Senator on National TV: I’m so concerned about Unit 4 fuel pool — Tepco’s plan must be sped up — “It’s very clear there are substantial health questions that have to be addressed now” (VIDEO)

Published: April 17th, 2012 at 12:45 pm ET


Title: Senator calls for US help in Fukushima cleanup
Source: MSNBC
Date: April 17, 2012
Emphasis Added

At 0:50 in

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR): […] It’s very clear that there are substantial health questions that have to be addressed now. I’m particulary concerned about unit No. 4 […]

If for example you had an earthquake or a tsunami hit those particular pools, those pools could rupture and that could mean that the fuel rods could catch fire and melt down and you have radiation in the air that would be a huge challenge to control.

[…] I do think this is something that has to be addressed quickly and Tepco has a ten-year plan for essentially moving the spent fuel rods to dry storage. That must be sped up because if another earthquake or tsunami hits, it could be very, very damaging and possibly more radiation than earlier. […]

[…] I think they made it clear that they have been able to handle much of the radiation because we stayed within the vessels. That’s one of the reasons I’m so concerned about unit four. That is essentially outside the containment process and that’s why earthquake or tsunami can be so serious. I was visiting and we were getting on the bus to go to the airport. People said oh, pretty amazing that you didn’t have an earthquake or tremor while you were there. This happens frequently there.

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Published: April 17th, 2012 at 12:45 pm ET


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78 comments to Senator on National TV: I’m so concerned about Unit 4 fuel pool — Tepco’s plan must be sped up — “It’s very clear there are substantial health questions that have to be addressed now” (VIDEO)

  • Anthony Anthony

    This guy is 'the Bomb'!


    Yeah I realize he is a Senior Energy Politician but to me he is doing his job right.

  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    Senator Ron Wyden, my man! Wyden for President! 🙂

    • the yeoman the yeoman

      surely you jest…listen carefully

      He infers the NRC is stronger then Nihon's Nuclear Safety Commission…so rest easy 🙂

      He emphasizes design…safety first…meaning full steam ahead nuke-wise

      3:30 in "radiation pretty much stayed within the vessels"

      MsMilkytheClown are you out there?…can you hit the bullshit button for me

      nuff said

      Maggie Gunderson for President 🙂

      PS Don't let MSNBC construct the frame…

  • I'm very grateful he is speaking up.

    I do wonder, however, how much of the plant he actually saw?

    Did he actually see unit #4 close up?

    The most recent photo that I saw shows daylight through the upper structures of the building:

    Where would spent fuel pool #4 be located here in the image at this link?

    I'm still doubting spfp #4's existence as an intact structure. Same for unit 3.

    Although Wyden's letter does address spent fuel pool #4 specifically (, in the Reuters article he states he is concerned with pools near ocean

    "Wyden said he was most worried about spent fuel rods stored in damaged pools adjacent to the ocean, and urged the Japanese government to accept international help to prevent further release of the radioactive material if another earthquake should happen."

    Are these pools different from the spent fuel pools in each reactor?

    None of this makes sense to me.

    I'm tired of trying to infer the truth out of the endless spin…

    On a worrying note, it appears that lenders will not give money to Tepco unless they re-start nuclear reactors

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      Majia: At what level is SFP4? Here is a drawing layout of a similar reactor building that may help:
      There are a lot of photos of Building4 that show the building cleared down to the top of SFP4, and lots of photos of SFP4, plus the video TEPCO released two or three weeks ago, all available by searching ENEnews. So SFP4 is still there. In the photo in your link, the top of SFP4 begins two stories from the top of the building. Some of the concrete frame of the building collapsed outward, and has been removed.
      And SFP3 seems to be holding water as well, as attested by TEPCO photos and videos.
      Wyden is referring to the same pools; at Fuku, ALL SPENT FUEL POOLS are near the Ocean, and concern all of us greatly. In addition to a SFP in each reactor, there is a shared SFP in a separate building at ground level.
      Hope this helps.
      PS, TEPCO is operating without insurance, and the new loans are all contingent on getting reactors back online. Does anyone seriously think that the Japanese people will allow any of the nuke death machines to start up again? TEPCO is finished, and will be nationalized when these loans don't come through. I just hope that not one of the holders of TEPCO stocks and bonds gets so much as one yen when this happens

      • flownthecoop

        I forget where I saw it on youtube, but apparently, before 3/11 the government only owned a small part of TEPCO stock. After 3/11, the government bought up more of the stock and I THINK it said they are now the majority owner. SO…. it looks like the cost of all of this is now on the backs on of the general public. This can probably be verified.

    • Dang. I was hoping the good senator was going to spill the beans on what we know…how the Pacific ocean has already been trashed by Tepco at Fukushima and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future …. if anyone is contacting Mr. Wyden, please mention aerosolized plutonium that has already hit the shores and forests of his beautiful oregon,67.msg519.html#msg519

      At a Tepco shareholder meeting to be held in June 2012 "The government intends to get at least 51 percent, and possibly up to two-thirds, of voting rights so as to accelerate TEPCO's management reform, reports have said…."

      Furthur analysis

      Asahi Shimbun April 2012
      "The municipal government of Tokyo is now the majority shareholder of TEPCO’s stock"

      Furthur analysis from Greenpeace on this situation

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      I thought Oi was the reactor with the huge crane in it that they could not remove or was that another one. Ahh, I guess I'll have to google and find out.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        I think it is their FAILED fast breeder Monju.

        “Monju (もんじゅ?) is a Japanese sodium-cooled fast reactor, located in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture. Construction started in 1986 and the reactor achieved criticality for the first time in April 1994. Its name is a reference to Manjusri.
        “Monju is a sodium cooled, MOX-fueled, loop-type reactor with three primary coolant loops, producing 280 MWe from 714 MWt.
        “An accident in December 1995, in which a sodium leak caused a major fire, forced a shutdown. A subsequent scandal involving a cover-up of the scope of the accident delayed its restart until May 6, 2010, with renewed criticality reached on May 8, 2010.[1] In August 2010 another accident, involving dropped machinery, shut down the reactor again. As of June 2011, the reactor has only generated electricity for one hour since its first testing two decades prior.[2]…”

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Watched the video of the Monju accident — when the workers went into the reactor to find out what went wrong. Sobering.

          Anne did you originally post a link to that video? Good video!

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            How long is the world going to let these incompetents keep covering up the mindlessness of the nuclear industry?

            “…Following the fire, officials at the government-owned Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC), operators of Monju, first played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. Later, they released still shots only, showing things like intact pipes and clean floors and claiming that there had only been “a minor leakage in the secondary sodium loop [that had] caused some fumes”. While short videos were released, these were edited to hide the full extent of the damage. Further complicating the story, the deputy general manager of the general affairs department at the PNC, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference where he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up.

            “Starting from September of 2007, Nishimura's family brought the story back to light in a trial against the PNC at Japan's High Court. …”

            • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

              This video is unbelievably scary. And while the world is starving, so much money was spent on a death machine that some hope still to resurrect.

              • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

                Forgot the link:



                Here is a different video of the same accident:

                Monju nuclear reactor sodium leak accident footage

                • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

                  This is the Generation IV scary stuff I have been on about for 7 or 8 months.. the industry is going this way.. (updated December 2010)

                  "An international task force is developing six nuclear reactor technologies for deployment between 2020 and 2030. Four are fast neutron reactors.
                  All of these operate at higher temperatures than today's reactors. In particular, four are designated for hydrogen production.
                  All six systems represent advances in sustainability, economics, safety, reliability and proliferation-resistance.
                  Europe is pushing ahed with three of the fast reactor designs."

                  This industry needs to be stopped!
                  Read this and understand what it is up to…Man is arrogant and stupid even in his brilliance..


                  This is the technology the industry is rushing to get sold to places like India and the Philippines.. they have so many tax dollars invested and if they can just build them they will all be rich.. and the people that help bring them to these poor unsuspecting masses will be super rich at the average persons expense and the expense of our planet.. these metals take 15 years to produce.. what are the likelihood they will be flawed..? and then to fix, when broken, do we have to wait 15 years or so for a part?
                  I believe they were studying and researching these technologies all over Japan..check the facilities just south of Fukuland.. scary..
                  NO NEW NUKES! AND SHUT DOWN THE…

                  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

                    ..nuclear interests are clinging onto the hope of creating the illusion of a closed, clean energy cycle. HTE requires its namesake: high temperatures. Specifically, upwards of 1000° celsius.


                    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

                      ..from my above post. please notice the word choice and order.. All six systems represent advances in 1)sustainability, 2)economics, 3)safety, 4)reliability and 5)proliferation-resistance.

                      to reiterate, we have found a way to "sustain our profits" is first priority and first two selling points..

            • ..and don't forget this one. The worst Nuclear Radiation accident in Japan prior to Fuku.

              "Tokaimura nuclear accident (Japanese: Tōkai-mura JCO-rinkai-jiko)indicates the nuclear disaster which occurred on 30 September 1999, resulted in two deaths. It was the worst civilian nuclear radiation accident in pre-Fukushima Japan.

              The criticality accident occurred in a uranium reprocessing facility"


              The worst that was finally reported perhaps?

  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    Sorry.. Political puff piece for a Senator that has a farm in his state that has shut down to producing food as it is too hot with FUKU..

    He does not denounce nuclear power.. just wants more regulation. he thinks NRC is tougher agency, than the Japanese.. so does he think they can keep the US from an accident? Karl Grossman reports the NRC says 50-50 chance of major accident here, so why no denouncement? What about the burning of debris?

    ..and I bet he has access to data that would blow our minds..

    I still can not support elected official that does not come out strongly against this madness.. we could produce more jobs, more clean energy, more health by using alternatives.. where is the courage of any elected official to just say so.. down with nuclear power..

    How about grants to community colleges from the funds allocated for nuke industry, to bring more efficiency, to current alternatives..shoot.. we could probably put a solar panel on every home for what the tax dollars nuke industry gets..

    • Radio VicFromOregon

      Senator Wyden is not political puff. He is one of the few honest political leaders I am aware of. He was even willing to personally go to Japan and stand outside a reactor building. He is doing his job with great clarity and precision and working with the latest science based information ( which we know is flawed). He knows his trade in Washington DC. He has been a tireless advocate his entire life. He founded the Gray Panthers, a civl rights movement for seniors while in college. The political spearhead can never give away the hidden agenda. His words will help put an end to nuclear power. He doesn't have to bring out the laundry list. He just said we need to site these plants safely. He knows that is not likely to be achievable. Done.

      • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

        Vic: Agree with you 100%! 🙂
        Wyden For President 2016

      • kill the hacs kill the hacs

        "I think they made it clear that they have been able to handle much of the radiation because we stayed within the vessels", yup sounds honest to me, pass the green tea, two cesiums, oops i mean sugar pls.

        • StillJill StillJill

          'kill the hac's hit the nail on the head! Sir Wyden, you will burn in hell for saying that "we stayed within the vessels"!

          Wake up and smell the plutonium, a-hole! 🙁

          Take my letter from yesterday,….and line the inside of your twin two year olds play pen with it, for all it's worth!

      • Holland Holland

        One thing i've learned from observing politics is that if one doesn't follow the rules one is not allowed to enter the political arena. Wyden is obviously following the rules…

      • moonshellblue moonshellblue

        I emailed him to say thank you but after hearing him say that the radiation in the reactors is contained did concern me. Does he really think the only problem is Reactor 4 or is he just doing the political song and dance which is unfortunate. Oh well I politics as usual.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      How about a half a percent sales tax on all sales of stocks on the stock market? Why do we reward the people who gamble?

  • Holland Holland

    Of course I'm very happy with the attention Fukushima is getting now but today more than ever: “Nothing just happens in politics. If something happens you can be sure it was planned that way.”

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    A new Pro-Nuke claiming he's an engineer and sees no evidence of reactors housing multiple tons of plutonium

  • Kevin Kevin

    I have often pointed to China's "ghost cities" as a place for "Daichi refugees" now it seems it may actually be something they are considering….

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Nice that the Senator is voicing his concerns. His peers need to grow some balls as well. If they don't step up to the plate, we won't vote for them.

  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    "and possibly more radiation than earlier"

    When he said this I knew he was basically clue-less. Or lying.

    The only way this statement makes sence is if far more radiation was release initialy than any of us here know. If SFP 4 burns up, based on what was reported here in the last week or two, an amount something like 85 times greater would be released of just Cesium. This was stated here on ENE. So for this guy to say, "possible more" shows how big a dumb ass he realy is.

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      Is anyone still counting what is being released? Hello out there? It seems that they stopped counting a long time ago… like two weeks after the 'accident'. Still only 10% of Chernobyl, and getting less each day; no one hurt, no one killed.

      Total Fukushima Radiation Released Into Ocean, Air, Groundwater, Storage Tanks; via A Green Road Blog

      This is not just a problem around FUKU.

      75% US Nuclear Plants Leaking Toxic Tritium Radiation Into Drinking Water Supply; via A Green Road Blog

      Atucha Nuclear Reactor Taken Over By Terrorists; via A Green Road Blog

      Fukushima Reactor 4; Life Extinction Event If It Collapses; via A Green Road Blog

      12 reasons why all nuclear power plants must be shut down; via A Green Road Blog

      Super Solar Storm To Hit Earth In 2013 'Carrington Effect'; Year Long Power Outage? via A Green Road Blog

    • Buffalojam

      " I request that you provide me with a description of the assistance your agency is currently providing to respond to this crisis and identify what additional capabilities and support might be provided to assist the Japanese in their response. "

      The above is taken from Senator Wyden's letters to Secretary of Energy Chu, Chairman of the NRC Jaczko, and Secretary of State Clinton after his recent visit to Fukushima. Wyden has made it quite clear in his press release and national TV appearance that the situation is deteriorating and that a serious crisis exists. He seems to have a pretty good grasp of things over in Japan and has called for an international response.

      Regarding the quote, I would have extreme doubts that Wyden does not already know the answers to the questions he is asking and info. he is requesting. I have to think Chu, Jaczko, and Clinton will be very careful with their answers to avoid very awkward circumstances in the near future. I would guess that they do not think Wyden is the "dumb ass" that some people think.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        He must sense the need for caution. He needs to maintain credibility. If he were to point out how bad it really is, all at once, he'd be discredited as a "conspiracy theorist." Even though we know how truly bad it is!

        Remember, the MSM has had a virtual media blackout (except for pieces downplaying the facts and risks). So the public has to be brought to a gradual awareness or they'll pooh-pooh the whole idea.

        Does anyone remember what they did to Congressman Jim Wright when he became too vocal about Iran Contra and the dirty deeds of the CIA/black ops crowd? That should be instructive and a lesson applicable to this situation.

        My guess is now that he knows how bad the SPF #4 situation is, he'll become more informed and will know the full, ugly truth.

        You can bet there are those who want to hide things from him now, as well. Their dirty deeds are beginning to get more scrutiny now …. You can only keep things hidden, or hidden in plain sight, for so long!

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          And maybe he truly has known for some time, but is moving forward cautiously.

          "Choose your battles," as it were.

          • Buffalojam

            Spot on HT. Although he is one of the few (if any) pols to speak out and take action on the FUKU situation he already is receiving criticism from a number of enenewsers who don't see him as an ally. Only by taking measured steps (a strategy which I believe Arnie G. follows) will he maintain his credibility and stay in the battle.

  • daddyfixit daddyfixit

    Hey, uhh… is that morse code that he is blinking? why does he blink like that in the video? you would think he was trying to get a message to his troops from behind the iron curtain or something…

  • cgrl

    Politicians are an impossible bunch to trust but just a heads-up… Wyden (along with Merkey (D-OR), is of the very few who voted against NDAA bill that essentially militarizes the U.S., allows for indefinite detention for U.S. citizens (even a journalist interviewing a suspected terrorist can be locked away without a trial), and remove little things like civil liberties (our Constitution, doesn't really amount to much these days). Eventually posting *what can be distorted as anti-American* comments on a site like this will put you on a watch list (aw, who's kidding, it's happening already), and real patriots will be deemed terrorists without trial – even earn you a new residence in a FEMA/work camp. We need life (health), LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness.

  • dosdos dosdos

    There are several things that caught my attention:

    About the green tea import question, he said that the Japanese were quite successful at keeping the radiation inside the reactors. Fukushima was worse than Chernobyl, the worst industrial accident ever. How is that successful?

    There were a number of other things that stood out in his veiled answers, such as the good things to do for new reactors in the US. Where is his support for giving subsidies to renewables such as wind, solar, tidal, etc?

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Let's get real… and discuss the FACTS, instead of making stuff up and keeping up 'appearances'.

    93 Long life Radiation Contaminants; via A Green Road Blog

    Depleted Uranium Effects In The Human Body; via A Green Road Blog

    Nuclear Plants And Radioactive Water Contamination; via A Green Road Blog

    Nuclear Spent Fuel/Radioactive Waste Storage; via A Green Road Blog

    List Of Countries/Nations Closing Down ALL Nuclear Power Plants; via A Green Road Blog

  • kill the hacs kill the hacs

    if he's doing such a damn good job wyden he talk about this 6 months ago?!? wyden he get wishy-washy on the green tea q? wyden he mention how radiation is getting here on the gulfstream winds? wyden he talk about west coast exports that are being contaminated? nuke apologist for the nuke fascists.

  • jackassrig

    The pro nuc camp is not talking about the aging power cables that connect the generators to the switch gear, transformers, etc. The cables age because of the radiation. These old rust buckets need to be shut down.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I'd like to ask Tepco..the NRC ..the IAEA..about the switch yard and switch rooms in the reactors at Fuku.
    Condition and operational?

  • InfoPest InfoPest

    It's better than nothing but he knows there's a multitude of dangerous stuff happening, not just SFP#4. He kept saying I don't want to speculate about that. He has experts advising him about everything. HE KNOWS! Why won't somebody in the know just let it all out of the bag.

  • weeman

    My hat is off to the senator, a man of substance,
    not a pawn, future presidential material,
    keep your head high you are on track,
    Remember you are a man surrounded by mice
    and vermin need to be eradicated

  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    This site is an exercise in free speech and group thinking. Hopefully, we can answer some questions and shed some light on the, nuke industry misinformation. Everyone has a right to come down for or against anything they want. But I'd prefer that whatever wind we generate around here at ENEnews be at Senator Wyden's back. He will catch a lot of pro-nuke falk on this.

  • jackassrig

    If your not stepping on a few ding dongs here and there, your not doing your job.

  • Cisco Cisco

    Just another whitewash. These pols, all live in a bubble. He was a guest of TEPCO. What does that tell you…SSDD.

    Just like in the US, he's swarmed with TEPCO execs, other conspiring…pols, bureaucrats, IAEA and NRC nuclear shills, and the rest of Japan's nuclear cabal.

    "Move along folks, everything’s okay." Yeah, it's serious, but the good folks at TEPCO and the Japanese officials have it under control.

    Never mind the earthquake, the Tsunami, and/or the reinforcing of SFP 4, because the corium in SPF 4 will shortly burn through the floor, and KABOOM!

    It will be a gas to see how they spin the explosions and resulting radiological firestorm and cloud.

    It’s not a matter of if; it’s only a matter of when.

  • omniversling

    What a liar…whilst what remains of the containment vessels is x10 lethal dose (U2 @73 seiverts?) most of the radiation has 'left the building. Readings on street corners, parks, playgrounds, schools, burned charcoal from smokehouses, green tea,beef and and and are up to 1000s of times 'legal' or background levels. Kelp on US west coast even..cesium in US milk…

    I could go on and on and on…but cant face it today…anyone who's reading this only needs to surf back through the articles on the essential blog (thanks Admin for your excellent work and invaluable resource) to get a snapshot of what's happening, and what's still to come.

    He's a senator from Oregon? If he doesn't know all this, then he's not being briefed, in which case he's failing in his job as a rep and a lawmaker, and if he is being breiefed (even if only partially), he's in the pocket of the industry in that and surrounding states. How many facilities ?

    Is anybody on this site posting links to the articles to your local reps? We did that for an environmental campaign in Australia, because they get logged as 'received' as part of the reps correspondence. Later they cannot claim that they didn't know what were the risks.

  • Anthony Anthony

    April 17, 2012, 8:44 PM JST
    Fukushima Daiichi’s Achilles Heel: Unit 4′s Spent Fuel?

    ps: this man is logging some miles about this……..

    • Anthony Anthony

      *** Mr. Wyden points out, though, that the schedule allows up to ten years to get all the spent fuel in all the Fukushima reactor pools out — something he says is too risky.

      “This schedule carries extraordinary and continuing risk if further severe seismic events were to occur,” he wrote in his letter to Ambassador Fujisaki. “The true earthquake risk for the site was seriously underestimated and remains unresolved.” ***

  • bigfatscaryman sdyogini

    sheeeeeeeeyit….he clearly sees the severity, however, the fact that he won't "speculate" on greet tea….WHAAAAT? Will the radiatin come to CA? WHHAAAAAAT? They have shown they have controlled or contained it??????? WHAAAAAT? wow Are we idiots or what.

  • razzz razzz

    Typical politician.

    The interviewer (hints he already knows the answers to the questions about tea and ocean contamination, etc.) keeps asking him leading questions about Fukushima fallout and its dangers ex. food (children are overlooked) and the 'I don't want to cause any panic' senator keeps dodging giving pertinent answers. But, the SPF #4 is full of potential fallout but the Units 1,2 & 3 are magically containing any fallout.

    Haven't seen any pictures of the esteemed senator and his visit to Fukushima donning radiation protection gear because everything is 'contained'…must be expect a donation from Japanese agriculture or planning on running for a position in the Diet soon.

    Better than nothing I guess.