NRC team’s initial impressions were that Spent Fuel Pool No. 3 might not be there after seeing photos from different perspective

Published: February 29th, 2012 at 3:36 pm ET


Follow-up to: [intlink id=”developing-asahi-flyover-spent-fuel-pool-reactor-3-sfp-be-center-screen-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Official Transcript of Proceedings
Title: Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi ET Audio File (telephone conference) Friday, March 18, 2011

BRUCE BOGER: Now for the teaser that I said earlier teaser, the, we just received some photographs of the Unit 3 reactor building that were taken from a different perspective than we’ve seen. Most of our photos have either been from the west side or from the top.

These are from the east, taken from the west looking east. And they are showing quite a bit of damage that we couldn’t see before. So that’s something that we’ll be working on over, through the night, working with GE to get some structural, better understanding of elevations and what we might be seeing in these pictures.

But it, it doesn’t look good. I’ll tell you that. Bill?

BILL RULAND: I have an update. I have an update.

This is the Bill Ruland, they Reactor Safety Team director. We got these pictures from Tepco provided to the team in country, the NRC team in country. We’ve got these pictures and it, they, this is Unit 3, and it shows a large, you know, shows significant damage to the structures. We provided these to General Electric, who, of course, had desigr drawings. These people have been in the building, inside the building, so they have a pretty good idea. It turns out that the Unit 3’s elevations are different than Unit .. So if you look at Unit 1 and you try to make sense of Unit 3 structure, you’rE not going to get the right picture.

It turns out — and of course, the peoplE on the phone can’t see this, but there is, what you can see exposed is the rail that the crane, the refueling crane, the drywell head crane arrives on. That’s what this rail is right here. Okay, so that’s so what you can see is — you know, it’s, because of the way this building is constructed, it’s constructed a level below the other structures. So GE, in talking to us, believes that the drywell head — it’s tough to see the drywell head on this picture. So we’ve asked them to make, we provided these pictures and we’ve asked them to provide their assessment of what they see, and I think that’s going to be critical to help us make a decision.

They are on it as we — you know, I just got off the phone with them, and they’re going to provide their assessment of what, in fact, this is telling them, you know, if anything. So you cannot rule out or rule in whether the spent fuel pool is still intact based on what we see in this picture. Now the Site Team’s initial impressions were that the spent fuel pool might not be here, but they don’t have the knowledge that General Electric has.

So we’re going to get that assessment from them, and we’re going to also talk to the site when I leave this phone call, or send an email, to make sure they know that their initial view of this matter is different than what they might have apparently thought. So that’s kind of where this stands.

Published: February 29th, 2012 at 3:36 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. 220 Million Bq/liter of Cesium now in No. 2 Spent Fuel Pool — SFP No. 1, 2, & 3 “clearly have significant spent fuel damage” (VIDEO) August 28, 2011
  2. Tepco concerned about liner of No. 3 Spent Fuel Pool at Fukushima plant? (PHOTOS) December 19, 2012
  3. Watch: Empty spaces seen in Fukushima Unit 3 spent fuel racks — “Would ordinarily hold spent fuel” -Asahi (VIDEO & PHOTOS) October 16, 2012
  4. Tepco Handout: Working to prevent “break of structural materials” at No. 3 Spent Fuel Pool — Spent past 6 weeks removing radioactive material — Salt corroding structure? March 3, 2012
  5. Confirmed: 35-ton machine “sitting on top of the spent fuel rack in the pool” of Reactor No. 3 — Extent of damage not yet known (VIDEOS) April 17, 2012

40 comments to NRC team’s initial impressions were that Spent Fuel Pool No. 3 might not be there after seeing photos from different perspective

  • sonnen.blum.239 sonnen.blum.239

    glutemus protectorus maximus. rain in St Louis was only 1/2 times background radiation this morning. These guys "viewing" the wreckage are up to more of the same misinformation and coverup. Why not simply tell the world what they know, saw, or suspect, as real or as frightening as that might be?

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    peoplE you'rE
    What? Is that CODE FOR WE'RE F**KED!!

  • Time after time we see an announcement that is a big surprise (to the officials, not US). It amazes me that they have to get the info from photos taken by foreign journalists, amateurs, visitors, etc. Supposedly there is around the clock workers (well, maybe not weekends). So why do these things come as a surprise AFTER photos or videos appear on the internet? Makes me think they knew all along, and only admit it after it becomes public knowledge.

    • gottagetoffthegrid

      the conversation between BRUCE BOGER and BILL RULAND took place on March 18, 2011 — right in the middle of the initial crisis. However the transcript was only posted this week here:

      this is a play-by-play of what was going on and what they knew at that time.

      • lam335 lam335

        Re: March 18th

        Meaning they knew that massive amounts of plutonium had probably been vaporized by the blast, yet they still had their "experts" go out and reassure the public that there was no danger, and Fuku would be nothing like Chernobyl.

        • James2

          Exactly. They were in coverup mode from the moment they were told.

          They also broke Federal Laws, and should be in prison.

        • Kevin Kevin

          Yes this is definately the criminal component.

          Potentially tons of plutonium scattered miles up and around, yet if you smile you will be just fine.

  • steve from virginia

    There are numerous photographs taken by remote-piloted helicopter and others which clearly show both the spent fuel pool filled with water as well as the reactor head service plugs in place atop reactor unit 3.

    After the explosion there was steam venting from the access gate gasket to the (empty) dryer head pool. The gantry is fallen on top of the service plugs. A great deal of sheet-metal framing is fallen into the spent fuel pool. The roof was blasted apart both over the SFP and the northwest corner. The large explosion within the lower central area of the reactor building caused severe damage to the roof and roof support structures.

    Until the sheet metal and other debris are removed from the service deck it will be difficult to determine exactly what is — or isn't — inside the spent fuel pool. I don't know what Tepco/Japgov are waiting for.

    • bincbom

      Probably, they are waiting for radiation levels to drop. And if that's the case it's going to be a long wait!

    • Got links to those pictures?

      From what I can tell Reactor 3 no longer exists except for some yellow shrapnel in the rubble.

      Also, I just saw 2 report on Building 3 radiation, 15000 milli-Sv per hour, or 15 milli-Sv per hour.

      either one means you don't spend too much time there except with a remote crane!

      Sheesh, they don't even put water into building 3

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      You will need to prove those assertations. I have yet to see a photo that shows the spent fuel pool in 3 intact. And the number 3 reactor is completely gone. Provide varifiable proof of your statements. Everyone here knows you can't but go ahead and try, we will keep an open mind.

      • James2

        You have not been looking. Not only was the SFP3 intact and there are plenty of photos – start at cryptome here.

        Not only that, but there are detailed photographs workplans and progress reports of the desalinization of the SFP3 and the new heat exchanger installation to cool SFP3 in June and July of 2011.

        I seriously doubt if they would have done this work, or been able to get those pictures, if the SFP no longer existed at that time.

        Of course it does no longer exist today – it burned up starting in Early December.

    • James2

      Steve you are incorrect about any photos that showed the cap intact on #3

      That's because it was not.

      And the NRC knew it too. Read further in this transcript – on page 268 GE tells them that the cap blew off – of course the actual sentence is redacted, but it's clear what is being said.

      Jacsko himself repeats it on page 288 (redacted again, of course) You can see the dance, from that moment forward they decide they've got to get to the photographers and the media folks, and get a PR team involved.

      They knew on March 18th what happened at unit 3…

      • Kevin Kevin

        Page 268 is what is posted above by admin.

        • James2

          No it isn't that quote is from earlier in the document.

          This is what it says on page 268.


          So GE, in talking to us, believes the drywell head — it's tough to see the drywell head on this picture. So we've asked them to make, we provided these pictures and we've asked them to provide their assessment of what they see, and I think that's going to be critical to help us make a decision.

          They are on it as we– you know, I just got off the phone with them, and they're going to provide their assessment of what, in fact, this is telling them, you know, if anything.
          So you cannot rule out or rule in whether the spent fuel pool is still intact based on what we
          see in this picture.

          Now the Site Team's initial impressions were that the spent fuel pool might not be here, but they don't have the knowledge that General Electric has.
          END QUOTE

          GE says drywell head is missing – which conflicts with site team "initial impression" – they've asked GE to tell what the "implications: of this information is.

          Sorry Kevin – you've been wrong for months and you are still wrong, and you've been lied to.

          • James2

            Ok, sorry the one bit above is from page 268 – but it's out of context. The context is that GE has just told them the core blew –

    • Kevin Kevin

      Hi Steve.

      I have seen virtually all pictures and footage of 3 and the claims that they are of the spent fuel pool.

      None of which is definitive as you point out.

      Further, nowhere is there design specs for reactor three. AS this post by admin clearly points out, even high level nuke types are not aware of the design and hence where referring to GE who built it.

      We do know that reactor three was built different than the other reactors. Including building it more robust than the others for reasons I am sure none of us want to know as I cannot fathom why that would occur if they were not intending to do things in that building other than simply produce electricity.

      I agree it would be nice for TEPCO to release the basic information which they must know.

      1) status of reactor and pool
      2) how much spent fuel was in the pool

      They know this but they have not relased it.

      This does not instill confidence.

  • many moons

    I thought they weren't even bothering throwing water anymore….a sure sign somebody knows it isn't there….do they even still have any hoses on the rubble?

  • Kevin Kevin

    Precisely what I have been saying since day one.

    I wrote Arnie specifically about this, received a legal form letter.

    Have disputed this with certain posters here since the begining.

    It is often repeated that nothing, I repeated nothing is happening at reactor three. They leave it entirely alone. Too much radiatoin there.

    We nned to know, pronto. The status of number three SFP and how much fuel was/is there.

  • Alice Alice

    This is just super dandy, isn't it?

    My confidence in the ability of ANY nuclear manufacturer to stand behind their product has already taken a nosedive right to the seabed.

    GE needs to concentrate on energy that doesn't require extinction of every form of carbon based life. If they had been smart, they would have done this decades ago.

    Even toasters have warranties.

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    Bill Ruland, the Reactor Safety Team director, sounds like a silver tongued PR man to me. My paraphrase:
    'Now hold your horses guys, don't jump to any conclusions, especially not from those on the ground in proximity. Wait to see what the comfy GE cadry back home in the good old USA have to say.'

    BR is PR all the way.

  • many moons

    They are treating us like we do not deserve to live!!!!!!!!
    If you have GE products haul them out infront of the house/apartment and take a baseball bat to them..Let passer bys know why you hate GE (make it a happening)
    GE doesn't bring good things to life…they bring radionuclides, DNA mutations, aerosol plutonium and lots of other shit….

    • Kevin Kevin

      You said it many moons.

      Some surprising facts.

      Today its all over the news that GE is leading the way out of the recovery. They are busy making more acquisitions and every thing on the balance sheet is just rosy.

      GE paid no taxes on billions of profits in the US last Year.

      GE CEO is Obamas right hand man on all things economic and is known as the Jobs czar. GE employes more people around the world and is only offering what amounts to token lousy jobs in the US.

      GE teamed up with Hitachi (going by memory) to bid on clean up of Fukushima, amout bid was ASTRO?NOMICAL. Not sure if they ultimately won bid or are apart of the efforts.

      Japan is just now talking about possible not buying F35 fighters soon to come on line at the cost of billions. GE builds the engine in these fighters.

      I am just getting started here but you get teh idea.

      • ruth

        Makes you wonder how many disasters and crises that GE swoops in and profits from were as a result (direct of indirect) of GE products, actions or inaction's.

    • psylotron

      Also you would consider to boycott Toshiba and Mitsubishi products,those corporations are closely related to the nuclear industry. And don't forget G.E owns a lot of mainstream's media corporations all around the world, then we can understand the media blackout. This situation is really annoying, first they build up nuclear power plants, then they use the madia just to say NPP are safe and they produce cheap and clean energy(Bullshit), when a disaster happens they say "it's not that bad, we can handle it" and then they get a lot of money to clean up the mess ,or shoud i say: pretending to cleaning up the mess. Perfect, wonderful bussines. BTW: im lucky beacuse there are two MArk II General Electric reactors only less than 80 Km from my location here in México, I'm so so lucky. Just google: Laguna Verde NPP in Veracruz,Mexico.

    • dharmasyd dharmasyd

      G.E. We nuke live things to death.

  • James2

    Again – take a look at page 268 of the transcript above – both GE, the NRC and the chairman of the NRC knew on March 18th, that the core of Reactor #3 breached on March 14th.

    They knew it four days later. I'm pretty sure the president knew that day too.

    Of course those of us that had a brain, and saw the explosion knew it too.

    • lokay5 lokay5

      As I've said from the very explosion of Reactor 3; anyone who thinks the explaosion at Reactor 3 was simply hydrogen is either deluded, ignorant or wishfully thinking.

      • James2

        You forgot paid – they might be getting paid to think it – which is worse than any of the others.

  • snkfreak

    i wonder whats really going on?

    i was in japan 2010 and i fullfilled my lifetime dream back then. now my girlfriend and me booked a new trip to japan for november this year.
    can we expect to enjoy this land as much as we did in 2010? are there many people running around with geiger counters?
    what about the high amount of radiation detected in tokyo station this year? i cant believe that air radiation should be around 5 micro sieverts per hour!
    the march 2011 disaster really fucked everything up and iam so sad about it because japan is the country i love most, more than germany where iam living now.
    has anybody here reading this stayed in japan after the accident or planning to travel there again this year?
    if spent fuel 3 really isnt there anymore, whats the meaning of this? radiation levels in japan didnt spike up the last few months…but if it really burned down they should have, am i right?

    can´t really point out the situation now. whiy don´t they cover all buildings NOW?

    thanks for you replies.

    • ruth

      There is a wealth if information to answer some of your questions on this site. Not sure if archive working just now as site under reconstruction. Check out for information on people staying and going.

      Speaking for myself, Japan is not on my list of places to ever visit. Radiation is accumulative and I'm getting more than I like here in the US.