Mainichi: What we face is a great unknown to all of mankind — 10 sieverts/hour outside and levels must be much higher closer to reactor core, says Japan nuclear prof.

Published: August 29th, 2011 at 7:07 am ET
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Experts split on how to decommission Fukushima nuclear plant, Mainichi Daily News, August 28, 2011:

[...] “If there’s 10 sieverts per hour of radiation outside, then the levels must be much higher closer to the reactor core,” says Tadahiro Katsuta, an associate professor at Meiji University and an expert in reactor engineering and reactor policy who was once a member of an anti-nuclear non-profit organization called Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC). “The fuel has melted, and we haven’t been able to cool it consistently.” [...]

Katsuta predicts that it will probably take at least 10 years just to determine whether it is possible to remove the fuel. He adds that it could very well take 50 years before the task of dismantling the reactor and other facilities is completed.

What Katsuta has in mind is a Chernobyl-style concrete sarcophagus, which would entail cloaking the melted tomb with massive amounts of concrete. “How could we simultaneously dismantle four reactors that have been contaminated to the extent that they have by radioactive materials?” asks Katsuta. “Japan has little experience in decommissioning reactors, and this case is quite different from standard decommissioning processes. [...]“

[...] what we face is a great unknown to all of mankind.

h/t Anonymous tip

Published: August 29th, 2011 at 7:07 am ET
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63 comments to Mainichi: What we face is a great unknown to all of mankind — 10 sieverts/hour outside and levels must be much higher closer to reactor core, says Japan nuclear prof.

  • larry-andrew-nils

    i believe they are now TRUTHING.


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  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Nobody in the world has experience with properly decommissioning a melted down reactor, let alone 4 of them?
    Who cares, let’s build some more!! We live and learn from our mistakes, as Joe (stooge) College put it!

    /sarcasm off
    boy, what a mess. I’m raging.


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  • larry-andrew-nils

    im here with my charcoal filters, but if all my neighbors die, what is life worth…

    i imagine myself wandering the earth, looking for people, carting around a large barrel charcoal filter with a hose connected to a snugly fitting face-mask.

    carting from house to house looking for canned goods…
    hoping to find a mate with a matching large charcoal-filter and a face-mask connected with a hose.

    we could make little ones who could wear little face-masks, and have mini activated-charcoal barrel-filters.

    and we would begin searching for possible mates for our children as we made our way to hopi-land, where there is no rain.

    i’m done for the day… done in. finished… kaput… ghandi… out of here.


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    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      I hope you’ll feel better soon….


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    • socal stukncali

      I think about that all the time. I think about how no one will listen to me because I am only 19. I think about how I am probably going to get proved right in an unsettling way. Not even my parents will listen to me. The day will come when all these health problems arise. I live in Long Beach, California. I Have no means to leave or to buy any kind of air purifiers because i can’t work due to a chest injury. When I try to explain the dangers to my parents they tell me that I am just unhappy with my life so I have to make other people worry and unhappy. I’ve accepted the fate already. Not much to do until my injury is fixed which it’s been going on for a year. I feel your pain. All of us who know the actual dangers are overwhelmed.


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      • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication

        @stukncall:

        If it’s any consolation, most of us meet with the same disbelief of family and friends. I keep thinking how horrible it will be for them when they finally realize the truth, that they have been living in a dream world and loved ones have suffered because of their negligence. Courage…keep trying. Know that there are people who know the truth and care.


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  • farawayfan farawayfan

    That 10 Sv outside IS probably a part of the core. Still, yes, it’ll be vastly worse inside. Hope they get that super-duper ultra hardened brainbot line going cause no human is ever getting close to it, at least not until Tepco succeeds in blowing off into the air and water most of the radioactivity.


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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    This should help your OUTLOOK (tweet) :)
    “The industry was arguably on life support before Fukushima. When the history of this industry is written, Fukushima is likely to introduce its FINAL CHAPTER,” said Schneider, lead author of the new report, which was previewed in Berlin today at an event hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
    http://www.worldwatch.org/nuclear-power-after-fukushima


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  • irradiated californian

    i know i have been brash here, but this whole event should be teaching you not to be in fear, but to live your life to the fullest. this is horrible, more for the japanese, and it will get us eventually, but it’s not worth fearing if we never had control of this to begin with. the bastards at tepco should be dragged through the streets of fukushima and thrown in the irradiated ocean surrounding the plant, but that will never happen unfortunately unless the japanese go through with a full on revolution. this is sad, but we’ll get through it if we stay strong. knowledge is power, information is key, we need to stay level, now more than ever, and can’t let this get the best of us.


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    • Thanks for this, though I’m feeling sometimes that no amount of positivity will help. Babies are being born among my friends here with bone marrow trouble just as everyone seems to be losing their health insurance. The coincidence — babies in expensive trouble + Fukushima — is notable — and that’s with ultra-normal background readings, range .10 to .22 mcSv at ground level! What must it be like in Japan for new parents, I’m afraid to contemplate.


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  • Darth

    The solar wind effects on the ionosphere dwarfs the power that HAARP can do – and a Solar Flare is much more pronounced.

    HAARP is nothing compared to what the sun can deliver and does deliver 24/7. HAARP does not boil anything BTW.


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  • arclight arclight

    i think they really need to get people away from the downwind areas now! they need to at least move to safer areas in japan! … there are many housing units at us bases for instance! food needs to be imported largely, until a suitable picture of contamination is completed! kids should be moved to further islands with thier parents..a proper transparent monitoring scheme using industry labs as a priority….basic precautions at this stage…a healthy population can rebuild/restart….. :(


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    • irradiated californian

      the kids…just thinking about what the kids are being put through…it’s sickening…and saddening…it chills me to the core :’(


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      • Whoopie Whoopie

        A bit of good news this a.m.
        Yamashita No Longer In Charge Of Radiation Protection Program in Fukushima
        Too bad it took so long.


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        • radegan

          The Health Network announced a new program: “Smile Your Way to Health” with Dr. Yamashita, promising jokes for doctors to tell patients and tickle pamphlets for treating MS and Lupus.


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  • If you have two hours this is worth a watch. Its a bit slow moving but eventually a few points get made:

    http://australiancannonball.com/2011/08/29/the-great-east-japan-earthquake-lessons-for-japan%e2%80%99s-energy-policy-infrastructure-development-and-media-coverage/

    I think Japan will move away from nuclear but the pro-nukes will have a good bash at trying to stop them.


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  • Bobby1

    32,090 excess deaths in the US post-Fukushima. Data analyzed from the CDC Morbidity and Mortality weekly report.

    http://i52.tinypic.com/23mu4pw.jpg
    http://freepdfhosting.com/1f8fd00f2e.pdf

    Up from 30,000 last week.

    The Mountain and West South Central regions continue with sharp increases in mortality.


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  • Darth

    Only one way to clean this shitty diaper sooner rather than later. It would shut down the atmospheric spreading vector. It’s not a “real” solution but a Dilution Solution. Is it better to have one devil or two devils.

    According to Dr. Busby in an early video – he said the Americans had quietly recommended to Japan to do the following. Sea water rushes in and submerges it all underneath water which provides an infinite heat sink – just like what would happen to a nuclear submarine if it melted down.

    Underground Nuclear Explosion Creates Surface Crater


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    • Steven Steven

      I don’t think we can afford to contaminate the ocean that way. It is the womb of all life on the planet, a living filter for our atmosphere and the root of the food chain. Not to mention the source of much of our drinking water (rain).


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      • Whoopie Whoopie

        I dont know what the answer is but we need a solution QUICK. Tweet came through this a.m. from Lucas:
        NUCLEAR POWER FOR SETTLEMENT­S ON THE MOON & MARS
        How about we just STOP NUCLEAR PERIOD.


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      • Darth

        But, but.. it is going to happen anyway. Say it takes about 100 years for the site to be “cleaned” up. In the meantime it continues to seep and blow.

        The crater option gives a submersible a chance to pluck up the hot debris sooner rather than later. Certainly within a few years and not a hundred years.

        It is interesting to think this through with these different approaches. It just makes the whole situation so unacceptable for there is no easy out. Stop all use of nukes and take our lickens as best we can is our only option.


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        • Darth

          If we don’t stop the next option is not an option but an outcome. ELE


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          • Darth

            Nobody sees this as a Back-To-The-Drawing-Board event. They want to preserve economies and their civilization as if nothing has happened. But something has happened and it requires a serious about face. And that means downturn for our life styles and our civilizations. A great rethinking is required.


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  • Jebus Jebus

    GoodBy Nuclear Power, don’t let the door hit ya in the ass!

    With these truths that we here already knew and that the masses have yet to realize, I just want to say to any nuclear shills, operators, government officials, anyone who is reading this and has any support for nuclear power left, that the following wiki link is how it’s done!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_Nuclear_Power_Plant

    With only 15 decommissioned plants across the globe, I feel that you, the nuclear industry, need a little help in this endeavor. A few pointers for the inevitable.

    I was in jr high and living just 20 miles away, when the trojan plant was built and fired up. One of my best friend’s father worked there. I knew many people who worked there, it provided money for the towns around the area. I worked for the vector control at the time and I have stood next to the fence by the reactor vessel and spoke with the m16 armed guards patrolling the perimeter.

    The wiki link will fill you in on why it was taken down. In short, it just didn’t add up to be a viable or cost effective way to make electricity. Nuclear power to this day is a taxpayer subsidised money pit.

    One of my best memories of this plant, is the day they brought down that cooling tower. Everyone was glad to see it go. The people around this area are doing fine without a nuclear power plant in their neighborhood. The world will do fine without nuclear power also.


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  • Jebus Jebus

    Greenpeace: Fukushima schools unsafe after clean-up

    By Natalia Konstantinovskaya

    TOKYO | Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:08am EDT

    Aug 29 (Reuters) – Greenpeace said on Monday that schools and surrounding areas located 60 km (38 miles) from Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear power plant were unsafe for children, showing radiation readings as much as 70 times internationally accepted levels……

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/29/japan-schools-greenpeace-idUSL4E7JQ1U520110829


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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    What’s going on with #2?!?!
    Meanwhile at Fukushima Daiichi’s No. 2 reactor, a thermomete­r located on the upper part of the pressure vessel showed a RAPID RISE in temperatur­e to 120 C on Monday, up from 72 C the previous day.
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110829p2g00m0dm037000c.html


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  • Jebus Jebus

    This is the kind of fnking shxt we are fighting!
    Misinformation that is not disputed by facts, this guy is an educated idiot! I wanted to post there but needed a login…So I will show the shill monkey off. Someone throw this thing a radioactive banana!

    Fukishima Disaster Holds Lessons for Engineers

    Nearly six months after a devastating earthquake rocked a nuclear power plant in Japan, engineers say the design lessons are starting to come into sharper focus.

    The good news from the event is that residents near the Fukushima Daiichi plant weren’t exposed to high levels of radiation. The bad news is that some plant workers may have been exposed to higher levels, and the plant itself sustained serious damage. Three of its reactor cores probably ruptured, and cracks reportedly surfaced on the outside of the four-foot-thick concrete containment walls…..

    http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1395&doc_id=232832&f_src=designnews_gnews


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    • Steven Steven

      “They wasted a lot of time when they could have been pumping seawater”

      That statement reeks of self delusion. The use of seawater to cool the reactors was one of those unforseen, ‘fix bayonets’ moments. Nobody had even considered the idea prior to this, and no doubt there were some very hurried calculations to check that it wouldn’t just make things worse. As it is, the use of salt water has probably thrown up unknowns yet to be revealed. So I don’t see how anyone can criticise TEPCO for that particular gambit, they had their backs to the wall and tried something outside the box, rather than sit around and watch the whole thing go south.

      The author clearly believes that Fukushima is just a bump in the road. We should chip in and send him the airfare for a tour of the ruins.


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  • catweazel

    To:
    I don’t think we can afford to contaminate the ocean that way. It is the womb of all life on the planet, a living filter for our atmosphere and the root of the food chain. Not to mention the source of much of our drinking water (rain).

    well i guess thats the master plan from the beginning and my guess is that the sea was used b4 to wash all shit away if needed. unfortunately the corium slipped away and is spreading additional gases and dust not catched by “cooling water”. Think of fuku as spongebob, holes everywhere and totally water-soaked. no one can tell where a pipe ends, they are also only reporting the water poured in, how much disappears is totally unknown. they are riding the tiger from the beginning and they fear to loose the grip to the tiger tail (because the only way to ride a tiger is by griping his tail).


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  • americancommntr

    How hard would it be to take a tank, make it remote control, put a flamethrower on it, and mount Brown’s Gas generators on it?

    That’s how a Midwesterner would take care of the outdoor hotspots. What the HELL is Japan’s problem?

    If Brown’s Gas can take a Cobalt 60 tablet and reduce it to background levels of radiation, then it could make an impact on nuclear fuel contaminants.

    Would the Japanese government rather screw around doing nothing?


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    • Sickputer

      That won’t work…the debris is too solid to incinerate and you would never be able to refill the tank after it gets contaminated. Plus the worst radioactive debris is underground many feet now.

      There is only one way to remove the debris short term and that’s an option which involves shaped small nuclear (neutron) bomb charges blowing the entire island into the ocean. Theoretically it could relocate the coriums and everything to the ocean…now that doesn’t solve the water contamination, but might stop the air releases.

      Maybe. The world is pretty well SOL as it stands so whether they decide to fight nuclear fire with nuclear fire is a decision that won’t be made lightly.


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      • americancommntr

        The object is not to incinerate, but to pass the flame over the radioactive material. Or, pick it up and put it in a container and then pass the flame over it. At some point thicker materials might require breaking or crushing. The idea is to try it and see if it works for nuclear fuel. Why we have never heard of this being tried for spent fuel in the US, even mentioned, is a testament to the corruption of the people in charge in industry and government. There is the possibility the military doesn’t ever want there to be a means to make nuclear fuel go away. I guess it does not think the US citizenry smart enough to realize nuclear weapons are a necessity anymore, and can’t ever be done away with.


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  • Sickputer

    BTW…I got here late…anybody have the full text of the article before Mainichi pulled it?


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  • James Tekton James Tekton

    Service with a smile in the face of such calamity.

    UNITED WE STAND!

    ~~~~

    Experts split on how to decommission Fukushima nuclear plant

    An experiment to decontaminate soil is conducted in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture, on Aug. 11. (Mainichi)
    An experiment to decontaminate soil is conducted in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture, on Aug. 11. (Mainichi)

    What is actually going to take place at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, where word is that the four reactors that were crippled in the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami will eventually be decommissioned?

    The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) defines “decommissioning” as the process of removing spent fuel from reactors and dismantling all facilities. Ultimately, the site of a decommissioned reactor is meant to be reverted into a vacant lot.

    In 1996, the then Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) — now the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) — finished decommissioning its Japan Power Demonstration Reactor. The decommissioning process of the Tokai Nuclear Power Plant in the Ibaraki Prefecture village of Tokai began in 1998 and is set to end in fiscal 2020, while the No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear reactors at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in the Shizuoka Prefecture city of Omaezaki are slated for decommissioning by fiscal 2036. Around the world, only around 15 nuclear reactors have thus far been dismantled.

    The standard decommissioning process entails six major steps: 1. Remove spent fuel rods, 2. Remove radioactive materials that have become affixed to reactor pipes and containers, 3. Wait for radiation levels to go down with time, 4. Dismantle reactors and other internal vessels and pipes, 5. Dismantle the reactor buildings, and 6. Make the site into a vacant lot.

    “Cleaning,” “waiting,” and “dismantling” are the three key actions in this process. Needless to say, this all needs to be done while simultaneously containing radioactive materials.

    In the case of the Tokai Nuclear Power Plant, the first commercial plant to undergo decommissioning, spent fuel was removed over a span of three years beginning in 1998, and was transported to Britain for reprocessing. Dismantling of the facilities began in 2001, with current efforts being made toward the dismantling of heat exchangers; workers have not yet begun to take the reactor itself apart. The entire process is expected to be an 88.5-billion-yen project involving 563,000 people.

    Hitachi Ltd., which manufactures nuclear reactors, says that it “generally takes about 30 years” to decommission a reactor. The Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 1 and No. 2 reactors operated by Chubu Electric Power Co. are also expected to take about 30 years before they are decommissioned.

    In the case of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, meanwhile, the biggest challenge lies in how to remove the fuel, says Tadashi Inoue, a research advisor at the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), a foundation that conducts research on energy and environmental issues in relation to the electrical power industry. Inoue has long been engaged in research concerning nuclear fuel and reprocessing, and as a member of a special committee in the Cabinet Office’s Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), is deliberating mid- to long-term technological milestones for the stricken Fukushima plant.

    “But,” Inoue continues, “we must deal with rubble contaminated with radioactive materials that were scattered in the hydrogen blasts and treat the radiation-tainted water being used to cool nuclear fuel before we can go on to fuel removal.”

    Currently, the Fukushima plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), is desperately trying to treat the contaminated water. Huge challenges remain with regards to the contaminated rubble, as radiation levels of over 10 sieverts per hour were found near outdoor pipes on the plant grounds just the other day. Exposure to such high levels would mean death for most people.

    Each step in the process toward decommissioning is complicated and requires great numbers of people. It’s a race against time because the maximum amount of radiation that workers can be exposed to is 250 millisieverts.
    Workers spread lining sheets in a huge trench dug to bury radiation-contaminated topsoil collected from the ground of Yasawa Elementary School and Kindergarten in Minami-Soma, about 20 kilometers away from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility, in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
    Workers spread lining sheets in a huge trench dug to bury radiation-contaminated topsoil collected from the ground of Yasawa Elementary School and Kindergarten in Minami-Soma, about 20 kilometers away from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility, in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

    Prefacing the following as “a personal opinion,” Inoue says: “Building a car that can protect the people inside as much as possible from radioactive materials, and attaching an industrial robotic arm to the car that can be manipulated by those people could be one way to go about it.”

    Two types of fuel removal must take place. One is to take out the spent fuel in the containment pools, and the other is to remove the melted fuel from the reactor cores. Because the radiation levels of the water in the spent fuel pools have not shown any significant changes from before the crisis, it is believed that the spent fuel has not suffered much damage. However, removing it will require repairing and reinstalling cranes to hoist the fuel rods out.

    The breached reactor core is a bigger problem. It is believed that raising water levels inside the reactor has been difficult because of a hole in the bottom of the vessel. It will be necessary to plug the hole, and continue filling the vessel with water while extracting the melted fuel. How to fill the vessel with water is still being debated. If the reactor can be filled with water, steps taken after the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident can serve as a guide because in that case, in which approximately 50 percent of the core had melted, workers were able to fill the reactor with water and remove the fuel within.

    Inoue predicts that removal of spent fuel from the containment pools will begin about five years after the crisis, and about 10 years in the case of melted fuel from the reactor core. Work on the four reactors at the Fukushima plant will probably take several years.

    “Unless we look at the actual reactors and take and analyze fuel samples, we can’t know for sure,” Inoue adds. Plus, even if workers succeed in removing the fuel, reprocessing it is an even more difficult task. A review of processing methods and storage sites, moreover, has yet to take place.

    The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) calculated in 2007 that decommissioning one nuclear reactor costs approximately 66 billion yen. Inoue suggests, however, that the cost of decommissioning reactors after a disaster of this magnitude may be much higher.

    Meanwhile, at least one expert says he doesn’t believe that workers will be able to remove the melted fuel from the crippled plant.

    “If there’s 10 sieverts per hour of radiation outside, then the levels must be much higher closer to the reactor core,” says Tadahiro Katsuta, an associate professor at Meiji University and an expert in reactor engineering and reactor policy who was once a member of an anti-nuclear non-profit organization called Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC). “The fuel has melted, and we haven’t been able to cool it consistently. If work is begun five or 10 years from now when radiation levels have not yet sufficiently gone down, workers’ health could be at serious risk.”

    Katsuta predicts that it will probably take at least 10 years just to determine whether it is possible to remove the fuel. He adds that it could very well take 50 years before the task of dismantling the reactor and other facilities is completed.

    What Katsuta has in mind is a Chernobyl-style concrete sarcophagus, which would entail cloaking the melted tomb with massive amounts of concrete. “How could we simultaneously dismantle four reactors that have been contaminated to the extent that they have by radioactive materials?” asks Katsuta. “Japan has little experience in decommissioning reactors, and this case is quite different from standard decommissioning processes. It’s not realistic to think we can revert the site back to a vacant lot. I think we should be considering options such as entombing the site with concrete or setting up a protective dome over the damaged reactor buildings.
    This satellite file image taken on March 14, 2011, and provided by DigitalGlobe shows the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)
    This satellite file image taken on March 14, 2011, and provided by DigitalGlobe shows the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)

    As for decommissioning costs, Katsuta predicts the figure will not be as high as the construction cost of the reactors (300 billion to 400 billion yen per reactor) themselves, but close to it, due to the massive amounts of highly contaminated radioactive waste.

    Regardless, what we face is a great unknown to all of mankind.


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  • bleep_hits_blades

    Darth, the solar events(CMEs) are occurring very far away and cannot be focused, pulsed, repeated, as can HAARP’s directed energy. This solar energy is diffused to a considerable extent by the distances it travels and cannot be focused on a particular area and repeated.

    Your comparison really does not hold up.

    You wrote:
    “The solar wind effects on the ionosphere dwarfs the power that HAARP can do – and a Solar Flare is much more pronounced.

    HAARP is nothing compared to what the sun can deliver and does deliver 24/7. HAARP does not boil anything BTW.”

    HAARP is one of the new generation of weapons – directed energy weapons.


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    • americancommntr

      HAARP or any EM weapons system, if it can tap into the vacuum energy of space, would be extremely powerful. Angels Don’t Play This Harp mentions the theory of tapping into the ‘electrojet’ of the earth’s atmosphere. Tom Bearden says the Russians tap into the core of the earth and extract energy there to transfer through space-time to whatever location they want to heat up or destroy. Recently before the Democrats in the Senate shut it down, the Navy had a ‘free electron’ laser which according to the ‘news’ article apparently freed up the need for chemicals by pulling electrons out of the air. There’s also the possibility of taking the radioactivity out of substances with such weapons systems, reportedly.


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  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    ““If there’s 10 sieverts per hour of radiation outside”

    The meters they used only go up to 10. If I have a thermometer that only goes up to 100 and stick it in an open flame, and it goes to 100, does that mean the flame was only 100 degrees? Of course not. Same principal with the 10 sievert readings…..


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  • odylan

    Same edition Mainichi: Bullet train halted after driver forgets glasses.

    Turns out there were 700 people on that train!

    Sign of the times.

    “Be careful out there.” (from Hill Street Blues). Wise advice.


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  • Clocka

    Use nukes under the sea, create an earthquake, and sink the fuck-u-shima thing under the mantle of the earth. That was the solution of Kaku which should have been used.


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