Report: Concern that a subsidence in the earth under unit 4 could cause its collapse

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 12:57 pm ET


The Worst Yet to Come? Why Nuclear Experts Are Calling Fukushima a Ticking Time-Bomb
Brad Jacobson
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


Related Posts

  1. 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
  2. Tepco releases document “in response to the concern that Unit 4 spent fuel pool may collapse” — “1st Inspection” begins tomorrow May 17, 2012
  3. IAEA Meeting: Concern of Fukushima spent fuel pool collapse as aftershock “should be caused in near future” September 24, 2012
  4. 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
  5. 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

45 comments to Report: Concern that a subsidence in the earth under unit 4 could cause its collapse

  • I have nightmares about Reactor #4. I think I need a break from the news and the USGS earthquake site, at least for a few days. Every day it only gets worse. It's not if it collapses, it's when. There are any number of factors, and then when that explodes, the domino effect takes place.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi Kelly Ann, enjoy a good digital detox week. I do that from time to time – it's good to experience what else the world has to offer except Fuku disaster.
      Garden work

      I wish you lots of good thoughts for a change. Sleep tight!

      • I love it….Digital Detox, would be good for me too.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        I agree with you both. Last night I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about this.

        'Horrible stuff, like would my family and dog starve? Would we have to watch the dog starve, kill her as a "mercy killing" if she was suffering (unthinkable) or have to contemplate eating her if we were starving (also unthinkable). Dreadful things to contemplate.

        That's the kind of thing that can give you nightmares!

        It hasn't happened yet, so better to not go there!

    • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

      There is a full moon tonight, and a small chance of seeing meteors from hailey's comet. After sunset look west and Venus will be very bright, look east and the moon should appear very large while rising above the horizon. Almost straight up and slightly south the reddish star is Mars.
      Take a lawn chair and a drink and sit relax and enjoy.

      • Buffalojam

        Excellent prescription for the Fuku Blues (and pinks and yellows) Sharp. It's funny how the simple things we take for granted have become so much more meaningful and pleasurable lately, at least for me. Hope everyone has clear skies and maybe a telescope. Enjoy all!

    • kintaman kintaman

      I have not slept well since 3.11 last year even though I am now in North America. I am still extremely worried and stressed about those left in Japan. I find it even more troubling how this is hardly talked about in the news.

      I also worry about the fallout coming to hear via the jet stream. I do not eat any seafood and avoid, as much as I can, any food items from the west coast and definitely Japan. Yet I see my friends here going out and guzzling sushi like crazy. I try to tell them but they laugh at me.

      Anyway, all I can do is take care of myself and my family. I can only warn others…if they do not listen I can only wish them the best.

      This is a crazy, crazy world we are now living in. I get very worried any time it rains even here. How very Horror Sci-fi…

  • norbu norbu

    yes we do gardening to not think about it, but I really can not stop thinking about it. Have they looked underground with radar to see if the ground is going to cave in soon?

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    I hear you kelly. BBL 🙁

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Obama needs to get on the horn and order a crane to unload SPF4. Pronto.

    • He is beholden to the nuke industry, they were his largest bribers.

    • bigfatscaryman bigfatscaryman

      Pshhhht…..Obama nothing, this is much bigger. I'm afraid it won't be until the WORLD sees the reactor fall and then it's every one for themselves. How is the world going to cope with this?

    • kintaman kintaman

      Yeah, hero Obama is going to do something. Get past the imagery and see the puppetry. This is beyond politics.

  • SnorkY2K

    Not addressing the problem because the crane is broke is like sewing your rectum shut because you ran out of toilet paper

    • lam335 lam335

      That should say: The study referenced here, which is by European Geosciences Union (EGU)

  • Jebus Jebus

    I just burned my folder of all things fukushima to cd and labeled it Fukushima One… just sayin'

    • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

      lets hope that the civilization that rises from the ashes learns how to read that CD before they learn how to crack an atom. We went nuclear 50 years before the CD was invented.

      • Jebus Jebus

        Hmm, mabe i shoulda burned it to the old victorola….

        • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

          Carve it in stone. NO NUKES so it will last till the next civilisation emerges

          • Jebus Jebus

            End of Story.

          • There will not be another human civilization if this problem is not solved.

            Too much genetic damage from years of chemical and radiological contamination to begin with…

            Now this.

            This is it for humans!

            Too bad we are rising to a collective consciousness only on the verge of our extinction…

    • StillJill StillJill


      Let's hope there are more cd's to come from us, eh? 🙂

  • el

    gotta love the constant threats of extinction instead of real solutions.

    Its getting a little worn out.

    Its also obvious that there are NO solutions planned whatsoever. Yeah ,you and me, we take precautions. WE BUY SOLUTIONS. Supplements, seeds, dog food. But Fuku? No, thats gonna spew with no end in sight….Were just gonna have to trust the experts on this one….

    …..after all, they created the problem, so they prolly got the solution. Maybe if we email and petition more…..

  • NoNukes NoNukes

    "…and the prize goes to…jec, for calling the problem of subsidence at least 5 months before these nuclear experts!"

    The crowd goes wild.

  • Jebus Jebus

    I was able to get a friend to look at this website yesterday
    I was suprised that my explanations of why, were accepted immediatly.
    Everyone there had heard of Fukushima in the past tense.
    Hopefully now, each of them, will explain this to someone else.
    So now,
    I'm sitting here and I have work to do. Why do I check in here so often?
    I'm not hearing much from the MSM on Fukushima, according to them, everythings fine…
    Alternate websites are mostly the ones reporting doom and gloom on this event.
    Those sites always have conspiracy theories and other such stuff on them.
    And I'm here looking at an alternative website?

    That has overwhelmingly shown indisputable evidence,
    that a Global Catastrophy happened, and/or, is in the making.

    Why am I here so much, a year now!.
    If this is all a non event as the MSM say's, I got punked!

    If this is all so, and true that, if Mother Nature, and we humans,
    and every living thing, now have a big problem on our hands,
    then for all of us, you, me, and everyone who has seen this overwhelming evidence,
    all together only a small part of humanity, seeing an invisible global catastrophe,
    wouldn't I be a traitor, if I turned my head away?

  • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

    my weiner dog loves you, he licks your avatar.

  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    "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."

    Pretty much proves TEPCO's management is delusional. Any Government that goes along with it is too of course….

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    This headline speaks to a real concern. The entire site, R1-R4 in any case, is built on landfill–which offers the least consolidation of any soils or substrate. There isn't any sort of base more stupid to select as a site to construct nuclear power plants. The concrete bases of the plants here, R1-R4, were not solidly established on the bedrock many dozen meters below grade, but were built on the landfill itself–stupid. There has been continuous criticality of corium material under the site of these four reactors since melt-throughs in spring of 2011. There is the possibility of subsistence or it has already occurred, but has not yet resulted in the event mentioned above (steaming cracks opening up), where R4 spent fuel pool collapses, scattering all the rods, allowing them to burst into flames and make their own hyper-radioactive corium hundreds of thousands of times more radioactive than non-spent fuel corium. I can't imagine why a power elite would allow an event like that to occur because not any billionaire is immune to the effects though having known some, I would say they believe they are invincible and have well planned for such a catastrophe that would otherwise wipe out all other life. In fact, there is nowhere to run, hide and live well or at all in most fantasy futurist concepts of escape of nuclear catastrophe though underground facilities. How boring and stupid to plan such an escape, how racist and supremacist such eugenics, de facto, intended or not.

  • StillJill StillJill

    Yes Pallas,….stupid indeed! Can you see them,…munching on their MRE's,….O.K., caviar at first,….then the MRE's. Yup,…that's gonna make them real happy,…(not).

    My first job was at the Cleveland zoo. Had to feed rats to the golden eagle. The rats lived in a dark cellar (hole),…kind of like where the Butcher of Baghdad was found in, a spider hole.

    I think the powers that be are getting what they DESERVE,…not what they think they're getting!