Footage of gov’t official at Fukushima inspecting support posts under Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 (VIDEOS)

Published: April 27th, 2012 at 6:36 pm ET


Footage underneath Reactor No. 4 Spent Fuel Pool from April 24, 2012:

  • Support structure at 4:00 in
  • White sheets covering pool at 6:00 in

h/t EXSKF, Fukushima Diary

Published: April 27th, 2012 at 6:36 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Fukushima Boss in 3/11 Footage: “Spent fuel pool at Unit 1 is exposed now” (VIDEO) October 11, 2012
  2. Tepco prepares to film Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 — “You can vaguely discern the fuel rods” says worker February 10, 2012
  3. Asahi: Parts of Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 footage “were unclear” — No “change in shape” of fuel assemblied “observed” -Tepco February 11, 2012
  4. Fukushima Daiichi Worker: I saw black smoke that came from Common Spent Fuel Pool’s chimney — I wonder if it was the smoke of boiler… it’s not fire (VIDEOS) January 7, 2013
  5. Nuclear expert raises doubts about support columns under Spent Fuel Pool No.4 at Fukushima Daiichi (PHOTOS) April 23, 2012

47 comments to Footage of gov’t official at Fukushima inspecting support posts under Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 (VIDEOS)

  • stopnp stopnp

    The construction scaffolding is the "support structure"?

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Unbelievable the fuel pool is 4 or 5 stories up. Accident waiting to happen?

  • Repoguy

    Arent those the posts they use to recycle old buildings?
    Our only planets northern hemisphere is at stake and this is very best they can do? I guess i can start digging my grave…


      they're using galvanized steel tubing for the scaffolding. Until they're able to reinforced the levels below the one we're looking at, this is best they can do. It becomes a trade-off between support and added weight. The lower levels have yet to be addressed. Not sure what else they can do at this point. The shock wave from the adjacent plant, really did a number on this one…

  • dosdos dosdos

    The larger pipe is the lateral bracing, held in place by the scaffolding. The lateral braces are to try and keep the primary braces from falling over sideways.


    from what I glean by the gestures, the manager(?) is inquiring about the strength of the side-walls and what they're doing to prevent a vertical collapse of the overhead pool. The second part of this first video reveals some interesting intel on the condition of the plant. Its obvious from the rigged-lines, the upper level is highly unstable.

  • stopnp stopnp

    I'm hoping the steel plates on the side that the guy is motioning around is a connection point for a 45 degree steel beam that's locked into the concrete floor of the building. Concrete drill and some big ass studs. Not too hard to build.

  • SteveMT

    Imagining the real conversation: Duct tape here, chalk over there, put more newspapers here, some sawdust down there, and the wrap more diapers around that. This brings back memories of one year ago. Remember reading the story link below? Let us get real TEPCO, and wake up to reality. Evacuate the people, and get international help immediately.

    Japan nuclear crisis: workers using newspaper and sawdust to block pipes
    Japanese workers battling to stop a radioactive water leak into the Pacific from the beleaguered nuclear power plant have resorted to using newspaper [diaper material] and sawdust to try and block the pipes.
    12:31AM BST 04 Apr 2011

    • snowwy snowwy

      yes, exactly SteveMT! One day it was tarpaulin, next day liquid glass, then the reactors got covered in plastic blocks (Lego anyone?). Next thing they might suggest straw to soak up the radiation in the ocean. I wonder which trade could suggest anything as pitiful as that after a major accident and not get struck off the trade register?

      I do not speak Japanese but I get the impression by looking at this "inspection" that serious static inspections would be needed… crack out some tools that measure stuff please, so we do not get the impression that the inspector is talking about lunch.

  • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

    I guess a toothpick is better than nothing to keep armageddon in check.

  • The Blue Light.

    This is total insanity, I'm no civil engineer but I can do math and I can tell you this:
    1, the fuel in the pool weighs 450 tonnes,
    2, the racking and other equipment weighs 200 tonnes,
    3, the water weighs 1700 tonnes,
    4, the floor of the pool (60inch/1500mm thick for bio shielding) weighs 1750 tonnes.
    That's about 4100 tonnes. I don't think a bit of scaffolding is going to hold up all that.

    • SteveMT

      Is your water calculation for a full pool or just the two foot depth that supposedly remains now?
      Still "ugh!" in either case. Fill the pool, and the additional weight will increase the probability of a building collapse and subsequent super criticality. Insufficient water will cause super criticality. There is no way out of a meltdown scenario.
      Would fortifying the lower supports of this building have helped? A year should have been a long enough time to have better prepared for this grim endgame. The bottom of that building should have been solid concrete by now. The reactor was already melted through a long time ago, so why not encase it concrete to better support the top part of the building?

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      It doesn't take a civil engineer to tell the support structures are completely inadequate! They barely look like they'd hold up the exterior wall of a two story building, let alone a structure several stories high — plus the water, the fuel, and everything else you mentioned, BlueLight!

      Think freeways and support beams for overpasses. Steel bridges. That's the kind of structural engineering approach we should see applied here! Weight bearing structures. Not matchstick houses.

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    Not a structural engineer. After reading your coments, though, I realize I don't need to know much to tell that this is flimsy flamsy! Lots of luck.

  • Replacant Replacant

    Ok everyone start sending gum and duct tape. So the question I have, is what are the plans when it collapses? Tankers of cement standing by?

    This plant is done for and when the next 6.0 levels the pool head for Brazil.

    • many moons

      replacant….how will we know when to run????
      There has never been a nuclear accident where the public was informed of danger before they were contaminated.

      They won't say a word!!!
      We neeed to keep track of the where abouts of people like George Bush…when he steps off the plane in Paraguay….then we'll know.

  • MarcNJ MarcNJ

    I know it's kind of mean but, it's a shame they didn't have a nice M8 when he was there. Maybe then more would have gotten done.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    The second clip seems to be the source of the still images we were speculating about a couple of days ago. We were wondering about the white sheets then.

    In this clip, the white sheets vanish at about 0:19 and are replaced with the (expected?) pool.

    Curious editing, if nothing else. I tried the automated English translation of the audio through YouTube but it is incomprehensible.

    I'm as puzzled as ever about what it all means, but the voiceover seems to be presenting it as a happy propaganda story, as far as I can tell.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    The YT version of the first clip is different, I think. It is 8:44 long. The first portion is just the deputy minister giving an awkward speech. The YT translation is straight out of Monty Python, presumably due to very early beta software.

    Of more interest perhaps is the tour we are used to seeing – the guy with the worklight showing the scaffolding – is captioned "Second Floor of Reactor Building of Unit 4" up to about 4:12 in the YT clip, then, with no apparent change in the scene shown, the caption changes to "Bottom of Spent Fuel Pool of Unit 4".

    I don't know how to interpret that. It would seem that perhaps the scaffold "reinforcement" is down on the second floor. Does that make sense?

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    Looking closely at the YT version of the first clip again. At around 6:43 it seems to segue into a different edit of what we have been seeing as the pool with water, rather than the pool with white sheets.

    My takeaway on all these clips is that some are much more edited than others. If you are interested in detail, you should probably watch them all, especially the longer YT ones.

    If anyone can translate the voiceover properly it might be useful. The automated translations just don't work.

  • Very hard to know whats going on when they just show a small area of under #4 spent fuel pool. Still what I know of scaffolding is something as I worked for a scaffolding supply company. Scaffolding, similar to the steel tube equipment shown in video, is usually used up here in Canada anyways, to support people and equipment. You might build scaffolding around a building to work on the exterior or build scaffolding to paint under a bridge. Then there is shoring. Shoring material is aluminum beams, 4×8 timber beams, and heavy duty steel jacks which are steel tubes with screws attached. This equipment is used to support a freshly poured slab, ie a cement floor freshly poured that still contains a lot of water so therefore is extremely heavy and can't support itself. The shoring equipment stays in place even after the forms have been removed and they are pouring upper floors as building procedure progresses. What is shown in the video is such a small area that its hard to say if the scaffolding equipment shown is to support men to work on the ceiling or is actually supporting aluminum or wooden beams spanning the floor of the pool. But from what I know about scaffolding, I would have liked to see evidence of heavy duty shoring equipment, not scaffolding. Whats really going on there will never be known because no one wants to tell us. A sad comment and fact as to what western government is really about.

    Mark is sad. But God Bless anyways and have a good week end

  • steve from virginia

    The metal at the end of the scaffold looks to be concrete forms. One end of the spent fuel pool is the reactor containment, with 4m thick reinforced concrete walls. Unknown whether there is concrete in the basement area to provide support from the soil underneath the reactor.

    The SFP is unlikely to collapse completely though a leak is a possibility. It appears there is water leaking in lower levels due to no roof.

    The building has appeared to have settled due to liquifaction under it. Even though the structure has cracked considerably, the rebar will hold it together unless there is another large earthquake. At that point, anything can happen.

    The pool looks accessible there is no reason why fuel cannot be removed now with current equipment already on site. A small crane straddling the containment/core access could certainly load fuel assemblies into the transport cannisters so they can be removed with the onsite building crane. The building crane can hoist the small crane onto the service deck with a bit more demo:

    Debris in the SFP can be removed with a magnet and trash pump feeding water treatment. Conventional fuel handling attached to small crane hoist cable can move assemblies and load them onto transport cannisters completely underwater. Work can be done in shifts or by remote control.

    There is no reason why the SFP has not been emptied already.

    • Is there still a fuel crane at #4, with workable support and drives? If not, they'd have to use an exterior crane, which appears to be part of the tenting plan.

      And that crane will need a grappling hook attachment to remove multi-ton slabs of roofing and walls and machinery that are in the pool. I've read nowhere that the fuel transfer pit is clear of big debris or accessible to casks or crane.

      But that debris could be moved if they succeed with the plan and the whole pool side of the building doesn't crash in one quake or another. Then there's the problem of oxidized, embrittled and partially melted assemblies. Those aren't likely to be moveable without breaking apart and spilling contents. The pool area will be so hot humans can't guide the crane or even be present during operations.

      Imploding the building and quickly burying it under megatonnage of sand, boron and concrete is possible if they prepare. The coriums have left the buildings – now they've got to do something about the spent pools. #4 is most pressing. #3 probably still has some assemblies in it. #1 and #2 could maybe be emptied, but they're still too hot for humans…

      • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

        The fuel crane for #4 is in the pool. They need an exterior crane 6 stories tall that can pickup the 35 ton crane in the pool. But who is going to go swimming to connect the cables

  • Radio VicFromOregon

    There is not a good solution to shoring up this building and it will takes years before the fuel can be dry casked. They said one, now it's been moved up another, and so it will go. Why can't they build a stable pool below this one, or even right next to it but better designed and transfer the old to the new? Yes, radiation will get out into the air, and yes, people will get sick and die, but, that's going to happen uncontrollably sooner or later anyway on a much bigger scale. Workers would have to volunteer and contracts signed with their families that they will be supported for the next three generations if any illness arises or deaths occur to the workers themselves. But, there must be a way to create precautions to reduce exposure. They can only inhabit that space briefly, maybe 20 mins at a time? So, much of the new pool could be modular construction built offsite and assembled onsite reducing the time anyone is exposed. Heck, even a lead and steel, oh, and not to forget, formidable plastic sheeting can be erected as a shield between the SFP 4 and the new site to better protect the workers who would be assembling the new pool. There are so many more options than the one they are taking. Arghhh!!!

  • entropy

    I don't know. This a structure full of water, far from feed and bleed or no walls as reported. Those guys are pulling on a rope like a fishing trip. The radiation must be high. For some reason, I don't believe the footage. Could be wrong.

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    The tiny bolts and straps on the scaffolding won't hold together if there's much of an EQ. I'd say anything over a 5.5M will make it come apart! Let's hope that's not what's holding the fuel pool together/in the air!

  • Toadmac


    • many moons

      The authorities are saying the green plump over moscow is pollen….well if it's pollen why didn't happen in previous years?????
      You can't fool mother nature—and you can't lie about her either.

  • Misitu

    Bugger, another thing to download for a frame by frame inspection. I should be grateful they are sending us anything at all.

    I would have expected a forest of acrow props at least, or failing that an inaccessible maze of eucalyptus trunks as used in countries that can't afford acrows.

    Thing is, it's difficult to think clearly under pressure, and having a dosimeter time limit on an excursion into one of these hot zones does I think count as pressure. Difficult problem because you need best brains in there and you wouldn't want to sacrifice best nuke brains too quickly. Call for international nuke brains on site to provide best brain input on a self sacrificing basis. Really.

  • Jake E

    The lower video’s translation said “The fuel pool at Unit 4 has more than 1,500 tons this almost three times the normal.” I assume that means there’s 1,500 tons fuel in that pool. Assuming one train car contains 100 tons of cargo, this pool has 15 full train cars of deadly poison. Probably enough to poison Earth several times over. That’s one massive pool! Where to hide when it goes???

    • Jake E,
      Most likely 1,500 tons fuel much has burned/melted to the bottom of that pool.

      • iso-tope iso-tope

        Yes It would make sense. They can clean and remove the debris from the pool, and take a temporary concrete "transfer vessel" on a crane in the 30 ft deep pool to move the fuel bundles one by one, so they are contained in water the whole time before moving to the new pool, but I suspect there are MANY broken pellets/rods in the pool and that TEPCO knows this and wants to build the "enclosure" over for dust/air pump/filter containment because they know the dust from the pellets and fuel will get stirred up by starting the transfer. They are, as usual, withholding and not telling the whole story. But it's easy to see how bad it is. Moving quickly for them is ideal, but they want to "study" and take their time building/planning… until it's too late.

  • Jake E

    One more thing I have to add after watching these videos. Even before fuku happened, I always said that it was a dumb idea to have swimming pools on roof tops or anywhere higher than the ground level. Water is heavy and it is difficult to maintain it so high. And here I see a massive pool with the most volatile fuel in the universe being kept on the fifth floor in the earthquake prone region, right next to basically a bomb (reactor) just waiting to go off one day. How amazingly stupid? I mean, how incredibly retarded do you have to be to design something like that. I thought it would be common sense, so obvious to a person who isn’t even an engineer. I guess it is evolution, if a nation is collectively stupid enough to allow this to happen, what do you think will happen to them. And other nations too, who would not force tepco and japan government to resolve this engineering problem properly and fast enough.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      And the US has many such reactors, and is too stupid to decommission them despite the increased solar activity and increased earthquakes and fracking and increased very severe storms, tornados, hurricanes, and flooding.

    • iso-tope iso-tope

      I Agree. The design of these BWR's is one of the dumbest things on the planet. Who would think of nuclear waste on top of a building contained in water for 5 years, until it is (not generating enough heat to risk of catching fire) to then transfer to dry cask. Which has hmm.. surprisingly not been done at most of the 23 some odd ones in the US and around the world… hmm cost a factor? why not keep the risk.

      The top of the reactor, which is on level with the top of the pool to be "flooded" so that the water acts as a radioactive containment barrier when using the crane/gates/seals to transfer from the reactor to the pool.. Loose the water, structure, or a fire, meltdown and have Earthquakes, Floods, "Loss Of Station Power", extreme containment pressures lifting the top of the containment, bad control rod drives, hydrogen buildups, torus explosions, pumps, pipes, etc… just a million things that can go wrong at a NPP and your #@!@#'d.. But why not put something so volatile and health threatening on top of a roof structure.

      No scratch that.. Nuclear Energy as a whole is one of the dumbest and worst risks on the planet that was man made. They all need to be shut down, and the waste sealed. We have other alternatives, and some that have yet to be discovered…

      • SnorkY2K

        sealing the waste is inadequate. It needs to be periodically reprocessed to prevent imbalances that could lead to dire consequences. The nuclear corporations would love to seal it and leave the costly processing to government while they separate themselves from liability and quickly enjoy the profits. Sealing large quantities of unstable isotopes near each other turns into a nuclear pinball machine where the outcomes become very random with some very unstable isotopes being produced and many isotopes that will tend to turn to gas at decay temperatures. Species that go to gas will tend to compromise containment.

  • truthseek truthseek

    Jake E… Exactly! To me it wreaks of lazy engineering…
    Precarious SFP placement to support ease of handling
    of fuel in direct proximity to reactor containment vessel.
    But that? as a long term storage prospect is beyond
    unnerving, damned short sited and irresponsible.