MIT Professor & US Experts: Japan “must act now to seal Fukushima reactors, before it’s too late” — Concern US to be affected by “explosions – a chain reaction, engulfing reactors one to four” — “Situation is dynamically degrading and unstable” — Aircraft can likely entomb plant in 6 months

Published: April 4th, 2014 at 1:40 pm ET


South China Morning Post (Subscription Required), Apr. 4, 2014:

Ernst G. Frankel is emeritus professor of ocean engineering at MIT — Jerome A. Cohen is co-director of the US-Asia Law Institute at NYU Law School — Julian Gresser is chairman of Alliances for Discovery — Dick Wullaert also contributed to the article

  • Headline: Abe must act now to seal Fukushima reactors, before it’s too late
  • Dear Prime Minister Abe, the Fukushima crisis is getting worse.
  • The key assumption […] is that you still have a safe window of time, at least two or three more years, and possibly longer, to deal with Fukushima’s four damaged nuclear reactors
  • What if this assessment is unrealistically optimistic? What if the safe window of time is less than a year? What if the very concept of a safe window is inappropriate for Fukushima? The fact is, we really don’t know what might happen.
  • According to [Tepco’s] published engineering reports, the most severely damaged reactors are only secure to the level of a magnitude 7.9 earthquake.
  • The crucial question is: how secure is the facility against any number of dark scenarios?
  • There is a high probability that, if a quake of magnitude 7.9 or above, or some other serious event, strikes Fukushima, a “criticality” will occur.
  • The least dangerous would be the local release of strontium-90, caesium 134/137, or nano-plutonium.
  • Far more dangerous would be an explosion, or a series of explosions – a chain reaction, engulfing reactors one to four – that would spew this contamination over much broader areas of helpless populations. The next criticality may be far more serious […]
  • The jet stream will transport airborne contamination to the U.S. and other parts of world
  • Fukushima may be far more dangerous [than Chernobyl] because the risks are continuing, and the situation is dynamically degrading and unstable.
  • The formidable problems of access to reactors one to three make accurate assessment of the true extent of the damage, hence the level of risk and vulnerability, extremely challenging.
  • We urge that you commission a 30-day independent assessment by a multidisciplinary international team of experts on the feasibility of entombment of reactors one to four, addressing the following specific scenario among others: Use helicopters mounted with telescopic nozzles, and, after reinforcing the spent fuel pool in the target reactor, spray it with special lighter-than-water concrete, dissolved in water solution; let the pool harden, along with the remainder of the facility, which is also sprayed until it becomes impervious to radiation or explosion.
  • Reactors one to four can probably be entombed within six months. Entomb them.

See also: [intlink id=”former-govt-official-growing-likelihood-fukushima-reactors-will-be-entombed-nuclear-national-sacrifice-zone-only-try-reduce-contamination-escaping-unprecedented-situation-flowing-pacific-ocean-c” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: April 4th, 2014 at 1:40 pm ET


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247 comments to MIT Professor & US Experts: Japan “must act now to seal Fukushima reactors, before it’s too late” — Concern US to be affected by “explosions – a chain reaction, engulfing reactors one to four” — “Situation is dynamically degrading and unstable” — Aircraft can likely entomb plant in 6 months

  • RichardPerry

    What ever damage is done from a NPP problem must fall on to the licensing body that allowed the plants to operate, the owners are building NPP to the licensing bodies requirements for safety reasons, we can not blame TEPCO for this, the licensing body is at fault. The IAEA should know what actions is required as they are the experts in the field, so they have not suggested any action to take that the public knows about, do they not know or is the cost to high to do what is needed or are they making suggestions to TEPCO only, so they will not look incompetent when it does not work. The NPP industry does not what the public to know when the IAEA makes mistakes, that will affect their reputations, the IAEA is to look like the experts that over see NPP design, build and operation in the public eye.

  • Socrates

    Fixing the mess known as Daiichi requires a thorough understanding of soils engineering and hydrology. The uphill water comes down as an aquifer. That water flow must be diverted. I would engineer an aquaduct and empty that water into the sea.

    Empty the spent fuel pools to the extent possible. The remainder would be potentially criticality materials that could be entombed.

    The cores would have to be air-cooled. After another five years, begin excavating corium(s).

    Meanwhile, surround the seaside to the east of the plants with a sea wall using a jetty of rocks. That would create a lagoon to prevent further contamination of the ocean.

    Take a bulldozer and make a deep depression in the earth. Put the responsible people in this trench and create a sarcophagus unless they publicly admit their crimes and declare their stupidity. Forfeit their assets to assist children in escaping the island.

    Imprison all organized crime figures in Japan. Reduce acceptable limits to original background. Get a jury system as the conscience of the community.

  • Shaker1

    "Take a bulldozer and make a deep depression in the earth. Put the responsible people in this trench and create a sarcophagus unless they publicly admit their crimes and declare their stupidity. Forfeit their assets to assist children in escaping the island."

    I would much rather see them be forced to take upon the fate that they've allowed to others, make them do some actual work, sweat their exposure inside of those white suits and breathe their used stale breath from their respirators or face masks, feel the aches of muscle and bone with exertion to remediation to come to some idea their vaunted imagination can't give them using physical tools they've forsaken to risk foisted upon others, and feel the worry and desperation that they've assigned to the lowly. Have they ever known such discomfort, or if they did, once where they are, have forgotten how it feels?

    I once was running a project that was behind that management thought could be solved with 'warm bodies' so they sent some lowly salesman down to help. Here they are, in their pressed pants and white shirts, and one says to me, "What can I do?" I was so pissed I gave him a hammer I held in my hand and said, "Hold this" and walked away. I'll admit that after a couple of minutes I felt bad about it and I returned intending to actually try to put him to work. There he was, standing in the same approximate place, still holding the hammer. I sent him back upstairs. Ture story.

    Socrates, you may be…

  • Can anyone explain the difference between a nuclear reactor

    criticality excursion

    a melt down

    #3 Fuku explosion


    • razzz razzz

      As far as I know:

      A melt down is decay heat without cooling water present. As temperature rises, everything is melting, no nuclear chain reaction involved.

      Criticality excursion is any chain reaction, simply unwanted or not planned for or not under controlled conditions. It will self extinguish absent neutrons splitting fissionable material.

      A reactor explosion is typically hydrogen buildup igniting, amplified when under pressure.

      A chain reaction needs a moderator such as water but with enough hydrogen present, it too could act as a moderator. If either (hydrogen or water) burns and/or flashes to steam, the moderation of neutrons ends along with any possible chain reaction.

      A continuous or run away chain reaction needs a concentration of fissile material(s) present which fuel rods do not possess. There can only be a potential for a short lived chain reaction in a reactor or fuel pool. It is possible for fuel to melt and the fissile fuel to distill out into concentrated blobs since fissile materials are heavy elements that might settle to the bottom of a molten core mass for better fissile conditions.

      The most you will get out of a nuke plant meltdown, reactor or fuel pool, is a very very dirty bomb. An engineered nuclear bomb explodes semi-efficiently where maybe half the pure fissile fuel burns up creating enough heat to carry fallout high into the sky. Nuke power spent fuel is dirty and intentionally inefficient to begin with.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

        So why did they put concrete under Chernobyl? Because there would have been more explosions when the melted core hit the groundwater.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

        'Worse Than Chernobyl': When the Fukushima Meltdown Hits Groundwater
        March 29, 2011
        “…If reactor 3 is in meltdown, the concrete under the containment looks like lava. But Fukushima is not far off the water table. When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won’t simply cool down. It will explode – not a nuclear explosion, but probably enough to involve the rest of the reactors and fuel rods at the facility.
        “Pouring concrete on a critical reactor makes no sense – it will simply explode and release more radioactive particulate matter. The concrete will melt and the problem will get worse. Chernobyl was different – a critical reactor exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactor cores are still melting down. The ONLY way to stop that is to detonate a ~10 kiloton fission device inside each reactor containment vessel and hope to vaporize the cores. That’s probably a bad solution.…”

        • razzz razzz

          Chernobyl's greatest fear was that it would find a source of water to moderate neutrons causing further explosions. It is also rumored to have been a fast breeder reactor which starts with purer uranium fuel to produce plutonium in a shorter time period. AKA a military project since that type of reactor can have its fuel assemblies removed individually without shutting down the reactor. This could account for the massive explosion when starting with purer fuel.

          A couple of onsite scientist lost their lives to radiation when manually operating valves to stop any potential water from reaching the melted core.

          The attempt to intersect any core melt if it traveled out of the bottom of the building was a reaction to the unknown possibilities of a core meltdown i.e. how hot could it get, how hot could it stay, how far could it melt through concrete, would it stay together as one, etc. When the melt spread out and air cooled in place without threatening to leave the building, the mining adventured was abandoned.

          Daiichi suffers from the same unknowns. Does it fissile? More than likely it still fissiles on it own but spotty and briefly considering all the uncontrolled water (moderator) present.

          At least Chernobyl is partially contained (still vents to open air) and not into a water table or ocean like Daiichi is. Plus Daiichi has no containment for (3) melted cores, vents to open air and melts erode away in ground water to an open sea, fallout is the main worry now.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

        Reports: ‘Deformed’ containment vessel cover at Fukushima Reactor 3 — Center panel of concrete cover ‘broken and sunken’ (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

        Reactor Designer: “It was a nuclear explosion” at Fukushima Unit 3; Plutonium scattered after blast — ABC: “There’s willful denial and lying going on here, even at the highest levels” (AUDIO)

        Reactor 3: Summary and Latest Situation (12/31/2013)

        Ernest Goitein
        January 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm • Reply
        “What an incredible disaster. I am surprised that there is no on going criticality in the spent fuel pool.”

        • razzz razzz

          If there was going to be a critically event, it should be in SFP 3. SFP 4 seems to still have its boron sandwich cubby holes intact plus the pool water must be heavy borated again to prevent any reactions. Biggest risk comes when pulling them out if damaged or dropped.

          SFP 3 has the most damage by far but still holds water. Pool water would have had to boil completely off and the racks melted down for the fuel rods to start reacting to each other. Hard to say what happened there yet. So far, it looks like 3's reactor was the source of the majority of ejected fuel rods and fuel pellets and atomized fuel and atomized radioactive wastes.

          Unit 2 is probably the source of a majority of groundwater traveling radioactive wastes.

  • Runningonlove Runningonlove

    Do any of the posters here have an opinion on whether the Roy Process for transmuting radioactive elements could possibly be applied at Fuku? Obviously, getting at the material would have to come first,and may well be nigh impossible, but I'm still curious about any comments the experienced folks here on this forum would have about Roy.

    • arclight2 arclight2

      4 reactorsd and you can bet they were doing something like strengthening the colour of gemstones or creating depleted uranium.. there is a list.. including very expensive radio isotopes for the science and health industries.. the iaea web site advertises quite alot of the "services" usually at the expense in funding of biologists etc

      Jannette Sherman said that the real health benefits of science will come from the biologists (when they can get the sort of funding or even a fraction of funding that the nuclear lobby gets for universities and health departments etc..

      of course its all secret now… see my post below.. mind you the blogs means that it isnt a secret if you have a computer.. 😉

      peace runningonlove

    • Runningonlove Runningonlove

      Hey I just saw that the Roy process has been already chewed over back a page…ignore previous comment

  • arclight2 arclight2

    this explains monbiots attack on busby

    HAve you seen where Alps has gone anyone? bloody waste of time and money..

    In line with Japans secrecy laws and the Trans Pacific treaty and trans atlantic treaties coopyright laws (know you can see whu they NEED copyright laws and how they are getting around the opposition)

    qiuck mispelling so you know its me 🙂
    and this is the tip of the iceburg – ref Glen greenwald and friends

    sorry about the multi link admin but they are a natural (not that i ususally gamble)

    peace to all the enenewsers and keep the faith.. we are winning imo

    just have to bust decommissioning by melting in nitric acid (causes NO2 pollution)

    downwind from la hague and sellafield and we get this data to get the ball rolling….
    wonder where all the nitrogen is coming from?


  • J.

    At the end of the article:

    "Julian Gresser is chairman of Alliances for Discovery. Ernst G. Frankel is emeritus professor of ocean engineering at MIT. Jerome A. Cohen is co-director of the US-Asia Law Institute at NYU Law School. Dick Wullaert also contributed to the article."I search for "Alliances for Discovery" and come up only with information about its NPO status. No website that I can find. I find that odd. I

    Professional Profile of Julian Gresser:

    Julian Gresser (Tel: 1-805-563-3226; is an international attorney, negotiator, inventor, and recognized expert on Japan. As a negotiator his most dramatic success involved helping a San Francisco-based trading company transform its $8 million after-tax branch into a $1 billion Japanese company in seven years.

    From 1976-1983 he was twice Visiting Mitsubishi Professor at the Harvard Law School and also taught courses as a Visiting Professor at MIT on the legal issues of strategic industries. He has been a Visiting Professor at Beijing University, where he taught seminars on Japanese and U.S. environmental law, and also helped the Chinese environmental authorities draft China's Marine Pollution Control Law.

    He has served as legal advisor to numerous American, Japanese, and European companies on a wide array of business issues, including joint ventures, limited (venture capital) partnerships, technology licensing, export controls and customs fraud, antitrust, and intellectual…

  • J.

    . . . etc.

    I wonder whether this fellow has the knowledge and experience to recommend any mitigation protocol. The professional profile comes from a site on which his consulting services are promoted.