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