WSJ: Very dangerous situation at Fukushima Daiichi says Senator — Taking years to remove fuel “carries extraordinary and continuing risk” — No comment from Tepco, Japan gov’t — Quake could send buildings tumbling down, resulting in “an even greater release of radiation”

Published: April 17th, 2012 at 8:58 am ET
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Title: U.S. Senator Says Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 4 Could Spew More Radiation Than March 11 Accident
Source: Wall Street Journal
Author: Phred Dvorak
Date: Apr 17, 2012

Just how dangerous is the situation at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant? Very, according to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, a senior member of the Senate’s energy committee who toured the plant earlier this month.

Another big earthquake or tsunami could send Fukushima Daiichi’s fragile reactor buildings tumbling down, resulting in “an even greater release of radiation than the initial accident,” Mr. Wyden warned in a Monday letter to Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki.

In particular, Japan isn’t moving fast enough to remove dangerous nuclear-fuel rods from the reactors, and the U.S. should offer its help to speed things along, Mr. Wyden urged [...]

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.”

The Response

  • The company couldn’t comment on the letter, and that all it can do is “proceed steadily with the (cleanup) roadmap.” -Tepco Spokesman
  • Japan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment

Read the report here

Published: April 17th, 2012 at 8:58 am ET
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79 comments

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79 comments to WSJ: Very dangerous situation at Fukushima Daiichi says Senator — Taking years to remove fuel “carries extraordinary and continuing risk” — No comment from Tepco, Japan gov’t — Quake could send buildings tumbling down, resulting in “an even greater release of radiation”

  • dodge

    Glad to see the story picked up. Now it is up to people with passion to extend the conversation. Little progress will be made until people at least are talking about the need for long term nuclear spent fuel storage. The crisis in Japan allows us to speak about the danger while still maintaining our "national mystique" of pride in our superior technology. It can't happen here! or can it?


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  • I am waiting for professor chris busby, to mention the missing fuel bundle handles, and damaged fuel rods in reactor 3. From the cameras perspective, it seems that the only fuel bundle they captured footage of shows only one row of hooks. (five cells). Of a 60-100 rod fuel bundle…

    We are told several times the dangers of reactor 4's sfp becoming unstable and it meaning the end of japan. Yet there is little evidence to suggest that the mox fuel reactor has its full fuel pool load.

    Another thing I expect is to see arnold gunderson restating his previous position, claiming that the footage shows with an absolute certainty that the fuel pool released a nuclear explosion, and Not a hydrogen explosion.

    This is very realistic.

    Unit 3 is equally if not more dangerous that unit 4. Its fuel is "Missing" And everyone in the country of japan are waiting for someone to admit, the true scope of the damage to our planet.

    The large amount of debris in the sfp 3 is obviously adding unintended weight to the structural integrity of the fuel storage pool. I am sure that this is beyond the design capacity in weight, thus something has got to give…

    Hopefully more experts will comment on these points on physicsforums in the mean time.
    Take care all.


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  • It must not be a problem Senator, our president said he would stay abreast with Fukushima and keep us informed ?

    Care to elaborate ?
    I will !…
    Guess he didn't want something much worse then the BP oil gusher he could fix for some time, occupying his time, this one would be humongous !
    "Have you fixed the 3 china syndrome's and the burning fuel pools yet Daddy ??"


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    • Can you ask him to swim with his daughter in the Japan sea to show it is safe ?


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      • Or even the California Pacific ?


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        • Whoopie Whoopie

          I know Doc. What the hell is wrong with Obama?! It all just makes me sick. It's really taking a toll on my mood today, even after these Senators are speaking out!! I keep thinking what the fuck took you so long? Over a year and NOW THEY SPEAK UP? Makes me sick. EVACUATE JAPAN NOW! THE CHILDREN!!! OMFG.


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          • entropy

            Don't blame Obama. Maybe just a figurehead or perhaps something is being addressed. I've said it from the start, can the president go on tv and say, life will end in a year or two. Good luck. Not a prudent stratagem. If it was me and I realized the severity of the situation and Japan wouldn't let us help, I would set top scientists to come up with a solution. I would still refrain from announcing it until there was a hopeful solution. As of now, it is not hopeful.


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            • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

              Ummmm… we sent drones..the US is fully aware of the situation in Fukushima…
              Obama is Commander-in-Chief..ultimate responsibility lies with him.


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              • entropy

                Totally. I just mean mitt or newt probably wouldn't announce the truth either. All the world is negelegent. Annie said nuclear plants are private and not under the other countries jurisdiction . This is pure negligents of all.


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            • VanneV anne

              My newborn grandson was given formula just after he was born. Can you tell me that it wasn't laced with Strontium-90 or Cesium?

              How many times have they said that fish from the GOM is safe?

              Why do they let radioactive trade goods and food come into the US from Japan and elsewhere?

              No one ever told me that radiation from Chernobyl or from above ground atomic testing was in the milk of the US.

              Our government is supposed to protect us.

              Why are they still spraying pesticides for West Nile Virus when it is the spray itself that makes WNV cross the blood brain barrier and when everyone already had immunity by now. There has never been a repeat epidemic of WNV in the same place in the history of the world. And they cities that refused to spray never had an epidemic.

              There is something very seriously wrong with the CDC and the FDA. There is too much turnover between the government and private industry, between law makers and lobbyists.

              All lobbying should be banned, or at least if someone is in the the Senate or the House of Representatives they should be banned for life from being a lobbyist.

              The air waves belong to the people. All political advertisements should be free so that we have some choices beside those who have sold their souls to monied interests.


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            • HoTaters HoTaters

              Can the President go on TV and say life will end in a year?

              Only if he's Morgan Freeman's character as President in the movie,
              "Deep Impact" !


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          • dharmasyd dharmasyd

            WHOOPIE…Please clarify and name…"these Senators are speaking out." You use plural. Are there more than Wyden (an perhaps Sanders) speaking out???


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  • solar wind speed is dangerously low whoopie. When it picks up to 375 – 450 km, we will probably have another bell ringer. (via liss)…

    A 6.8 in Eastern New Guinea region, Papua New Guinea just this morning (6 hours ago).

    I am under the impression that japanese seismologists have discovered more than they are letting onto with all these references to EQ and sfp's here on enenews.

    In my experience you tell a little of the truth to misdirect the main issues. As if to touch base on the topic, by raising questions about the initial question.

    Its classic misdirection in my opinion.

    With the reports of food suppliers, slowly being shut down over contamination, and the rumors of the army buying the potassium iodine in bulk. One can only see where all this is leading.

    Its funny to me…
    That plutonium a substance that has the ability to effect millions per gram. (to overdose rate).
    Is rarely mentioned in the news. Yet the reactors are housing multiple tons, and leaking hundreds and thousands of bequerrals, of (un told substances) To present date.

    Its the simplest explaination:
    1 gram = 10 million potential deaths.
    1000 tons = x

    Solve for x

    These algorithms, are capable of being solved by 5th grade intelligence / mathematics.
    To put it simply. Were all idiots, for laying low. However, with this level of complication, I doubt we can even imagine the full scope of the damages in this crisis.

    Its been over since march 11th 2011.


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    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Speechless. There is nothing that can be done then. The World is the walking dead. omfg


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      • truthseek truthseek

        I have sadly evolved (painfully) to the acceptance phase of this disaster and do not expect to whether this well. We are doomed….


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        • Arizonan Arizonan

          I accept the reality of it as well. Yet the reality is also that even with the explosion of SFP #3, and even with the worldwide dispersal of unimaginable quantities of Pu aerosol, we each as individuals do not know how or when we personally will die; we do not know how long it will take other life forms to die. Therefore, I say, do not grieve for death that has not yet occurred. Rather, embrace the life that is here today; savor every moment you have with yourself and with other humans; savor every moment of beauty that you can.


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      • entropy

        Right now we are still the walking life! With this knowledge, spread compassion. Buy you dog a steak.


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        • dharmasyd dharmasyd

          Compassion is named as the highest value in every religion I have studied, from Islam to Christianity, to Buddhism to many more.

          Compassion must live.

          And as Corita Kent said in one of her woderful art graphics:
          "To believe in God is to know there will be miracles and wonderul surprises!"

          Maybe it will be so.


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          • dharmasyd dharmasyd

            Correction:
            "To believe in God is to expect miracles and to know there will be wonderful surprises."


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            • HoTaters HoTaters

              Actually, Jesus Christ said the love of God and of others were the the highest values. Here is what he said in Mark 12:30-31:

              "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

              To love one's neighbor as one's self is no doubt to show compassion.


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              • dharmasyd dharmasyd

                That's fine. Ho! I'm not going to look up my ref sites right now. I'm open to more than one interpretation. But Compassion is very important in "all" religious traditions. Don't want to argue. Just want to show compassion. In Islam, the name of what would be the equivalent of God the Father is "Compassion." Ditto bueddhism.


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    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      Tacomagroove: It seems as if everyone is talking about SFP4 these days. When this interest took hold, my interest returned to 3/14/11 and the explosion of the MOX Pu-containing SFP3. Core ejection or SFP prompt criticality, it makes no difference what the cause was. The result was the ELE everyone is afraid SFP4 could become if the building collapses. At some future date. Perhaps. When Reactor3 blew up, enough Pu was expelled high enough into the atmosphere to poison the entire planet. You can eat clay, take baking soda baths, drink ultra filtered water, run the most expensive indoor air cleaner, and eat only from your pre-Fuku preppers food store. One day your lawn mower may kick up YOUR LITTLE BITTY ONE TEN MILLIONTH OF A GRAM OF PLUTONIUM. You are thinking how much you like the smell of new mown grass, as the fatal dose of Pu settles into your lung. No matter how we got our fatal dose, we have all gotten our fatal doses by now. How long do we have to live, doctor?


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      • StillJill StillJill

        Finally,…some sound reason! #4 is the diversion from what ALREADY happened,…#3! Door #3 did it's death dance on us all.


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        • HoTaters HoTaters

          A friend of mine wants to move to the Southern Hemisphere. I asked her what was the value in prolonging what might be the inevitable. She answered it was for the sake of her children.

          I just wonder what the purpose would be in surviving for awhile after watching everyone around you die — many of them an agonzing, painful death.

          I'll live 'til God takes me home, but I don't see the point in trying to run and hide from this.

          Stand and fight while you can. "Do not go easily into the night …."


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    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Tacoma, I posted your Math to a troll at HP. I haven't stopped my ACTIVISM yet. :( Probably soon though.


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    • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

      TG:
      All of the references I have seen is that a micro-gram will cause cancer.

      Hence, 1 million deaths per gram.

      TS:
      I spent a bit of last night settling in on the realization that I am now will in to the Acceptance phase.

      That they attempted to measure "levelness" of SFP4 with a steel bench rule was yet another realization that they are making this up as they go.

      The whole idea of assessing level, or just how vertical is that wall, with a 2 or 3 foot long ruler when the wall is likely 50 feet in height (30 feet of water that is supposed to be above the fuel assemblies) just goes way past absurd.

      And never mind the crumpled crane int SFP3.

      It is all so improv.

      It leaves me with such a dilemma of a paradox….is it better to have stayed on top of this story from day 1 or to have just not followed it much or at all.

      The end result is still the same….
      game over and out of quarters.


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    • entropy

      I agree, I'm afraid the movie is in the can. Finished on 3/14/11. An old joke is reality to these mo fos. Your mother is on the roof.


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      • dharmasyd dharmasyd

        OTOH, Topol, She's up there with the fiddler! And she's telling the fiddler what happened in synagogue this morning.

        The world governments had finally decided to tell the world what was really happening. So, the leaders called together the heads of all the great religions and told them that mass death, perhaps even extinction, would result from the excessive radionuclide poisoning which had been let loose into he environment.

        The religious leaders consulted and readied themselves. Then, on a Sabbath chosen by all, they informed their congregants of the situation.

        The Pope and the chief Cardinal for the USA informed their congregants at the designated time about the unfortunate state of affairs. In informing their flocks, they informed them that they had made arrangements to hear confessions and offer communion 24 hours a day, so that everyone could be ready.

        True to form, the Protestants told their members that they should all go home and each in his own heart, his own soul, each in his own way, make his/her individual peace with his/her God.

        The Rabbis, in their various synagogues, looked out at their congregants and said:
        "Vell, Boys. You have a few months or a few years to learn how to live in a radioactive environment!!! Mazel Tov!

        And the fiddler continued his song…


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  • Stocks would plunge, civil crimes would have heightened, it would have been the end the way the movie the road foresaw it. So they constructed a lie. They told you: We have no idea what were looking at. Its not to be concerned of.

    Even the last articles to date expresses huge concerns on the facilities.

    This is endgame. The lie is falling into pieces. People are noting the changes, as they appear. We are slowly coming to terms, with the reality.


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    • Whoopie Whoopie

      I feel it more than ever today. There is no answer, there isn't anything that will change what is systematically being done to the human race right now. March 2011 was the end game and i weep for humanity. i'm angry but like you said, am seeing there is nothing that will stop this DEATH TRAIN.


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  • anotherGail

    Tacomagroove and Whoopie,
    I so agree with you. It is now TOO LATE. As an antinuclear person, for decades, my hope was always to help prevent something like what has occurred here.
    Now it just feels like 'On the Beach'. The survivors may not be the lucky ones.
    … In the Bible, when Jesus' friends were asking about what would happen later, Jesus said there would be a time of such trouble that, if it weren't cut short, 'no living thing could survive.' (Matt. 24:22) I always thought that sounded extreme. Now I understand that it isn't.
    I guess all you can do is be good to your loved ones, and your planet family. It certainly can't hurt to keep trying to shut down your own local nukes.
    Kudos to ENENEWS for the reporting, and to everybody else for the comments.


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    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Gail, thanks for that Bible quote. I'm not very religious but that quote sure fits today, doesn't it? TY Tacoma is right. It's the end game. :( I know that now, only faintly thought so before. Always had hope, faith that things would get better. It won't. I'm going to HUG MY FAMILY, spend less time on here. Thanks again.


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    • StillJill StillJill

      Beautiful, insightful comment, 'anotherGail!

      (My bestest Sister in the World is a Gail,…not Gale!)

      You are so right,…"UNLESS those days were cut-short". He further goes on to say,…that THEY ARE cut-short. Luke says it even more clearly,…he says, "Unless God cut those days short", which He does! :-)


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    • VanneV anne

      Not quoting the whole passage puts a slant that is not there:

      15-22 “When the time comes, then, that you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ prophesied by Daniel ‘standing in the sacred place’—the reader should note this—then is the time for those in Judea to escape to the hills. A man on his house-top must not waste time going into his house to collect anything; a man at work in the fields must not go back home to fetch his clothes. Alas for the pregnant, alas for those with tiny babies at that time! Pray God that you may not have to make your escape in the winter or on the Sabbath day, for then there will be great misery, such as has never happened from the beginning of the world until now, and will never happen again! Yes, if those days had not been cut short no human being would survive. But for the sake of God’s people those days are to be shortened.


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    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Luk 17:22-30 (on the revealing of Christ):

      22 And He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. 24 “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed."

      Pray you are not caught out without making spiritual provision for yourself.


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  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    Whoopie and Gail: God help us all!


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    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Hugs to you philip. I remember when you first came here. I'm glad you are here STILL. So many have come and gone. The list is endless – SAD.
      SHUT THEM ALL DOWN.


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      • Whoopie Whoopie

        Remember that Sign that led to the Plants in Daiichi that said: "Nuclear Is The Way Of The Future" or something like that. How right that sign was. The future looks very bleak today – not only for Japan but the world.


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      • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

        Whoops: You know, with the mixture of good news and bad today on this Fuku thing, I might say the best advice I could offer you would be to visit a friend or neighbor and share a cup of (non-Japanese) tea. A good day to renew an acquaintance or read a good book in the sunshine. I appreciate your research and contribution here. But I know how passionate you can get, how the anger comes through your posts. And I see the depression that Fuku brings to us. It is amazing to see photos of people returning yesterday to nearby villages. This at a time when 40,000,000 Japanese should have already evacuated to other lands. As for me, I have gotten most of the information I came here for. I have appreciated having this forum to vent and share ideas on Fuku (Thanks again, Admin). On 911, I was glued to the tube from the first moment I heard the breaking news, until the second tower had fallen, and through the demolition of Building7. That event proved to me just how evil human beings can become under the spell of virulent hatred. To look down the isle of an airliner, to see men and women, boys and girls, all with happy expectations, and think of it as a guided missle, this just broke my heart. Now, we are in the midst of the Fuku 311 deal, arguably a billion times more tragic than the terror of 911. The criminality of the nuke industry and their investors, who would risk all our lives to make another yen, laid bare for all to see. Be well, Whoopie! Hugs back.


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        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Hi phillipupnorth,

          I agree it's a good time to be thankful for what we have and share time with people we care about.

          None of us really knows how much more time he has on this earth. I think it was a very wise person who said to live each day as though it was your last day.

          So easy to get caught up in this bad news (I do it too and get anxious sometimes) and it's good to remember to LIVE while we live!


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  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    I still have hope and will never give up. I understand how dire this beyond words nuclear disaster is but still hope Aliens come down and save at least the innocent species, as corny as that may sound. I cannot let the truth squelch my faith and hope and you are right to spend time with those you care about and always try to do the right thing which is embedded in our hearts. Take good care everyone.


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    • Whoopie Whoopie

      Moon, my Emotions run high and low. One day I think the best, today not so much. I prob wont stop my activism but I DO know the truth. Japan is gone, the rest of us will follow. Hugs to you moon.


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  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    I might be the only one on this thread who thinks this way, but I still don't think this is "the end" or "we all got our fatal doses" or "we're all walking dead".

    Before we leave this world, we'll see a couple more meltdowns of nuclear reactors……


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  • jackassrig

    The SFP of unit #4 is 100 feet from grade. If the SFP of #3 is still a structure, we should see it standing approximately 100 feet in the air. As unit #3 is razed to the ground, the SFP must be at ground level. Are the elevations of the reactors at different elevations. Where is the 35 ton crane of unit #4? I suppose in the SFP.


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    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      Rig: The new videos of SFP3 have me thinking that SFP3 still holds water. From the way the building looks, I had my doubts that SFP3 even existed after the detonation of 3/14/11. But it does seem to be still there, and able to hold water.

      The fact that the explosion of 3/14/11 was centered in Reactor3 rather then SFP3 brings little comfort. Reactor3 had a full load of MOX fuel, enriched with Plutinium. Not only do reactors using MOX fuel produce more power and higher operating temperatures, the Pu they contain is much more deadly than uranium. Why risk using Pu as nuke fuel? Why the money, of course. MOX is made from spent fuel that has been reprocessed, saving lots of money. This is why I hold nuke utility investors guilty of murder. They have destroyed Japan in order to make another yen for themselves. Maybe they have made enough on their nuke investments to relocate their families to a new home in another land. However, just one ten millionth of a gram can be a fatal dose to a human being. I have not seen anyone develop the figures on this yet. We pretty much know that the Pu released when Reactor3 blew up made it all the way around the Planet. Their may be enough Fuku Pu in our air, water, soil, and food to kill every one of us, given sufficient time. Instead of having a 50+% chance of dying from cancer, that may soon approach 100%. Great work, TEPCO!


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    • HoTaters HoTaters

      J-rig, Yes, what happened to SPF #3? I've wondered the same thing about #3 since there is almost nothing left of the building.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Burn off of water Unit 3…acknowledged…Dry…dry means heating up ..dry means burning..
    Pg.503..NRC FOIA doc.
    http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1205/ML12052A109.pdf


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    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      MALE PARTICIPANT: Just a question. Chuck
      said that they think that Unit 3 pool is dry. Do they
      still — do they still see a vapor
      plume coming off of Unit 3?
      MALE PARTICIPANT: Negative.
      MALE PARTICIPANT: Okay. So, they think
      that all of that steam in the path was the evaporation
      of the Unit 3 pool, and that that's now completed?
      MALE PARTICIPANT: Yes.


      Report comment

  • Anthony Anthony

    "Just a few weeks ago, the situation had become so glaringly obvious to one former Japanese diplomat, Mitsuhei Marata, who served as Japan's ambassador to Switzerland, that he spoke out at the Public Hearing of Councilors on March 22, 2012. He strongly stated that,

    …if the crippled building of reactor unit 4 — with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground–collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6, 375fuel rods located some 50 meters from Reactor 4. In both cases, the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced.
    Please read the entire report here

    http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/11387-does-daiichi-4-spell-the-end-qcesium-137-is-85-times-greater-than-at-chernobylq.html

    as it is extremely important."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivian-norris-de-montaigu/fukushimas-nuclear-nightm_b_1430816.html


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  • glowfus

    the circus added another act! oregon cheese no less. has anyone seen the missing reactor cores yet? i checked the missing corium pages and didn't find anything one them. i am going to check the craigs list lost and found.


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  • StillJill StillJill

    "OH corium, corium,….where for art thou,….corium?"


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  • Holland Holland

    I guess words and sentences got a new meaning because of this crisis: "no immediate health threat means you won't die instantly. Dangerous is not dangerous. Very dangerous is dangerous.

    Let's make it clear; it was extremely dangerous from the start.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Here on page 104..it can be seen that the NRC.."soothed"..coordinated it's public statement…with what the White House was saying.
    Line 6.
    http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1205/ML12052A107.pdf


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  • HoTaters HoTaters

    This is from way, way out in left field. I can't help but wonder if the HSA is buying all those rounds of ammunition to kill people if we all start falling ill, there are food riots, etc. Why on earth would they be doing this? And supposedly the federal government purchased over 100 million body bags a few years back.

    I know this may sound kind of paranoid, but it makes me wonder if they haven't been quietly expecting something like this to happen ….


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    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Well, FEMA apparently requested 140 million emergency food packets, and a number of underwater body bags for the New Madrid area a couple years back. But it's looking like the huge no. of body bags may have been an exaggeration …. Most likely they were looking for 140 Mil. food packets.

      The purchase of 450 million rounds of ammunition by the HSA is disturbing, though, to say the least!


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