Transcript of Task Force Public Meeting
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
MR. SHADIS: Good afternoon, everyone. Yes, I want to say first this may be a little bit naïve, but members of the public are pretty much limited to what is reported in the press with respect to Fukushima. I was surprised to hear you all say that the fuel in the spent fuel pools was not damaged. Press reports indicate that fuel particles up to a centimeter or more in size had been found a mile or more from the spent fuel pools and that’s my first question. Can you address the disparity here?
MR. GROBE: These are the kinds of details that are going to be evolving over the next months and years and maybe even more than a decade. The — there’s nothing particularly that focuses any deposition on the spent fuel pool, in fact, most of the deposition that has been reported to date appears to have come from the reactors. There are — there’s great difficulty in units one, two and three in actually observing the fuel that’s in the spent fuel pools and what I said earlier was that there’s some level of confidence that the fuel in the spent fuel pools has not been damaged based on looking at the ratios between various radionuclides and by looking at that, you can determine the age of the fuel. And when I say age, I mean the amount of time that it’s been out of the reactor. You can you evaluate the various isotopes and determine whether that fuel was actually being irradiated in the reactor at the time that it was melted and released or whether or not it was in the spent fuel pool and was older fuel. So it — these are — these details have not been definitively identified, but there is information that indicates that the fuel in the spent fuel pools was not damaged. I don’t think any of that influences our recommendations regarding the spent fuel pools. Our recommendations are that should you have instrumentation that tells you what’s going on, that you should have electrical power to make sure that you can run the systems to provide makeup water [spelled phonetically] and if those are not available to you, you should have an alternate means that doesn’t involve dropping water from helicopters to spray water into the spent fuel pools.
MR. SHADIS: [...] Well, you know, following on that question, are you then — is it your preliminary assessment that these large particles of fuel were somehow ejected from the
MR. GROBE: I need to say that the task force did not evaluate this issue or render a conclusion on this issue. What it did was recommend the 12 overarching recommendations and the subordinate implementation details, and that is the extent of our conclusions at this point.
MR. HOLAHAN: Yeah, this is Gary Holahan. You know, although the — we don’t consider this a technical report on the details of what happened at Fukushima. I think, you know, a very reasonable working hypothesis — I don’t want to get too definitive on it, but, you know, ascribing these dispersed radioactive materials in various forms on the site, you know, it most likely appears they were from the reactor cores rather than spent fuel pools. I think we have to wait for a definitive answer, but things like the amount of iodine in the, you know, in the radiological material that was dispersed are generally indicative of core damage as opposed to spent fuel pool damage.
MR. GROBE: Again — I’m sorry, again, just emphasize, these technical details are the kinds of things that are going to be sorted out over the next months to years and really do not impact on the recommendations that the task force has made.
- Expert: Billions of pieces Fukushima nuclear fuel have spread pretty much everywhere -- "It's truly frightening... wherever there’s cesium, there’s plutonium" -- Atomic bomb had one pound of uranium... Fukushima had hundreds of tons -- TV: "Abundant quantities" of plutonium are being found (VIDEO) May 19, 2016
- Nuclear fuel found 15 miles from Tokyo suburbs -- Fukushima uranium in 'glassy' spheres transported over 170 km -- Structural materials from the nuclear reactors also present (PHOTOS) August 10, 2014
- Gundersen: "Discovery of neutron sources off site means Unit 3 fuel was broken by Unit 3 detonation" -- "I said that 18 months ago, and it looks like the NRC agrees" January 16, 2013
- 'Neutron sources' found 1 mile from Fukushima plant after 3/11 -- "Some fuel may have been injected from that spent fuel pool" January 16, 2013
- Gundersen's Kansai Presentation: Pellets of nuclear fuel were scattered around Fukushima site -- Pieces, not atoms, but pieces -- Hydrogen will not create explosion seen at Unit No. 3 (VIDEO) May 13, 2012
- L.A. Times: Speculation that "supercritical fission event" occurred at Fukushima reactor irradiating plutonium, says nuclear expert -- Explosion so massive investigators found fuel rod fragments a mile away March 9, 2012
- Just-Published Study: Plutonium being found away from Fukushima is from nuclear fuel fragments blown out after explosions March 9, 2012
- Gov't Memo: "One or more of the building explosions ejected radioactive material around the site" at Fukushima March 7, 2012
- Japan/US map showed 100 milliSv/hr "line" along the roadway west of reactor -- "This stuff is spread everywhere" March 5, 2012
- NRC: There's got to be fission products or pellets in parking lot outside Fukushima plant March 5, 2012
- Top US nuke official in Japan: Take it slow "without just running the military in there to kill people" for us to feel better -- Wait so it's "without a lot of loss of life" -- 300 millisieverts per hour OUTSIDE reactors before bulldozing 'rubble' March 5, 2012
- "There is spent fuel and pellets and whatever all over the place around the plant" -NRC's Top Man in Japan -- Trying to clean it up, but dose still going to be incredible March 5, 2012
- NYTimes flashback: Broken pieces of nuclear fuel rods found outside Reactor No. 2, says nuke executive -- Covered up by bulldozers February 25, 2012
- PBS: "U.S. surveillance now suggested that there were flakes of deadly radioactive fuel scattered around the reactors" at Fukushima plant -- U.S. made secret plans to evacuate all citizens from Japan (VIDEO) February 24, 2012
- Mag: Curium and plutonium outside Fukushima plant indicate nuclear explosion at Reactor No. 3 -- Broken spent nuclear fuel rods may have been scattered December 17, 2011
- US nuke industry report: Explosions at Fukushima Units 1, 3, 4 may have caused inventory (nuclear rods) to be lost from spent fuel pools -- "Debris" on ground near Unit 3 was extremely radioactive after blast November 11, 2011
- Nuclear engineer: NRC now says reactors and containments have breached and released plutonium off-site -- "Much worse" than if from spent fuel pools (VIDEO) August 22, 2011
- Report: Nuclear fuel fragments found over a mile away were "ejected from the reactor cores in those explosions" not spent fuel pools, according to NRC (VIDEO) August 18, 2011
- NYTimes: Broken pieces of nuclear fuel rods found outside Fukushima Reactor No. 2, says nuke executive -- Covered up by bulldozers April 7, 2011
- NYTimes on "Ejection of Nuclear Material": Confidential US doc suggests pieces of fuel blown up to a mile away -- Some between two units bulldozed over April 6, 2011
Published: March 5th, 2012 at 6:31 pm ET