Nuclear Engineer: Tanks of “screaming hot” radioactive sludge from Fukushima reactors could rupture (VIDEO)

Published: September 7th, 2012 at 10:06 am ET


Interview with Nuclear Engineer Chris Harris
Nutrimedical Report
Sept 6, 2012

Transcript at 24:00 in

Re: Radioactive waste dump in Tochigi Prefecture

Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer: The highest [level radioactive waste] would still be at Fukushima.

Because there’s no way to move the sludge that they actually are creating by using the water reclamation system that they threw together so they could keep on injecting water and try to recycle it.

The problem with that as we discussed before is the filtration system has residue, and that stuff is screaming hot…

There’s no way to remove that, these tanks could rupture.

They’re running out of room, these tanks could rupture because they’re not seismically built.

Listen to the full broadcast here

Published: September 7th, 2012 at 10:06 am ET


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35 comments to Nuclear Engineer: Tanks of “screaming hot” radioactive sludge from Fukushima reactors could rupture (VIDEO)

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    To "visualize" the problem once more, see this short NHK clip from August 27:
    "The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will build new tanks to store contaminated water.

    Tokyo Electric Power Company says the plant is producing 400 tons of contaminated water per day. This is partly because groundwater is entering the reactor building through cracks in walls.

    TEPCO says the existing tanks have a capacity of 220,000 tons and are 85 percent full. It says they are likely to be full in around 3 months if water accumulates at the current rate.

    The tanks will boost capacity by 170,000 tons. The utility says that should be sufficient until November next year.
    After that, the utility may have trouble securing space for extra tanks. It will have to flatten wooded land in its compounds."

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    There is good reason why not one group, agency nor any pro nuclear apologists have estimated this…..

    Total Fukushima Radiation Released Into Ocean, Air, Groundwater, Storage Tanks; via A Green Road

    Renewable Energy Usage And Costs Compared To Nuclear And Coal; via A Green Road

  • markww markww

    You can FILTER THIS MESS Mark

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter


      • markww markww

        Filters can be in cased in containers that are non radioactive and then shut off and and replaced . no matter what you have to filter the radioactive materials and make it clean,other wise they have to make a sealed lake

        • timebomb

          they dont even know where the water is going after they pump it in the reactors.
          how do you filter something you can't contain?

          • dosdos dosdos

            Water from the reactor vessels is accumulating, in part, in the basements between the reactors and the turbines. They've been pumping it out at a controlled rate for 16 months, and filtering it down into sludge for 14 months. The filtered water going back into the reactors still contains all the isotopes that weren't filtered out.

            Not all of the water going into the reactors is winding up in the basements. Where it's going, we can only surmise, at best.

        • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

          hmmmm….where would they possibly put the non-radioactive containers to prevent them from becoming radioactive….I wonder.

        • It's the filters and their now highly radioactive resins that comprises the 'sludge' building up. It's High Level Waste, just a bit under spent fuel in that category. The water filtered by these resins is in many tanks, stored because it's still way too hot from strontium (etcetera) to release. It must be filtered further until it's no longer 'that much' above limits, then they dump it straight to the sea.

          The crap left behind is the issue. And it's hotter 'n' hell. However, since Fukushima can boast not one or two, but three whole meltdown/melt-throughs 'somewhere' underground but nobody knows precisely where, even the term "hotter 'n' hell" becomes entirely relative.

          I think it was relativity that got us into this mess in the first place… §;o)

    • I think the "sludge" they're talking about is the accumulated used resins from the Areva filtration system, not the water that has been filtered once-through (and only for cesium), and which is stored in all those many tanks. Because the water in them is still highly contaminated with strontium (and God only knows what else), and they haven't yet developed or installed the 'next' level of filtration with resins that will bind the strontium (et al.).

      The words "sludge" and "water" mean different things.

    • Sickputer

      A good reference for what the Japanese will face later on with their HLW (High Level Waste) is the huge Hanford Site cleanup in Washington State. Already behind schedule about 12 years it is estimated that it will take until 2040 to enclode "most" of the waste. Like the Japanese the American workers (15,000) are struggling with many waste areas that can't be approached by humans. Some of these Single Walled Tanks of waste have been leaking into ground water for years. They began building double-lined tanks 30 years ago, but now they have discovered the inner linings are beginning to leak.

      Here's a good overview of the projected Hanford cleanup in a 14-page August 1994 document by Westinghouse:


      "The wastes are stored in 149 single-shell tanks (SST) and 28
      double-shell tanks (DST). The SSTs are made of reinforced concrete with a carbon-steel liner and can hold 208 m (55,000 gal) to 3,800 m (1 Mgal) of radioactive waste.

      Of the older SSTs, 67 have leaked or are suspected to have leaked approximately 3,800 m (1 Mgal).

      In addition to the waste stored in the tanks, significant amounts of 90Sr and 137Cs were removed from the tank waste, converted t o salts,doubly encapsulated in metal containers, and stored in water basins.
      There are approximately 1,900, 6.7 cm (2.6 in.) dia x 52 cm (20.5 in.) long capsules containing approximately 160 MCi.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Excellent recent articles here on the status of the Hanford site, and problems with underground leaching of materials from storage tanks, etc. See the archives under the search terms "Hanford," "storage," and "underground." As I recall, there is speculation much of the waste has already leached into the Columbia River, or is well on its way to doing so.

  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    Hot radioactive sludge not to be confused with Hot Fudge although… I wonder if the sludge is capable of producing an explosive reaction, No, I need to do some research but I'm sure it would not, just thinking thoughts as I type. Ahh, I wish Japan had never built these reactors next to the ocean. If any of you have not seen Arnie's video here on Enenews discussing how the accident was almost 14 meltdowns you should check it out .

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    "They’re running out of room, these tanks could rupture because they’re not seismically built."

    Is that on the horizontal axis or vertical axis they'll fail? I'm getting confused.

  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    Let's face it.. nuclear material eats through all known man made substances.. we do not have any material capable of long term storage.. can you say HANFORD???

    The Tri-City Herald reports ( that more unknown material has been found in a third place between the two shells of Tank AY-102, which went into use in 1971. A photo taken of the same spot in 2006 shows that the area was clean then.

    The finding this week of a third spot increases concerns that the tank, one of Hanford's 28 double shell tanks, has a leak from its inner shell.

    The tanks are needed to hold high level radioactive waste for up to 40 more years until the last of the waste can be treated for disposal.

    Tank AY-102 has a capacity of about 1 million gallons but currently stores about 707,000 gallons of liquid waste and 151,00 gallons of waste sludge.

    Over the years, more than 1 million gallons of waste has leaked out of 67 single-wall tanks into the surrounding soil.,0,2831821.story

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Beyond words, Cataclysmic what a mess man has created. The US has so much spent fuel packed into pools just like Fuku I truly am astounded by the ignorance of those of the IAEA, WHO and the NRC. Ahh the evil genie is out of the bottle and I don't know how we will ever get this mess under control.

      • moonshellblue moonshellblue

        OOps sorry for the grammatical errors I will start editing what I type instead of just flying though the keys and missing half the notes.

      • omniversling

        For info on this subject I recommend the study by Robert Alvarez, an Institute for Policy Studies senior scholar, who served as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration.

        (Published by the Institute for Policy Studies. ( is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.

        • omniversling

          ‪Micheal Madsen in the amazing film (Into Eternity) on Finland's long-term storage project at Onkalo suggests 250,000 tonnes worldwide.

          The US has 71,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel that is not properly protected. Uncontained. =71,000,000 kgs….(Bob Alvaraz)

          That is roughly the equivalent of 1,109,375 Hiroshima bombs (contained 64 kg -140 lb- of uranium 235). I was not very good at math, so could you please check that for me? I get one million one hundred and nine thousand three hundred and seventy five times sixty four kilogram Hiroshima bombs equals seventy one million kilograms of richer grade fissile material than Hiroshima…or to put it another way, seventy one thousand metric tonnes of the shite…

          1,109,375 Hiroshima bombs worth.

          And that's just the US. And it's not contained, like the spent fuel pools at FukuSteamer…what do we do now? Where to now St Pete?

          US Spent Nuclear Fuel Largest Concentration Of Radioactivity On Planet‬

          Spent Fuel Pool of reactor 4 Unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi 8 May 2011

          SFP immersion shot Unit 4, Fukushima NPS

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Good citations, thanks, Cataclysmic.

  • norbu norbu

    They must be reptilian. Sorry I just don't no how they can do the things they do to life on earth.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Nuclear must be outlawed. Do not vote for anyone that avoids this issue.

  • Ron

    Maybe what they will end up doing is permanently storing the water and sludge onsite by putting another casing around these tanks and either filling the space in between with concrete or lead. Course that will make it really really really heavy (though it's really really heat now) and hard to move.

  • Ron

    "though it's really really heat now."

    Should be: though it's really really heavy now

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Yes, and if the ground beneath the plant is already fractured and brittle, how will it handle the weight of the additional fluids TEPCO intends to store there (when new storage tanks are built).

      Many of us have viewed scarey, scarey video footage of steam coming from underground fissures beneath the plant. It looks like there have been many explosions which look like phreatic explosions. A phreatic explosion occurs when hot lava hits groundwater. It can also happen when alahar reaches a glacier on the side of a volcano, for example. In this case, it may be hot corium underground coming into contact with groundwater.

      If these phreatic-type explosions are actually occuring (and there really isn't any other logical explanation for the exposions and steam we've seen coming from the ground), then it's a really bad idea to do anything which would contribute to the instability of the soils and rock underlying the plant.

      TEPCO comes up with yet another brilliant idea …. IMHO they need to find a way to get the stuff transported off-site, even if that means they have to truck it out, or pump it to higher ground, somewhere else. Or? Does anyone else have some ideas? There has to be a better solution than building more on-site storage. TEPCO and those making the decisions for them (TEPGOV now?) really need to start throwing some money at this problem, in earnest. Our very lives may hang in the balance.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        … when a lahar hits groundwater, that is (typo).

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Maybe instead of trying to figure out how to extract radioisotopes from water, they should focus on removing water from the radioisotopes (sludge). Think through the problem from a different perspective.

          • HoTaters HoTaters

            After all, the technology exists to handle water, but less technology exists for handle radioactive materials. Does this make sense?