TV: Fukushima plant “an undefused bomb for decades to come” — Japan Journalist: They only have the vaguest idea of what happened to 100s of tons of molten fuel — An ongoing crisis on edge of disaster

Published: January 9th, 2014 at 4:30 pm ET


Al Jazeera America, Jan. 8, 2014: Is Fukushima at risk for another nuclear disaster? At the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, is struggling to contain the ongoing nuclear disaster. […] Fukushima Daiichi itself will remain on the edge of disaster — an undefused bomb for decades to come. “The government said it will take 30 to 40 years to decommission the plant, so there’s always the potential for another problem to come up,” [David McNeill, a journalist who has lived in Japan since 2000 and has been covering the Fukushima disaster from March 2011] said. “And that’s what keeps some people awake at night.”

More from Journalist David McNeill:

  • “I think this is an ongoing crisis”
  • “What you’ve had is a series of ad hoc strategies designed to deal with the crisis that’s right in front of you”
  • “Another major earthquake […] could trigger another radioactive disaster”
  • TEPCO only has “the vaguest idea” of where the [100s of tons of] molten fuel sits

More on the 4-part TV series here

Published: January 9th, 2014 at 4:30 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. “Hemisphere facing generations of radiologic contamination” from Fukushima — TV: It’s a major humanitarian crisis — NYT: “Nobody really knows” if 100s of tons of plutonium & uranium fuel resolidified — Experts: It’s certain reactor cores ‘moved around’; “Flowed to different part of buildings”? (VIDEO) June 19, 2014
  2. Nuclear-friendly Magazine: Fukushima melted fuel is glowing, could still be ‘lava-like’ — Only vaguest idea of where corium is — Pouring concrete in structure being discussed — They may not be able to decommission plant, but have to give it a try March 6, 2014
  3. Fukushima worker concerned about ground settlement at plant — What will happen when Tepco starts pumping up 100s of tons of groundwater? May 22, 2012
  4. Caldicott: All of Japan contaminated by Fukushima — “Realistic estimate is 60,000 km², occupied by 46 million people” — “Things are grim, it gets worse by the day” — Unheard of in history, 100s of tons of melted fuel may be in earth (VIDEO) April 3, 2014
  5. Godzilla trailer features nuclear plant in crisis: “They’re not fooling anybody that it was a natural disaster… They’re lying, I’m not crazy, whatever they’re guarding so carefully, I need to be able to prove it” — “You have no idea what’s coming! It’s going to send us back to Stone Age” (VIDEO) April 10, 2014

107 comments to TV: Fukushima plant “an undefused bomb for decades to come” — Japan Journalist: They only have the vaguest idea of what happened to 100s of tons of molten fuel — An ongoing crisis on edge of disaster

  • socret

    There is no proof any fuel melted. Only assumptions.

    • tsfw tsfw

      There is no proof any fuel didn't melt. Only assumptions.

      • socref

        someone is being funny. "socret" or any variant, is not me.

        • retali8 retali8

          In a few years time when people are dropping dead left right and centre, cancer will not and cannot be denied from ongoing Fuku global contamination, socref you know it, we all do, how's that plutonium Fibre in the lung going? There was enough out there to affect us all globally, I hope they are working on a solution plan as we speak, it's likely there won't be one.

          And why were those radiation monitor posts taken down at a crucial time when people could of been taking iodine and better prepared?
          Instead they were shut down to limit *fear mongering* and mass panic which will turn out to be murder on a mass scale.

          People please be aware the nuclear industry& socref must hide the fact that the earthquake caused the problems at Fukushima, they blame the tsunami, but by the time the tsunami arrived Fuku was already in dire straights and Fuku ' beyond belief.

          socref, best you check youtube for chernobyl children and see the horrific deformaties that your industry(nuclear) is throwing upon numerous innocent humans, its evil, evil and i don't know how you sleep at night knowing what your doing, what your promoting… why did you have to split that atom and let greed control your life? have a thought next time before you spend that money because you may end up … burning… in…. well where all evil people go.. religion aside there is punishment awaiting you evil nuclear people…

    • socref

      ha ha. Nice one.

      Fuel melted. Where did you think H2 gas came from? Zr-water reaction with molten fuel.

        • socref

          Because there is no reply button on those posts. Some posts dont have it. Did you report the post yourself?

      • socret

        None melted. The presence of H2 suggests nothing more than some ruptured Zr cladding. I am a reactor expert.

        • socref

          You are a reactor expert. Ruptured Zr cladding could also release fission products.

          • SykeWar(DELETED) SykeWar

            Why won't you respond to my earlier requests to respond to your earlier posts?

          • Shaker1

            I've worked with zirconium, welded it, formed it, machined it, and I believe that if you looked that the reaction doesn't need fuel melt temperatures or rupture to experience that kind of reactivity. Arnie Gunderson, in what I personally thought was a poor demonstration limited to his resources but still fulfilling his purpose, produced H2 without melting the material or the presence of nuclear fuel. Zr will take on O2 from the atmosphere at less than 1/3 of its melting point. In fabrication, one avoids such as embrittlement is a direct consequence. These tubes are on the order of .032" thick. Do you really feel that with the tubes so compromised, the geometry of the fuel totally so, that there are fuel pellets laying blissfully at the bottom of the RPV?

            How long did it take the melt at TMI?

            • socref

              yes you can take aluminum or zirconium, put it in a beer bottle, add a little Drano, and warm water and voila, you will get H2. You need the high temp to get the Zr-Water reaction.

              • socret

                There are some very scientific methods used to guess what happened at Fukushima.

              • Shaker1

                socref, I can't definitely qualify this as it's just info I looked up and personally interpreted, but it seems the temperature that water bonds will break is on the order of 1525C. Honestly, inside these vessels before their integrity was compromised I imagine, but also can't qualify, that it might be lower/higher. Melting point is ~1850C, if I'm not mistaken. The zircalloy might be a bit different MP, but the water breakdown point is surely below MP. Again, I just use my imagination here and I won't claim to be able to include the actual observed dynamics of such event in my idea of the event. Just throwing out numbers for whatever value they are of interest.

                By the way, yesterday for grins I calculated the total weight of ZR per assembly from what I know (and that isn't experience, but just borrowed info again about #of pins, their diameter and wall thickness, etc.) and it came to a bit over 104#. The the weight factor, #/in3 that I used is from direct experience though. I must admit that this number doesn't preclude personal mistakes.

            • socref

              I'll have to go back to the Kemmeny Report, but my guestimate is a couple hours after core uncovery.

              • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

                uncovery is a medical term. What does it mean here?

              • TooExpensiveToMatter

                "I'll have to go back to the Kirk report"



                NOMAD: I shall continue. I shall return to launch point ENE. I shall sterilize.
                KIRK: You must sterilize in case of error?
                NOMAD: Error is inconsistent with my prime functions. Sterilization is correction.
                KIRK: Everything that is in error must be sterilized.
                NOMAD: There are no exceptions.
                KIRK: Nomad, I made an error in creating you.
                NOMAD: The creation of perfection is no error.
                KIRK: I did not create perfection. I created error.
                NOMAD: Your data is faulty. I am Nomad. I am perfect.
                KIRK: I am the Kirk, the Creator?
                NOMAD: You are the Creator.
                KIRK: You are wrong! Jackson Roykirk, your creator, is dead. You have mistaken me for him. You are in error. You did not discover your mistake. You have made two errors. You are flawed and imperfect and you have not corrected by sterilization. You have made three errors.
                NOMAD: Error. Error. Error. Examine.
                KIRK: You are flawed and imperfect! Execute your prime function!

                — From Star Trek (The Changeling)

                Stay tuned for more episodes.

              • pinksailmatt pinksailmatt

                "my guestimate is a couple hours after core uncovery"

                2 hours after the core is not covered with water?

                You must be joking. And you have a degree in what?

            • Shaker1 asks:
              "How long did it take the melt at TMI?"

              Bit of tricky there, as the cladding welds were increasingly failing in the center region of the core for a week to ten days prior to the accident (basically ever since they got it to 100%). Brand new core, got a deal from the Kerr-McGee back lot where it had been returned after the last utility (Con-Ed Ill.) sent it back for failing basic inspection. Second time it had been sold and refused, by the way.

              Takes a fraction of a second for the phase change from solid to molten – happened in core central between 1.5 and 8 minutes after feedwater failure, given both steam generators boiled dry by 1.5 minutes.

              16 hours to ride-down (feed & bleed to regain control), took another ~3 years for the molten fuel to solidify on the vessel bottom enough to be cut up and removed. ~20 tons of corium, another 20 tons of core "Missing In Action" never to be seen or heard from again.

              They called it "The Void At The Center Of The Core."

              • Shaker1

                Thanks, JoyB, for the time info. I've worked with some of that rejected fuel cladding, actually used some in a heat exchanger, but definitely did my own pressure tests of the tubing before I used them, and rejected some of them on my own.

                My experience is in the chemical process industry where Zr is used for its resistance to sulfuric acid, and much work with heating and cooling coils and exchangers. Much of the heating coils are steam, not just hot water, and steam can be dangerous. I ran the welding shop, and would give demonstrations to newbies of the effects of O2 contamination. One can actually take Zr, soak it in open air at heat at which it's reactive till the contamination is through, drop it to the floor to see it break. With Arnie's demonstration, the heat used was a torch, which actually excludes O2 as it is consumed in the flame first.

                So the rods without flow heat up that quickly, huh? I just used my imagination to think that light cross-sections as these tube walls would contaminate through losing shape integrity even if they didn't melt, spilling their contents with loss of fuel geometry.

                Your info has me interested now, and I'll look into reports on TMI.

                • You're welcome Shaker1. Thing about TMI2's lousy core had two big problems. Lousy cladding welds and crumbly fuel. These problems had been noted twice before, so there was no excuse for it. They'd been falsifying leak rates since start-up – a nasty bit of business that earned Met-Ed the distinction of being the first nuclear utility ever convicted in criminal court.

                  Deal is, at TMI the cladding issue was not about oxidation. The core was never actually uncovered beyond some boiling during the low pressure side of the feed (bleed on high pressure), and that didn't happen until heat exchange was restored. The center of the core melted/vaporized because 8 of 69 primary control rods (the group ringing core central) didn't fall during the SCRAM. It was still fissioning when the secondary went down, and that's why it heated so fast.

        • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

          "nothing more than some ruptured Zr cladding."

          And in the rupturing process..what pray tell that which is clad?

        • Socrates

          It passed gas?

          Thank you.

      • haizedustrium-1234 haizedustrium-1234

        for which reactors would this be?

      • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

        Gee, now I have sulfur in my balls.. 🙁

    • Sam Sam

      You are wrong Pro Nuker! You have to lie in saying no proof
      any fuel melted so as to keep on script to deny that Fukuhima
      is not " an ongoing crisis on edge of disaster." Your agenda
      is not to learn about Fukushima but to throw sand in our eyes
      all the time 24/7. Ignore him throughout the thread. Lets
      see if we an have a discussion without feeding him.

    • zogerke zogerke

      So, is s o c r e t. With a t. The other bot on here, the one who signs with thanks at the end? And how does the name come off as ending with a t not an f….is this someone else doing this who goofed? How? You need to create a screen name and password…….this is the second time i have seen this. Last time i lost track of it but here it is. Maybe i just didnt see this before?

      • socref

        Its stock being sly. You can change your screen name to anything. You dont need a password.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        There is now also stocks, and another close to stock. We only started with this problem a couple of seeks ago.

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Show you how desperate the nuclear industry is.

          • Exactly, its my criticality and I won't let you play with it….

          • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

            They are very desperate and the vail has been lifted on this industry scandal/practice and this scandal now exists worldwide and it's truly killing the Earth and all us humans and the other biological life that share this planet along with us! 🙁

    • dosdos dosdos

      If no fuel melted, how did fuel get in pipes, the release stack, and so many other places around the site where the radioactivity is so intense, it's deadly. Did it teleport itself there in solid form?

      • socref

        My opinion is that its at the bottom of the RPV still in a slumped elephant foot of some sort. They didnt find fuel in the yard. Thats not confirmed.

    • RonM RonM

      yeah the whole thing is one big publicity stunt to show how "Safe" nuclear power is?

      What was the big rush to dump all that sea water on the reactors and why can't anyone get near them?

      How many tanks of radioactive water does it take to screw us and light a bulb?

      I all of the hoopla with the detectors and websites and experts and kids wearing rad meters and evacuation zones is all part of the "theater"

      I suggest another venue for your obvious intelligence insulting remarks!

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      There is also no proof you know what your talking about.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Asexual reproduction..

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose


  • charlie3

    Don't feed the troll.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture


    U.S. must fix this problem and stop ignoring it.

  • zogerke zogerke

    Sorry, already noted. Back on topic of nuke mess, yes.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose


  • HoTaters HoTaters

    "They only have the vaguest idea of what happened to hundreds of tons of molten fuel."

    Right. Their knowledge of everything important seems pretty vague.

  • Important with all this silly pretend disinformation going on….There are fuel rods lying in the rubble, and were video'd by TEPCO from cranes. One of those is the cover picture of my blog. A hydrogen explosion wouldn't cause fuel to be thrown out of the plant, the fuel is all in deep vessels or pools that are 50' deep. Stuff at the bottom is not going to fly out in significant quantities. And of course if you remember, TEPCO had to steel plate the parking lot and the walkway to the worksite because there were raw radiative materials on the ground. These also bulldozed some areas for a quick fix.

    I also did this article showing more of those in the rubble, and pictures of MOX assemblies and experimental fuels from France.

    The youtube video some of these came from is still "up", amazing how many of the good video get disappeared

    • humptydumpty humptydumpty

      Also the report of an underground explosion. There was something going on besides the reactor core melts and fuel fires and/or explosions. As I recall, we still don't know what happened in R5, R6, and at the Daiini plant. Tepco tends to admit long after the fact that the worst has happened. The Japanese Govt won't admit anything to the people or to the rest of the world, if they can avoid it by gagging experts, doctors, journalists, witnesses, etc. The U.S. Govt is playing the same game.

      I should think the international justices in the Hague will be involved in deciding guilt for crimes against humanity at some point down the line.

    • KiloCharley KiloCharley

      hunpty, when did TEPCO admit worst case? They are still in denial as far as I know.

  • what lies beneath what lies beneath

    Sorry guys but this is getting ridiculous with all of the back and forth between socref, socret, stock etc. I love to read all of the comments that are posted on this site, as I feel I learn more from you guys than any media source but its actually pretty annoying filtering through all bickering about shills etc. Can everyone please stay on topic as much as possible, as I believe that anyone new coming here reading the comments would most surely be put off reading this site as well. Please just ignore socref!

    • for some, not sure ignoring the trolls is possible. anyone can also report any comment. give a valid comment. the numbers will stack up and Admin seems to then get rid of them. ENE folks are very tolerant and it's not all bad, to see information vetted out. But tiring, yes. And different from what We are used to, actually sharing information.

      • We Not They Finally

        Agreeing. Easy to report, exasperating to keep responding to. There is no honest intent there. And it hurts to see something this serious treated like fun and games by we don't even know who.

    • SykeWar(DELETED) SykeWar

      This is difficult to do when dis-information, over-reaching statements and attacks are being made. One or two should run interference so the rest can remain on topic.

      • nohobear nohobear

        That's not the point sykewar. even one or two "running interference" derails the thread and discussion. Very off putting to both newcomers and regulars. Which is what they want because enenews is reaching more people than ever before and it's a threat.

        DON'T FEED THE TROLLS. Ignore them. Stay on topic.

    • Ontological Ontological

      Agreed. Correct, the idiot children need to go thanks ADMIN.

    • scottyji scottyji

      >Please just ignore socref!
      Good advice. I ignore pretty much everyone here except or Obewan 'cause The Force is with him.

  • charlie3

    Just ignore the trolls.

    • Sam Sam

      Going into combat to expose and counter-act the on-going
      cyberwarfare thats been going on here for the past few days
      is necessary for the integrity ENE. We all are like the white
      blood cells of the ENE immunity system containing and
      neutralizing invading forces. Whenever it is restated over and
      over again the truth of the situation of Fukushima we
      educate all the new comers who arrive to learn what's going
      on. We also affirm again the truth of this horrible disaster and strengthen
      our resolve in what we are doing. Are the new people reading here going to drink the cup of Socref or learn from the collective knowledge of this community.?
      That is how come the combat is virtous and fun.

      • SykeWar(DELETED) SykeWar

        I agree. Ignoring problems is what got us to this point. Gotta nip it in the bud. I don't like seeing everyone being distracted these "race baiters". There needs to be a knight at the bridge.

        • SykeWar(DELETED) SykeWar

          …distracted *by* these "race baiters".

        • zogerke zogerke

          was thinking about it. seeing your way. defending replies debunking fruit fly posts have seemed more consistently on target. bless those who battle for truth here. you can't turn away from this mass stalker. the military source sees this as amusing skirmish and assign ops to make a mess. battle is necessary with truth, clarity and dogged persistence. battle in different forms. the assault directly reflects the larger context of censorship and manipulation. like a hologram- the little piece shows an example of the big picture.

          hope enenews defense occurs in growingly clever ways as well as in-your-face. stock, american phoenix, joyb, hotr, others….

  • Main point: Fukushima is BAD. Tepco Reports July-December 2013 (if server is busy, try soon later)

    Nothing will be done until We tell the People.

    To all visitors and the community of ENENews, the following Japan Radiation Citizen Memos are designed to be widely shared everywhere in your local and internet communities. All citizens need to know about Fukushima. Find bulletin boards in your local area and post on social websites. Tell the People.

    Japan Radiation Memo to All Citizens PDF

    Japan Radiation Memo in JPEG (for social media upload)

    Vital1's Radiation Memo to Parents

    Doesn't take much. A printer. Scissors. Thumbtacks. For some,
    only a computer. And the simple motivation to share your care.

    It is also requested that everyone who can, please "like" and "share" ENENews throughout your use of social media.

    ☢ Perils of Fukushima ☢ News A Wake-up Call From Dr. Stephen Hosea


  • FXofTruth

    100 tons (try 300 tons) of melted fuel doesn't just disappear…Duh!

    Ground penetrating radar can easily locate the exact location. Heat seeking satellites (like the ones that track your movements from space) can locate and measure the depth of molten fuel with an accuracy within an inch.

    So, saying "we don't know where it is" sounds as stupid as saying, "The woman is a little pregnant."

    Don't even go there….

    • Sickputer

      Oh yes, the Big Four knows where the corium lies. Anybody want to guess who the other two are besides Uncle Sammy and Dishonest Abe? Hint.. One likes to bomb Greenies in New Zealand harbors and the other likes fish and chips.

      The onsite Japanese scientists shuddered when they talked in the late summer of 2011 about the horrors to come. Because they knew the corium was ex-building. They knew Japan as a viable commercial nation was on the brink of economic and health disasters. They lie very well so they can hold the world at bay just a little while longer. This year will be the end of the lies. Even illiterate shepherds in farmland third world countries will hear what has happened to reshape the world's ecosystems. Death rides a Fukushima underground river. Can it be stopped? The world wonders…

  • We Not They Finally

    The Al Jazeera reporter has to know that "30 to 40 years to decommission" is itself a lie. But still better to report SOMETHING. Wonder what, if anything, will finally drive newspeople over the edge?

  • soundmind

    Of course, we could all just sit around waiting for the melted down fuel which exited stage bottom to hit hot magma and/or lava under Japan. That will probably resolve the question quite nicely, if water/steam don't provide the answer first. The West coast of US is already in denial and obfuscation. Won't they be surprised!

  • soundmind

    The smart money is in building service stations on any road out of California towards the East right now. Get in on the Gold Rush. Love them heavy metals.

  • uswine99

    there should be no doubt how much fuel and what percentage of the total core melted within a few percent based upon the isotopes and gases measured during and after the events … releases of materials that only happen during a meltdown… its accurately modeled already within the DOE exactly what happens and and what rate for different temperature thresholds… there are detailed reports available that analyse the releases … indicating that the core temp of reactor 1 hit 4700°F a few min after the loss of cooling … everything melted … you are just in denial of the obvious if you think otherwise

  • Sol Man

    Fast, then slow detonation; now homeostasis taking place with the hope that conditions won't be in place for it to go fast again.

  • What does it take to bring about the realization that mankind is pursuing vapors, chasing a mist. Wealth and possessions are meaningless. Most people don't care what you have unless they are just jealous. The jealous ones hate you because you have it. So how does it feel to be hated and insignificant to the majority of people?