The Worst Yet to Come? Why Nuclear Experts Are Calling Fukushima a Ticking Time-Bomb
May 4, 2012
Tepco’s current plans are to hold the majority of this spent fuel onsite for years in the same elevated, uncontained storage pools, only transferring some of the fuel into more secure, hardened dry casks when the common pool reaches capacity.
For the moment, though, and for the foreseeable future — unless the international community substantively comes to Japan’s aid — Tepco couldn’t transfer the irradiated fuel from the damaged reactor units into dry cask storage even if it wanted to because the equipment to do so, such as the crane support infrastructure, was destroyed during the initial disaster.
“That’s kind of shocking,” said Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear. “But that’s why we’re still sitting on this gamble that there won’t be another earthquake that could topple a very precarious unit 4.”
Gunter is concerned that even a minor earthquake or a subsidence in the earth under unit 4 could cause its collapse.
“I think we’re all on pins and needles every day with regard to unit 4,” he said. “I mean there’s any number of things that could happen. Nobody really knows.”
Gunter added, “Right now its seismic rating should be zero.”
Read the in-depth report here
Published: May 5th, 2012 at 12:57 pm ET
- UPI: Fukushima spent fuel pool a source of growing concern — Calls for more efforts to empty and secure Unit 4 continue in Japan and beyond May 23, 2012
- Tepco releases document “in response to the concern that Unit 4 spent fuel pool may collapse” — “1st Inspection” begins tomorrow May 17, 2012
- IAEA Meeting: Concern of Fukushima spent fuel pool collapse as aftershock “should be caused in near future” September 24, 2012
- Japan Times: Many experts remain alarmed about risk of Unit 4 collapse — Structure not as strong as it was, work must be sped up — 10 years to remove all fuel from all pools? October 11, 2012
- Yale Professor: Fukushima Unit 4 pool in perilous condition — “All of humanity will be threatened for thousands of years” if not able to be kept cool — Danger of collapse during storm or while attempting removal of fuel rods September 20, 2013