington Post
Author: Robert Alvarez*
Date: Apr 22, 2012

More than a year after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster began, the news media is just beginning to grasp that the dangers to Japan and the rest of the world are far from over. After repeated warnings by former senior Japanese officials, nuclear experts, and now a U.S. Senator, it’s sinking in that the irradiated nuclear fuel stored in spent fuel pools amidst the reactor ruins pose far greater dangers than the molten cores. This is why:

• Nearly all of the 10,893 spent fuel assemblies sit in pools vulnerable to future earthquakes, with roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl

• Several pools are 100 feet above the ground and are completely open to the atmosphere because the reactor buildings were demolished by explosions. The pools could possibly topple or collapse from structural damage coupled with another powerful earthquake.

• The loss of water exposing the spent fuel will result in overheating and can cause melting and ignite its zirconium metal cladding resulting in a fire that could deposit large amounts of radioactive materials over hundreds, if not thousands of miles. [...]

*Robert Alvarez, an Institute for Policy Studies senior scholar, served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment from 1993 to 1999. He is an award winning author whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Nation, Technology Review, and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. He has also been featured on”60 Minutes”, Nova and All Things Considered.

Read the report here

Published: April 22nd, 2012 at 4:54 pm ET
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