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It’s been two weeks since I wrote my first piece for End the Lie about Fukushima being a possible mass extinction event, and still no progress to report.
Although, there was a somewhat promising appeal made on April 30, when seventy-two Japanese Non-Governmental Organizations sent an urgent request to the United Nations and Japanese government urging immediate action to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel. The letter was also endorsed by numerous nuclear experts.
The letter warned the UN and Japanese government that if an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain, a catastrophic radiological fire could ensue.
The letter urged the United Nations to organize a Nuclear Security Summit to take up the crucial problem.
The letter stated that the United Nations should establish an independent assessment team, and coordinate international assistance to stabilize reactor 4′s spent fuel pool in order to prevent a radiological release with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Letters were sent to both UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the latter asking that Japan ask immediately for the UN’s help.
So that’s good news.
Now, we just have to wait for the UN to have a meeting about it, form some committees, investigate, send a team to Japan, schedule another meeting, go over the committee results, then maybe form some more committees, go over more results, then send a response, and then finally implement a plan of action, if that is what they even decide to do in the end.
And of course all that is dependent on if the spent fuel pool hasn’t fractured, fallen, caught fire, or exploded by then.
For a “downwinder” of a spent fuel pool fire or explosion and large scale radiological release (or in the case of Fukushima, a “northern hemisphere resident”) you will need anywhere from 2 weeks to a 2 year supply of food, water, toiletries, medications, diapers, pet food, and a designated area for pets to go to the bathroom inside your shelter, among many other things.
The amount of time spent sheltering in will vary greatly on a wide array of variables, such as, how long it takes to put the nuclear fuel fire out, or burn itself out.
That being said, nuclear fuel is essentially “a fire that never stops burning.”
Don’t worry about stockpiling gas, you won’t be going anywhere. That is of course if you lack the financial resources to leave everything behind and bug out to the southern hemisphere.
It may be advisable to have weapons in case your neighbors run out of supplies, and want yours.
So essentially, you will need all the same things you would for a collapse of the economy, it’s just that you won’t be able to go outside.
As a downwinder, one of the only differences in your “shelter” will be the further down you go into the ground, the better off you will be due to gamma rays.
And speaking of gamma rays, in Arnie Gundersen’s recent interview with KGO Radio, he said in regards to spent fuel pool 4:
Gamma rays inside reactor 2
“Let’s assume that it didn’t fall, but went dry a hundred feet in the air, it would be a beacon, but instead of a beacon of light, it would be a beacon of radiation, and bathe the site in high levels of radiation. That’s not something that you want because it would make work on other units darn near impossible…The gamma rays, forget the particles that get caught in your lungs, but the gamma rays would go up and bounce off air molecules and come down as a shine of radiation over the site, and it would go right through those suits and the guys would be exposed from the ‘sky shine’ …”
So let’s talk about that for a minute.
When I wrote my first piece for End the Lie “Fukushima is falling apart: are you ready?” I withheld some important information. Sort of like Tepco always does. They feed you little bits of information here and there, because they knew you couldn’t take it all at once.
The real danger with this precarious spent fuel pool situation is not just the spent fuel pool in reactor 4. It’s all the reactors, and all the spent fuel pools, including the granddaddy common spent fuel pool which is only about 50 meters from reactor 4.
If the spent fuel pool goes up, the radiation release would be so high that the workers would have to abandon the site, which means no one is holding the hoses watering down everything and keeping it from going up in one giant fire or explosion or radioactive cloud of death.
If the wind blows south to the Daini Plant, they would have to abandon that site. If blows north to Onagawa, they would have to abandon that site, and so on and so on.
Need some verification of this?
Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, was invited to speak at the Public Hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012, on the Fukushima nuclear power plants accident.
Before the Committee, Ambassador Murata 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 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4.
In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel. Indeed, they are open to the air, which is quite dangerous.
This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced.
He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries.
Ambassador Murata informed us that the total number of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421 (396+615+566+1,535+994+940+6375).
As the eminent German physicist Dr. Hans-Peter Durr said ten months ago, if the spent fuel pool spills, we will be in a situation where science never imagined we could be.
And Former U.N. adviser Akio Matsumura – whose praises have been sung by Mikhail Gorbachev, was told that if the fuel pool at unit 4 collapses or the water spills out, so much radiation will spew out for 50 years that no one will be able to approach Fukushima.
It gets, if you can believe it, just a little worse. Because you see, if no one in the path of this plume can leave their houses, or go to school, or go to work and of course some of us work – you guessed it – at nuclear plants in the United States and in Canada and in Europe.
Well, I’m sure you can see where that is heading.
The other option is, that our wonderful sources of nuclear power could all be shut down in advance, which means you’d be smart to add all the items you could possibly need for 2 weeks to 2 years without electricity to your supply list.
Or, make a reservation at your friendly neighborhood FEMA camp instead. This is the reality of our choice to let nuclear power into our lives. And you thought we were FUBAR just from the one little spent fuel pool?
Albert Einstein said that nuclear power would eventually kill its users. It appears Einstein was right again.
Whatever sense of urgency you had about this situation in the past few weeks, multiply that by 104 or so, if not more.
Call, post, email, protest, and do whatever it takes to get someone to listen.
In the meantime mitigate for radiation exposure, and keep sending pictures of mutated flowers, trees, fruit, and vegetables.
Economic collapse would be a walk in the park in comparison to what humanity is facing with Fukushima. At least, you could have one there if you wanted to. Just don’t pick the mutated dandelions.
Please send mutation images to email@example.com. Shoot at the highest resolution possible, and include your name, location, and date the mutation was found, for proper credit if the images are published. If it is from store-bought produce, include the location where it was grown and purchased. The more information you provide, the better you will be helping the rest of us.
Please help Christina purchase a spectrometer in order to get the most accurate radiation readings and thus get you the most precise information possible by shopping through her Amazon link or donate directly via PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind, this is expensive equipment and it is the only way that specific isotope readings can be obtained from food items.
Minor editing by Madison Ruppert
Christina Consolo is a former clinical researcher supervisor with NIH credentialing; a former Member-at-Large for the Board of Directors, Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society; A peer reviewer for the Journal of Ophthalmic Photography; She has written, published, and contributed to numerous scientific research in retinal imaging and ophthalmogy for the past 24 years; She is also an award-winning biomedical photographer and maintains several websites to teach people about radiation, mitigation, and other nuclear issues. She is also the host of “Nuked Radio” Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12-1:00 pm EST on the Orion Talk Radio Network.
Special to CollapseNet
Online debate about Fukushima intensifies as problems at the site continue and fallout spreads. As I mentioned here, the mainstream media largely remain silent and Japanese officials release information in confusing bits. Only the German and Russian media offer regular coverage of this crisis. The information vacuum is otherwise filled by denial or reassuring complacency on the one hand – and online speculation, fear and conspiracy theories on the other. As nuclear poisons move east-to-west culturally, and west-to-east geographically, Fukushima becomes a local issue in North America, not just a Japanese issue. Each new local culture reshapes Fukushima in its own image. The very real danger is accompanied by a completely separate issue – the way in which that danger is perceived, discussed and interpreted.
In this post, I referred to a friend’s observation that there are competing cultures of truth in the world. He commented that different societies have different ways of grappling with, debating about, and presenting reality. A nuclear worker who spoke anonymously to the Asia Pacific Journal (Hat tip: ENE News): “You know, in Japan, there is ‘honne’ (honest feeling) and ‘tatemae’ (polite-face). Our tatemae is that we are doing our utmost to stop the leakage of contamination, and our [honne] is that we are dumping massive amounts of contaminated water into the ocean.”
Hirabayashi (a Japanese filmmaker who directs TV commercials for his living) turned to a more traditional form of Japanese art in his quest to express his feelings about the radiation leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The numbers contained in the title of his film (663114) have a dark significance:
- The first two digits (66) stand for the 66 years that have elapsed since the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- The next three digits (311) stand for the date of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
- The final digit (4) refers to the number of nuclear reactors that were affected in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.In 663114, the dark waves of the tsunami are frightening and yet, when the cicada reemerges from the wreckage and radiation, it has undergone a severe mutation which has given it wings of rare beauty. Hirabayashi’s short is an exquisite example of how art can explain nature with a depth and poetry that live footage of a disaster can never match.”
The Economist did a piece on less staid post-Fukushima Japanese art from guerrilla artists in the ChimPom collective. Before Fukushima, they were doing things like blowing up Louis Vuitton handbags with claimed landmines. After Fukushima, they revel in an artistic message (see here) of open conflict against Japan’s “imaginary reality” and placid stability. Terrible tensions generated by this disaster are focused inwardly within the culture. There are rumours of awful secrets beneath Japan’s surface calm: there is unconfirmed online talk of stressed and fatalistic Fukushima workers roaming the streets of Iwaki City in their time off and raping schoolgirls; and there are many reports of a wave of suicides.
As the fallout threat mounts in North America, a Fukushima narrative expands beyond the Japanese sphere. Surely, three total meltdowns, with three explosions at Fukushima Daiichi Reactors #1, #3 and #4, involving global radioactive fallout, would at least warrant a weekly update from CNN? Or Fox? Or Bloomberg? Or BBC America? Or PBS? Or other mainstream networks or newspapers? No. Apparently not.
Since regular comprehensive MSM coverage is lacking, how does one understand the Internet’s mix of nuclear fact and fiction? One online English-language source of Fukushima updates, ENE News (to which I have linked several times), provides a daily digest of links from verified news, governmental and mainstream sources. It is a valuable service, but there is no indication on the site of who runs it. It also intersperses legitimate news links with opinion from a repeating set of experts and bloggers, who are as honestly concerned as they are anti-nuclear in bias. It is also not clear how much they actually know about the facts on the ground in Fukushima, and how much is based on their well-intentioned, but perhaps ill-informed, assumptions. Hence, the question arises:
- Who is behind ENE News? This question was asked, and not answered, on Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering school message board; and reproduced at the Canadian blog Exposing Faux Capitalism.
Here are a few recent headlines and online rumours which feed mounting concerns:
- 11 May 2012: Nuclear engineer and critic Fairewinds commentator Arnie Gundersen has been hitting the American radio talk circuit. He comments: “I’m telling my friends on the [US] west coast, you gotta watch it like a hawk everyday get up and make sure Unit 4 is standing… if it’s not, have a plan B to move somewhere.” On 4 May 2012, he said: “Move south of equator if Unit 4 fuel pool goes dry.”
- 10 May 2012: Purdue Unversity and the University of Notre Dame are getting portions of $2.5 million to further nuclear research projects. [One wonders if that includes studying the effect of fallout on citizens.]
- 10 May 2012: 5.57 million Bq/kg of radiocesium in soil are detected in Minamisoma City in Fukushima prefecture; citizens are being moved back into the area and volunteers are cleaning out irradiated sludge with hardly any protective gear; city councilman Ooyama states, “And they’re going to do what? Spring athletic meets? Swimming pool opening? I can’t take it any more!”
- 10 May 2012: At a press conference, TEPCO reveals there are parts of Reactor #3 that its staff decided not to show to the public.
- 9-10 May 2012: Conspiracy theory message board picks up rumours (repeated here and here; original news report here) that hundreds of flight attendants who work for Alaska Airlines have been suffering from strange rashes; and their hair has been falling out. The company blames tributyl phosphate in their uniforms; conspiracy theorists blame radiation sickness from airborne Fukushima fallout.
- 7 May 2012: Peru has no answers on thousands of dead dolphins and seabirds; online, people start speculating groundlessly that this reflects Fukushima contamination of the Pacific.
Recently, one user left an epic series of Fukushima comments on ENE News. These forum remarks show how news bytes can be strung together into genuine fear over a brewing environmental apocalypse. I quoted it fully and without corrections, because it is pretty much the ultimate Fukushima message board rant (it even links to one of my posts). In this post, I am focusing on how the commenter is talking about Fukushima – over and above the facts of his or her equally serious subject matter (such as the Pacific Ocean pollution map, above, which the commenter included):
Fact 1: if Americans knew there was a highly toxic oceanic radiation plume there would be a state of panic. Military would need excess munitions to control the unruly crowds that would be trying to stock up on supplies. This being said have we seen contracts for these munitions.Fact 2: (this is very important)…Oceanic radiation / Plume dispersion models show currents carrying radiation west via the pacific drift, from the east honshui island… While these maps are publicly available. Take a look… If the initial contamination was from the march explosionsA. The currents would not continue to have grown in radioactive contamination.B. The radiation would have by now subsided, to the floor of the oceanC. The radiation would only show as only a temporary spot on the model. Which would by now have dissipated.What we are seeing is a constant Leak… (I.e. A radioactive river flowing directly into the ocean).D. If Oceanic contamination was limited to only the few leaks. And explosions: Then, Why on earth was this reported In August? “China Finds 100,000 SQ Miles of Radiation In Pacific Ocean Up 300 Times Higher Than Normal”Wouldn’t the dispersion of the elements show minimal contamination levels at this point?Fact 3: The company tepco would have no need for a barrier onsite. Why build in a rush what you do not need.How long has the need been a relevant issue… ? Are there any other indications that the aquatic radiation releases are plaguing the pacific Ocean?Tepco to begin coating seafloor with cement mixture (PHOTOS)If the sea floor were cemented wouldn’t this “trap” the radiation. Meaning there would be no need for a barrier? (use intelligence here).Fact 4 as reported by Fukushima daily, cement was drilled in Dec 2011 showing high gamma levels. The image released to the public spectrum was a cement sample with obvious yellow sediment attached to it.This was Yellow cake uranium. Which could only have came from a sample of concrete that had direct contact to corium on site. (I.e. The primary containment )
More sources:DEC 20th 2011. The containments are Melting like honeycomb.Fact : The steam from reactor1’s basement.
This is an obvious sign of fission.With minimal onsite power, an electrical fire within the reactor would be highly unlikely… SO IF this is not a candidate for a heat signature below the unit 1 reactor; Could a fire be the culprit?Being the lower level of the reactor is filled with 2+ meters of water this would also rule out a fire. Thus a nuclear reaction is in my opinion: The only possible candidate to create the steam plume, which was spotted on the Ground floor in Reactor 1.Sources: May 29th – 30th.Fact 6: the first injury on site in USA media was a tepco employee whom had burned his feet after entering the unit 1reactor at Fukushima. These injuries could only be a result of gamma radiation. Which penetrates up to 6 feet of masse.Fact 7: The red substance/ powder, found in Tsuruoka City, shows signatures. Of uranium oxide. The reactor1 basement is completely filled with reactor coolant (which is this same color).(The below article outlines the highly contaminated water found within the unit 1 reactors basement.).
Fact 8: (Paid shills)….You are fact  and the most important fact of all. You are a promoter hired by various Japanese interests. This is because when users hop online tepco can create a sense of damage control.Because the truth is that the reactor 1 is in a state of china syndrome. As I send this very message international pressure and monetary damages are created in your country. Your lies are exposed for what they are, tepco along with all of Japan’s stocks are effected.This the situation escalates beyond even your own intervention. Thee truth And the real news is this … Tepco and the Japanese government are broke. The more attention this post gets, the more attention the reactors get. Which is why they hired … you.In truth I know what is going on inside reactor 1. And now so does the entire glp community. International governments have been left in the dark while the united states and china are delegating your nations very evacuations.It’s no secret that the USA and china have already begun strategizing where 40 million Japanese citizens will reside. Hence the FEMA camps that were recently opened all over the united states. Yes it is all tied together.Obama is using senator wydel to ease this information into the publics attention. So that international aide and control can legally take control of this situation, without alerting the public of the real situation taking place In reactor 1. It is a Roos. A decoy. Smoke and mirrors.But I can be the first to tell you nuclear fuel melting down has a temperature much higher than steel. If reactor 1 had a steam plume coming fr the basement then it’s obvious that the 6 foot thick primary containment failed to withhold the 3500+ degree payload. It cut through the reactor like an angry samurai.That is the news. expect to see Hawaiians reporting the oceanic wildlifes contamination by July. as it truly is the next stair to this slinky. Which will also be most west coasters final warning to leave before their lives are in absolute danger. God help us. Emmy 2012
More sources:Worse than meltdown, government report says devastating ‘melt-through’ has occurred at Fukushima; Official suggests Japan could become ‘uninhabitable’A nuclear core meltdown involves nuclear fuel exceeding its melting point to the point where it damages the core, leaks out, and threatens to potentially release high levels of radiation into the environment. However, a nuclear melt-through is an even worse scenario, as nuclear fuel literally melts through the bottom of damaged reactor pressure vessels into out containment vessels — and possibly even melts through those outer vessels directly into ground, air, and water.
Note worthy:I estimated that Reactor 1 would go full on china syndrome in June 2011.On may 29th – 30 of 2011 The basement water level rose significantly As noted above.In June 2011. There were several large aerial convection releases in the unit one reactor.In august 2011. Tepco erected its tent (the main project / focus of the entire 2011 calendar year).The pieces all fit together.Reactor 4 is a huge concern.However while reading between the lines. We can clearly see that there is a much bigger problem at hand.Months later, Arctic ring seal deaths leave scientists flummoxedThe carcasses of dead pelicans still litter the beaches of northern Peru, even as the last of nearly 900 dolphins are cleared away.“A Staggering Mess” as Tsunami Debris Hits Alaska Coast EarlyJapan Gov’t Data: 65% of marine life test positive for cesium in Nov. — Average catch exceeds new radiation limits @ 111 Bq/kg
I am no longer accepting donations. (fyi).
It was never about money. I never made a dime.
It detracts from the point.
p.s.I was supposed to upload this on http://www.Godlikeproductions.com, If you type In the searchbox. It is the thread called “Fukushima real news”I was banned before I could repeat this information. So if someone could please update the thread copying and pasting the posts above into the reply field. I would gladly apprecieate it. As I was banned this morning.Its obvious that the government does not want this information in the public realm.
Ty and cheers.
Not to detract from the poster’s passion and genuine cause for worry, but I’m not sure the US Government has much to do with banning people from the Millennial conspiracy forum, Godlike Productions. At any rate, this epic rant establishes that Fukushima is based in grim reality; but, in the absence of decent reporting, popular worries can be easily veer off toward North America’s Millennial apocalyptic fears.
Fukushima has entered the Wild West that is the American World Wide Web, and is reevaluated in terms of its cultures of truth. Negotiating that online frontier is an art in itself, with its overlapping armageddons, pitched battles between science and religion, alienated liberties, frayed social consciences, huge political rifts, secret and open alliances, and can-do activisms. A very real crisis is being filtered through the Millennial 2012 phenomenon and other pre-existing North American preoccupations, obsessions and blind spots.
- Is Fukushima being politicized during an American election year? Due to media silence, there has been some confusion among the general public on how Fukushima will be politically branded and rebranded. How does a political faction own an issue such as Fukushima, or seize control of it for the purposes of political capital?
- In Canada, the CBC takes a liberal-left view, mainly aiming to preserve the Global Warming hypothesis. Here is the CBC coverage of Fukushima. Canada’s national broadcasting corporation treats the problem as foreign and localized; its writers sporadically add some human interest stories. Occasionally, CBC reporters, in colonial style, redigest some British press coverage – or rework some American reports. There’s a bit of pondering: “Was the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant a game changer for the nuclear industry?” No, its commentators conclude: nuclear power is (pretty much) still Green. What they are actually saying with that illogical standpoint is that Climate Change is still the environmental cause du jour for the Canadian liberal-left. However, that cause is increasingly embattled by the all-too-real Nuclear Meltdown, which was quickly possessed in 2011 by the populist-right. HuffPo commentary redresses that trend for American and Canadian liberal-left readers, and increasingly aims Fukushima coverage toward the liberal-left by reviving a China Syndrome- and Silkwood-esque 1970s-1980s anti-nuclear-big-business angle.
- Fears of environmental obliteration stemming from Fukushima already appealed in different ways to conservative, libertarian, religious, populist and Prepper convictions. For example, this video interview with Arnie Gundersen contains InfoWars advertisements. The video conveys a message (starting at 23:27) that Americans can use InfoWars gear to uphold the American Constitution by being informed about the ‘real truth’ on issues such as Fukushima. To an American, whether one agrees with the political sentiment or not, the ideology of liberty is unquestioned and seamless. To a non-American, the rebellious rhetoric of this great turbulent democracy is of course comprehensible, but remains culturally alien and discordant: “Express your inner Patriot with these brand new InfoWars T-shirts. … Or educate the Sheeple with the Bill of Rights shirt. Grope the public’s mind with the TSA [Transportation Security Administration] shirt. And with this shirt [INFOWARS done in Star Wars logo style] you can let the Dark Side know the Rebel Alliance is power.” One of InfoWars’ Web site decals is below. The site includes the poll question: “Do you believe government re-education camps are real and the Army plans to use them?” (At the time of writing this post, 91 per cent of site respondents said, “yes.”)
- Whether right, left, or off the charts, American and Canadian politicization of Fukushima brings other narratives and cultural arguments to bear on this nuclear crisis. Japan’s 663114 film-maker viewed Fukushima as an issue of evolution, perseverance, and endurance in spite of all natural and unnatural crises. In America and Canada, Fukushima becomes a question of different flavours of Democracy and Capitalism. Gundersen argues the one-word explanation for why international workers have not been sent in to help contain the Fukushima disaster is “money.”
- One Canadian blogger, Northerntruthseeker, betrays a taste for merging Fukushima with 9/11 Internet truthing and other anti-Semitically-flavoured conspiracy theories. The same conspiracy theories have appeared on American blogs and message boards. There are worries (couched in inverted-racist racist terms) about the Illuminati and related cabals using Fukushima to cut down the world’s excess population, especially in North America. I have talked about these and other mythologizing elements, such as the HAARP hypothesis, which do not derive from Japanese perspectives of Fukushima, here.
- Criticism and mistrust of the government is a huge Millennial theme. Government officials exacerbate popular suspicions when they say Fukushima poses no safety risks. American and Canadian governmental statements have been soothing and dismissive; in response, some environmentalist sites claim authorities are either not collecting, or hiding, fallout data: “Health Canada removed nine supplementary fixed point detectors that were installed in British Columbia and the Yukon in response to the Fukushima nuclear incident. In addition, on September 15, 2011, Health Canada ended its weekly data postings, and Website Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) data reporting. No data to compare with the levels in Canada since last report in March 20ll. Now Health Canada refers to the radiation in the atmosphere as cosmic, and reports it is just part of everyday life.” These obfuscations lead to disenchantment with the political system. Some bloggers (see also here) contend that North America has been badly polluted over the past year, and the US and Canadian governments have lied about the extent and seriousness of fallout toxicity.
- These trends have inspired popular grassroots activity. Concerned Canadian citizens have formed a radiation monitoring group, the Canadian Collaborative for Radiation Awareness and Monitoring. They cite Margaret Mead as inspiration: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” That’s not strictly true, but the sentiment is uplifting. In Portland, Oregon, families have charitably hosted Fukushima families, so they can have time away from the stress of dealing with the crisis every day.
- There are some responses behind the scenes from nuclear experts. The Canadian Radiation Protection Association is having its annual meeting of affiliated nuclear researchers and professionals at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax at the end of May 2012. MIT has judged the spread and speed of the radioactive plume in Pacific waters. New Hampshire-based researchers at Dartmouth College have tested Fukushima fallout in the groundwater of that state (their publication is here).
- The Internet has its own post-political language; there is a free-for-all of online Fukushima information created by individuals with cameras and radiation detectors (see my post with links to amateur radiation detector videos here); they have produced a small media blitz for the Virtual Underground. There are: Canadian mutated dandelion vids; Michigan mutated dandelion and strawberry vids; thousands of mutated plant photos; RadChick’s ; and all-around apocalyptic blog posts and fears about the fate of the Northern Hemisphere.
- Online commenters suspect that official concern over the limping US economy prompted the government and media to play down fears over Fukushima fallout, regardless of health risks. Some bloggers believe that Fukushima is especially ‘debunked’ with regard to California and fallout reports are hushed up to protect California’s shaky economic recovery. See California fallout studies and reports: here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. California’s water, mushrooms, soft fruits, other produce and dairy products are all under scrutiny. By 2013, Gundersen believes that important fish species, such as tuna, will be contaminated and will have migrated to reach the western coast of North America.
As the fallout marches eastward geographically and westward culturally, so do the cultural reinterpretations of Fukushima. April’s headlines were dominated, nuclear-wise, by the threat that Reactor #4’s spent fuel pool potentially poses to the entire Northern Hemisphere. After initial increased complacency and calming remarks from their respective governments, nervous noises have begun in Britain and France. Fukushima is currently seen in those quarters as an American problem … but could North America “become uninhabitable for centuries”? And if so, could this fallout spread further? Is this the slow dawn of global shock in the face of irrevocable catastrophe? Or is it the cultural spin of different Millennial doomsdays? Perhaps it is both.
NOTES FOR READERS OF MY POSTS.If you’re not reading this post on Histories of Things to Come, the content may have been scraped and republished without attribution or the original author’s permission. Please let me know by following this link and leaving me a comment. Thank you.
(NaturalNews) The news you are about to read puts everything else in the category of “insignificant” by comparison. Concerned about the 2012 U.S. presidential election? Worried about GMOs? Fluoride? Vaccines? Secret prisons? None of that even matters if we don’t solve the problem of Fukushima reactor No. 4, which is on the verge of a catastrophic failure that could unleash enough radiation to end human civilization on our planet. (See the numbers below.)
The resulting releasing of radiation would turn North America into a “dead zone” for humans… mutated (and failed) crops, radioactive groundwater, skyrocketing infant mortality, an explosion in cancer and infertility… this is what could be unleashed at any moment from an earthquake in Japan. Such an event could result in the release of 85 times the Cesium-137 released by the Chernobyl catastrophe, say experts (see below). And the Chernobyl catastrophe made its surrounding regions uninhabitable by humans for centuries.
Yet, astonishingly, the usual suspects of deception are saying absolutely nothing about this problem. The mainstream media (the dying dinosaur media, actually) pretends there’s no problem with Fukushima. President Obama says nothing about it. Federal regulators, including the NRC, are all but silent. It’s as if they think their silence on the issue somehow makes it go away.
Perhaps these professional liars in the media and government have become so used to idea that they can simply spin their own reality (and get the public suckers to believe almost anything) that they now believe they can ignore the laws of physics. That’s why they have refused to cover the low-level radiation plume that continues to be emitted from Fukushima.
The fate of the world now rests on reactor No. 4
“It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No.4 reactor.” – Mitsuhei Murata, Former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland and Senegal, Executive Director, the Japan Society for Global System and Ethics
Mr. Murata’s stunning statement should be front-page news everywhere around the world. Why? Because he’s right. If reactor No. 4 suffers even a minor earthquake, it could set off a chain reaction of events that quickly lead to North America becoming uninhabitable by humans for centuries to come. Imagine California, Oregon and Washington states being inundated with radiation — up to 85 times the radiation release from Chernobyl. We’re talking about the end of human life on the scale of continents.
Here’s how this could happen, according to Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy:
“The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements. If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident. The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed as it was at the other three reactors. Spent reactor fuel cannot be simply lifted into the air by a crane as if it were routine cargo. In order to prevent severe radiation exposures, fires and possible explosions, it must be transferred at all times in water and heavily shielded structures into dry casks. As this has never been done before, the removal of the spent fuel from the pools at the damaged Fukushima-Dai-Ichi reactors will require a major and time-consuming re-construction effort and will be charting in unknown waters.” (http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/forum/218/nuclear-expert-fukushima-spent-…)
Note: He says “10 times” the Cesium-137 of Chernobyl. Others say up to 85 times. Nobody is 100% certain of what would actually occur because this has never happened before. We are in uncharted territory as a civilization, facing a unique and imminent threat to our continued survival. And both governments and the corporations that assured us nuclear power was safe are playing their “cover my ass” games while the world waits in the crosshairs of a nuclear apocalypse.
To better understand the severity of this situation, read these facts about Fukushima reactor No. 4 which I have assembled from available news sources:
• Reactor #4 contains 1,535 spent fuel rods which remain highly radioactive.
• These fuel rods currently hold the potential to emit 37 million curies of radiation.
• Those fuel rods are stored in a concrete pool located 100 feet above the ground, inside the structurally compromised reactor building, effectively making the pool open to the air.
• The pool holding these fuel rods is “structurally damaged.”
• “If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.” – Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy.
• “The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed as it was at the other three reactors.” – Mr. Alvarez.
• Just 50 meters from reactor No. 4, a much larger pool of spent fuel rods contains 6,375 fuel rods, all of which remain highly radioactive.
• All these fuel rods are, astonishingly, exposed to the open air. They are not held inside any containment vessel.
• The total number of spent fuel rods across all six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site is 11,421.
• If reactor No. 4 suffers a structural failure, the release of radiation from the 1,535 spent fuel rods would make it virtually impossible for work to continue on the site, potentially resulting in an inability to halt a massive radiation release from all the other rods.
• In all, the 11,421 fuel rods held at the Fukushima Daiichi facility contain roughly 336 million curies of “long-lived radioactivity.” Roughly 134 million curies of that is Cesium-137.
• “Reactors that have been operating for decades, such as those at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site have generated some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet.” – Mr. Robert Alvarez, U.S. Dept. of Energy
• This amount of Cesium-137 radioactivity held in the full collection of fuel rods at Fukushima is 85 times the amount released at Chernobyl.
• The release of this amount of Cesium-137 would “destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is an issue of human survival.” (http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/04/682.html)
• The mainstream media operates in a total blackout of this news, refusing to even acknowledge the existence of this immediate threat to human civilization.
• The mainstream media is, in large part, owned by General Electric, the very company that designed the Fukushima reactors in the first place. It is clear that GE is diligently running a total media blackout on this news in order to cover its own ass and prevent people from asking questions about the faulty engineering and nuclear facility site selection that led to this catastrophe.
18,000 dead so far and hundreds of millions at risk: The media cover-up
“The executive branch and multiple federal agencies, agencies tasked with keeping the American public safe, did their best to hide and to cover-up information about a deadly radioactive plume and ensuing fallout that was headed for the West Coast of the United States from Japan,” says Tony Muga. (http://theintelhub.com/2012/03/01/plume-gate-shocker-media-silence-ra…)
He goes on to state “The evidence obtained in the FOIA request indicates that right from the start, the NRC had a clear idea of the significance of the disaster that was unfolding, but concealed the truth from the American public. The results of the plume and fallout can be measured in the rise of infant mortality rates: cells of unborn and newborn children are dividing at a much higher rate than those of a mature adult, thus the amount of damage is greatly increased and hence more detectable. Conservative estimates place the number of stillborn following the Fukushima accident at over 18,000.”
See the FOIA documents here:
The conspiracy cover-up of the radioactive plumes still being emitted from Fukushima is now being called “Plume-Gate.” This issue needs to be front and center on all our radar screens. There may quite literally be nothing more important for the survival of the human race than dealing with this runaway issue of Fukushima radiation in the immediate term, and the larger issue of the scientific fraud of nuclear power “safety” thereafter.
As Muga explains, “It is this author’s opinion that any media source not shouting about Plume-Gate as loud as they can are likely controlled by the powers-that-be.” He’s got a point. This should be our No. 1 issue, and NaturalNews is re-shifting priorities right now to help raise the alarm on the impeding Fukushima disaster for the obvious reason that everything else pales in comparison to the importance of dealing with this.
Take action now
Although I hate to call for the UN to do anything at all, as it is a criminal globalist organization engaged in widespread sex slave trafficking, child abuse and mass murder, the UN definitely has some pull with governments around the world. The petition linked below calls for the UN to take immediate, decisive action to deal with Fukushima reactor No. 4 before it’s too late and we all get “Fuk’ed” beyond repair.
This petition calls for two actions:
1. The United Nations should organize a Nuclear Security Summit to take up the crucial problem of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool.
2. The United Nations should establish an independent assessment team on Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 and coordinate international assistance in order to stabilize the unit’s spent nuclear fuel and prevent radiological consequences with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Here at NaturalNews, although we hold the UN in contempt for its globalist actions and crimes against humanity, we nevertheless support this particular petition and the urgent effort for the UN to actually do something positive for a change. In fact, if the UN ignores this issue, that itself would be the greatest crime of all against humanity, for failure to solve this reactor No. 4 situation could mean the end of human civilization as we know it.
NaturalNews will continue to cover this issue, especially focusing on reactor No. 4. We are reaching out to Higgins and Gunderson to conduct more interviews on this subject. Watch for more coverage here at NaturalNews.com.
Arnie Gunderson – one of the most important scientific voices of truth and reason on this issue
More than a year after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the Japanese government, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) present similar assurances of the site’s current state: challenges remain but everything is under control. The worst is over.
But nuclear waste experts say the Japanese are literally playing with fire in the way nuclear spent fuel continues to be stored onsite, especially in reactor 4, which contains the most irradiated fuel — 10 times the deadly cesium-137 released during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. These experts also charge that the NRC is letting this threat fester because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants around the U.S., which contain exceedingly higher volumes of spent fuel in similar elevated pools outside of reinforced containment.
Reactor 4: The Most Imminent Threat
The spent fuel in the hobbled unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi not only sits in an elevated pool outside the reactor core’s reinforced containment, in a high-consequence earthquake zone adjacent to the ocean — just as nearly all the spent fuel at the nuclear site is stored — but it’s also open to the elements because a hydrogen explosion blew off the roof during the early days of the accident and sent the building into a list.
Alarmed by the precarious nature of spent fuel storage during his recent tour of the Fukushima Daiichi site, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, subsequently fired off letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko and Japanese ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki. He implored all parties to work together and with the international community to address this situation as swiftly as possible.
A press release issued after his visit said that Wyden, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources who is highly experienced with nuclear waste storage issues, believes the situation is “worse than reported,” with “spent fuel rods currently being stored in unsound structures immediately adjacent to the ocean.” The press release also noted the structures’ high susceptibility to earthquakes and that “the only protection from a future tsunami, Wyden observed, is a small, makeshift sea wall erected out of bags of rock.”
As opposed to units 1-3 at Fukushima Daiichi, where the meltdowns occurred, unit 4′s reactor core, like units 5 and 6, was not in operation when the earthquake struck last year. But unlike units 5 and 6, it had recently uploaded highly radioactive spent fuel into its storage pool before the disaster struck.
Robert Alvarez, a nuclear waste expert and former senior adviser to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration, has crunched the numbers pertaining to the spent fuel pool threat based on information he obtained from sources such as Tepco, the U.S. Department of Energy, Japanese academic presentations and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), the U.S. organization created by the nuclear power industry in the wake of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.
What he found, which has been corroborated by other experts interviewed by AlterNet, is an astounding amount of vulnerably stored spent fuel, also known as irradiated fuel, at the Fukushima Daiichi site. His immediate focus is on the fuel stored in the damaged unit 4′s pool, which contains the single largest inventory of highly radioactive spent fuel of any of the pools in the damaged reactors.
Alvarez warns that if there is another large earthquake or event that causes this pool to drain of water, which keeps the fuel rods from overheating and igniting, it could cause a catastrophic fire releasing 10 times more cesium-137 than was released at Chernobyl.
That scenario alone would cause an unprecedented spread of radioactivity, far greater than what occurred last year, depositing enormous amounts of radioactive materials over thousands of miles and causing the evacuation of Tokyo.
Nuclear experts noted that other lethal radioactive isotopes would also be released in such a fire, but that the focus is on cesium-137 because it easily volatilizes and spreads pervasively, as it did during the Chernobyl accident and again after the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi last year.
With a half-life of 30 years, it gives off penetrating radiation as it decays and can remain dangerous for hundreds of years. Once in the environment, it mimics potassium as it accumulates in the food chain; when it enters the human body, about 75 percent lodges in muscle tissue, including the heart.
The Threat Not Just to Japan But to the U.S. and the World
An even more catastrophic worst-case scenario follows that a fire in the pool at unit 4 could then spread, igniting the irradiated fuel throughout the nuclear site and releasing an amount of cesium-137 equaling a doomsday-like load, roughly 85 times more than the release at Chernobyl.
It’s a scenario that would literally threaten Japan’s annihilation and civilization at large, with widespread worldwide environmental radioactive contamination.
“Japan would suffer the worst, but it would be a global catastrophe,” said Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste expert at the watchdog group Beyond Nuclear. “It already is, it already has been, but it would dwarf what’s already happened.”
Kamps noted that these pool fires were the beginning of the worst-case analysis envisioned by the Japanese government in the early days of the disaster, as reported by the New York Times in February.
“Not only three reactor meltdowns but seven pool fires at Fukushima Daiichi,” Kamps said. “If the site had to be abandoned by all workers, then everything would come loose. The end result of that was the evacuation of Tokyo.”
In an interview with AlterNet, Alvarez, who is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, said that the Japanese government, Tepco and the U.S. NRC are reluctant to say anything publicly about the spent fuel threat because “there is a tendency to want to provide reassurance that everything is fine.”
He was quick to note, “The cores are still a problem, make no mistake, and there will be some very bad things happening if they don’t maintain their temperatures at some sort of stable level and make sure this stuff doesn’t eat down through the concrete mats.”
But he said that privately “they’re probably more scared shitless about the pools than they are about the cores. They know they’re really risky and dangerous.”
AlterNet asked the NRC if it is concerned about the vulnerability of the spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi and what, if anything, it had expressed to the Japanese government and Tepco on the matter.
“All the available information continues to show the situation at Fukushima Dai-ichi is stable, both for the reactors and the spent fuel pools,” NRC spokesman Scott Burnell replied via email. “The available information indicates that Spent Fuel Pool #4 has been reinforced.”
But nuclear experts, including Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president who coordinated projects at 70 U.S. nuclear power plants, and warned days after the disaster at Fukushima last year of a “Chernobyl on steroids” if the spent fuel pools were to ignite, strongly disagreed with this assessment.
“It is true that in May and June the floor of the U4 SFP [spent fuel pool] was ‘reinforced,’ but not as strong as it was originally,” Gundersen noted in an email to AlterNet. “The entire building however has not been reinforced and is damaged by the explosion in both 4 and 3. So structurally U4 is not as strong as its original design required.”
Gundersen, who is chief engineer at the consulting firm Fairewinds Associates, added that the spent fuel pool at unit 4 “remains the single biggest concern since about the second week of the accident. It can still create ‘Chernobyl on steroids.’”
Alvarez said that even if the unit 4 structure has been tentatively stabilized, it doesn’t change the fact “it sits in a structurally damaged building, is about 100 feet above the ground and is exposed to the atmosphere, in a high-consequence earthquake zone.”
He also said that the urgency of the situation is underscored by the ongoing seismic activity around northeast Japan, in which 13 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 to 5.7 have occurred off the northeast coast of Honshu between April 14 and April 17.
“This has been the norm since 3/11/11 and larger quakes are expected closer to the power plant,” Alvarez added.
A recent study published in the journal Solid Earth, which used data from over 6,000 earthquakes, confirms the expectation of larger quakes in closer proximity to the Fukushima Daiichi site. In part, this conclusion is predicated on the discovery that the earthquake that initiated last year’s disaster caused a seismic fault close to the nuclear plant to reactivate.
“There are a few active faults in the nuclear power plant area, and our results show the existence of similar structural anomalies under both the Iwaki and the Fukushima Daiichi areas,” lead researcher Dapeng Zhao, a geophysics professor at Japan’s Tohoku University, said in a press release. “Given that a large earthquake occurred in Iwaki not long ago, we think it is possible for a similarly strong earthquake to happen in Fukushima.”
AlterNet asked Sen. Wyden if he considers the spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi a national security threat.
In a statement released by his office, Wyden replied, “The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.”
Alvarez agrees, saying, “My major concern is that this effort to get that spent fuel out of there is not something you should be doing casually and taking your time on.”
Yet Tepco’s current plans are to hold the majority of this spent fuel onsite for years in the same elevated, uncontained storage pools, only transferring some of the fuel into more secure, hardened dry casks when the common pool reaches capacity.
For the moment, though, and for the foreseeable future — unless the international community substantively comes to Japan’s aid — Tepco couldn’t transfer the irradiated fuel from the damaged reactor units into dry cask storage even if it wanted to because the equipment to do so, such as the crane support infrastructure, was destroyed during the initial disaster.
“That’s kind of shocking,” said Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear. “But that’s why we’re still sitting on this gamble that there won’t be another earthquake that could topple a very precarious unit 4.”
Gunter is concerned that even a minor earthquake or a subsidence in the earth under unit 4 could cause its collapse.
“I think we’re all on pins and needles every day with regard to unit 4,” he said. “I mean there’s any number of things that could happen. Nobody really knows.”
Gunter added, “Right now its seismic rating should be zero.”
Alvarez echoed Wyden’s letters to the Japanese ambassador and U.S. officials.
“It really requires a major effort,” he said. “The United States and other countries should begin to get involved and try to help the Japanese government to expedite the removal of that spent fuel and to put it into dry, hardened storage as soon as possible.”
Same Spent Fuel Pool Designs at Dozens of U.S. Nuclear Sites
So why isn’t the NRC and the Obama administration doing more to shed light on the extreme vulnerability of these irradiated fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi, which threaten not only Japan but the U.S. and the world?
Nuclear waste experts say it would expose the fact that the same design flaw lies in wait — and has been for decades — at dozens of U.S. nuclear facilities. And that’s not something the NRC, which is routinely accused of promoting the nuclear industry rather than adequately regulating it, nor the pro-nuclear Obama administration, want to broadcast to the American public.
“The U.S. government right now is engaged in its own kabuki theatre to protect the U.S. industry from the real costs of the lessons at Fukushima,” Gunter said. “The NRC and its champions in the White House and on Capitol Hill are looking to obfuscate the real threats and the necessary policy changes to address the risk.”
There are 31 G.E. Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors (BRWs) in the U.S., the type used at Fukushima. All of these reactors, which comprise just under a third of all nuclear reactors in the U.S., store their spent fuel in elevated pools located outside the primary, or reinforced, containment that protects the reactor core. Thus, the outside structure, the building ostensibly protecting the storage pools, is much weaker, in most cases about as sturdy, experts describe in interviews with AlterNet, as a structure one would find housing a car dealership or a Wal-Mart.
Not what Americans might expect to find safeguarding nuclear material that is more highly radioactive than what resides in the reactor core.
The outer containments surrounding these spent fuel pools in these U.S. reactors patently fail to meet the NRC’s own “defense in-depth” nuclear safety requirements.
But these reactors don’t merely suffer from the same storage design flaw as those at Fukushima Daiichi.
In the U.S., the nuclear industry has been allowed to store incredible volumes of spent fuel for decades in high-density pools that were not only originally designed to retain about one-fourth or one-fifth of what they now hold but were intended to be temporary storage facilities. No more than five years. That was before the idea of reprocessing irradiated fuel in this country failed to gain a foothold over 30 years ago. Once that happened, starting in the early 1980s, the NRC allowed high-density storage in fuel pools on the false assumption that a high-level waste repository would be opened by 1998. But subsequent efforts to gain support for storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada have also been scrapped.
More recently, the NRC arbitrarily concluded these pools could store this spent fuel safely for 120 years.
“Our pools are more crammed to the gills than the unit 4 pool at Fukushima Daiichi, much more so,” noted Kamps of Beyond Nuclear. “It’s kind of like a very thick forest that’s waiting for a wildfire. It would take extraordinary measures to prevent nuclear chain reactions in our pools because the waste is so closely packed in there.”
Experts say the only near-term answer to better protect our nation’s existing spent nuclear fuel is dry cask storage. But there’s one catch: the nuclear industry doesn’t want to incur the expense, which is about $1 million per cask.
“So now they’re stuck,” said Alvarez, “The NRC has made this policy decision, which the industry is very violently opposed to changing because it saves them a ton of money. And if they have to go to dry hardened storage onsite, they’re going to have to fork over several hundred million dollars per reactor to do this.”
He also pointed out that the contents of the nine dry casks at the Fukushima Daiichi site were undamaged by the disaster.
“Nobody paid much attention to that fact,” Alvarez said. “I’ve never seen anybody at Tepco or anyone [at the NRC or in the nuclear industry] saying, ‘Well, thank god for the dry casks. They were untouched.’ They don’t say a word about it.”
The NRC declined to comment directly to accusations it’s reluctant to draw attention to the spent fuel vulnerability at Fukushima Daiichi because it would bring more awareness to the dangers of irradiated storage here in the U.S. But the agency did respond to a question about what it has done to address the vulnerability of spent nuclear fuel storage at U.S. nuclear sites with the Mark I and II designs.
“All U.S. spent nuclear fuel is stored safely and securely, regardless of reactor type,” NRC spokesman Burnell replied in an email. “Every spent fuel pool is an inherently robust combination of reinforced concrete and steel, capable of safely withstanding the same type and variety of severe events that reactors are designed for.”
He continued, “After 9/11, the NRC required U.S. nuclear power plants to obtain additional equipment for maintaining reactor and spent fuel pool safety in the event of any situation that could disable large areas of the plant. This ‘B5b’ equipment and related procedures include ensuring spent fuel pools have adequate water levels. The B5b measures are in place at every U.S. plant and have been inspected multiple times, including shortly after the accident at Fukushima.
“The NRC continues to conclude the combination of installed safety equipment and B5b measures can protect the public if extreme events impact a U.S. nuclear power plant.”
But nuclear experts told AlterNet that the majority of Burnell’s response could’ve been made prior to the disaster at Fukushima. In fact, Ed Lyman, senior staff scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, investigated these so-called “B5b” safety measures the NRC ordered post-9/11 and published his findings in a May 2011 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article.
Directly reflecting Burnell’s response to AlterNet, Lyman wrote that after the Fukushima disaster, “the NRC and the industry invoked the mysterious requirements known as ‘B5b’ as a cure-all for the kinds of problems that led to the Fukushima crisis.
“Even though the B5b strategies were specifically developed to cope with fires and explosions, the NRC now argues that they could be used for any event that causes severe damage to equipment and infrastructure, including Fukushima-scale earthquakes and floods.”
But contrary to these NRC assurances, then and now, Lyman’s report found B5b requirements inadequate, containing flaws in safety assumptions that suggest the NRC has not applied the major lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster. Additionally, he revealed emails showing that the NRC’s own staff members questioned the plausibility of these procedures to effectively respond to extreme weather events like floods, earthquakes and concomitant blackouts.
Burnell sent a follow-up email, noting, “I also should have mentioned the NRC issued an order in March to all U.S. plants to install enhanced spent fuel pool instrumentation, so that plant operators will have a clearer understanding of SFP status during a severe event.”
This is a curiously roundabout way of saying that spent fuel pools at U.S. reactors currently have no built-in instrumentation to gauge radiation, temperature or pressure levels.
Kamps also pointed out that the NRC commissioners voted 4 to 1, with Chairman Gregory Jaczko in dissent, to not require such requested safety upgrades to U.S. reactors until the end of 2016.
He added, “Burnell’s flippant, false assurances prove that pool risks, despite being potentially catastrophic, are largely ignored by not only industry, but even NRC itself, even in the aftermath of Fukushima.”
Brad Jacobson is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist and contributing reporter for AlterNet. His reporting has also appeared in The Atlantic, Columbia Journalism Review, Billboard and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @bradpjacobson.