NRC officials suspected a ‘detonation’ at Reactor No. 1 weeks before Gundersen postulated that scenario at No. 3

Published: February 27th, 2012 at 1:00 am ET


Title: Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi ET Audio File
Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Date: March 12, 2011
Emphasis Added

Detonation on Page 32

Dan Dorman, deputy director for engineering at the NRC’s office of nuclear reactor regulation: Good morning, Chairman.

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Good morning.

MR. DORMAN: Sir, we’re watching videos on the TV, that show what looks like a detonation of the Unit 1 reactor building at Daiichi. It’s an initial short duration pulse, like an explosion, followed by a large cloud, and then there is some subsequent footage, showing what appears to be the frames of the building that — the upper walls around the — what would be the metal frame work above the refueling level, its been opened up to the eye beams.

So, this is our significant breaking worse, that you asked us to call you.


MR. DORMAN: We have not gotten any direct reporting. We’re just — we’re still working off of what we got on the media, but it is a very disturbing image.

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: What would you — how would you characterize that? What does it mean?

MR. DORMAN: Well, what we’re inferring from that image is that it’s a catastrophic failure of the primary containment.

Detonation on Page 144

MR. McDERMOTT: […] If you’ve seen the media coverage from over the evening, the most significant development is shown pretty vividly on some of the video. There was, at the Unit 1 reactor, an explosion of some time, that took off the core (inaudible) metal siding on the refueling floor level. They’re reporting that we’re seeing, as confirmed by emails from a variety of different sources, seem to indicate that the explosion took place in the secondary containment and that the primary containment, as well as the reactor coolant system remain in tact. There is speculation that perhaps, it was some type of hydrogen detonation, although we do not have any confirmation for this, at this point.

Deflagration on Page 58

MR. DORMAN: — and I am not envisioning how a turbine building event, that’s being postulated by others, would cause the damage that I’m currently looking at on the Unit 1 reactor building.


MR. DORMAN: The other issue that we’ve raised is that the apparent mode of force for such an event in the turbine building would be hydrogen that cooled the turbine, and we don’t see any deflagration issue, in terms of —


MR. DORMAN: — we don’t see any flame —

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Right, which you’d see from a hydrogen explosion.

Title: Gundersen Postulates Unit 3 Explosion May Have Been Prompt Criticality in Fuel Pool
Source: Fairewinds Associates, Inc
Date: April 27, 2011

Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen discusses the difference between detonation and deflagration

h/t Enformable

Published: February 27th, 2012 at 1:00 am ET


Related Posts

  1. ‘Significant failure of containment’ inferred by NRC after first explosion — Protective actions ‘well beyond 50 miles’ if containment failure February 27, 2012
  2. US Dept. of Energy memo indicates ‘after-shock’ resulted in explosion at Reactor No. 1: NRC Chairman February 27, 2012
  3. Explosion at Reactor No. 1 reportedly caused by damage from quake: NRC February 9, 2012
  4. Japan’s worst-case scenario assumed “significant public exposure” to occur by end of March 12 because of pressure buildup that would damage No. 1 reactor container (VIDEO) May 3, 2011
  5. NHK: Holes near bottom of containment vessel identified for first time at Fukushima plant — “Gushing out” of Reactor No. 1 — Similar damage suspected at Units 2 and 3 (VIDEO) November 13, 2013

53 comments to NRC officials suspected a ‘detonation’ at Reactor No. 1 weeks before Gundersen postulated that scenario at No. 3

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    I / We are definitely having typing problems with the date / dates on this one. The Title on this article says "March 20, 2012." That's a few weeks in the future from now. But we all know what we all mean. Yes?

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    NRC heard about and suspected #1 detonation before Arnie. Arnie was very careful in his discussion to lament the fact that he, and many other scientists were "working in the dark," without being provided adequate info. Michio Kaku complained of this also.

    The NRC, Pentagon, etc. should have released the information to the scientists who could have analyzed it. Instead they sat on it, "put it in their pockets."

  • Kevin Kevin

    Oddly Gunderson's most recent video talks about the cap lifting at reactor one and releasing hydrogen resulting in a hydrogen explosion.

    I have repeatedly pointed out that in this video his analysis starts out at the time of the tsunami. And admin has posted information confirming that it was widely known that in reactor one immediately after the earthquake and BEFORE the tsunami radiation was detected. This information was made known to Jazcko as well. therefor the cap theory leading to a hydrogen explosion is in question and it could well be that a detonation occurred as a result of damage originating from the Earthquake.

    I have said it before many times and will say it again. Arnie needs to address these issues.

  • Kevin Kevin

    Ahh, but according to the AEC today, all is well!

    "Delivering the convocation address at the ninth annual convocation of National Institute of Technology – Karnataka at Surathkal near here he said, "Out of the three known such incidents- Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima – the casualty due to nuclear plant malfunction is 50-60 in Chernobyl and zero in the other two incidents. While Fukushima incident is no doubt disturbing, the mishaps at nuclear power plants worldwide are few and far between. Globally, we have clocked 14,000 reactor years for nuclear plants and 350 reactor years in India, and we have just above three incidents to show far."

    Found here:

  • StillJill StillJill

    It only takes ONE!

    • Laterlukemayb Laterlukemayb

      That's right StillJill, doesn't matter if you have two hundred years of safe operation if just one time you have an incident like this one that kills the whole planet!

  • CB CB

    I see this as an strategic release of Intel, slowly weened to newcomers, and highly full of defense related searches.

    • Kevin Kevin

      I know it is off topic but I could not resist.

      This guy is the Chief of the AEC. Talking to budding engineers.

      He says quote "It is up to budding engineers to find methods to handle nuclear waste," during this convocation.

      What irony and arrogance!

      Its safe, only 50 or 60 people have been fatally harmed and all you guys gotta do is figure out what do with the waste!

      Good luck.

  • Spectrometising

    Gundersen: He needs to lift his game.,..
    I too am quite critical of Arnie of late.
    "Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Feb 23, 2012

    The US has more than 100 reactors similar to Japan's destroyed Fukushima plant. Some located in earthquake zones or close to major cities are now reaching the end of their working lives. People & Power sent Joe Rubin and Serene Fang to investigate."
    People & Power – Danger Zone: Ageing Nuclear Reactors

  • Spectrometising

    Nuke engineer: Fuel rod fire at Fukushima reactor “would be like Chernobyl on steroids”
    By: Kirk James Murphy, M.D. Monday March 14, 2011 12:14 am

    Why Fukushima’s “spent” fuel rods will continue to catch fire
    By: Kirk James Murphy, M.D. Tuesday March 15, 2011 4:26 pm

  • Alice Alice

    So is there anyone who will tell us where the aerosolized plutonium and uranium went?

    I just know (call it intuition) that it didn't get sucked into a black hole.

  • Manifesto of Why Shut Them All Down
    I discovered just how poorly these plants were being run and how poorly
    they were designed from the get-go. And then I discovered how one of
    the basic premises of risk control, separation of risks, was completely
    ignored. That being that the used fuel rods were the most dangerous
    part of the plant, but for "convenience" the most dangerous things were
    stored right next too or even RIGHT ON TOP OF the reactors themselves.

    This is done to conserve cost, if they were to ship off the …

  • many moons

    Some countries have learned from Japan's disaster, others have not.
    The US has just signed up for a push forward to build reactors.
    That is all the proof I need to know it will take a MAJOR accident (bigger than TMI or Fukushima) to close their reactors. US is a big country, I guess they can afford to loose a big chunk of space…I just can't imagine what part….from sea to shinning sea it's a beautiful country…well live and learn or maybe not…

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi many moons, isn't that completely bizarre? All we'd have to do is to save 10 – 15% of energy to make all nukes obsolete. Sounds doable to me.

      Instead, people use more and more energy each year and complain about nuclear energy. So stupid.

      • aigeezer aigeezer

        Hi B&B. I think it's important to decouple the two concepts "people use more and more energy each year and complain about nuclear energy". Here's why:

        1. Populations are growing world-wide and previously undeveloped countries are understandably hungry for energy. Pro-nuke forces can claim this justifies their technology. It does not.

        2. Pro-nuke forces would not back off even if energy use were cut in half. Rather, they would attempt to justify it on other grounds such as "replacing peak oil" or "reducing carbon emissions" or "reliable base load". They will lie, lobby, cheat, distort – but they will also exploit any true circumstances.

        3. People who complain about nuclear ("us") are unlikely to be the self-same people who use more and more energy each year ("them"). Regardless, most people have no idea of the risks of nuclear power and those who implement nuclear power control both the media and governments – they have a huge bully pulpit and 60 years of propaganda in place.

        4. "Making all nukes obsolete" might have no effect at all on the industry. Vested interests could prop it up indefinitely. In their view, it's "too big to fail", but more importantly it is joined at the hip to military technology. Power corrupts. Nuclear power corrupts absolutely.

        So… change may perhaps come bottom-up if people become aware of the issues, or top-down based on who-knows-what agenda. Or… the looming global financial meltdown or new wars might change all the rules. Or… it's business as usual until some nuke incident (perhaps Fukushima) takes us all over the brink. Not a nice set of choices.

        Meanwhile, we can and should reduce unnecessary power use, but reduced demand alone won't change government or industry behavior. We never needed nuke power, after all.

        • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

          Yes aigeezer, you're right – i know, it's not that simple. It just makes me so mad that the vast majority of folks doesn't care one bit if their behaviour ruins the planet….concerning nuclear power corrupting I have news:
          our govmt. decided last week to show its true pro-nuke face again and to cut subsidies for solar by 30-50% – starting on March 9.
          Absolute disaster. But what could you expect – I SO saw that coming. We can't allow our small energy revolution to fail – so it's back to the streets (sigh)

          *we will win

  • InfoPest InfoPest

    Check out these aerial pictures.

    • Laterlukemayb Laterlukemayb

      I've noticed in current images that discoloration is occurring at about 20-30ft and below. I first thought it could be due to exposure of the seawater from the tsunami, but in other instances of a tsunami with NO nuclear plant explosions there hasn't been paint discoloration of structures. That I know of. Anyone want to take a shot at why this is and why painted structures at higher levels appear normal in color.

  • InfoPest InfoPest

    Check out the picture of the children walking past the schoolyard dosimeter in this disturbing article.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    This tidbit from page 144 "They're reporting that we're seeing, as confirmed by emails from a variety of different sources…" suggests there might be a good traceable cache of information to be winkled out through FOIA requests.

  • PattieB PattieB

    and here's the database of THEIR OWN FILES that show just how MANY, MANY, MANY… accidents and incidents that never get mentioned in the press!

  • PattieB PattieB

    And the tanks..? last drive-through media showed they are mostly empty… and have the main porthole at bottom where a pipe connects.. sitting off and against side. They have a new big blue pipe exiting the reprocessing plant on end.. it's been buried… and lookes to head to ocean well south of plant area.

    They sealed the wall up where it exits…

  • James2

    No doubt they are dumping everything into the ocean. Which is where it will end up, sooner or later anyway.

  • PattieB PattieB

    As far as #4 goes.. you need to understand that the original green trolly-cran is off it's track… and sitting with the north edge of it half covering the CORE… the south edge is sitting about a foot from the fuel-loading channel that leads to the pool. The area with the nets is ABOVE the pool by a full floor level. The pool itself, is directly below that netted area.

    The big yellow cap is NOT on the reactor core. The smoke and fire and grids that Arney G 'saw' were the rods loaded into the primary containment part of the reactor core… and what has burned a number of time. The borric acid they need to add to calm the plutonium in the pool… ATE the bolts on the pipe connected to the bottom of the core… and it fell off! That's how it lost over 8 tons of water! That's what caused the core fire.

  • PattieB PattieB

    the last fire it seems did exstensive damage.. and caused at least 3 of the west-side collems on level 2? I think… hard to tell with buildning on level one/ground to bulge-out noticable in the JNN cam view. They can't possibly have FIXED such damage so as to hide it now.

  • PattieB PattieB

    the feb 25th vids don't have the bulge in west side of #4.. so, HAVE to be pre 11-12th fire in #4 reactor core. They lie… lie… lie..! But for the life of me… I can't even come up with a reason why they would do so now… not at this point!

    • James2

      They are lying because they've told everyone that if SFP 4 burns it means evacuate Tokyo, and I strongly suspect it's still burning.

      There is – according to the official records -quite a lot more fuel assemblies in #4 SFP than anywhere else – with the exception of the CSFP

      So it's more of the same – let it burn, don't tell anybody.

  • James2

    What's the significance of the trolley crane being off it's track?

    i thought everyone knew the cap was off and set over near the wall. The RPV cap is also off and I've seen it elsewhere in pictures.

    I'm not sure I've ever completely bought in to your theory about there being fuel in the #4 core, however I don't think that makes it much different than fuel in the SFP – does it?

  • PattieB PattieB

    yes… is big difference! The trolly can't be moved and all but blocks them from getting water into it! That's why they can't isolate the pool from source of all the leakages! The core and systems attached to it! They are forced to leave the re-fuling gate open.. to keep water in the core.

    And also is why they need a new crane to move any of the fuel out of the pool.

  • PattieB PattieB

    The very first #4 fire… back at the start was in the core… and was a zirc-fire. They pumped water, dumped water… anything to get water into it… thinking the green trolly was in it's stored-away spot. Is main reason for all the confusion. But the core was being loaded when the quake hit.

  • PattieB PattieB

    The pool at that time was totally covered in debris.. and couldn't be seen… so they used the location of the trolly to call what-is-what.

    The pool never went dry… but it did drop dangerous levels.. ie, to level of the bottom of the loading channel. and left just a couple of ft of water over the rods in the pool… that's what happens every time the water leaks out of the core.

  • PattieB PattieB

    That's just not enough water to cool the pool rods.. but more-so when consider the plutonium breeder jobbers! They began to melt-off and gave us the 'ORB' that reacts every time the boric acid levels go down. They can't KEEP the boric that high.. just when need to work in area… as it EATS SHIT! Like the cooling pipes! They between a rock, and a second rock! Swinging dicks to keep from having it between when rocks slam each-other!