Japan Nuclear Engineer: I don’t think they’ll ever get Fukushima’s melted cores; Will probably start covering reactors in concrete — German Expert: May encase areas in sarcophagus

Published: November 4th, 2013 at 2:37 pm ET


Helmholtz Special, 2012: Dr Walter Tromm is Spokesperson of the […] Nuclear Energy and Safety at the Karlsruhe Insititue of Technology, collaborates on international expert committees on the safety of nuclear reactors: “Debris and scrap metal are to be removed from the plant bit by bit in order to finally dismantle it and/or encase the areas with the highest degree of radioactivity in a sarcophagus.”

Fukushima by Mark Willacy, book published July 1, 2013 (Excerpt): […] there was much -expert scepticism about whether the government’s 40-year road map would be achievable. ‘I also hope decommissioning can be completed in 40 years,’ said [nuclear-reactor engineer] Hiroaki Koide. ‘But I do not think it is possible.’ […] In an interview with me 20 months after the meltdowns, TEPCO also appeared to be backing away from its four-decade decommissioning road map, admitting that the task in front of the company was unprecedented. ‘We hope to accomplish it in 40 years as per our engineering schedule,’ said Junichi Matsumoto. ‘But we will need to develop manipulators and other jigs and containers to put the bits in.’ […] the gravest challenge would be locating and removing the melted cores inside reactors 1, 2 and 3. ‘I don’t think they can pick up the melted nuclear cores,’ said Koide. ‘Instead, they’ll probably start work to cover the reactors in a concrete sarcophagus. It will take them more than ten years to even begin this work. And then it will take decades to finish each sarcophagus.’

See also: [intlink id=”uc-berkeley-nuclear-professor-work-to-go-on-for-thousands-of-years-at-fukushima-site-could-be-impossible-to-remove-melted-fuel-containment-vessels-may-not-survive-audio” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: November 4th, 2013 at 2:37 pm ET


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35 comments to Japan Nuclear Engineer: I don’t think they’ll ever get Fukushima’s melted cores; Will probably start covering reactors in concrete — German Expert: May encase areas in sarcophagus

  • Bones Bones

    Can the Ocean be diverted from there as well as all ground water and routes of escape? We can put a cap on a glass bottle with a hole in the bottom, but it will still leak; If we only look at it from the point of view of the top of the cap it looks fine.

    • robertsgt40

      Yup. At least they won't experience "China Syndrome". It's too close. More like South America Syndrome.

  • Socrates

    A Niagra Falls worth of water passes through continously. We need hydrolic engineers and dam experts. Can the Ocean be saved? That is a tough question, Bones.

    A partial sarcophagus is part of the answer. Cooling while isolating is very hard.

    If your plumbing is flooding, the radiator cannot kerp the engine cool and yet isolate the ocean ftom contamination at the same time.

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    Finally some sanity in the discussion? Finally?

    Was thinking along the same lines, Bones and Socrates. Divert the water upslope, remove whatever debris and hot material it is feasible to move/remove.

    Mitigate the worst case scenario, such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other acts of nature or even nuclear terrorism or sabotage.

    Encase whatever you can in a sarcophagus ASAP (and don't wait 10 years to do it).

    Begin realistic assessment of what to do with all the contaminated water onsite.

    Have the world's best experts working on new technology to handle all of this. The experts should be applying their skill and brilliance to trying to figure out what can be done to deal with the molten, melted out coriums.

    Have seen at least a couple of great suggestions re: drilling wells to inject boron, encase the coriums in borosilicates or other substances underground.

    Whatever they do, they need to think BIG and quit being stingy. The survival of all life on earth is at stake.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      That is, do whatever would be necessary to mitigate a worst case scenario, should such an event occur. IMO several worst case scenarios have already occurred, so this needs to be taken much more seriously. The status quo thinking of nuclear engineers and physicists, "health physics" experts has been proven to be utter foolishness.

      Now let's just hope and pray (if we're the praying types), think on, meditate on, hope for the best. Hope they become ashamed of their foolishness, and live their lives to make amends for the damage and suffering they have caused.

      I send a lot of energy, mental energy out that way, anyway — believing intention has effect. Forgiving others for their foolishness and folly is part of personal responsibility. Bitterness does not move the world in the direction in which it should go (as a side note).

      Just my two cents' worth.

  • flatsville

    Breaking news if true. Unit 4 fuel removal delayed.


  • jackassrig

    What will TEPCO set this sarcophagus on pudding? TEPCO will need to drive piles to Argentina to support the massive monolith. To design the structure 5-7 years. Where are the skilled workers going to come from? Will they want to be shot through and through with radiation? Horse hock. Schedules? Schedules like promises made to be broken. Horse hock.

    • flatsville

      They need to divert water and drain the site and treat run off to bear some weight.

      Large shot crete domes are lighter weight and may be the best option after "cocooning" buildings.


      Can be vented to filter as much as possibe.

      Relatively EQ and typhoon resistant design.

      Won't ever fix it, but will mitigate.

  • Gradius

    Everytime I read news about Fukushima is worse to horrible. You can't just "pick up" the fused reactors since they must be at +3000C or even more not counting on radiative. Closer them you would last less than 10 secs even with all protection possible.

    • We Not They Finally

      Yes! Considering that no one has seemed to have a solution anywhere even for NON-melt-through nuclear waste, this is just talk.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    N O . W I N . S I T U A T I O N

    Can't get near the corium. Machinery fries and stops in it's tracks, and workers would drop dead instantly.

    Encasing won't work either because they can't get underneath.

    • flatsville

      Nothing will ever "fix" it. Mitigation is possible to an extent…if the site holds up geologically speaking and for on site and airborne work. That time line is shortening rapidly.

    • Tarangela Tarangela

      And the robots sent in…never came back.

  • Found this on Google but the link has been taken off or disabled. Wonder what the whole article said?

    JBIC | Tokyo Electric Power, Toshiba and Japan Bank for …
    http://www.jbic.go.jp › Home › About JBIC › Press Release › Year 2008‎
    Feb 10, 2009 – Tokyo Electric Power, Toshiba and Japan Bank for International … with Strategic Relationship Agreement and Uranium Offtake Agreement.

  • gmathol

    When we are watching the Japanese TV we get always the propaganda how advanced the Japanese technology is.

    Well, Fukushima gives testimony that Japanese technology isn't advanced. The robots don't work in hazardous environment etc..

    Get over it – Japan won't do a thing and the Pacific will have to take the big hit and of course people who rely on resources of the World's largest ocean.

    R.I.P. – Japan! Or should we say – no brains.

  • A PFD link, basically 270 million $US invested in buying tons of uranium starting in 2014. http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/ir/en/news/20100809.pdf‎

    "Still, the growing criticism of Tepco has bureaucrats and politicians searching for some solution. "We must avoid a situation in which Tepco fails, so ultimately the government will have to step in and take on the burden," said Koichi Hagiuda, an LDP lawmaker close to Abe."


    "The pro-nuclear Abe administration was backing TEPCO’s plans for restarts.

    In its growth strategy adopted in June, the central government said it will make efforts to win the understanding and cooperation of local communities for restarting reactors whose safety has been confirmed by the NRA." and

    A senior ministry official said TEPCO had no choice but to seek restarts because it cannot expect to return to the black soon without restarting the reactors.

    If TEPCO incurs a third consecutive loss, banks could suspend additional loans."


    This is a money thing not an environment thing. That is the perspective shared by TEPCO, JapGov and no doubt US gov. A no-brainer to dam the underground river but that won't please the banks. Starting up more NPP's in earthquake prone Japan will please the banks.

    • Gradius

      @Mark: So we can see money is much more worth than the Ocean, the Human race and The Earth. What a HUGE fools! They all should be sent to swimming on 4th pool asap!

    • Emmanuel Truthseeker Emmanuel Truthseeker

      The 'hole' should be plugged with the entire international banking cartel. Place the Rothschilds on the bottom, next the Rockenfelders and so forth. Then, since STUXNET was involved, the Israeli perpetrators will make good stuffing material, as well. Sigh, if it were only this easy. I have a bad feeling Fukushima Dai-ichi's nuclear fallout will continue to poison the planet for ever.

      The people responsible for the global nuclear power industry should also be used for stuffing, 'the hole.' They are obviously very, very stupid people, regardless of the many engineering degrees they may have hanging on their walls. Just because you were educated in a 'government' licensed university, does not make one intelligent; it just fills one's brain with information. The ability to process that information and come up with solutions, that is a sign of intelligence. And, in my opinion, it does not take rocket science to figure out that incredibly dangerous technologies, such as nuclear power plants, should not be placed over fault lines and set on a beach. Even a three year old, with half a brain, would think that was a stupid idea.

  • We Not They Finally

    "It will take ten years to EVEN BEGIN this work?" Then decades from then on in?

    This is all abstract/theoretical, yes? And what would the death toll be by then, plus the even GREATER impossibilities?

  • flatsville

    "And what would the death toll be by then, plus the even GREATER impossibilities?"

    Perhaps the death toll is a great deal fewer in the long run. Doing nothing substanitive, wrining our hands and screaming "HYDROVOLCANIC EXPLOSION" hasn't "saved" anyone thus far.

    I am greatful the Soviets didn't dither around with Chernobyl.

    I don't understand what "even GREATER impossibilities" means.

  • American Phoenix57

    It means the Fuku "minions" are going to screw this up far beyond the realm of possibilities. Sorta like the expression FUBAR.

  • flatsville

    It is one open air FUBAR experiment as it is. Int'l effort/experts might keep TEPCO from making it worse.

    For example – If they contnue on..removing fuel without shoring-up the fuel pool…during typhoon season…it will most certainly fail.

    There's likely one good shot at remediation. That window is closing.

  • Gradius

    How much humanity has after the Ocean is dead? 1 year? 2 years? 5 years?

  • Ron

    Don't forget Deep Water Horizon pouring oil into the ocean too.

    Just saw a bumper sticker the other day on the back of a big white ford pickup. Drill Drill, Drill Now, Pay Less!

    Not in the long run you redneck fool.

    Are we ready for clean alternatives YET?

  • Ron

    That was Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less.

  • Emmanuel Truthseeker Emmanuel Truthseeker

    Life enhancing technologies have been suppressed by a certain group for a long time. We never needed to go nuclear to have electricity. We never needed to use the Earth's counter balancing fluids, oil and water to make energy. Now 'they' have redistributed the water and created huge reservoirs which weigh millions of tons in order to make electricity, which the earth generates naturally. These huge reservoirs have caused the planet to tilt on her axis and the extraction of the oil from inside the crust has helped to further tip the balance.

    Here is an excellent book: Lost Science, by Gerry Vassialatos, Earth Pulse Press, Anchorage, AK. This marvelous book chronicles some very significant suppressions. It is difficult not to get angry when reading this material and contemplating how much better life would be for everyone on Earth if it wasn't for the 'suppressors.'

    Just a few examples of suppressed technologies: Changing the material matrix and lifting heavy blocks with sound. The Rife Ray Tube cure for all viral diseases; including cancer. How to tap into the ground and obtain electricity directly from Mother Earth. The invention of a telephone which would never have needed a telephone company, and so on. Just think, a first century Roman surgeon's kit is almost identical to a modern surgeon's kit; the tools are every bit as refined. The RC church is one group which did a good job suppressing the development of that life enhancing science, indeed…

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    The Fukushima Solution is simple:
    Demolish and remove Generator Buildings1-4.
    Extend Impermeable Wall around Buildings1-4.
    Repeat with a second Impermeable Wall 100' inside the first one.
    Excavate between the 2 Impermeable Walls.
    Pump out water, add rebar, build Sarcophagus foundation between the 2 Impermeable Walls.
    Remove intact spent fuel from SFP1-6, and CSFP and put ino Onsite Dry Cask Storage.
    Fill Wet Well1-4 with concrete.
    Fill Containment1-4 and Reactor1-4 with borated concrete.
    Lay 10' thick reinforced concrete over ground between Building1-4 and Inner Impermeable Wall/Foundation.
    Build Sarcophagus around Building1-4, to a height of 100' above Unit2 roof.
    Drain Tank Farm into barges and take to a remote harbor, preferably a nuclear test site, for decon.

    When finished with decon, return barges to Tokyo Bay for dumping in Japanese waters.
    Decommission all nuclear plants worldwide.
    Find a way to decon Pacific Ocean, and restore Pacific Ocean Ecosystem.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    About the only thing you can do at this point–and the most important thing to do at Fukushima–is to…


    (Excuse me for yelling this out, but it seems as if TEPCO just doesn't understand this simple point.)


    Build an Extended Impermeable Wall, from ground-level, to the bottom of the aquifer.
    100'+ deep.
    Build the Wall completely around Reactor1-4.


    (I really shouldn't have to be yelling about this, after 2 1/2 years, should I? It is so simple and basic. And, yet, TEPCO pretends not to understand any of this, and insists that nothing can be done about the flow of contaminated groundwater into the Pacific Ocean.)


    I repeat:


    Where are the damn coriums, eh, TEPCO?

    (Come on people. How can you expect TEPCO to do anything about the 3 MISSING CORIUMS unless you yell about it?)

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth


    • Foggyworld

      What is so damn annoying about Tepco and Japan is they are leaving out so many nations that have had experiences with parts of the problems they are facing. NYC was in effect added onto when Battery City was built up 20 or 30 years ago. Storm Sandy did come and some water entered the lower part of Manhattan but I believe that new area wasn't where – though it should have been because it faced the storm.

      The Netherlands has had hundreds of years of studying and improving methods of keep water out and there are nations all around this world that have had similar though not exactly their experiences.

      Russia certainly used a radically different approach on Chernobyl and another set of methods was used at TMI. Neither of them was perfect but the world isn't living every day in fear of them. And they know best what did not work and that information alone is priceless as is what did actually help.

      There are so many new techniques and even more interesting materials that have been developed that might be used here. Much of that work goes on in universities. Marine biologists are needed as are meteorologists and human physicians of many types. The list goes on.

      For the life of me I do not understand why Japan isn't hosting – not in Tokyo – 1000 or more of the better people in the world to let them study and seminar themselves into exhaustion. And a million dollars each per year would be chump change given the fact that the life of their nation is on…

  • misterdog

    Where are the Worlds Experts? Anyone signing on for this project?
    Is this where the underground cities come into play? Leaving the rest of the population to survive or attempt to survive..All nuclear plants & weapons should be shut down! This is a perfect example of the consequences, of a Nuclear Accident! Unfortunately,Our Ocean & all marine life are in danger & All Lives including Humanity are dangling by a fine line. Meanwhile Warmongers, The Banksters, With all their greed, Warships off the coast firing Nuclear missiles for practice into our Oceans. The United States Navy, With a 5 Year contract in the Pacific Ocean, To experiment & test their electromagnetic weapons & fire into the Ocean, Killing Whales & Dolphins at their whim, All for the sake of Technology.Haarp ripping holes in our Atmosphere, All for the sake of Weather Modification & Other agendas in mind.Geo Engineering aka Chemtrails Polluting our skies & Poisoning Humanity each time we take a breath In! We share this Planet with Wildlife & marine Life as well. Can we press the pause button? "Pause"….Everyone turn around! Pay Attention! Look what is happening! Let's fix all of this now, Not later, before it is to late! We are caretakers of this Planet! It is our job to protect the Future of our Planet & Loved Ones, Who Will Exist on this Planet, After we are Gone.These Power Mongers must be stopped. I for one am not backing their Play! Are You?