Pro-Nuclear Engineer: Potential for “a very, very serious accident” when unloading Fukushima Unit 4; “The thing that keeps me up late at night” — Expert: Concern over “positioning of fuel rods” in pool — Tepco: It’s not ‘particularly dangerous’

Published: November 8th, 2013 at 4:16 pm ET


Bloomberg, Nov. 8, 2013: Some experts, such as former nuclear engineer Michael Friedlander [who describes himself as “an avid supporter of responsible nuclear power”], say Tepco could be playing down the dangers of the process. “The thing that keeps me up late at night is that they’re getting ready to unload the spent fuel in unit 4,” said Friedlander, who spent 13 years operating U.S. nuclear plants. Tepco’s record of accidents at the plant, including power failures and contaminated water leaks, tests faith in its competence to perform such a delicate task, Friedlander said this week from Hong Kong during a phone interview. “It has the potential if it doesn’t go well to create a very, very serious accident,” he said.

Arjun Makhijani, President of the US-based Institute for Energy and Environmental Research: [He] remained concerned about the positioning of the fuel rods in the pool after the initial tsunami and subsequent hydrogen explosions at the plant, and said he hoped the plan was based on more than just Tepco’s assessment.  “I hope that there has been some level of independent scrutiny on the transfer operation, and on the way the spent fuel is sitting in the pool currently,” he told a Berkeley California radio station. “But the lack independent outside advisors is very troubling.”

Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 9, 2013: […] The operation amounts to a nuclear high-wire act, carried out with cranes and other machinery operating on scaffolding above the No. 4 unit […] On Thursday several Tepco spokesmen and plant superintendent Akira Ono took pains to say the removal process would not be risky or, in Mr Ono’s words, ”particularly dangerous”. But small bits of debris remain in the pool and could make it hard for engineers to cleanly pull out the rods. Some of the rods themselves could also be damaged and therefore could leak radiation. […]

See also: [intlink id=”japan-experts-very-worried-about-accident-at-fukushima-unit-4-concern-fuel-to-be-dropped-could-break-apart-and-overheat-tepco-adviser-its-only-as-hot-as-a-few-toasters” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: November 8th, 2013 at 4:16 pm ET


Related Posts

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  2. Japan Diplomat: Concern fuel rods in Unit 4 pool are damaged — “Have they moved”? — Transfer process could go on for decades, not months October 22, 2013
  3. TV: “Japan’s worst nuclear nightmare” — Yale Professor: Removing fuel from Fukushima Unit 4 pool “has me very scared” — Tepco: “We believe it’s not dangerous” (VIDEO) October 31, 2013
  4. Tepco Adviser: “Everyone in the world” will be safer if fuel rods transferred from Fukushima Unit 4 — WSJ: Global concern over removal process (VIDEO) November 18, 2013
  5. TV: Dam gates ‘shifted’ in Fukushima Unit 3 fuel pool — Damaged by massive piece of falling debris — Concern it could trigger drainage from pool — Tepco: It does not ‘appear’ to be leaking March 30, 2015

31 comments to Pro-Nuclear Engineer: Potential for “a very, very serious accident” when unloading Fukushima Unit 4; “The thing that keeps me up late at night” — Expert: Concern over “positioning of fuel rods” in pool — Tepco: It’s not ‘particularly dangerous’

  • rnix rnix

    "This crusading spirit of the managers and engineers, the idea of designing and manufacturing and distributing being sort of a holy war: all that folklore was cooked up by public relations and advertising men hired by managers and engineers to make big business popular in the old days, which it certainly wasn't in the beginning. Now, the engineers and managers believe with all their hearts the glorious things their forebears hired people to say about them. Yesterday's snow job becomes today's sermon"

    Kurt Vonnegut Player Piano

    • Socrates

      I thought you were quoting from the article.

      Vonnegut deserves a re-read at this point in my life. He was always a great inspiration since he understood the insanity of the true believers… this time it will be different. Right. Sure. The establishment knows what it is doing – see the Emperor's new clothes!

  • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

    So its official then? When Pro nukes are talking doom on SFP4 its a complete distraction and an attempt to grab international cash.

    • We Not They Finally

      On the other hand…. if they are really that openly frightened, then we'd REALLY better watch out. Cuts both ways.

    • soern

      @oncewas lost:
      it is a show evemt with an empty SFP only and with no risk.
      Of course pro nukers now maintain fear mongering on this.
      Real issues were SFPs 1-3, molten cores and RB 5+6.
      Pro nuker just hope to get back credibility by succeeding this "hard job" in order to restart japanese NPPs later.
      No surprise at all.

  • rnix rnix

    I don't know about the rest of you 99% people but when the 1% rich start heading south I am going to be first in line to loot their stuff. I am going to live like a Czar in Chernobyl;-) Make your plans now for life is about to change forever in the Northern Hemisphere.

    <img src=""&gt;

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    No such thing as "pro-nuclear" .. only an ill-informed idiot would allow nuclear.

    • We Not They Finally

      I remember back in the Iraq War when GWB said, "When we say war, we really mean peace." Orwell's calculations were just some years off all 'round. We've had decades of the likes of this.

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    Dear readers. We and I and Grampybone would like to show you the exact phrases used in this article that are deeply disturbing.

    "[He] remained concerned about the positioning of the fuel rods in the pool after the initial tsunami and subsequent hydrogen explosions at the plant, and said he hoped the plan was based on more than just Tepco’s assessment."

    1. Hydrogen explosion = False. Nuclear detonation = True.
    2. Based on option 1. Than. Hypothesis Fuel Rods damaged = True.
    3. Subsequent conjecture that removal of fuel rods at this point in time because a Hydrogen explosion was the ruled result could = planetary extinction event.

    Tamper with the tail of Cerberus and you might get bit.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      No it was a hydrogen explosion in reactor 4 while reactor 3 was a detonation.

      • Grampybone Grampybone

        Reactor 4 had no critical events control rods were released in time. The Spent Fuel Pool at reactor 4 did explode and it was also nuclear. Reactor 3 was a nuclear detonation. The reason SFP4 went nuclear is evident in the dark black color smoke and faintly visible yellow and orange flash aside the reactor 3 building. The hydrogen critical temperature of 5000c has been recorded at each explosion site in the radio-carbon evidence and EMP examination from independent sources. It was ALL nuclear.

  • We Not They Finally

    It's the TEPCO people themselves who are "particularly dangerous" — to the point of zero confidence in them. But we already knew that.

  • davidh7426 davidh7426

    I don't know if this has already been posted but…

    "Tepco to train amateur workers in reactor4 pool"

    I really can't think why they would do this other than sheer bloody stupidity 🙁

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The suspense builds.
    Ooohh..a pro-nuker agrees it could be dangerous..
    But somehow these same pro-nukers can not contemplate the kind of damage that was inflicted in the spent fuel pool.
    They can not add in the concept that the cooling of Unit 4 was and IS questionable.
    They can not contemplate that unit 4 has already burned.
    They can not be reaching in hypothesis…even when hypothesis has been well researched.

    There is no discussion of warping..corrosion from both seawater and radiation that has been occurring for the last 2 1/2 years.
    No discussion of the original subsidence..

    And more importantly..there is no discussion of the total release amounts of radioactive materials from Fukushima Npp….and the location of the corium.

    Anything but that..

  • Gradius

    After over 7 billions deaths… "Tepco: nothing happened!"

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    I am truly sorry for those who are in denial. There is still fuel live and spent in SFP #4. As long as every nuclear power plant has not been shut down and the world is allowing new plants to be built, it really is a non issue in some ways. The next meltdown will probably happen soon. Fort Calhoun NPP has never been started up since the flood.

    There has never been explosions and fires in a spent fuel pool where all the fuel was vaporized.

    If anyone is saying that everything is already vaporized then the whole of the Northern Hemisphere would already be totally uninhabitable and you wouldn't even see any of the elite in the Northern Hemisphere at all.

    • Socrates

      Agreed. Preliminary NRC documents.are not conclusive final conclusions. Anyone who had conducted a failure analysis knows this.

    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

      It didn't vaporize (nor did I imply that) and on the odd occasion ..flares up..only to burn again.
      Live fuel..sure.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Anne, stay the course, and yes it's difficult, but you truly are a remarkable competent researcher and extremely intelligent and a true leader in this field. 🙂

    The field and bright light of truth must never ever be allowed to be extinguished! 🙂

  • Jebus Jebus


    I believe that the SFP's are a real threat that has now garnered enough attention that it will be handled by more technically competent individuals than the part time help. This is good.
    I also believe that only (lol 🙁 ) some bundles of the SFP #4 burned releasing what became, into the atmosphere. Bad.
    But my concern is the lie of what already has happened and the slowly dissapearing, from the light, of the corium laced plant effluent issue.
    Eventually, 50 years?, this will become more than a dilution issue. When does the solution become the pollution?
    These two past and future events have and will remain very grave events, hidden and hiding, till their results become undeniably apparent.
    Never forget what has already happened as you might be asked to repeat what you have told others prior. You will be listened to in these times.
    Nothing that I have seen, researched, read, or listened to, indicates to me that the SFP #4 should be singled out to steal the "limelight" from the horrendous nuclear megadisaster that is Fukushima…

    Look again.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      I agree the other reactors are already great catastrophes. But #4 still has the potential to become much worse. I personally think that all the nuclear reactors in Japan should be investigated, especially all the reactors (including all the experimental reactors at Tokai) from Tokai to Higadishori in the north, including Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing plant.

      • Jebus Jebus

        Agreed, and at least there is an effort at something.
        What has already occured must be known.
        Mr. Abe would rather that nothing is investigated.
        He has the precious rings…

        Tepco counts on Niigata reactor restarts in July

        Tokyo Electric Power Co. expects to be able to restart two reactors at its idled seven-unit Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture next July and may mention the likelihood when updating its upcoming business turnaround plan, sources said Wednesday.

        The web is so sticky, no one can escape. There will be more.
        Seems it will only end when there is no one left to witness it.

      • Jebus Jebus

        The truth is that Rokkasho is lit.

        Japan Nuclear-Fuel Plan Stirs Worry in U.S., Asia
        May 2, 2013

        TOKYO—Japan is preparing to start up a massive nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant over the objections of the Obama administration, which fears the move may stoke a broader race for nuclear technologies and even weapons in North Asia and the Middle East.

        The Rokkasho reprocessing facility, based in Japan's northern Aomori prefecture, is capable of producing nine tons of weapons-usable plutonium annually, said Japanese officials and nuclear-industry experts, enough to build as many as 2,000 bombs, although Japanese officials say their program is civilian.

        And we have sanctions on Iran, lol…


        • nedlifromvermont

          exactement, Mr. Jebus … "Take no notice of that man behind the curtain … The Great Oz HAS SPOKEN!!!"

          peace …

  • Phil Shiffley Phil Shiffley

    Found as I was kicking through other sites' archives:
    (Interesting for any newbies coming onboard ene. There are several nuclear reactor operators on this page commenting directly after the accident.

    "March 16, 2011

    James Ledgerwood says:


    The control rods automatically insert upon reciept of a reactor trip/scram signal. This indeed shuts down the reactor, making it sub-critical (that is, not capable of sustaining a nuclear reaction cycle). Following the shutdown, nuclear reactions (radioactive decay) of fission fragments continue to create heat (first at a high level tapering off as short lived fission products decay to stable isotopes). Long lived isotopes decay over a much longer period (some in the millions of years time frame) requiring the long term removal of heat from a fuel assembly. Concerning fuel removal….The reactor must first be placed in cold shutdown (cooled well below boiling with continuous heat removal). The reactor must then be disassembled which, with a BWR involves removal of the primary contaiment shield blocks, removal of the reactor head, removal of the steam dryer assembly and some undervessel work needed to support fuel movement. All of this activity takes a few days. Remember that fuel movement is highly controlled and that a complete off load requires several days. To conduct a de-fueling under accident conditions is impossible. Hope this helps!"

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Here is the world's future: Repeat! 🙂

    Looks like I will need to drag this link around with me for a couple of days

    Here is they, they are seen at the bottom of this link, they are the ones in control of your slice of world and these groups can be found all over the world…everywhere!

    OK so here is all of our futures in real time simply fast forwarded, if we continue down/on this Nuclear Technology path/direction.

    This link is not up for interpretation and/or debate or banter and this is all of our futures.

    Study it and look at it and then cry for your fellow man and then all life that still resides on this planet!

    You need to contact "they" and "bitch slap" each one of them until they shut down this technology!