More from Sen. Wyden: Fukushima spent fuel absolutely a national security issue — Radiation caused by pool failure “could reach the West Coast within days”

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 9:33 am ET


The Worst Yet to Come? Why Nuclear Experts Are Calling Fukushima a Ticking Time-Bomb
Brad Jacobson
May 4, 2012

[…] Alarmed by the precarious nature of spent fuel storage during his recent tour of the Fukushima Daiichi site, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon subsequently fired off letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko and Japanese ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki. He implored all parties to work together and with the international community to address this situation as swiftly as possible.

A press release issued after his visit said that Wyden, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources who is highly experienced with nuclear waste storage issues, believes the situation is “worse than reported,” with “spent fuel rods currently being stored in unsound structures immediately adjacent to the ocean.” The press release also noted the structures’ high susceptibility to earthquakes and that “the only protection from a future tsunami, Wyden observed, is a small, makeshift sea wall erected out of bags of rock.” […]

AlterNet asked Sen. Wyden if he considers the spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi a national security threat.

In a statement released by his office, Wyden replied, “The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.” […]

Read the in-depth report here

Published: May 5th, 2012 at 9:33 am ET


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71 comments to More from Sen. Wyden: Fukushima spent fuel absolutely a national security issue — Radiation caused by pool failure “could reach the West Coast within days”

  • Imminent collapse of Reactor 4 could create a mass extinction event of both humans and animals

    According to Christina Consolo, an award-winning biomedical photographer and host of Nuked Radio, Reactor 4 has remained in such bad shape that even a very small earthquake could quickly level the building, sending the fuel from more than 1,500 unused fuel rods into the environment. And with Reactor 4 still filled with the highest levels of radioactive MOX and other fuels, the consequences of this potential collapse could be far worse than anything that has happened thus far as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.

    “[S]itting at the top of [Reactor 4], in a pool that is cracked, leaking, and …

    • Bone Idle

      Actually in the last three weeks there have been many earthquakes very close to the Fukashima Daiichi and Daiini sites including two of Mag 5.9
      The structure at Reactor 4 must be getting more fragile with every event.
      A high Mag 6 or 7 will bring the house down. A mag 7 is predicted for the area before the end of next year. Probability of 60%. The probability of this happening before the end of this year is 30%
      Not good odds.

      Those responsible at the Japanese Government levels and senior management of Tepco should be threatened with Nuremberg type trials and similar justice if an disaster occurs and the resultant consequences go international.

      • RJ Rodney

        While I agree with 99% of what you wrote, a mag 7 earthquake is not that strong, though I do admit that it could bring it down

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Have you been somewhere when there was a magnitude 7 earthquake?

        • Peaceismyfriend Peaceismyfriend

          Rodney: Mind you that the Haiti earthquake was M 7…
          "an estimated 316,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless"…

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      That's over 1500 fuel assemblies, not fuel rods. She did not quote the number of fuel rods or assemblies accurately. The number of fuel rods is over 100,000.

      • Discordian

        Damn. That really WOULD be the end (though we've known it was the end since April 2011). (From Georgia, the state that can't get enough of nuclear power…)

      • Before the Committee, Ambassador Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4 – with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground – collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4.

        In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel. Indeed, they are open to the air, which is quite dangerous.

        This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced.

        He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries.

        Ambassador Murata informed us that the total number of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421 (396+615+566+1,535+994+940+6375).

        More at –

      • Sickputer

        Good point tater…an assembly holds 63 rods. There are over 10,000 fuel assemblies at Daiichi so that is 600,000 rods in the plant. See page 9 here:

        I am also very concerned about the 396,000 rods in the CSFP building (Common Spent Fuel Pond Building).

      • I just communicated with Christine. Here is what she said:

        Ambassador Murata informed us that the total number of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Looks as though the U.S, (whoever they are these days, Obama?, Hillary?) aren't doing a thing. So, who's running the show?

    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Makes you wonder doesn't it…

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      The show is being run by the Military Industrial Complex.

      • Whoopie Whoopie

        f31wds comment I MIRROR: "I honestly do not like living here and feel like a stranger in my own land most days." AINT THAT THE TRUTH!?!?

      • StillJill StillJill

        The show is being run by George Soros,….don't kid yourselves!

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          He considers himself a "messianic figure."

          What axe would he have to grind in relation to Fukushima?

          • StillJill StillJill

            I was referring to the 'bigger show' HoTaters. He is the world's biggest puppet master. Go for the head of the snake.

          • StillJill StillJill

            George Soros believes in herd reduction,…BIG TIME,….he believes in euthanasia of all deformity and retardation,…gee,…I don't know,…something just made me think of him. We can add that he has manipulated world economies into financial collapse,….

            In short,…if George Soros is quiet on Fuku,….that's tacit approval. Just like everyone else.

          • Discordian

            Soros thinks he is one of the elite, not just one of their lapdogs. He will be all for population reduction until his number comes up.

    • demo demo

      Cheney and the PNAC boys? (Project for a New American Century)

  • dodge

    The irony is that people were concerned about the economy slowdown which threatened the repair at Chernobyl before the disaster in Japan. Years ago people raised the issue of the spent fuel pools at the nuclear sites in America. Management by crisis is never good way to operate, although for some their health care is done that way, be it treatment for major illness, chemical abuse, or lifestyle, the crisis forces change. There is much talk about what to do with spent fuel pool 4, but it is but one of many, each with escalating risk potential. Radiation which lasts for hundreds, thousands, millions of years depending on the elements. When will we ask the bigger questions, how do we limit the damage from our present crisis, while preventing additional future problems. Best case from the present situation, we will learn to live with increased cancer, heart problems, genetic defects — and hope to find answers in new treatments. Costs: it is what it is… perhaps from the ashes of the world economy destroyed by nuclear greed, a new system will arise which seeks a better community. The other equally likely situation is that individual greed drives a breakdown of society, and chaotic conditions lead to great suffering and global unrest. It cannot be prevented by ignoring it… ask the questions… make the change… Do the work.

  • OhioBoy

    Wow!..It only took our glorious leaders in the political world a YEAR to figure out the seriousness of this situation…The Peter Principle is alive and well in the make believe world of our Govt. and its resident idiots.

  • el

    SO, does everyone trust that Sen Ron Wyden really even made the trip? If he made the trip, did he really visit the site? You think he went in there knowing he could be in the Dead Zone?

    Call ME crazy?

    Everyone else is acting on faith!

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      I'm sure there are means of finding out whether or not he went w/o resorting to media. There must be some sort of public accountability for the activities of elected officials. And an accounting of his expenses for the trip. I'm sure citizen groups in his state would be blowing the whistle if he didn't actually make the trip!

      Let's breathe some reality into this situation. As a former elected public official, I can assure you there is accountability for something as important as a Senator's trip overseas!

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        People really scrutinize your activities when you are elected to public office. IMHO there's no way he could lie about making such an important trip overseas and get away with it.

        • Agreed, no reason to think he didn't go

          A single trip there, and with protective suit and breathing apparatus will not result a significant dose. People should be realistic about the risks of radiation or else we lose credibility and get labelled as tin foil hatters which hurts the anti nuclear drive.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      If you're so concerned about it, why don't you request an accounting under FOIA?

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      el, please think about whether or not your comments cross the line into making an allegation. If so, and Senator Wyden actually made the trip, your statements could be considered libel or defamation of character. That is, if someone wanted to press the issue.

      I realize you may not be aware what you said might cross that invisible line, but it sounds very close to making a serious allegation against the Senator.

      Please be circumspect in choosing your words. Show some wisdom and clear thinking.

      "Definition of libel 1: Libel is the written act of defamation, vs. slander, the oral act of defamation.

      Definition of libel 3: Defamation of an individual or individuals in a published work, with malice aforethought. In litigation, the falsity of the libelous statements or representations, as well the intention of malice, has to be proved for there to be libel."

      • el

        Thanks for the warning but this is not a malicious question.

        You trust the Govt? Even AFTER watching Japans Govt lie for a year? Sorry, but that seems a little hypocritical. Defamation is a tool to keep people from asking hard questions and keeping Lawyers in business. I do not respect it and I am not threatened by it.

        You would be asking the right questions if you were wondering how credible this "public official" is.

        Im asking a real question, and Senators and other "public officials" had better watch out for an informed person like me, before they find themselves in hot water for Treason. This is not the place to discuss details about Wydens alliances given that hes MY Statesman and it is MY duty to keep watch. Generally speaking–in litigation terms, whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

        FIOA cannot be filed for Congress. Or Federal Court. Or "many more" reasons. Did you know that?

        My question is not DID HE GO? Its for the details of the visit. Something that cannot be proven unless filmed.

        The reason it is important is because this guy is on the Energy Committee, environmental committee–hell. The man has his hands in so many pies, its HARD TO KNOW WHERE HIS ALLEGIANCE LIES!

        When its not clear–people speculate. There is no transparency here, just stinking inconstancies in logic.

        You being a former elected public official, should be able to see these inconsistencies clearly.

        • stopnp stopnp

          Nice response. I feel the same way. If our government was so great then they would not be making this bullshit okay. They would not be down playing it. They would be demanding action. For the safety of their people. But they aren't. They're too busy taking away our liberties under the pretense of potential terrorism.

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          What would make you think I trust any politician?

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Well, they say we went to the moon, too, and that was on film.

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          You are implying I'm not asking the right questions?

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          You are correct. FOIA does not apply to elected officials of the Federal Govt.

          So the expenditures don't have to be disclosed? Would this not be under the oversight of the General Accounting Office? And could the information not be requested from the GAO?

    • Jebus Jebus

      French President Sarkozy faked a trip to Fukushima….

      France's Nicolas Sarkozy admits Fukushima nuclear gaffe

      France's President Nicolas Sarkozy has conceded he did not visit Fukushima on a visit to Japan after last year's tsunami, despite saying he had.

    • Anthony Anthony

      From his website:
      ** Senator Wyden was the first Senator to request a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) investigation of Enron, uncovering the smoking gun memos that proved their schemes to inflate West Coast energy prices. His investigations of oil company activities exposed efforts to constrain domestic supply and drive up prices for consumers. His oversight of the Minerals Management Service uncovered severe ethical lapses and led to new rules and an overhaul of the agency.***

  • el

    "Film it or it didnt happen"

    Official motto of the New Information Age.

  • Supermoons in 1955, 1974, 1992, 2005, 2011(march18) & today May5,2012. I think we can correlate any disaster to astrology but truth is water is heavy and supertides can set off earthquakes if conditions are there already, now we can only wait for 2 or 3 years to see what happens to sfp4 and the rest of the world. Meanwhile the rad-arrest in msm continues.

  • Here's the message I get.

    Alarmed, precarious nature, fuel storage, Fukushima, implored all parties, address this situation, swiftly, nuclear waste storage, situation “worse than reported” (understatement!), unsound structures, adjacent to ocean.

    situation: A critical, problematic, or striking set of circumstances.


  • Anthony Anthony

    Thank you Senator Wyden.

  • weeman

    We are the majority in numbers we have a the advantage over the 2 percent who benefit financially from nuclear power.
    If we are to have our voice heard we must band together, civil disobgence the order of the day, let's pick a holiday day millions of people surround these reactors, we need a walk to your closest nuclear reactor, surround facilities with thousands of people and restrict access to site, untill they understand we don't want these death machines
    If we could have a billion people protest throughout world and converge on facilities we would have a say.

    Walk to end nuclear power, power to the people. I have a dream. We the people

    • demo demo

      Beautiful dreamer, how will we make this happen? I try to warn people–lefties–for their own health consequences and they don't want to know. It's even harder to talk w/ right-wingers who charge "conspiracy theory." Hard but not impossible to break thru psychic numbing. Some people are amenable, tho. Maybe enough. Today is global Connect the Dots day re climate chaos. Go to a local event and quote Wyden for credibility and talk w/ people who are more likely than Republicans or Libertarians to be amenable:

      • weeman

        All I know is we must try
        I don't care what religion, political affiliations you have, this affects us all
        As for the conspiracy theorists you can make a conspiracy out of anything and they should use their common sense, as most are far fetched.

        Not a bad idea a walk to your locale nuclear facility

        We need to get celebrities and people of high standing to assist.

        If everyone sent me 1 dollar, Rupert Murdock would like to get out of paper business I could replace him and report on the news that counts not the news that sell papers,
        sorry to say good deeds go unnoticed and only report on the spectacular and they have us all paranoid .

        Do you think that per population that crime and injustice has increased since the middle ages or 18 century to now. no it has dramatically dropped but media has us all as scoundrels and bad people.

        • Weeman … you gotta an email address i got a dollar

          Perhaps We can try to speak to the already singing choir. For all interested reality check has two pages of multiple livestream feeds with their attached chats … for watching and dropping nuke link/ideas etc to many occupy folks at once … y'all welcome to sail over and check it out ….. very handy in getting the eyes open duck and cover rad nuclear news now out

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        I have strong Libertarian leanings, and I'm very amenable!

        Just because someone is a Libertarian doesn't mean they are pro-nuclear energy by definition!

        That being said, I think the whole right-left paradigm is a farce to keep us distracted so we don't focus on the real issues, and unite in our interests.

  • alasanon



    Thank you for DOING YOUR JOB!!!!!


  • nedlifromvermont

    Here's the biggest problem as I see it … please help me sort it out …

    In our legal system, owners and leaders who represent companies which have made mistakes in the past are not free to admit the mistakes and change course. If GE admitted (through its chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt (Jobs Czar!!) ) that it should not have commercialized the Mark I BWR, as three of its top design team engineers insisted, and they resigned over the refusal to abanon, on their understanding of real dangers to the planet, now realized, would not GE open itself to ruinous punitive damage awards in civil liability suits (if not criminal). These damage award laws are surely a petard on which we hoist ourselves.

    Thus our leaders must cling to the wrong course and plunge us all over the abyss, for to admit to being wrong would be absolutely ruinous. Cling to the awkward untruth and you might still retire rich (even if morally bankrupt).

    How can we change this? What hope do we have? We had a rally in Vermont and over a thousand showed up and marched and many were arrested. Important? Maybe. Entergy didn't skip a beat, though, and the nuclear shills are still chirping.

    Turns out you need to pay people only about two and one half times average pay to get them to sell out for a lie (Safe Nuclear) and our fascist regime is enthralled by their big project importance. FOR SHAME.

    We deserve better. Peace to all for keeping it real.

  • Anthony Anthony

    Something else Wyden is working on:

    Wyden at Senate Energy on rising sea level: This is a wake-up call for nuclear policy makers
    April 19, 2012: During a Senate Energy Committee hearing on the impacts of rising sea levels on domestic infrastructures, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) raised his concerns about the vulnerability of nuclear power plants on the U.S. and around the world.

    • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

      My take on Sen. Wyden's speaking up is this:
      He's the only pol that is doing so and I appreciate it and have sent him emails several times to let him know just how much it is appreciated.

      • teamplayer

        I echo your take, PoorDaddy.
        I think we need to support the few voices whether they be in the media, the medical community, or in government who are willing to go out on a limb and address the situation at Fukushima.
        I have sent Sen. Wyden emails, as well.