New fear of explosions in Fukushima — Nuclear waste threatens to “spontaneously combust” — Millions of tons of radioactive material could be released — Nuclear Expert: Japanese government is “terrified” (AUDIO)

Published: May 9th, 2017 at 12:17 pm ET


Nuclear Information and Resource Service tele-briefing, Apr 4, 2017 (emphasis added):

Question (at 1:03:45 in): Hi, I’m Norma Field calling from Chicago… I’ve seen that those huge plastic garbage bags that hold the waste from so-called decontamination in some places now have little chimneys attached to them. I’m imagining that since this is often organic waste that’s been baking under the sun, there are gases that have to be releases. Now, how effective are those bags at containing radionuclides if they have to be off-gassed in that way? Thank you.

Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer: You’re very observant. I noticed that when I was over there, too. I’ll let our other listeners know – when you think of these large fields of bags, they have organic matter in them. They have leaves and grass clippings and tree limbs and on and on, that as they decay, they give off methane gas, which of course is flammable. And the Japanese are terrified that they’ll get a fire – essentially spontaneous combustion in the center of these large piles, that could re-volitalize a million bags of radioactive waste again. So they have pipes sticking out of the piles at predetermined locations in an attempt to allow the radioactive and non-radioactive gasses – the explosive gasses, to leak out. I just keep thinking that sooner or later a lightning strike is going to cause one of these dumps of perhaps a million bags of radioactive contaminants to go up in fire again… What the Japanese are doing – and I witnessed this, we have some pictures up on the site about this – is they’re taking the bags with the least contamination – and they’re still contaminated – and burning them in incinerators that they’re building. No one is getting good data on what’s coming out those stacks, but I believe that the cesium is being released right up the stack again… I probably went on way too long a rant for that question, but my hat’s off to you for understanding that these piles of bags not only are radioactive but they’re potentially flammable.

Full presentation here

Published: May 9th, 2017 at 12:17 pm ET


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108 comments to New fear of explosions in Fukushima — Nuclear waste threatens to “spontaneously combust” — Millions of tons of radioactive material could be released — Nuclear Expert: Japanese government is “terrified” (AUDIO)

  • HillbillyHoundDog HillbillyHoundDog

    Japan to "drop tanks" full of Fukushima nuclear waste directly into the ocean

    …Mark Whitby, chairman and design director of the engineering and consultancy firm WME Consultants, explained that today about 400 tons of water go into each reactor to cool it. Part of the highly radioactive water is recycled to re-cool the reactors, and the rest goes into big tanks, which are stacking up at a fast rate. As reported by TRT, Japan is running out of storage space. There are currently about a 1,000 storage tanks holding 920,000 tons of contaminated water.

    As if the marine life isn't struggling enough already by the vast amounts of plastic in the oceans, the Japanese are now talking about dumping these tanks with nuclear wastewater directly into the sea because they cannot keep building and storing these reservoirs, Whitby told TRT.

  • HillbillyHoundDog HillbillyHoundDog 2015

    Containers holding contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant are at risk of hydrogen explosions, The Telegraph reports, with 10% of them found to be leaking. The discovery was reported to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which raised concerns surrounding the potential hazards of accumulated hydrogen building up in the containers warning that "a spark caused by static electricity could cause a container to explode." TEPCO officials reassuringly note that they "think the possibility of an occurrence of hydrogen explosion from these storage facilities is extremely low, since there is no fire origin, or anything that generates static electricity nearby," but this is the same company that a recent IAEA report blasted for "failing to implement adequate safeguards at Fukushima – despite being aware of the tsunami risk." …

    • unincredulous unincredulous

      How can there be a risk of hydrogen explosion in the water tanks, if it is decontaminated water with a tad of tritium? Of course, tritium is hydrogen sort of so maybe there is a risk of a tritium explosion?

      I thought they said the water was safe to dump it in the sea, or drink it!

      I bet you would have some serious farts if you drink it. No Smoking!

  • Troglodyte Troglodyte

    I just read some news on an incident at Hanford:

    Pardon me if this has been reported here already.

  • Troglodyte Troglodyte

    Regarding the news on this thread, the hubris of man is on full display in regards to nuclear power and the potential for further disaster from the trash bags.

  • PeterVan23

    Well, an "explosion of nuclear material" is caused by two pieces of "critical mass" being slammed together by and strong force.
    Therefore an "Explosion" is NOT Possible…
    However, the Burning nuclear mass is not going to cool off any time soon so the atomizing of nuclear particles and the ground water providing a "steam carrier" will mean it is going to continue to be an Atmosphere & Ocean polluting EVENT for the next few 1000 YEARS…
    There is no possible containment. Between the radiation & the chemical pollution in the ocean, mutations are going to EXPLODE. Specially as the water temperatures are increasing which any biologist will tell you increases the reproduction rate of bacteria & viruses.

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      You see it! 🙂 You know what is coming..

    • DUDe DUDe

      "..Specially as the water temperatures are increasing which any biologist will tell you increases the reproduction rate of bacteria & viruses.."

      Indeed PeterVan23..and it also speeds up all kinds of chemical reactions between pollutants&pollutants and environment..double manmade clusterf*ck comes alone..and those extra MF'ing disasters dont come alone either..while humanity is still wrestling with accepting blame for any at all..we are already surrounded back and forth..

      First and foremost..we are bio-chemical is absolute insanity and unfathomable hubris for a species to alter , for reasons not related to the basic laws of life , the chemical structure of the egg it is hatching in..its functioning depends on its chemical integrity..amongst many other dependencies that we also happily destroy in our strange quest for nonexisting outside our diabolical EGO "Greatness"..we made a soup of 80.000 manmade chemicals and as cherry on the hubris cake 2000+ manmade radioactif isotopes..
      Those latter are not just chemical disrupters of the bio-chemical processes..but TATAL..Toxic At The Atomic Level.. 🙁

      They change the properties and dynamics of every atom in every substance can a chemical process keep returning the same results if the matter can the bio-chemical looping processes that are the basics for advanced life continue at can conscience keep flowing true a balanced matrix that is desintegrating.. 🙁

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    seems less likely to "spontaneously combust" than for the plastic bags to burn from a forest fire

    microbes and other decay organisms are probably not too healthy.

    As for the water tanks, is the steel becoming cobalt-60?

  • Dogleg Dogleg

    Tunnel collapse at Hanford. Many workers trapped, Sheltering in place. Just got a text message there duct taping the windows

    • SadieDog

      "Officials in southeastern Washington state went on alert Tuesday after reporting a cave-in of a tunnel containing radioactive materials at the Hanford Site, a deactivated nuclear weapons complex that has become one of the nation’s most challenging nuclear cleanup sites.

      No injuries have been reported, all cleanup employees are accounted for, and officials have not confirmed any release of radiation, according to the Hanford Emergency Operations Center. The center went into operation at 8:26 a.m. after workers discovered a 20-by-20 foot section of soil had collapsed over a tunnel.

      A section of tunnel appears to have collapsed where two tunnels connect near the site’s Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility. The facility, called PUREX, reprocessed fuel for the nation’s nuclear weapons program between 1956 and 1990.

      “The Department of Energy informed us this morning that a tunnel was breached that was used to bury radioactive waste from the production of plutonium at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement, adding that the White House had contacted his office about the situation. “Federal, state and local officials are coordinating closely on the response, and the state Department of Ecology is in close communication with the U.S. Department of Energy Richland Office.”

      • SadieDog

        "About half a dozen cleanup employees were evacuated from the immediate area of the collapse, and more than 4,700 other workers at the Hanford Site were at one point ordered to shelter inside in case any radiation was released, according to emergency officials.

        As of early Tuesday afternoon, 3,000 employees remained indoors and under shelter orders at the 200 East Area of the site, with the rest released to leave the site, a spokeswoman for the Hanford Emergency Operations Center told the Los Angeles Times.

        The site is about seven miles northwest of the town of Richland, population 53,019, which has not been affected. Federal officials have instituted a five-mile no-fly zone around the site up to 5,000 feet altitude, which is below the altitude typically flown by commercial airliners."

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    the plastic bags only last five years or so. probably any gas build up will escape through dry rotted plastic. though they stacked the bags up so high it might trap gasses.

    They probably want to bulldoze the bags into the sea, because they are hard for the media to explain away.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    difficult, not hard

  • wideawake wideawake

    Hanford Live updates–Kg RT reporting worker gravely ill from toxic fumes ..mainstream blackout

  • laconic93 laconic93

    I'm sure Handford has nothing to do with the High incident of babies been born without BRAINS in the same area.
    Sheep on Sheep

    • unincredulous unincredulous

      Absolutely they do. It's a project run by the nuclear industry to ensure an adequate supply of suitable nuclear workers into the future.

  • wideawake wideawake

    Hmmm ..yep, sure…"100,000 YEARS" (sarc) … A CAVE is being drilled hundreds of metres below ground to store thousands of tonnes of potentially deadly nuclear waste which will stay there for 100,000 YEARS.

  • laconic93 laconic93

    Yeah because hey why care about your health.

    Also thinking about the Handford situation. I live in Seattle with my three kids. If there was ever a major disaster I am sure that Oregon, Idaho and Canada would close there borders which would leave anybody who couldn't get a flight out trapped.

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Yes, trapped..just like rats!

    • FaunaLord Farthington MacMananus

      That's an interesting bit with the thyroid cancer screening. It's kinda tricky in the sense that, if you go to a typical medical institute and you're "found" to have thyroid cancer, you'll now possibly have to get chemotherapy drugs (like those bayer poisons), maybe some iodine-131, etc.

      I wouldn't necessarily recommend or suggest not screening for cancer. But personally, I haven't had health insurance for about 20 years, I don't have money and I can't say I care much about my health anymore .

  • Dogleg Dogleg

    I'm in Boardman Oregon right now about 60 miles from Hanford. I wished I had a geiger counter with me.

  • Jebus Jebus

    Multiple wildfires hit Tohoku, approaching near residential areas

    Helicopters were dispatched to the Iwate Prefecture city of Kamaishi and the Fukushima Prefecture town of Namie on the morning of May 9 as wildfires continue to spread in those areas. Particularly in Kamaishi, a fire apparently came within roughly 300 meters to the closest residential community as of the morning of the same day.

    Meanwhile, the wildfire in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, has been burning for over 10 days, and the SDF and Fukushima Prefectural Government have continued efforts to put out the fire.

    At the same time, a fire that started in the prefectural town of Aizubange, which burned down eight buildings on May 8 and spread to a nearby forest, was put out on the morning of May 9. The local fire department said a man was cooking wild vegetables in front of his house and rice straw caught on fire.

    Meanwhile, Miyagi Prefectural Police detected traces of a bonfire near a forest believed to be the source of the wildfire on May 8 in the prefectural city of Kurihara. The fire burned down roughly 5 hectares, including 11 buildings.

    • DUDe DUDe

      "..The local fire department said a man was cooking wild vegetables in front of his house and rice straw caught on fire.."

      Unbelievable that that still litle is left of this world and people can still not be bothered to focus..somebody posted an article lately that said most wildfires are started by humans..
      What is it ?? An infinite learning curve ??

      Control of fire by early humans (250.000 years ago)

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    12:44 minutes into this video Hatrick Penry says fuel rods in reactor four melted down into a blob of corium.

    the video is fairly recent 2017, info from FOIA documents. Just in case u missed it.

    Spoiler alert: WE ARE SCREWED.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Yes, we are screwed and nobody notices and nobody cares..the true power of this current Zeitgeist Matrix is the power that is making sure we are all screwed.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    It is telling that a search engine entry "fukushima fallout map" has as the first and second search result Snopes. com articles.

    Why? It is a fact that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant blew up and melted down and fallout caused the evacuation of many people. And there are actual fallout maps showing the path of fallout from the plant towards the northwest as the wind shifted.

    Truly messed up manipulations of information. In my instance I used the Startpage search engine.

    On google search, they display images to demonstrate image results are available. 3 of 6 images displayed are the maps that were fake or the tsunami map claimed to be a fallout map by an error.

    Don't be manipulated. Too many people want to decide an issue in five seconds. Breath. Think. Scroll down past the bullshit that's put there for idiots. If the government can control the idiots, that is their goal. There are a lot of them.

    You can do it. You can be smart. Don't listen to Snopes. Have you ever heard of the University of Snopes? An encyclopedia called Snopes? It's information porn and its cute sometimes. Ask yourself why is it at the top of your results page? The nuclear industry bought them a nice sex toy or something.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Do you know how hard it is to create a webpage that is consistently at the top of the search results? People pay big money to get there. How many people would be looking for a fake map or an error?

    It's there at the top because of nuclear industry and government manipulation. Count on it.

    • FaunaLord Farthington MacMananus

      Kinda reminds of what I said about worth or benevolence having an inverse relationship with marketing attempts, popularity, etc

      What's snopes btw? Last I heard it was a lefty technocrat hegelian dialectic attempt (meaning there are many similar sites trying to push the division) at narrative.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      <metatags> in the header of a web page

      In HTML markup language, anyway. It is descriptive language and words used in the top of a web page. It allows web crawlers to find your page using search terms.

      There are probably new and improved ways to do it.

      That's how it used to be done, anyway.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    26:25 /Chris Busby says the ground is soft and reactor four might fall and that would be disastrous.

    Most everything Chris Busby does or says is agreeable to me. Dana Durnford has me looking at every one now.

    What if it doesn't matter now if reactor four falls over? What if the spent fuel already melted and the blob went China Syndrome years ago?

    All the Muon scans so far show no fuel in reactors. They say ah, it's just below what is possible to see with a muon detector, you believe me right?

    I do not. Why should I?

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    chris Busby said that half of the fuel at FDNPP was in unit four. What about the common spent fuel pool? Why would that pool not also melt?

    I know all of you have asked all these questions. One thing we know for sure is our trust in authority melted down way way back.

    Must be contagious

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Naybe Russia controls Snopes. Dun dun dunnnn

    • FaunaLord Farthington MacMananus

      Something similar to that wouldn't surprise me, if we consider some of the sites that WaPo or whatever labelled as russian propaganda, excluding snopes and crap like that.

  • Jebus Jebus

    Fukushima contamination worsens: India’s former Power Secretary’s open letter to IAEA Chief – May 10, 2017

    Editor’s Note: Dr. EAS Sarma is India’s former Union Power Secretary. He has made important public interventions since the Fukushima accident about the IAEA’s complacency as well as the Indian government’s imprudence in pursuing nuclear power. Regarding IAEA’s role in Fukushima, he wrote letters earlier which we have published on these pages. Here is his latest open letter to the General Secretary of the International Atomic Energy Agency:

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Unit 1 Explosion Blew Off Concrete Reactor Plug

    "A scope was used to look under the roof panel. Findings from this and earlier efforts to view the refueling floor discovered that the concrete reactor well cover sections were pushed up and sideways out of the well. These new inspections found they were more dislodged than initially thought."

    Many thanks to SimplyInfo! 🙂

  • Jebus Jebus

    Bamboozled while butterflies fry…

    Fukushima mulls criminal complaint over fake forest decontamination work

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    "Controlled Release" To Get Rid Of Irradiated Water.

    The water still accumulates at a rate of 300 tons a day.
    Will likely dump it into the ocean.
    Better to salinate it, cool it, pump it into barges.
    Sink them in Japanese Trench.
    Cold, salty water will tend to stay put at the bottom of the Trench if and when the barges leak.

    • jec jec

      Since its so safe, let the advisor..drink a few gallons of it first..See how healthy he stays. Anyone asking him to gulp a bit of the 'fresh fuku' water? Seems to me someone in th Japanese admin did drink a so called glass of water as an example. Supposedly from Fukushima..Any word how hes doing?

      • earthsmith earthsmith


        Safe because we know
        Safe dial 1-800-Ho
        Safe just let it flow
        Safe thats how we roll
        Safe f#@! off you don"t know
        Safe as a particle troll
        Safe flush the toilet bowl
        Safe cause we told you so

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The government can send contractors out to do worthless decontamination work..but get anger when the contractors fake the same work..

    In Fukushima clean-up, firm creates bamboo forest for payout
    May 12 2017

    (Might I mention the destruction of the forests!)

  • HillbillyHoundDog HillbillyHoundDog

    $188 billion?? Is that a typo?
    …The company, known as Tepco, is trying to place itself on a sounder financial footing after the government in December almost doubled its estimate for the costs related to the Fukushima disaster to 21.5 trillion yen ($188 billion).

    …Tepco is estimating net profit of 288 billion yen in the year through March 2018…

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    NEVER learn..
    Seaside nuclear storage.

    As tunnel with nuclear waste collapses in Washington, anger over spent fuel storage intensifies in Southern California.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    "Yet, next year, thousands of Iitate evacuees will face a choice: Go back or lose the money that has helped sustain them elsewhere for six years. Evacuation from areas exposed to less than 20 millisieverts per year will be regarded as “voluntary” under the official compensation scheme.
    This dilemma was expressed with unusual starkness last month by Masahiro Imamura, the now sacked minister in charge of reconstructing Tohoku. Pressed by a freelance reporter, Imamura tetchily said it was up to the evacuees themselves — their “own responsibility, their own choice” — whether or not to return.
    The comment touched a nerve. The government is forcing people to go back, some argued, employing a form of economic blackmail, or worse, kimin seisaku — abandoning them to their fate."

    In Fukushima, a land where few return
    The evacuation orders for most of the village of Iitate have been lifted. But where are the people?

    May 13 2017

    "kimin seisaku — abandoning them to their fate."

    • HillbillyHoundDog HillbillyHoundDog

      Where are they? Maybe they were ravaged by fear, never to be seen again. 🙁 Like the many whom have fallen victim to nuclear and will never be accounted for or acknowledged for their sacrifice to nuclear.

      Nuclear: What are you afraid of? The reaper? Phhhtt.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Asking the tough questions on Fukushima

    "She’s now recognized by some foreign press as one of the most informed persons on the subject — she even received a letter of encouragement from Pope Francis — and yet she’s shunned by the Japanese press."

    Asks tough questions on Fukushima and shunned by Japanese Press?

    Mainstream cowards everywhere

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Japanese language lectures on Fukushima. I can't understand a word. I must eat too many PB&J sandwiches

  • SadieDog

    "Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) says it will seek partners for its nuclear business as part of a recovery plan after the Fukushima disaster of six years ago brought the utility to its knees and put it under state control.

    The company is trying to place itself on a sounder financial footing after the government in December almost doubled its estimate for the costs related to the Fukushima disaster to 21.5 trillion yen ($188 billion).

    It is the third attempt to boost its finances in the six years since the disaster, after the targets in previous plans proved to be unattainable."

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    It's like self-hypnosis..
    Japan lulls itself to sleep. (this time permanently)

    Magazines detail ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill; interest up for serious issues
    May 16 2017

  • SadieDog

    Japan to start logging and shipping trees from Fukushima – "In order to prevent wood with contamination levels higher than national standards from going on sale, the agency intends to ship only trees logged in forests with radiation levels below 0.5 microsievert per hour.

    Tepco plans to build a new incinerator to dispose of radioactive logs that have piled up in the premises, company officials said.

    The logs amassed to about 78,000 cubic meters after the company felled trees to clear land in order to build containment tanks for contaminated water. Construction materials such as mortar was used to cover the soil to isolate radioactive materials.

    The new incinerator is slated to begin burning logs in fiscal 2020 through March 2021 and the ashes will be moved to storage warehouses by fiscal 2026, according to the company.

    The nuclear plant has an incinerator to burn protective gear worn by workers but the fast-growing pile of logs prompted the company to seek a new facility, which would be able to burn 95 tons of waste per day, they said.

    Tepco plans to build four new warehouses to store debris and waste from the decommissioning of the nuclear plant in addition to the eight already in place, officials said."

  • Jebus Jebus

    Fukushima- Daiichi: High Levels of Cesium Radioactive Material Migrating Down into Soil Around Fukushima

    The preliminary data also show there are insoluble particles with very high levels of radioactivity on the surface of the soil. Debris from the explosion fused with radiocesium to form small glass particles a few microns to 100 microns in diameter that remain on the ground, according to Kita. The team is currently trying to determine how many of these radiocesium glass particles exist in areas near the nuclear plant, he said.

    “We are afraid that if such high radioactive balls remain on the surface, that could be a risk for the environment,” Kita said. “If the radioactivity goes deep into the soil, the risk for people in the area decreases but we are afraid the high radioactive balls remain on the surface.”

    Ponder the soluble part too. It is what affects you…


      The government of Japan will ask their people to come to Fukushima and gather the Trillions of glass beads and , "don't forget to Smile" the whole time, into a new energy source that Japan can export to the less fortunate all over the world… Scratch that, there are already Trillions of beads spread all over the world… no one cares.
      Keep smiling Japan, for ye know not what ye hath done.


    Fuku Pearls – Yeah that's it!
    Designed with Snowflakes in mind,
    They can watch the world melt.
    It will always be Exported and Exploited worldwide.
    Fuku Pearls…They last a lifetime.

  • dan dan

    At the rate they are filling storage tanks, by the time they reach the half life of iodine 129, Japan will be just a stack of big old rusty tanks piled on top of squillions of waste bags.

    No room for folks, just tanks with chimneys. Better put a warning sign out for santa.

  • jackassrig

    Sometime back there was a post concerning Hanford underground tanks. I have just gotten around to the research. I'm posting here because I can't get the OT link to work.

    I read the report “Tank AY-102 Leak Assessment” and number of items should have caused concern. First, on pg 9 of the report the author identifies “Stress Corrosion Cracking” (SSC). There is no mention of this tank complying with the NACA Standard MR0103-2007. Paragraph 1.3.3 states Material susceptibility to SSC is primarily related to material (as indicated by hardness), which is affected by chemical composition, heat treatment, and microstructure. Materials that have high hardness generally have increased susceptibility to SSC.”
    There is no mention of hardness testing. In fact to control the wrinkles in the steel it is “Flame heat and water quenched” pg. 17 which causes among other things an increase in hardness. The NACA clearly states that hard steels are susceptible to SSC. “…these steels have sufficiently low hardness levels. However, improperly heat-treated materials, weld deposits, and heat affected zones (HAZs) may contained regions of high hardness.” Where is the heat treatment log for the welds.

    1.5.3 “Hardness testing and reporting shall be performed in strict compliance with the methods described in the appropriate ASTM standards.” No hardness log.

  • jackassrig

    2.1 Carbon and Alloy Steel Materials. The author purposely omits the ASTM designation for the steel to deceive and mislead the reader. Without the “P” number it is impossible to ascertain if they are complying with standard.

    Page 17 of the report, the author states to control the wrinkles “Flame heat and water quench” were used. This hardens the steel. The steel needs to be softer.

    On page 8 of the report, the diagram identifies caustic as a vehicle of corrosion. Does this tank comply with NACA standard RP0472-2005?

    1.6.2 states that “examples of services that can cause ASCC, including caustic cracking, amine cracking, and carbonate cracking.” See also figure 1. “Further information about caustic cracking and its prevention can be found in NACA standard RP0403. Does the tank design comply with this standard?

  • jackassrig

    On page 9 of the report, the design temperature is 350 degF. Referring to Caustic Soda Service Chart pg. 2 of RP0403, the design falls outside of area C. The design apparently falls out of the range of the chart and the design should be using a nickel alloy. Code bust use of wrong material.

    I’m not surprised Hanford is having problems with stress corrosion cracking. Wrong material, improper heat treat, improper hardness, and general FUBAR. Nickel alloy will cost great deal more. However, the managers will get their fat bonus – substituting carbon for nickel. Johnny gets to drive his Hummer to Harvard.

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