NYTimes: Countries increasingly worried about Fukushima Unit 4 spent fuel — Experts: Concern over potential cracks in pool walls — Professors: “In deteriorating condition”; “This is a critical global issue”; “Could have fatal consequences for Japan”

Published: September 6th, 2013 at 3:14 am ET
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New York Times, Sept. 3, 2013: [...] thousands of workers and a small fleet of cranes are preparing for one of the latest efforts to avoid a deepening environmental disaster that has China and other neighbors increasingly worried: removing spent fuel rods from the damaged No. 4 reactor building and storing them in a safer place. [...]

Xinhua, Sept. 4, 2013: [...] Mitsuhei Murata, a former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland has officially called for the withdrawal of Tokyo’s Olympic bid, due to the worsening crisis at Fukushima, which experts believe is not limited to storage tanks, but also potential cracks in the walls of the spent nuclear fuel pools. [...]

Telegraph, Sept. 4, 2013: [...] Tom Snitch, a senior professor at the University of Maryland and with more than 30 years’ experience in nuclear issues, said  “[Japan officials] need to address the real problems, the spent fuel rods in Unit 4 and the leaking pressure vessels,” he said. “There has been too much work done wiping down walls and duct work in the reactors for any other reason then to do something. [...] This is a critical global issue and Japan must step up.”

Japan Focus, Sept. 2, 2013: [...]  from November, TEPCO plans to begin the delicate operation of removing spent fuel from Reactor No. 4 fuel pool. [...] The spent-fuel pool [...] was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, and is in a deteriorating condition. It remains vulnerable to any further shocks, and is also at risk from ground liquefaction. [...] If a fuel rod is dropped, breaks or becomes entangled while being removed, possible worst case scenarios include a big explosion, a meltdown in the pool, or a large fire. [...] This is literally a matter of national security – another mistake by TEPCO could have incredibly costly, even fatal, consequences for Japan. [...]

See also: Professor: Fukushima Unit No. 4 "an immediate problem" -- Building is sinking, over 30 inches in places -- Extraordinary possibility plant could be back at March 2011 if situation continues -- Risk of fission accident in fuel pool (AUDIO)

Published: September 6th, 2013 at 3:14 am ET
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