Three Mile Island expert: Fukushima could kill 200,000, GlobalPost, April 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm EDT:
Interview with Arnold Gundersen; 39-year veteran of the nuclear industry, has worked as a nuclear plant operator and served as an expert witness on the Three Mile Island accident
… [M]y biggest fear right now is the unit 4 spent fuel pool… There was a report this week that they found iodine-131 in that fuel pool. Iodine-131 can only come from nuclear fission, and because it has a short life, it disappears after about 80 days.
In other words, the presence of iodine-131 suggests that the spent fuel has started its own chain reaction without any human intervention. …
As workers pour water into unit 4 — which they need to do to keep it cool — they might essentially be creating a nuclear reactor…
The fuel could get hot enough from the chain reaction that it will boil the water out again. So we could still get a fuel pool fire. That would volatilize some really heavy elements, sending some highly carcinogenic materials into the atmosphere. This should be a very big concern. …
Read the report here.
From yesterday: Iodine-131 in No. 4 spent fuel pool at 22,000 times above normal
Wall Street Journal: “A new concern arose late Wednesday with the discovery that the radioactivity of water in reactor No. 4′s spent fuel pool was vastly higher than normal. A sample of water taken Tuesday contained 220 becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter. That compares with a level of just 0.01 becquerels or less for normal spent fuel pools. Such pools hold previously used nuclear fuel, allowing it to slowly cool down over a matter of years.”
Published: April 15th, 2011 at 3:28 pm ET
- Canadian Nuclear Scientist: Another, even more dangerous possibility than fire at Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 — Re-initiation of chain reaction can occur if fuel rods move slightly, an “accidental criticality” April 29, 2012
- TEPCO: Nuclear fuel rods in No. 4 spent fuel pool are “confirmed to be damaged” — First time damage revealed at any pool April 13, 2011
- Iodine-131 in No. 4 spent fuel pool at 22,000 times above normal April 14, 2011
- Nuclear engineer: Enormous amount of plutonium at No. 4 spent fuel pool in danger of catching fire; Pool is cracked and leaking (VIDEO) April 13, 2011
- Gundersen: 200 brand new fuel bundles in Fukushima Unit 4 pool are most at risk to start nuclear chain reaction — If too close together during removal, there will be a criticality — “They have to be very, very cautious” (AUDIO) September 27, 2013