Nuclear Expert on No. 4 Fuel Pool: “They’re pumping water in and it’s draining out into basement, they suck it out of basement and put it back in at top” (VIDEO)

Published: May 4th, 2012 at 9:40 am ET


Interview with Fairewinds Chief Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen
WIBC’s Denny Smith (Indianapolis)
April 24, 2012

At ~1:00:30 in

Gundersen: There is no containment, the containment is destroyed… they’re pumping [water] in and it’s draining out into the basement and they suck it out of the basement and they put it back in at the top.

Listen to the full 1+ hour broadcast here or here

Published: May 4th, 2012 at 9:40 am ET


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52 comments to Nuclear Expert on No. 4 Fuel Pool: “They’re pumping water in and it’s draining out into basement, they suck it out of basement and put it back in at top” (VIDEO)

  • Weren't we led to believe number 4 was empty of fuel for maintenance, or refueling? If so, how did the containment get destroyed?

    • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

      The reactor was mty, all the fuel was and (hopfully) is still in the spent pool.

    • Firstly: the "spent"* fuel pool is outside of the reactor vessel, and outside the "containment"** of the Fukushima plant. This is true at all nuke plants. The building that LOOKS like a solid containment for the fuel pools is actually meant to burst, not contain, and has pre-stressed blow- out panels and mainly just keeps rain and wind off the workers and equipment. In the case of the fuel pools the water itself is the only thing keeping the fuel from massively irradiating the plant site and then spewing most or all of it directly into the air we all breathe. This storage of tons and tons of deadly material is the way it is at every nuke plant — no explosion required… that is how they build them.
      *In Nuke-speak the word "spent" actually means "more deadly, longer lasting, and more difficult to handle." Sentence examples: 1) I had $100 in my wallet, then SPENT all $100 and died while vomiting blood from putting that SPENT money in my pocket.
      2) Calling the deadliest, most volatile, and longest lasting nuclear waste "SPENT" sure does make it sound less deadly to voters.

      **In Nuke-speak the word "containment" actually means "a structure or building giving the appearance of robust defense while actually being proven repeatedly to fail under actual conditions." Sentence example: Building a fancy fireplace and chimney out of paper painted to look like brick provides CONTAINMENT for a raging fire, so gather around the fire children.

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      "Weren't we led to believe . . ."? What happens when no one trusts anything, anymore?

      I can assure you, right now, every major government – right now – is preparing for the end of the human race. They knew within hours where the radiation is going to spread, how much and how fast. These scenarios have been played over and over again for decades with the best and brightest of the world's militaries. Type in a few keystrokes, and the fastest computers in the world spit out charts in full color.

      Make peace with yourself, your loved ones, and spend every moment of every day loving and helping those that you can.

    • Bone Idle

      There are 1535 Fuel assemblies in Reactor 4's fuel pool. Each assembly carries multiple fuel rods.
      The reactor itself has no fuel rods inside.
      Reactors 1, 2 and 3 contain whats left of the fuel rods (believed to be completely melted down) There are a mixture of spent and new fuel rods in each of their fuel pools.
      There are mixed reports, depending on who you believe, that the fuel assemblies in the fuel pool of reactor 3 have been damaged by the explosion and also by debris dropping into the fuel pool. (the 35 ton crane used to remove and insert the fuel rod assemblies in and out of the reactor has fallen into the fuel pool).
      There are 392 fuel rod assemblies in the pool of reactor 1
      There are 615 fuel rod assemblies in the pool of reactor 2
      There are 616 fuel rod assemblies in the pool of reactor 3

      There are a further spent 6375 fuel rod assemblies in the central storage building. (located around 50 metres from reactor 4 building)

      The scenario of a critical collapse of some kind from reactor 4 is that fuel rods maybe exposed to air for a protracted period. The fuel rods may raise to a temperature so high that a reaction may occur which will emit dangerous gamma rays.
      The radiation emitted will be too dangerous for humans to get close to all of the Fukashima 1 site. This could jeopardize the cooling of the rest of the fuel rods on the complete site. Hence a particularly nasty situation.

      Reactors 5 and 6 also contain over a 1000 fuel rod assemblies each.

  • TheWorldIsBlind

    I think he means the SFP has no containment i.e cracks in walls and floor

  • harengus_acidophilus

    "…they suck it out of basement and put it back in at top."

    Just in time i've read this, I visualize a graduation tower.

    But instead of wood, they use debris…

    "Debricore – State of the art in heating water"


  • apostrophes

    Strange use of the word "containment" from such an expert, having used the word for reactors [not pools] all his life. Is it designed to confuse?

    • Now that you mention it, what is the basement? Is that BELOW the torus? Perhaps he is using "basement" as another word for some other part.

      • gottagetoffthegrid

        there are below-ground tunnels that connect the reactor buildings to the turbine buildings. the torus is in the basement and you can walk up to it touch it.

  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    Couldn't the same be said of Reactors 1, 2, & 3? They are putting water into the top of the Containment. The water runs through and leaks out through holes in the bottom of the Containment. So they pump the water out of the basement (provided the basement still holds water), and put it into the top of the Containment. We seem to have conveniently decided to neglect the three missing coriums for the time being. Perhaps is shifting the focus to SFP4 because they believe they have a plan to deal effectively with SFP4? Seems fishy that we are talking about things that might happen, rather than dealing with things that have happened/are happening.

    • My feeling is they can't do a thing about 1, 2, & 3, so focus is on SPF-4. (Soon to be called MFP-4 for Melted Fuel Pool 4)

      • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

        Flapdoodle: :). My point precisely.

        However, they CAN do something about Fuku1,2,&3. They can back off to a safe dustance, then drill slantwise right up to/above/below the coriums. Inject lead/boron/nitrogen into corium to moderate reactions taking place in them. Plus, they could build two 100' deep cofferdams around Fuku1,2,3,&4, fill with concrete, build two walls up 200', fill with concrete. Then pump concrete in to fill up the interior to 200'. Then begin thinking about phase two….

        • selfsovereign

          Hi philip,
          OKAY, OKAY!!
          I have heard enough already……..
          YOURE HIRED!!!
          TEPCO, you be fired
          Sure would be nice to see all that fracking/drilling equipment used for good, for once.

        • Spectrometising

          I agree philipupnorth πŸ™‚ Reminds me of counting pennies and letting the pounds take care of themselves.

          But let us also pause for a moment to remember the humble diamond saw.

          • Spectrometising

            Here is the Echidna 3 axis diamond saw in action (One of many commercial rock and concrete cutting configurations.) Cutting steel is no problem for these. Diamond is relentless on steel.


            I really like this one.


            • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

              Spectrometising: OK, thinking big. This is to cut down into the bedrock. Is there something out there ten times bigger? Goggle "biggest earth movers". We'll need 10 of these, and 20 of those. We need 10 super cats to push the generator buildings out of the way, and to knock down those useless smoke stacks. Steel drivers that can put down 100 steel piles per day into bedrock. We need 20 gigantic dredges to bring up sand from the ocean floor, and 100 barges to hold the sand. We need 40 mobile concrete plants on barges to turn seabottom into concrete, and 40 mobile concrete pumps to get the concrete into the foundation and walls. Begin by pumping concrete into Buildings 1,2,3&4. Work starts tomorrow at 7:00AM sharp. Fuku on your thermometers, TEPCO, stand back!

              • demo demo

                YES, you're hired! Sign me up. If you need a slave, you got one. There are many of us who'd go there and sacrifice our lives if someone knew exactly how we could organize to collectively gag the fat singing lady.

                • richard richard

                  i wont go there .. until, you've been through ..

                  tepco ..

                  japan gov




                  Homeland Security



                  Yakuza, mafia,

                  and every pro nuker on the planet.

                  while i'm at it, through in my noisy neighbour with the 4 inch exhaust pipe that wakes me at 5:30 every monring.

                  send in the cops with their tasers that kill.. send in every gropping TSA agent

                  send in the fools that take two parking space for one car.

                  and then the ones with overdue library books.

                  and anyone who says that nukes are low carbon emitters.

                  then, maybe i'll consider going.

    • philipupnorth,
      They are trying to advert one disaster at a time!
      As we used to say in racing, … I had a hand full of steering wheel couldn't do anything more than try to keep it sunny side up !
      You may look squirrelly but you are doing all you can !

      • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

        xdrfox: πŸ™‚ However, IMHO if you can't avert more than one crisis at a time, then you have no business building 6 NPPs all in a row!

        • philipupnorth,
          Established long ago, .. Greed goes far beyond stupid !

          • The_one

            Yes, all that in a country that has all the free geothermal energy they could ever use… But the fucktards built nuclear plants on geologically unstable ground instead! Epic fail and possible extinction. Nice!
            You would think the Japanese of all people would be wary of nuclear energy.

        • philipupnorth,
          but in all fairness, the M I C had control and the occupation of Japan to bring much of the insanity to us over time, it is our mess too, they were enriching for arms !

  • farawayfan farawayfan

    In other words, when you get to the bottom you go back to the top of the slide then you stop then you go for a ride….

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      Helter Skelter pretty much sums up this cluster fuck….

    • That water being reused again and again has got to be so hot with rads and the piping too !

      : |

      Something gotta give !

      • selfsovereign

        An initiation of criticality in the cooling lines due to fissile material building up is, like, a huge concern out @ hanford!
        I'm a bit surprised all those kilometers of pipe have not yet gone POP!!!

  • chooselife55

    I don't mean being laughed at for this idea. Could the movie, 2012 movie where the aircraft carrier ended up on top of the US capital and the ghost ship that was shot down in the Pacific give a clue what to do? Should they put something as large as a ship or aircraft carrier(a ship that is out of commission) be put on top of the reactors? This would keep the radiation from going airborne? They are talking about making a metal containment…if there is not time for the containment to be built what about a large ship on top of it? Any better ideas put it out there. This situation, according to these reports, is dire!

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      πŸ™‚ (couldn't resist)

      Hi chooselife, I think in all seriousness that the static of the buildings is already more than compromised – I can't imagine them holding a large ship as extra weight.
      That wouldn't have been possible even with the building and structures in perfect condition….


    • selfsovereign

      hi cl55,
      Your suggestion paints a most appropriate mental picture of what perhaps needs to be done……..
      Any way possible, as soon as possible……

  • Truth

    If it takes a petition to get any action going on this, then it is too little, too late! These that have been bought and paid for will continue to serve their masters… I fear we have already passed the point of no return in the world and just don't know it. However, having said this – we must expect at least some pretense at action on the part of the world "community". Where are they?…

    • Tumrgrwer Tumrgrwer

      Just think what may happen when the gold is thrown into the streets. Will it be chaos or will these self made idiots go away and let the good and truth take over. I know without the influence of wealth man can straighten out the messes he has created. If not, well then…good bye!

  • entropy

    I am alway reminded of that dumb joke about the guy calling his friend to see how his cat is. The guy says the cats dead. Whoa. You could have prepared me,eased me into it. Like your cats on the roof. Then the next time tell me the cat fell off the roof. Then tell me on the next call geez. Anyway how's my mom? She's on the roof. I have made reference so often, I thought I would write it out…
    Anyway, the SPF 1,2,3,4… Is on the roof.
    I have heard many thinking of escaping south. Is this a solution? How many people can brazil accommodate? What is the big plan if any? I've lost track as to the least irradiated place. I can't even imagine 8 million evacuating to the other side of the Rockies. I think of my friends who will finally wake up. Me, I have made peace. Btw Thanx for all the great info.

  • Sickputer

    >How many people can brazil accommodate? What is the big plan if any? I've lost track as to the least irradiated place.

    SP: Yes ET…there will be much disorder, but actually man is an ant on this planet. Land is not an issue…resources are another thing.

    Texas itself could easily accommodate another 100 million folks. Australia could hold a quarter billion easily.

    There is space…but can people get along and produce food and shelter? That is the reason birds of a feather flock together.

    Look for more visa offices like the Canucks in Tokyo to suddenly close for business. Soon a trip south will be very problematic unless you bring mucho gold (and not worthless dollars).

    In the dead zone (aka the northern hemisphere after The Fallout AGe) dollars will be great for toilet paper in a Mad Max world, but that's all. Water, canned food, guns and bullets, alcohol and drugs, tobacco…that will be the Mad Max currency.

  • TheBowRiver TheBowRiver

    To Arnie and Maggie Gundersen,

    Do we know the rate at which this extremely radioactive water is flowing out of sfp4 and coating the building 4 on its way from the 4th or 5th floor to the basement? Thermally speaking, I suppose that it cools to ambient temperature by the time it splashes into the basement and makes all of building 4 a no go zone.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I think it will be awhile before the masses get really understand what is going on..those "in the know" (unfortunately/fortunately..depending in one's view of the day)
    have time to relocate if so desired.
    Perhaps some thought should be given to moving together in small numbers..
    Safety in……

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    So that's how they did it.the recent photos of SFP 4.
    They had just filled the pool from the basement.
    Damn 'em.

  • Ariana

    Okay people, there are only two reasons they will not do any of these things to help alleviate the problem: 1. They dont want to admit that there is a problem. 2. They dont want to spend the money to correct the problem.
    So, we are all going to die painfully.

    Now, if you want my own personal conspiracy theory: they had this accident, and they know that many many people in Japan will be affected in some way. Now, they have two options: 1. They can try to fix the problem (which isn't going to happen- see paragraph 1) 2. They can use all of those people as guinea pigs as soon as they are sick and desparate enough to try anything. Now, they have the world's premier cancer/dna research facility.
    (Yes, I am just a little bit insane.)

  • iso-tope iso-tope

    Well doing SOMETHING is certainly better than the TEPCO imaginary nothingness..

  • Concreteman99

    Putting used fuel on the upper floor of a building, insanity.

    Read the book The Doomsday Machine by Martin Cohen and Andrew McKilop, fantastic book.


  • stopnp stopnp

    When Arnie spoke about this disaster he said there were two containments. The rpv and the building around it, or the " box" that contained everything. When he says there is no containment it leads me to believe that he is speaking about the fact that the pool is exposed to the elements. It's unprotected.

    The other part of this article is about the water. Which is leaking. I believe they use heavy water in those pools. If ground water or sea water is mixing with the water in the basement and they are pumping it back into the pool there could be a problem. …more of a problem

  • sunpower

    Wasn't SFP4 reported dry once? Did the water leak out and did alot of the hot spent fuel melt already? Has anyone seen the fuel rods intact in there?
    Daiichi don't need no coffer dam…but a deep mountain of sand to cover the entire site. Let the coriums lay where they are, forever. Let the rest of the fuel go to corium under the sand. As far as what reactions are going on with the coriums, you can see for yourself in the video from the basement of the Chernobyl sarcophagus, that the coriums are not in criticality but in a steady state of vitrification, apparently the only natural remedy for melted fuel ever found. Since the coriums are stable and in cold shutdown, I vote for burying the entire site with all its fuel and just let nature cook itself up some more corium. This way nothing needs to leave the site and besides that, nobody is taking spent fuel crap, not even Nevada a state excavated with hydrogen bombs. The best solution is to bury the whole damn mess and let nature handle it the way it does best, corium buried down deep. And never ever dig this radioactive crap up again (generally ripped off from native lands).

  • Sickputer

    The other sp typed these pixels of light:

    >Since the coriums are stable and in cold shutdown

    SP: Tepco only dreams of such a day when they are cool. The cories are still super hot and very much a dangerous threat to blow the entire island to pieces. Perhaps Tepco wishes it would happen and end the futile feed and bleed operations.

  • So many new posters with wonderful comments !
    Where do they all come from ?