Tepco Adviser: Fuel is damaged in two Fukushima pools — 150 billion Bq/m³ of Cesium-137 at Unit 3, possible second explosion after 3/11 — “Certainly appears something of significance occurred”

Published: December 3rd, 2013 at 10:34 am ET
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Jiji Press, Nov. 28, 2013: [Tepco] plans to begin work next month at the earliest to remove large chunks of rubble from a spent fuel pool in the No. 3 reactor building, according to officials.

Nuclear Energy Agency, April 2013: Interim and long term roadmap until decommissioning for unit 1 to unit 4 of Fukusahima Daiichi NPS [...] 2013-2020: Study of treatment methods of damaged fuel removed from spent fuel pool

Congressional Briefing Update by Lake Barrett (Now advising Tepco on Fukushima crisis), July 29, 2011: Units 2 & 3 Pools Have Some Damaged Fuel [...] Building Debris In Unit 3 Pool [...] Cesium 137 Levels in 150,000 Bq/ml (150,000,000,000 Bq/m³) [...] Al Rack Corrosion [...] Adding Boric Acid

Testimony of Lake Barrett (Now advising Tepco on Fukushima crisis), U.S. House of Representatives, May 13, 2011: Although information is very sketchy, it seems based on water samples taken, there has been damage to spent fuel that is stored in the Units 2 and 3 spent fuel pools. Information as to what happened in these pools is still unavailable, so it is impossible to determine the significance at this time, but it certainly appears that something of significance occurred.

Report to Science Panel (U.S. Congress) by Lake Barrett (Now advising Tepco on Fukushima crisis), March 19, 2011: [...] I was writing my summary of the situation, then I could not reconcile conflicting data. The more I dug into the available information the more confusing and contradictory it was. In my putting the pieces together, I discovered that there had been several unreported major explosions in Unit 4 that had happened and also an apparent unreported loss of water in the Unit 3 spent fuel pool. [...] It is possible that [Unit 3's] pool may have overheated resulting in a second explosion here also.

More from Barrett: Tepco Adviser: 925 quadrillion Bq of contaminated water from trying to cool melted Fukushima cores in first few months after 3/11

Published: December 3rd, 2013 at 10:34 am ET
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Related Posts

  1. Damaged fuel rods are cracked and leaking radioactive gases in Fukushima Unit 4 pool; Wire appears trapped in racks — Another assembly bent when “mishandled during a transfer” November 14, 2013
  2. Nuclear Engineer: Fuel appears damaged in Fukushima Unit 4 pool and will fall apart if they pull it up — Make sure your radiation monitor works so you know what’s going on when something drops (AUDIO) September 6, 2013
  3. Nuclear Engineer: Pyrophoric fire may have already occurred at Fukushima Unit 4 spent fuel pool — Explosion possibly due to rods not being covered with water (AUDIO) October 21, 2013
  4. Japan Diplomat: Concern fuel rods in Unit 4 pool are damaged — “Have they moved”? — Transfer process could go on for decades, not months October 22, 2013
  5. UK Newspaper: Multiple sets of fuel rods at Unit 4 reportedly damaged AFTER disaster; Explosions to blame? — AP: “Assemblies and their handles may have been damaged when big pieces of debris fell” November 18, 2013

52 comments to Tepco Adviser: Fuel is damaged in two Fukushima pools — 150 billion Bq/m³ of Cesium-137 at Unit 3, possible second explosion after 3/11 — “Certainly appears something of significance occurred”

  • Nick

    >>>so it is impossible to determine the significance at this time, but it certainly appears that something of significance occurred….

    Significantly something impossible has occurred. It certainly appears impossible that something ….

    Why don't these guys just say FUBAR?


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  • Nick

    …remove large chunks of rubble from a spent fuel pool in the No. 3 reactor building…

    Then place in Pacific.

    Next.

    Bet they find a messtipiece.

    When #3 blew I knew in my soul that the worse had happened.

    Cold shutdown my ass.


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  • charlie3

    "The more I dug into the available information the more confusing and contradictory it was."
    Indeed. Welcome to the nightmare of TEPCOWORLD.


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  • weeman

    If the same committee was to be asked the same questions today, would they still respond in the same manner, when this committee was established the full extent of accident was still being evaluated and they still cannot tell you were corium is?.
    Had to cry when I read the DOE did not send a representive, as the head honcho was overseas, even low he was requested weeks in advance and a department that get $850 million a year and do not have more than one person to answer to the committee and then try to manipulate committee.


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  • Grampybone Grampybone

    "150,000,000,000 Bq/m³" [The more I dug into the available information the more confusing and contradictory it was.] The data was redacted so much in the initial FOIA documents that major findings were crossed out. This US regulator who observed the status of the spent fuel pools must be appalled. US reactors are run down and terrible, but not this terrible. TEPCO already had a history of damaging fuel assemblies. This points to a logical reason behind nuclear fuel pool detonation. Don't get it twisted because it's not a hydrogen explosion when it involves critical levels from ALREADY damaged fuel concentrations. Units 1-3 could have detonation damage far beyond reported.


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  • Speedy

    Not alarming….just scarry…

    Isn't that the standard responce?

    How many times can I be alarmed before I'm scared?


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  • ftlt

    How surprising… I mean, it was just a small nuclear explosion after all


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Spent fuel assemblies can be removed from a SFP, and put into dry cask storage five years after they are removed from a reactor. The hottest fuel load at SFP4 was removed 3 years ago, in November, 2010. In 2 more years, even that fuel could go into dry cask storage. Presumably, much of the rest of the contents of the Fukushima SFPs could be placed immediately into dry cask storage. So, get started already, TEPCO. We know it will be expensive to do, but it's got to be done, so get started!

    High cesium levels in SFP3 indicate that at least some of the fuel assemblies have failed, and that raw fuel pellets have spilled from fuel assemblies. Once the larger debris have been removed from SFP3, it will be possible to begin an assessment of the condition of the fuel assemblies. In spite of numerous reports indicating that SFP3 was the source of the Unit3 explosion(s), that is unlikely to prove to be the case. All the overhead photos I have seen of Unit3 from March, 2011, show water in the SFP. My guess is that some of the beams that fell into SFP3 mechanically damaged spent fuel assemblies, spilling their contents into the water. This means that the fuel was not burned, and has not melted down. All that has happened in SFP3 is that fuel pellets are exposed to water, and are probably held in place by the fuel racks and by the bottoms of damaged fuel assemblies in those racks.


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  • robu

    Keep in mind that most of his statements are made in the first couple of months after the disaster. I am wondering why they included them in this article?


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  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    Ene News poll

    Which is more torturous

    Watching fuku unfold?

    Or

    Knowing that Obama is still in office promoting the nuke agenda and lying to the American public regarding fuku.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Choice C..trying to maintain the façade of a normal life..to offer what peace I can to the family..while my head hurts and my heart breaks.
    D. All of above.


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  • jcfougere jcfougere

    Hey folks just registered and I'd like to start off by thanking all of you for the excellent posts, discussions, links and information. I have been following Gunderson since this all started and only recently started getting daily news from ENE.

    I have a few questions for you all, hoping I can find a bit of clarification of some facts, if that's even possible at this point.

    I've read just about every post, article; watched every video, and I'm presented with 3 general perceived divisions of information. The first being the absolutely criminal and murderous stance of all our governments that all is well; the general position of Gunderson that we had releases, and we're in serious danger from continual releases in to the pacific and from SFP4(but with no advice on what to do); and the last position that pulls from legally released documents that we've already had a zirc fire in SFP4, we've already had all the pools release their toxic death, and the northern hemisphere is already catastrophically contaminated and all living here are in immediate and continuous peril.(The alarmist in me says I should evacuate immediately if that’s true, but the scientist in me says I want readings first)

    With all the conflicting information, the lack of testing/monitoring, and the trolls out there, I can't figure this out enough to make a decision on what to do for myself and my family. Some sources have what look like great documentation, explanations, facts, but then use…


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    • jcfougere jcfougere

      ocean tsunami changes and site it as radiation mapping in the Pacific. FALSE

      I currently live on the West coast of Canada(whistler) and I've already made the decision to move to the southern hemisphere as soon as possible. I based that decision on A) The initial releases in to the atmosphere, which I assume are bad enough to eventually ..

      bio accumulate in the food I eat. B) The probability of more atmospheric releases due to the fact all 3 cores have melted, are unaccounted for, and SFP4. C) The continual and seemingly never-ending flow of radiation in to the Pacific that will reach/as reached our shores and blow inland. D) Since no one is testing food or the atmosphere/rain/snow in Canada, I can only assume it’s so bad they won’t tell us, and E) There are so many nukes in the Northern hemisphere that I can’t possibly start a family here now and feel safe.
      My problem is I don’t know HOW severe things are where I live right now. I don’t know how to check for radiation in my environment, and I don’t know what foods are safe to eat. I don’t know which sources for monitoring radiation are accurate, and I don’t know which news sources are providing accurate information regarding releases. I’m monitoring the news for any indication it’s time to GTFO, but I have no idea if that time has already come and gone. I’m ready to go if SFP4 goes down and burns, but some reports show it already HAS burned. Tepco isn’t trustworthy so how are we to know if the 3 melted cores…


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      • jcfougere jcfougere

        are venting in to the atmosphere. So many what ifs, and all I want to be able to do is make an educated decision about when to leave.
        It’s so frustrating that even with my awareness and ability to get up and go if I need to, I’m unable to get enough clear information to make a decision.
        I’m hoping some of you can help guide me! Even though Gunderson has taught me a lot about what’s happened, could happen, and why, he isn’t saying enough about North America or the contamination of the Pacific to help me make an informed decision for my family. He also refuses (stating legal reasons) to give us any advice on what to do, which I understand but still frustrates me.
        Should I get a Geiger and start monitoring my rainfall and environment? Should I move to the Southern hemisphere ASAP? Should I stay here and watch the news reports trickle in as things get worse? (My ETA to moving is in April if nothing significantly changes as far as atmospheric output). How can I avoid eating contaminated foods? I’ve already stopped eating seafood, mushrooms, but now I question the seaweed in my fish free sushi. I question the leafy greens I eat, and having already adapted a GMO/meat/dairy free diet (for obvious reasons) it doesn’t leave much left.
        I appreciate all of you who are here to help others, and look forward to reading what you have to say to a poor West Coast Canadian stuck in the snow.

        James.


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        • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

          first off jcfougere, welcome! In answer to your well considered questions, I can only submit that you use your intuition. Any preparations and/or actions can only serve to offer a better state-of-mind. Should something go awry in your future, you'll only blame yourself for not being proactive. So, while avoiding panic, take the measures that seem rational…


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          • jcfougere jcfougere

            Thanks Aftershock, I appreciate the welcome : )

            My intuition says keep learning Spanish, and move as soon as I can to a far away land where I can actually eat the food I plan to grow. I only wish we could see monitoring instead of all this projected crap. Will the Pacific radiation mix with southern currents? Will the West Coast of south America be contaminated as well?

            How can we know unless people start monitoring where stuff goes once it leaves Japan…sigh


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        • zogerke zogerke

          Welcome. It does not hurt to get a good pancake geiger counter and start tracking your baselines….i do not know how to answer your other questions. I am in philly, its just a matter of time, scary.
          Z


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          • jcfougere jcfougere

            I have a conundrum when it comes to geiger counters. We don't really have the ability to monitor our food, which rules out using them to avoid internal ingestion, so what are we left with? Could someone please explain to me the practical uses of a geiger counter?

            I know I can use a geiger to make observations of background for my area, and compare it to other items. But as far as I know, the immediate danger to exposure comes with precipitation. However because of other gases(ie Radon) that spike results until several hours/days after rain/snowfall, I don't see the effectiveness of measuring precipitation I've already been in. Sure I can keep track of how radioactive my soil/snow is becoming, but are there any ways to use them to make real time decisions about safety?

            Sure it's good to track, but if we're talking about a potentially unreported and concentrated plume, my geiger won't tell me to stay indoors and seal the windows until I've already been exposed.

            Can anyone shed any light on this? Thanks so much!

            James.


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            • razzz razzz

              Schedule a vacation trip to Australia and see how it feels to be on the other side of the world. Not sure Geiger counters are going to give you the answers you need. Fallout particles are so tiny that there is little chance all of them are going to be being sensed as they float around. Fish and most foods really need to be sent to a lab for proper testing. Expensive and time consuming. Hot spots could be anywhere, totally random.


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              • irhologram

                Razz and jc (welcome!) I wouldn't suggest Australia because although the jetstream doesn't hit it, the ocean currents DO… DIRECTLY. And so, the cycle of precipitation would contaminate land area on that continent, as well. I would suggest inland on the east side of South America, where tptb have purchased estates.


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            • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

              jc, you have come to the right place and information is everywhere in the links on the main page. The bad news is the sporadic nature of Nuclear Radiation Contamination and how it moves around in the flow of the ocean water currents and Jet Streams overhead. The initial radiation contamination onslaught started way back in 1900 when they started digging and processing this stuff and went into high gear in 1945 and then with the following nuclear testing done around the world.

              The southern hemisphere was not saved from Radiation Contamination harm as these past and new radioactive isotopes have moved freely around the globe many, many times. There may be less down south if that is your overall goal under the guise of safety and shelter. WE all live in a very small world these days and read up and prepare the best you can completing any preparations you see fit for your own protections.

              If the plant blows up during the fuel removal process, I really do not think anyone anywhere will be safe for what still comith this way.. in the long term. :(


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            • zogerke zogerke

              What you write makes sense. I suppose I have some sense of false comfort knowing background and testing items I come in contact with. Especially as I read on other sites that california measurements are in the 40-50 cpm range and that is the background read here, too, in philadelphia pa. I find with items, things, that when they are hot it comes up quickly. I don't know about testing fish, or seaweed, as i refuse to eat them, though i worry about dairy and even carageenan in products as thickeners. I buy organic and local as I can.

              the sense of helplessness is pretty excruciating. i was an anti nuke activist for many many years in my 'yout'…and everything happening is what we all researched and predicted as worse case scenarios….. short comfort or solace in being 'right', 40 years later.

              spiritually, i feel like the planet as she goes into the sixth great extinction, which we have initiated and now witness…the planet and life will continue…even if only vegetation or radiation eating organisms….give it another several million years for intelligent sentient life to reoccur…hopefully….but the grief, the grief of knowing what we are losing, now; what has been lost…how do any of us embrace/ contain that hugeness and horror – except to become acutely aware of the preciousness of what is left, where we are now. like many say here- hug your loved ones…..


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            • sunpower

              Aloha, JC,
              When Fukushima melted, my 'associate' who is a Livermore lab whistleblower, recommended our family leave immediately for the So. Hemisphere. We were not really into dire action and so stayed put. We live in Hawaii, much further away from Japan in the plume. A reactor which would be a bigger problem in a melt would be San Onofre due to prevailing winds.
              We have a geiger counter as a result of having to monitor the US military bases in Hawaii for DU blowing off the firing ranges in red dust devils. This was how citizens caught the Army in a lie about DU in May 2007. About three months later the Army had to admit that contrary to what they had been telling people, they HAD used DU in Hawaii on their bases.
              Since the government intentionally shut down radiation monitoring as they were advised by NRC of a Fukushima plume on the way (alluded to in the redacted FOIA docs, blacked out)and did not want the stupid sheeple to know how sick nuklar really is and their peril, citizens began monitoring with geiger counters. Now, everyone knows these simple devices have limitations. They cannot tell you what isotopes are about. But they do give gross counts and they do monitor rainouts. We have all seen the You Tubes of rainouts in N. America of Fuku hot particles put up in 2011. You probably know there have not been very many such videos of hot rainouts in the last year, but recently EnviroReporter found 30x background in rainout in Death Valley.


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              • sunpower

                So if you had an Inspector or a geiger mueller type monitor, you could at least know if your rain was still hot in BC. I would consider rain crucial because we live on water catchment. Naturally we began rainwater monitoring right away. You can watch videos of rainwater downspout monitoring in Japan to see how it is done. Even a geiger counter will tell you with a gross count if something is up. So far on Hawaii Island our rainwater is at a normal gross count. Drainoff areas are not hot. We bought a reverse osmosis system but did not get around to installing it.
                In conclusion what a geiger counter did can do is tell the gross counts of background and stuff like a DU dust devil and even a granite countertop for reference. We do not have to deal with the stuff that people face in Japan. With San Onofre shut down, we breathe easier. Hawaii cannot build NPPs under its Constitution although it does not bar the Navy's reactors in Pearl Harbor.
                Personally, I would evacuate if I lived in N. Honshu and would have left decades before 3/11 due to the NPPs built on faults. My friend a well known Japanese anti nuke activist left Japan and moved here decades ago. I read the warning by Leuren Moret published in the Japan Times in 2004 which came true to a T. Leaving no. Japan would be an easy decision now. Leave BC? I have no idea.
                I would recommend not living in the eastern US near NPPs because Fukushima has shown nobody will quench the melts with…


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                • sunpower

                  sand as recommended by the NRC, nor with grout as recommended by Arnie Gundersen for units 1-3 and even by Philip UP North who now shows how the spent fuel is really cool enough for dry cask which is a mini entombment in concrete. None of the NPPs was ever built with a meltdown suppression system of sand and boron or grout slurry. They leave the wreckage wide open or put a little tent over it. At Chernobyl, the sarcophagus had big openings and the coriums were not grouted (but they solidified in glass by themselves). The NPPs were not built underground where a big entry door could be closed and if Tepco wanted to stay down there messing with their HItachi cranes in the battle of the meltdown, we could just close the door behind them and say have at it morons. But unfortunately the Npps were not built underground. And there are over 400 to go.
                  My main concern for your family would be how far can you get from all the NPPs and find a place you can fit in, work, earn a living, etc. I liked Chile and it reminded me of BC in its natural beauty down south. Probably if you are serious the S. Hemisphere is alot better than anywhere in the North. I can't leave.
                  I only see one fuel assembly handle in the SFP3 video. SFP4 makes no sense but there they are working on it. Tepco hired someone who is not trusted to rep for em. It seems like a big show to change their image from catastrophe so the people, ocean and land they have destroyed will seem secondary.


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        • American Phoenix57

          I have a Canuk friend in Laval,Qc. He's on top of this disaster as we all are thanks to Enenews and its diehard crew of brainiacs and says as long as his food is sourced locally, organically grown and his water is R/O filtered he and his wife are staying and taking their chances. If they had children he was thinking east coast of Florida at least a hundred miles from any reactors.

          He also knows of some retired Canadians living in the "armpit" of S. America. (border area of Peru, Bolivia and Chile) Says the living is cheap and the weather is similar to Canada's but drier.

          Whatever you do get as far east of the West Coast and as far south of the 40th Latitude as possible. Wherever you land get your hair, blood and urine tested to see what your body burden of heavy metals and other nasties are. Chelate* if necessary and when you finally have your location, food and water as clean and pure as possible have a bunch of happy healthy fluoride free unvacinated children because we are going to need them to repopulate the planet. Welcome aboard.

          *http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/11/protect-radiation-one.html


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          • jcfougere jcfougere

            Thanks AF, I have my eyes on Chile, and my wife and I have started learning Spanish. The only problem is it's pretty close to the Pacific no matter what part of the country you're in.

            My dreams of buying land and providing clean energy, organic food and a healthy lifestyle for my yet to be born children have been smashed.

            If anyone hears of a small village in southern Chile that has an underground aquifer and fertile land, let me know, I know how to grow food..and make wine ;)


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          • PurpleRain PurpleRain

            East coast of Florida has two nuke plants at St Lucie and then there is Turkey Point near Miami….. but I do think this location is better than California. I don't think there is any place left in the world where anyone can get "safe" food that isn't contaminated with some damn chemical or whatever….


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    "Information as to what happened in these pools is still unavailable, so it is impossible to determine the significance at this time, but it certainly appears that something of significance occurred."

    Wow..gee!
    It's finals week… F.


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  • jec jec

    NOTE: Nothing mentioned about Reactor 1. It was covered up the first! Then Reactor 2, Reactor 4 and now Reactor 3. I think Reactor 1 might be almost worse than any others..when TEPCO is silent..its BAD! What was in Reactor 1? Any more secret laboratories?


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  • razzz razzz

    If you go to this TEPCO .pdf document page (downloading it makes it easier to view, I suggest Foxit free .pdf reader to view it), it has a big fat .pdf file to view 242 pages of their wishful thinking road map for Daiichi. Starting at page 188, it shows the refueling rig resting in Unit 3'spool and on the fuel racks. Has various ways to remove it and all the other parts of the building that fell into the pool. At Unit 4 they worry about disturbing fuel bundles…Unit 3 is beyond comprehension on how to deal with it without causing more destruction. I say cut the pool free, lower it down and stick in a mountainside for long term storage.

    Many other drawings and pictures shown, all depressing.

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/roadmap/images/d131128_06-j.pdf

    To early to cap the Units with concrete. Need at least 5 years before a desperation plan like that could be attempted. Have to treat the melts like spent fuel and they need to cool down more even all the while bleeding radioactive poisons into the environment.


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  • razzz razzz

    Actually a picture of Unit 3's spent fuel pool started at page 186 but you get the idea…


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  • mesa777

    Now I thought that sfp #3 was unapproachable? Is this no longer the case? I just have a really bad feeling with anything TEPCO says or does, something's going to happen……….


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  • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

    QUESTION: does anyone know if the Administrator of this site has ever been interviewed?


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  • Grampybone Grampybone

    The isotopes contained in the spent fuel pools are enough to cause catastrophic damage to the life forms ability to sustain operations. The accumulation of radiation from the spent cores atmospheric release onsite is enough to limit workers exposure to 2 hours. The dose at the plant will continue to rise if the operator lets the water seep all over the ground. Out of control.


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  • PurpleRain PurpleRain

    I'm sure this is why the push for the secrecy laws…They will never get anyone to work there willingly if they start to find out what is happening once the workers get sick.


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  • W8R W8R

    There is only one atmosphere, one ocean. There is nowhere to run.
    And using shielding and distance can allow you to get some idea what your geiger counter is reading.


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  • Tung Jen Tung Jen

    Back to jc, I'm in Belize, high in the mountains, surrounded by caves, off the grid…. Moved out of Tokyo after hospital emergency …. diagnosed with PTSD in Canada, Denman Island. Will celebrate our first year on Dec. 18 on the farm Come here… If I can sell my land on Denman.. then I will purchase more of the surrounding jungle to protect…. a different lifestyle but I believe sustainable on a permaculture farming community. Would also consider donations to bring folks back home from Ibaraki.

    Meanwhile for me it is… Who's the crazy one here? I have been said to be, too emotive!!


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