NBC News: Fears that Fukushima plant could “break apart” during cleanup process

Published: May 2nd, 2013 at 10:49 am ET


Title: ‘A very fragile situation’: Leaks from Japan’s wrecked nuke plant raise fears
Source: NBC News
Author: Arata Yamamoto and Ian Johnston
Date: May 1, 2013

Like the persistent tapping of a desperate SOS message, the updates keep coming. Day after day, the operators of the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant have been detailing their struggles to contain leaks of radioactive water.

The leaks, power outages and other glitches have raised fears that the plant — devastated by a tsunami in March 2011 — could even start to break apart during a cleanup process expected to take years. […]

“Until you can stop that transfer, you will not contain the radioactivity. That will go on for years and years until they contain it,” [Independent nuclear expert John Large] said. “The structures of containment start breaking down. Engineered structures don’t last long when they are put in adverse conditions.” […]

See also: Fears have also emerged that the Dai-ichi plant could break apart during cleaning, NBC News reports –NY Daily News

Published: May 2nd, 2013 at 10:49 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Fukushima cleanup workers break silence: Ordered to dump ‘debris’ into river — Gov’t “appeared not to believe him” March 2, 2013
  2. Fukushima Workers Speak Out: We hide accidents at plant — CNN: Health is suffering — CBS: Radioactive materials “just pour right in” after cleanup (VIDEOS) October 23, 2013
  3. Kyodo: Terror drill at Fukushima nuclear plant — Fears about ‘highly fragile’ cooling systems May 11, 2013
  4. Kyodo: Radiation fears keep Fukushima kids inside — Filmmaker: Adults break down in tears when seeing children forced to play at indoor ‘smile parks’… “Suddenly, I was overcome with emotion and began to sob” December 25, 2012
  5. AP: Tepco admits radioactive water is flowing into Pacific from Fukushima plant — AFP: Experts warn of effects on humans; “Fears of ocean contamination” July 22, 2013

42 comments to NBC News: Fears that Fukushima plant could “break apart” during cleanup process

  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    It's already falling apart…

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    "There was also some reassuring news in February, when a report by the World Health Organization said Fukushima had caused “no discernible increase in health risks” outside Japan and “no observable increases in cancer above natural variation” in most of the country."

    And the lies pour forth like the water washing over the coriums…

    • We Not They Finally

      My husband and I are baby boomers — post WWII. As children, cancer was RARE. Now it is COMMON. So health risks have gone up GREATLY. They just went up relatively gradually though delayed response. It started with a relatively sharp increase in the 80's for nuclear insanity in the 50's and 60's. But soon enough, "the new normal" was established — indeed, the PR culture of "survivors" — how GREAT it was to be "a survivor." Then it was just "normal" for one-third of the population to get cancer some time in their lifetimes. Young people today may think that it was ALWAYS "normal." It wasn't. Believe me, the risks and increases are indeed "discernible"! Honestly, they are criminal.

      • Time Is Short Time Is Short

        Something interesting about cancer, WNTF. All the CO2 used in carbonated beverages, worldwide except for (some) natural spring water, comes from oil refining. The white smoke you see coming out of the stacks at the oil refineries? That smoke is full of CO2, and the liquid gas companies pull the CO2 out, liquify it and ship it to bottlers for the bubbles in those big white liquid gas tube trucks. No drink contains natural CO2 (which is a poisonous gas, anyway).

        All the bottlers care about is if it doesn't taste like gasoline, and in many areas extra 'flavor enhancers' are added to hide the taste of the CO2. The dirtier the gas, the cheaper it is. No one cares about 'maximum government standards' for VOC's in CO2 used in beverages – sodas, beer, cheap carbonated water, CO2 cartridges, etc.

        And we all know what years of ingesting VOC's can do to the human cell structure.

        Years ago I contacted several of the major cancer groups about this. No one wanted to talk about it. Cancer is big business, and there are a lot of people that don't want it 'cured'.

        The FDA? Our government hasn't cared about protecting anyone for decades, further back than anyone wants to admit.

        Call around if anyone doubts it. You won't get anywhere.


          excellent info TIS…

        • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

          shared your info Timeisshort 🙂 Thanks for it, we were having a soda discussion and examining the data of the latest diet soda study.. some of the results they could not explain.. I think they failed to consider this.


            agreed Cataclysmic. This was some invaluable information. I'd heard others warning against carbonated drinks before and didn't know why. I thought it might've been more about the additives they're using. I only consume 'natural' sodas (cane sugar) but now I'll be thinking twice about them, too…

            Thanks again TIS…

      • We Not They Finally

        Every day in every way I feel more and more exposed to radiation bursts. bask in the glow ….

  • 16Penny 16Penny

    WHO, it is way too early to make claims such as this. Your report is useful for one thing, wiping bloody backsides from rad poisoning.

    "There was also some reassuring news in February, when a report by the World Health Organization said Fukushima had caused “no discernible increase in health risks” outside Japan and “no observable increases in cancer above natural variation” in most of the country."


    "Radiation from computerized tomography scans may cause cancer decades later, according to a study that estimated about 29,000 future malignancies would occur in the U.S. because of CT scans done in 2007."


    "Although you might not get leukemia, Radiation always has increase in risk every time you are irradiated. Basically increasing chances of getting tumor or cancer, but its CHANCES not necessarily that you will get it."


    In answer to the question "Is ionizing radiation a cause of breast cancer?", the Cornell experts say "Yes" and note ".. female breast tissue is highly susceptible to radiation effects." But then they pooh-pooh the possible hazard from mammography x-rays saying the risk …"should not be a factor in individual decisions to undergo this procedure.

    Only have to win the cancer lotto once, grand prize is death. WHO, step up…

    • sunpower

      It is in the WHO earliest charter that they cannot say a thing bad about radiation. That is why they had to pull their study on DU.

      • Mack Mack

        It's important for everyone to understand why many believe the WHO study is flawed:

        (A) At the Fukushima Symposium, Dr. Wing said:

        1. the WHO study did not assess doses within 20 kilometers of the Fukushima power plant
        2. the WHO study did not assess fetal doses
        3. the WHO study chose not to assess radioactive gases such as Xenon

        16,000 PBq of Xenon-133 was released from Fukushima; more than from any other nuclear accident.

        Xenon-133 can cause lung cancer.

        (After Three Mile Island, a 50% increase in lung cancers was seen in those exposed to the initial plume path.)

        By the WHO leaving out the above 3 things, you can see how the health-effects statistics will be lower.

        (B) The WHO study predicts:

        * 70% increase thyroid cancer risk in females exposed as infants
        * 6% higher risk in breast cancer in females exposed as infants
        * 7% higher leukemia risk in males exposed as infants

        HDr. Ian Fairlie said he believes there will be higher incidences of breast cancer and leukemia due to Fukushima.

        (C) The WHO study is based on dose estimates from a previous report on Fukushima and is also based on data from lifespan study of atomic bomb survivors.

        Read these 2 posts to understand how the atomic bomb surviver study is flawed:

        (credit to HH)

        • Mack Mack

          To sum it up, the WHO study leaves out important data and bases its conclusions on a flawed atomic bomb surviver study.

          • Mack Mack

            As Dr. Wertelecki pointed out at the Fukushima Symposium,

            * The studies done on the atomic bomb fallout survivors don't really apply to nuclear meltdowns because:

            1. atomic fallout survivors are exposed to neutron/gamma radiation, but meltdown survivors are exposed to beta radiation

            2. a nuclear meltdown is not a blast, but a continuous drip of radiation

            3. the nuclear meltdown is not so much external exposure, but inhaled or swallowed radiation


  • 16Penny 16Penny

    "Leaks into the sea would not only affect the marine environment, Large said, as tiny radioactive particles would be washed up on the beach, dried in the sun and then blown over the surrounding countryside by the wind."

    All around the Pacific and eventually the world. Bio accumulated by algae, kelp and other lifeforms and served to you at dinner, present in building products, possibly in clothing fibers.

    On the bright side we can now study the migration of humans over time based on the levels of these radioactive isotopes contained in their organs at the time of death.


      there's also another process 16Penny, caused by the crashing of waves against shores, resulting in aerosolization of nuk-contaminated water. The resulting 'mist' can drift inland for miles and condense on anything that's exposed to it.

      As the distance increases between the source of contaminants (Fukushima) and another coastal region (West Coast of the USA), static quantities of ocean-borne nuk-contaminants could be considered negligible; that is, until you realize this 'insult' can both increase in magnitude (tea-bagging) and occur over coastal regions that run for thousands of miles. It's conceivable, if this such contamination continued unabated for a decade or more, an exposed region could become biologically 'sterile' if not outright uninhabitable…


  • 16Penny 16Penny

    Another steaming pile of dung in this article:

    "Steve Kerekes, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, said it was “incredibly unlikely” that a similar accident could happen in the U.S."

    "Significant safety improvements were made in the U.S. after Fukushima, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the last major nuclear incident in America at Three Mile Island in 1979, he said.
    “Our layers of defense extend beyond what the Japanese had in place,” he said. “We’re now well into our fifth or sixth layer of back-up defenses to ensure there would not be – regardless of the cause – a serious accident that would jeopardize public safety.”"

    We have seen several accidents recently, not hard to go back so I won't document. The plant at Fukushima was built considerably more robust due to the EQ hazard, ours are like paper houses in comparison. Geologists have warned several U.S. regions that it isn't if but when for record EQ's. We are not prepared for widespread catastrophe such as a New Madrid EQ. One week or less after a regional EQ and then it's time for the meltdowns and fallout. Please don't buy the crap the industry is peddling. They lie.

  • Just how many 'transport vectors' are there?

    "…then blown over the surrounding countryside by the wind."
    – from article

    …and then where does it go?
    Into the soil or a lung perhaps.

    It probably mixes with the radioactive debris they're burning.

  • mairs mairs

    “Every technology has pros and cons. We feel when you look at the benefits of nuclear energy, it’s very effective, round-the-clock electric supply,” Kerekes said.

    Cold-blooded. He is in effect saying, "Heck, Fukushima is falling apart and TEPCO is virtually helpless in the face of this since we don't have the technology to clean up a radiological disaster of this magnitude, but you know, every technology has its pros and cons.

    • 16Penny 16Penny

      Alternative methods of "effective, round-the-clock electric supply" are already on the shelves and some bright innovators are coupling several methods of alternative energy together which can store energy when production exceeds demand and release energy to buffer during peak demand and time when production falls short of demand. And there is the alternative of just conserving and using enough to get by but no one is interested in being inconvenienced.

      Onward into the maelstrom, reactors at full output!

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Plant could..break apart during…cleanup."
    Damaged spent fuel assemblies will dump half a ton of raw fuel pellets each during defueling handling.
    Ground water will wash through corium debris on the way to the ocean.
    Unit4 will tilt and totter.
    Temporary hoses and holding tanks will leak.
    Switchgear will be destroyed by rats.
    Smoke and steam will come out of the ground.
    Safe to say,
    Fukushima IS breaking apart during cleanup.

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      Assuming there is any real 'cleanup' taking place, versus PR operations.

      Which category does throwing everything they can into the ocean before all the workers die fall into?

  • weeman

    The structure of the earth is breaking down never mind the structure at Fukushima breaking down, no thanks to nuclear fission.
    How come all these PhDs only point out to us the obvious, ever heard of going out on a limb when the data supports.
    You might have brains but no guts, I guess it goes with the territory bazinga.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    There is no cleanup. Technology doesn't exist to locate or remove the melted cores. Very far off, if ever.

  • CB CB

    Fukushima…a Dire SOS Message [VIDEO] http://ow.ly/kDTUR @Thom_Hartmann's daily take

  • Sol Man

    Organ harvesting will probably decrease with everyone touched by radiation. Who wants irradiated organs? There goes the market.

  • Cisco Cisco

    From NBC…What do you expect!
    " Steve Kerekes, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, said it was 'incredibly unlikely' that a similar accident could happen in the U.S. Kerekes pointed to a report by climatologist James Hansen — until recently head of NASA’s Goddard Institute — that said nuclear power had stopped the release of massive amounts of greenhouse gases and saved 1.8 million deaths related to air pollution."

    Tough to win the battle of words and ideas when shills like Kerekes and Hansen control the microphone. These folks won't stop until it's over; and, now that light at the end of the tunnel is a train of nuclear radiation that will kill them too.

    45 in 100 will now will develop cancer
    1 in 50 children now being born with autism
    The list goes on and on.

    Looks like a duck, flies like a duck, quacks like a duck…Nope, it's a swan, right. Who ya gonna believe; them or your lying eyes. GMAFB

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      Anne, was it you or Patty B that had that data on nuclear fuel processing pollution emissions? I'd appreciate a replay, thanks.

      IIRC, the above from Hansen is pure crap.

    • datura17

      just remember they created heroin to cure morphine addiction.

  • KingofthePaupers

    Jct: More timely bad news after I just submitted my video "Turmel: Argentine Solution to Alex Jones Operation Paul Revere InfoWars.Com Contest " http://youtu.be/IfJSauKiJPQ
    If John The Engineer Turmel's to be the Paul Revere, I must bring warning of a mortal danger near and clear. Paying to decommission and bury nuclear with the Argentine Solution.

  • Wanting to put the mal back in Las Malvinas?

  • Sickputer

    Very chilling fact to remember from John Large:

    "Leaks into the sea would not only affect the marine environment, Large said, as tiny radioactive particles would be washed up on the beach, dried in the sun and then blown over the surrounding countryside by the wind."

    SP: The ocean will NOT dilute it all.

    "Greenpeace has been testing food sold in supermarkets, and to date has not found “radiation levels higher than government guidelines,” Takada said."

    SP: Sounds good, but even at a 90 bq/kg level of cesium that is 15 times higher than it was pre-Fukushima. And what about the things they don't test for like plutonium, uranium, and strontium-90?

    "a report by the World Health Organization said Fukushima had caused “no discernible increase in health risks” outside Japan and “no observable increases in cancer above natural variation” in most of the country."

    SP: The key word is "most". So let's say the 80% of the country is only 10-15 times pre-Fukushima fallout levels. But if the 20% that contains 40 million people has 50 times greater fallout contamination than the pre-2011 levels (and growing)…then things are bleak. Not exactly an Olympic winning bid environment.

    "A survey for the institute in February found that 68 percent of Americans supported nuclear energy."

    SP: This is pretty unfair to sample a fairly small pool of 1,000 people surveyed by phone. What kind of phones? Just landlines? See any problems with that methodology?


      a productive survey Sickputer, is only as promising as the lead-in questions. Now, if you really want an honest response to what people think about nuclear power, call them at-around 3AM in the morning…

      • jump-ball jump-ball

        And if you want to hear their 'fair and balanced', 'talking point', politically-correct low-information-target responce, call them during the day on their NoBama Phones (the cost of which to date has recently been quoted at $2.2 BIL):


        • mairs mairs

          Jump-ball, respectfully, the "lifeline" phone service discount was started during the Reagan Administration, in 1984. In 2008 it was expanded to include discounts for cell phone service provided by TracFone, called "Safelink Wireless". It consists of discounted phone service for those who who are a certain percentage over the poverty line or below, and it never involved free phones, just discounted service. The program is paid for by a fee assessed against phone service providers, who may or may not pass it on to their customers. I remember the "lifeline" fee on my bill years ago. It has nothing specifically to do with the Obama Administration.

          • Mack Mack

            @Sickputer –

            1. That survey "for the institute" (the Nuclear Energy Institute) was done by Bisconti Research.

            The President of Bisconti Research is Dr. Ann Bisconti.

            The Bisconti website says:

            "Dr. Bisconti teaches about communicating on nuclear issues at Fundamentals of Nuclear Communications, a course sponsored by Nuclear Energy Institute. She also teaches about ongoing and crisis communications at World Nuclear University, a summer institute for future leaders sponsored by the World Nuclear Organization with support from the International Atomic Energy Agency."

            She also "was elected for two terms on the Board of Directors of the American Nuclear Society."

            Bisconti's clients can be seen on the bottom of this page and include TEPCO, Exelon, Entergy, Dominion, the Nuclear Energy Institute and on and on…


            P.S. – Where is aigeezer? He excelled at digging into things.

            2. The REAL poll that everyone should pay attention to is the latest and extremely important GALLUP poll.

            The Gallup poll says that over 70% of Americans want more WIND, SOLAR and even natural GAS energy.

            Nuclear energy is at the bottom with coal and oil.



  • fill er up

    the fear should be japan causing another 9 pointer and another tsunami causing already wounded fukushima to break off into the ocean

  • Wynd Wynd

    Ain't it just quaint they are worried about breakup when They try to clean it up not breakup 24/7 due to earth changes or human catastophes. How convenient!

    To see the players that keep this fiasco going visit