Japan Experts: Fukushima Unit 4 is the immediate crisis… entire world is concerned — No good solution for speeding up fuel removal

Published: January 31st, 2013 at 10:38 am ET


Report from Jiji on January 30, 2013 meeting of the Fukushima accident council with summary translation by Fukushima Diary:

[…] Mr. Kurokawa, the chairman of the governmental accident investigation committee commented the SFP of reactor 4 is the crisis in front of us. The entire world is concerned about that.

Mr. Kitazawa, the chairman of the council stated it takes a while to remove all the spent fuel from the pool. There is no appropriate solution for that.

Systran Translation

[…] The same nuclear plant 4 the anxiety for the used nuclear fuel pool of the machine was shown from the group of members […]

[…] Kurokawa which is National Diet accident pitch chairman is clear Science Council of Japan former chairman “the crisis which is immediately. The inside of the world feels concern” […]

[…] Chairman Hiroshi Kitazawa who serves the chairman of intellectual person meeting, points out that time is required for the fuel removal. “There is no good solution method” […]

See also: [intlink id=”kyodo-govt-seeking-to-empty-no-4-fuel-pool-much-sooner-than-planned” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: January 31st, 2013 at 10:38 am ET


Related Posts

  1. NHK: Fuel removal at Unit 4 underway — BBC: Concern casks not watertight, rods would contact air — WSJ: Exposure to air can cause sustained nuclear reaction — AFP: Tokyo evacuations if uncontrolled nuclear conflagration? AP: Rods contain plutonium, experts concerned quake to hit during process November 18, 2013
  2. Tepco Adviser: “Everyone in the world” will be safer if fuel rods transferred from Fukushima Unit 4 — WSJ: Global concern over removal process (VIDEO) November 18, 2013
  3. Nuclear Engineer: Every expert I talked to this week is very concerned about a criticality event during fuel removal at Unit 4 — “There’s good potential for a criticality” (AUDIO) November 21, 2013
  4. Postponed: Fuel removal attempt at Fukushima Unit 4 delayed, possibly for weeks — Gov’t safety agency wants tests conducted, as another ~M5 quake hits Eastern Japan November 4, 2013
  5. Vice: ‘Suspicious’ death at Fukushima plant — Officials: Damaged nuclear fuel containers found in Unit 3 pool after removal of massive piece of debris — “High radioactivity prevented workers from carrying out the removal smoothly” — Concern about “new fuel failure” (PHOTOS & VIDEO) August 5, 2015

66 comments to Japan Experts: Fukushima Unit 4 is the immediate crisis… entire world is concerned — No good solution for speeding up fuel removal

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Common pool inventory: 6375
    1-4 sfp’s inventory: 3108
    Total plant inventory (not including reactor cores):11417

    Unit 1 SFP: 292 irradiated (used) fuel assemblies and 100 unirradiated new unused assemblies
    Unit 2 SFP: 587 irradiated (used) fuel assemblies and 28 unirradiated new unused assemblies
    Unit 3 SFP: 514 irradiated (used) fuel assemblies and 52 unirradiated new unused assemblies
    Unit 4 SFP: 1331 irradiated (used) fuel assemblies and 204 unirradiated new unused assemblies
    Units 5 and 6 also contain spent fuel though these reactors did not sustain substantial damage and should be able to be removed by normal means when ready to do so. These two units are cooling their fuel pools through the original pool cooling system but both currently use improvised water intake pumps to bring in cooling loop water.
    Unit 5: 946 irradiated (used) and 48 unirradiated new unused assemblies
    Unit 6: 876 irradieated (used) and 64 unirradiated new unused assemblies


    • Jay

      I saw info about 7,900 rods in the SFP of R4 .


      7,900 Radioactive Rods ready to enter the Pacific ! Ambassador : " Fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO. 4 rTokyo, March 25, 2012

      Dear Secretary-General ,
      Honorable Ban Ki-moon ,

      …. I was asked to make a statement at the public hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 23. I raised the crucial problem of N0.4 reactor of Fukushima containing 1,535 fuel rods.

      It could be fatally damaged by continuing aftershocks.

      Moreover, 50 meters away from it exists a common cooling pool for 6 reactors containing 6,375 fuel rods !

      It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO.4 reactor.
      This is confirmed by most reliable experts like Dr.Arnie Gundersen or Dr.Fumiaki Koide.

      Please allow me to inform you of an initiative being taken by a former UN official who is endeavoring to have the Nuclear Security Summit take up the crucial problem of N0.4 reactor of Fukushima . He is pursuing the establishment of ”an independent
      assessment team " …. “ .

      WOW , that's over 7,900 RADIOACTIVE RODS "

      Macerate that for a while …

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      The reason for anxiety is the 1,331 fuel assemblies in SFP4.
      Also the fact that Building4 is sinking. Unevenly.
      The foundation of Building4 has been broken.
      Building4 is leaning.
      The thick walls of Building4 have been blown out.
      1,331 fuel assemblies are in a pool of water 100' above ground level.
      The stainless steel liner of SFP4 may have been crompomised by gamma rays from spent fuel.
      The concrete of SFP4 may be crumbling because of gamma rays from spent fuel.
      A partially used and very hot fuel load was removed from Reactor4 in November, 2010, and is in SFP4.
      TEPCO placed the hot load into adjacent cells in a single rack of SFP4, a very dangerous practice.
      There appears to be MOX fuel stored in SFP4, with a high plutonium content.
      A pump leak partially drained the water from SFP4 on 3/11/2011.
      The zirconium cladding of the fuel assemblies has been corroded by seawater used for emergency cooling.
      There were two fires at Unit4 in March, 2011, which damaged some of the fuel assemblies.
      The replacement crane for unloading spent fuel from SFP4 will take all of 2013 to finish.
      Removal of spent fuel from SFP4 may begin a year from now, and will take one year or longer to complete.
      There have been 5 earthquakes of M6 or higher in the past week, and we expect more large earthquakes.
      Worried about Unit4? I'd say TEPCO is in panic mode.

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      Fukushima Reactor 4; Global Life Extinction Event If It Collapses; via A Green Road

      12 reasons why all nuclear power plants must be shut down; via A Green Road http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/03/12-reasons-why-all-nuclear-power-plants.html

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    It seems to me that the possibility of the Commons Spent Fuel Pool, as carefully documented by several of our esteemed researchers here, going up in flames would be the 'immediate crisis', over the SPF #4.

    With probably 8-10x the amount of radioactive material in the SPF #4, most of which may have already gone up into the atmosphere recently, and the certain knowledge that the Japanese are tossing whatever rods they can pull from any source into the ocean, I fail to see why the 'world' would be interested in anything less.

    • Anthony Anthony

      You have a good point. I'm amazed this report is actually out!

    • elucidation_please

      Time is Short, you state,

      "…the Commons Spent Fuel Pool, as carefully documented by several of our esteemed researchers here". Who are these "several" researches? Based on what I see, Pattie B. is the only one that is strong asserting that the majority of the CSFP Building contents have burned up. And yet, I do not see where she has carefully documented that. Do you? Can you please show me where?

  • Tepco has lost over 10,000 rods already. There is only a few thousand rods left that have not burned up. They don't give you correct #s…. and don't even talk about the core rods that have gone walk-about. We have gone well past the amount of Plutonium released needed to kill every carbon-based life form on this planet. The shared pool has had 4 fires… with 6500 rods in it… and lost its roof.

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      You are right about the (former) core fuel, which also has my attention, Pattie.
      Sometimes I believe that TEPCO doesn't think they can do anything about the corium from Units1,2,&3.
      So they concentrate on getting spent fuel out of SFP4, because that is all they can do.

      I know, Pattie, that you have come under fire about your contention that the CSFP has burned. Right now, it seems to be just you that thinks there has been a problem at the common spent fuel pool. I have seen no independent verification of such a fire. There is also no evidence to see in the photos you have provided, either for a fire, loss of roof, or building damage at the CSFP. You keep saying, look here! But I still don't see what you are talking about. I'm not saying you are mistaken. But without some sort of independent evidence… (Ditto RE use of Plutonium fuel, other than MOX, at Fuku, which is not confirmed by any other source than PB.)

      In the meantime, I think things are bad enough at Fuku for everybody to be paying attention.

      • The easiest way to explain it… each level of scaffold-like rigging on the east side has an "X" cross-brace to stabilize it. There was originally 2 levels of such, and now there's only one. The rest of my contention is easy to follow… once you recognize this fact.

      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        "We have gone well past the amount of Plutonium released needed to kill every carbon-based life form on this planet." Pattie B.

        If you have anything at all in the way of quantitative proof that the measured amount of plutonium radiation released from Fuku at any point in this drama is able to "kill every…life form on this planet", will you please let us know? Unit1 blew up. Unit3 blew up. Unit4 blew up. Unit4 burned. There may have been other fires since March, 2011, which released Plutonium into the air.

        Even cynobacteria is a life form. "Every life firm"? Bet that cockroaches will still be in Tokyo 1,000 years after the last of the human beings have fled the city, or else died off. Pattie, this Fuku Calamity is already bad enough. Can you please dial this back to the tragedy that it already is?

        • Here's the data on plutonium… and over-dose amounts.

          Understand that each rod is 700 lbs approximated…

          So, even if they are ONLY MOX…? That's 140 lbs. of it for each rod… yes?


          Do the numbers.

          • The rods are more like 1200 lbs each, but that's mostly metals… the 700 lbs. is the actual materials inside each that's radioactive & fissionable and its related by-products.

        • Time Is Short Time Is Short

          “Fukushima Equals 3,000 Billion Lethal Doses"

          “Dr Paolo Scampa, a widely know EU Physicist, single handedly popularized the easily understood Lethal Doses concept. “Lethal Doses” is a world wide, well understood idea that strips Physics bare and offers a brilliant, understandable explanation for all the physics gobbledygook Intelligence agencies and their respective governments use to disguise the brutal truths of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster."

          "Three thousand billion (3,000,000,000,000) Lethal Doses of Radiation means there are 429 Lethal Doses chasing each and every one of us on the planet, to put it in a nutshell. This is up from about 70 Billion Lethal Doses March 23, 2011. It is getting worse everyday without any intervention by the US and the other nuclear powers….”

          "Note that the lethality of radioactive reactor cores goes up the first 250,000 years they are out of the reactor – not down."


          • Time Is Short Time Is Short

            Three, possibly four cores completely melted into the ground, contaminating both air and water, and burning out of control for almost two years. The entire site is collapsing, over 30" in some places. The buildings and Spent Fuel Pools will not stand, and when they fall they will catch fire and burn for decades.

            There is no more 'low-level' radiation. We are now living in a 'medium-level' radiation world, with every man, woman and child in the Northern Hemisphere having substantial amounts of aerosolized plutonium and uranium in their lungs. The average estimate of the experts (that aren't paid by the nuclear industry) is we all have about five years left.

            The data is all correct, the latest death rates are accurately reflective – time to work your bucket lists, boys, and hedge accordingly.


          • We Not They Finally

            Has this ever happened before?It seems as there has been a cycle of self destruction that we are unable to overcome.Do we go from world to world doing this suicidal act over and over again.Is the human race making the same errors over and over again? In other words is this cycle endless….We all knew that the atomic energy was playing with fire.Do we get another chance somewhere else than earth or is it finally over?

            • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

              Great questions, WNTF.
              My philosophy is the following, (lessons learned over a lifetime of human being):

              Human beings (probably like most young civilizations throughout the universe)
              are better at building new technologies,
              than they are at surviving the technologies they build.

              Human beings work hard,
              to earn the money,
              to buy the toys,
              that kill them. 🙂

              Human beings are just a little too lazy to be great at anything;
              though some of them are sometimes good at some things.

              The positive feelings human beings get from doing meditation
              are not quite enough to inspire them to do meditation. 😉

              Good and bad are constantly at war inside human beings;
              so far, the good is a wee bit ahead.

              The Law of Entropy means that most of the effort human beings expend to build things,
              serves only to depleat natural resources,
              pollute the air and water,
              and fill up dumps.

              The best use of a human being's time is to find a comfortable beach chair,
              in front of a good outdoor beach bar,
              in a warm, sunny climate,
              and to sit enjoying the company of friends,
              with a cold rum drink in our hand. 🙂


      • elucidation_please

        PhilipUpNorth, you state,

        "I know, Pattie, that you have come under fire about your contention that the CSFP has burned. Right now, it seems to be just you that thinks there has been a problem at the common spent fuel pool. I have seen no independent verification of such a fire. There is also no evidence to see in the photos you have provided, either for a fire, loss of roof, or building damage at the CSFP. You keep saying, look here! But I still don't see what you are talking about. I'm not saying you are mistaken. But without some sort of independent evidence… (Ditto RE use of Plutonium fuel, other than MOX, at Fuku, which is not confirmed by any other source than PB.)"

        I agree, from what I have read so far. It has been several days over which she has been claiming this. She is making a very serious claim. Why are there not more of you questioning her confusing line of reason?

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Used fuel from one electric company threatening extermination of much of the planet. And all for nothing.

    • We Not They Finally

      The one question to your statement is.Is it for nothing if we can finally learn the lesson??? Death is a threshold.Even if the planet dies..What comes next?

  • This web cam video says a lot.

    Jan 1 2013
    Common Spent Fuel Pools

    The CSFP is a separate building mostly to the left of the camera.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    "Common pool inventory is 6375 spent fuel."
    "Unit 5: 946 irradiated (used) and 48 unirradiated new unused assemblies.
    Unit 6: 876 irradieated (used) and 64 unirradiated new unused assemblies."
    TEPCO, why don't you please at least remove the spent fuel from the CSFP, and SFP5&6, and haul them somewhere else? Or else, put them in dry storage casks on site.
    If you keep going the way you are going (doing the very minimum every step of the way), we are going to someday have an earthquake (or "accident" or "leak") drive all of your workers away, and the world will just have to live with–or die from–the radition from Fukushima Diiachi.

  • We Not They Finally

    Big thanks to "Time Is Short" for the clear, accurate, overall view. It's scary, but it way beats eyes wide shut.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      The truth always hurts when one tries to deny it. I'm sure if I go to the TEPCO web site concerning this info I will find it but why is it we have never heard about the condition of Reactor 1 and 2 spent fuel pools and speaking of truth, I wonder what shape the cores in Reactors 5 and 6 are truly in and if they did not suffer a partial meltdown as I recall them having trouble with both in the early days of the accident but I guess it really doesn't matter considering the current mess we're in and as they say don't borrow trouble for surely if you go looking you will find it.

  • Sickputer

    Each fuel "assembly" has 63 nuclear rods. Here is an older estimate of the assemblies at Fukushima NPP:

    "The electric utility said that a total of 11,125 spent fuel rod assemblies were stored at the site. That is about four times as much radioactive material as in the reactor cores combined."


    Multiply the assemblies by 63 to get the NYT estimate of spent fuel rods:

  • Sickputer

    Oops…quick submit button… Try 700,875 rods.

  • Gnyf

    This is such rubbish. No good solution for speeding up removal of the rods? They don't know that.
    Japan have refused to accept international help, and have handled the situation like retards.
    If they allowed international experts to evaluate the situation, it's very likely a solution could be found, and with financial help from the international society, resources wouldn't be a problem.
    By not accepting international help to solve this situation, Japan have the whole world hanging on by the last fingernail. Tomorrow the quake that end things can strike, and the idiots intent to drag this out for 40 years? There is no way we can accept this. It's a long time ago this stopped being a Japanese problem.
    What we need to do is to demonstrate in front of every japanese embassy in the world, and show them that enough is enough.
    The fate of the world is not a japanese decision.
    Japan experts? Experts of what? Obviously not common sense.

    • Anthony Anthony

      Well if any of the negative potential of our discussions comes to fruition, this problem ULTIMATELY will become ours to solve. I mean, if the theories on plutonium ETC hold true, Japanese people are goners. I'm not meaning to be cruel or insensitive, I'm saying if the science holds true, they will be poisoned and eventually, not be able to manage or contain the reactors at all. All the while, while we ALL (Japan included) want to LIVE, we are witnessing NOTHING RIGHT integrated into the problem. Two precious years have gone by – radiation must be everywhere now. NOW is the time to have consulted and problem solved with the worlds brightest personnel. It is even on US as well that I say that. If the Japanese were to perish, it will be our task to bear, one way or another.

      You are so very right.

  • WELL!… here some instructional data on the effects of this travesty!


    The 10 leading causes of infant mortality for 2011 were:
    Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
    Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight, not elsewhere classified
    Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
    Newborn affected by maternal complications of pregnancy
    Accidents (unintentional injuries)
    Newborn affected by complications of placenta, cord and membranes
    Bacterial sepsis of newborn
    Respiratory distress of newborn
    Diseases of the circulatory system
    Neonatal hemorrhage

    • So don't think your friends (Sarcastic!) at the whitehouse don't have any idea of what's going on!

      • We Not They Finally

        Whats going on is the same reaction we had to treason on 9/11..
        Denial DEnial Denial….Just like THe whitehouse white washing the diseaster in Japan..By the time anyone comes to the Truth. It wont matter anymore.The great nuclear lie?The farce of BP and the Gulf and the aftermath of the Gulf.The lost of the Gulf Stream and weather irregularities all over the world.The coming mini ice age.The pole shift which may happen fairly soon.The deadly Bird flu and population control. Deny Deny Deny…

  • Sickputer

    I don't know Pattie… They lie like the Japanese government (and probably better). Their stats on page 3 says 600 LESS infants died in 2011 versus 2010.


    I think they fudge data like a soda jerk.

    • they have an entire LARGE amount that's "UN-SPECIFIED" deaths… they don't wish to name the cause of!

    • Three Eleven Eleven Three Eleven Eleven

      This is interesting—

      "Ten or more years often pass between exposure to external factors and detectable cancer."

      "What is Cancer
      Cancer is caused by both external factors (tobacco, infectious organisms, chemicals, and radiation)…"

      Radiation is noted as reasons for these Cancers—

      Other risk factors include occupational or environmental exposure to secondhand smoke, asbestos (particularly among smokers), certain metals (chromium, cadmium, arsenic), some organic chemicals, radiation, air pollution, and paint (occupational."

      Childhood exposure to ionizing radiation is a strong risk factor for thyroid cancer, with risk increasing with greater levels of exposure."

      "Melanoma of the Skin
      Exposure to ionizing radiation and some chemicals may also increase risk."

      "Environmental Cancer Risks
      Studies of occupational groups (cohorts) have played an important role in understanding many chemical carcinogens – as well as radiation – because exposures are often higher among workers, who can be followed for long periods of time."

      Exposure to ionizing radiation increases risk of several types of leukemia."


      • the problem is that plutonium moves it up to 2-5 years and you die of "unspecified" long before you can get a cancer.

        That's the hidden factor in the records… and they will never put a label on it!

        • Three Eleven Eleven Three Eleven Eleven

          Continuing list of cancers caused by radiation:

          "Radiation exposure as a result of radioactive fallout from atomic weapons testing and nuclear power plant accidents, such as Chernobyl, has also been linked to increased risk of thyroid cancer, especially in children."

          "Kidney Cancer
          Radiation exposure (e.g., in medical procedures) slightly increases risk."

          "Medical radiation, such as that used in cancer treatment, is a substantial source of radiation exposure."

          An interesting document full of cancer statistics and more


    • We Not They Finally

      just remember if you have a fox in charge of the henhouse(The Japanese people) The fox will have lots of ripe chickens to eat….

  • ah.. but when you go to why they died…? And that there were less born to more than off-set the data…? It's all in there.

  • Gnyf

    Would you like some more pie, Nancy?

  • yogda yogda

    I want you all to watch this. The information may help fill in some blanks for many of you.

  • We Not They Finally

    Question for the 1& of the 1&..After the world is officially deceased and there is no more food and drink for anyone what will you do with the hoard of gold you stuffed away..Burn it to stay warm?

  • RichardPerry

    Question, what is the maximum time allowed for moving a fuel bundle to a new location for cooling or can they be cooled while moving?