SUBHEAD: Soon Tepco will begin removal of fuel rods at Unit 4 . They should begin with Unit 5 & 6 and the Common Pool.
By Juan Wilson on 29 October 2013 for Island Breath -
Image above: TV broadcast of simulation to remove fuel rods (in yellow square) from top of Reactor #4 with new crane (green & black inverted tee) from recently completed massive framed superstructure. From (http://hu1st.blogspot.com/2012/04/fukushima-plans-revealed-to-remove-fuel.html).
[Author's note: This article is the text of a letter I am sending to those listed at the end of this post. My hope is that the public might initiate a broad coalition to address the problems posed by Fukushima before we are overtaken by them.]
"Humankind’s most dangerous moment - Fukushima Fuel Pool at Unit 4. This is an issue of human survival. The world community must now take charge at Fukushima."
- Centre for Research on Globalization
My background for the last 40 years is as an architect and planner. I live in Hawaii and see great danger to the Pacific Ocean and northern hemisphere from events that are unfolding in Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. To date the clumsy handling of the disaster at the site by Tepco leads me to believe they are incapable of managing the situation at the the site. Moreover, their reluctance to be honest about conditions there has eroded my trust.
The world needs to come together and aid the Japanese in removing all transportable fuel rods in undamaged areas of the Fukushima Daiichi site before trying to clear the damaged fuel pool in Reactor Unit 4.
The Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) should immediately identify all available nuclear fuel cooling ponds in Japan capable of receiving fuel rods from Fukushima Daiichi.
There should immediately begin an emergency relocation of all Fukushima Daiichi intact fuel rods to those cooling ponds. This effort should include the participation and contributions from the United Nations, Untied States, France, Russia, Germany, England, and other nations with nuclear expertise.
This process should begin now and be on a critical path schedule for completion as soon as possible. All heavy equipment, personnel and supplies needed for this task should be appropriated by the Japanese and other governments as required.
Early this November Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is scheduled to begin removing fuel from the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor #4 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. For the whole world this is a vitally important and necessary task.
However, to date Tepco has shown incompetence and deceit in handling the events at Fukushima following the tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. We are now over 30 months from the initial catastrophe and only recently has Tepco decided that the Unit 5 and 6 reactors should be decommissioned.
My argument is that the highest priority should have been given from very beginning of this crisis to removing all transportable fuel rods from the Fukushima Daiichi site. Reportedly there are overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site.
The fuel that can be removed from the site would include all material in Reactor Units 5 and 6 as well as from the Common Pool. This action would have reduced the amount of radionuclide material on the site by over 50%.
This effort of fuel removal should be done before trying to remove fuel rods from the damaged and precarious fuel pool in the wrecked Reactor Unit 4.
Yes, the Reactor #4 fuel pool must be emptied as soon as possible, but the risk of any event that would make the overall Fukushima Daiichi site too dangerous for human entry must be considered.
There are several reasons why the fuel removal from Unit 4 may not be successful.
Any of these five possibilities would likely lead to immediate nasty consequences.
- The structure of Unit 4 is compromised and an earthquake or even ground saturation could cause its collapse before the fuel can be successfully removed.
- The ceiling of Unit 4 collapsed in a hydrogen explosion and debris scattered into the racks that hold the fuel rods and could snag them.
- The racks have been distorted and bent by the building structure having slumped and tilted.
- Zirconium fuel cladding was damaged on fuel rods when the pool overheated in the power outage following the tsunami, making the fuel rods fragile.
- Handling the approximately 1.500 fuel rods over the next year the task will take with the crane through remote video cameras will eventually produce a human error causing a fuel ignition.
One possibility would be a pyrophoric fire of nuclear material that ignites in air and cannot be extinguished with water.
Another possibility would be to produce a nuclear criticality. That would be a runaway atomic chain reaction that could result in an explosion of the radioactive material in the pool.
The result either event could quickly spin out of control. Smoke and particle from a nuclear fire or explosion would consist of the most dangerous material imaginable - far worse than the already dispersed cesium and strontium.
It would require evacuation of workers from the proximity and likely require evacuation of Tokyo. Such a calamity would certainly endanger much of the northern hemisphere with something akin to the results of a nuclear war.
The Fukushima Daiichi site is an existential crisis. One that, in the worst case will damage much all on Earth.
Image above: Actual superstructure under construction. Dwarfed Reactor Unit 4 is at right. Note the amount of effort made to clean up the site and make everything pretty. From (http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2013/03/fukushima-i-nuclear-power-plant-reactor.html).
The order of business should be:
A) remove transportable nuclear material from site.Unless the Unit 4 fuel pool can be emptied and the radiation from the three melted cores of Units 1, 2 and 3 be mitigated there will be no end to the damage the Fukushima disaster will wreak on the Earth on the foreseeable future.
B) Remove fuel rods from fuel pond in Unit 4.
C) Decontaminate water used to cool melted cores.
D) Identify locations of melted cores and how to treat them.
But to start removing transportable nuclear fuel from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is the NUMBER ONE PRIORITY for humanity at this time.
Here is who you can contact on this issue:
IAEA: International Atomic Energy Agency:
IAEA Office at the United Nations:
NRA, Japan: Nuclear Regulation Authority:
US NRC: United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission:
To Contact Public Affairs: submit form from:
US NRC:To report a safety concern,
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:
go to website to submit comment:
United Nations: submit form at:
President Barack Obama: submit form at:
Contact Elected Officials at USA.gov:
See also: (only some of posts with "Fukushima" as subject)
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima and poisoned fish 10/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fuel Danger at Fukushima 9/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Dear Ban Ki Moon - About Fukushima 9/23/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Reactor #4 Spent Fuel Pool 9/16/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima is Not Going Away 9/9/13
Ea O Ka Aina: X-Men like Ice Wall for Fukushima 9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima out of control 9/2/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radioactive Dust 8/20/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Apocalypse 8/21/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima House of Horrors 8/21/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation coverup 8/12/13
Ea O Ka Aina: G20 Agenda Item #1 - Fix Fukushima 8/7/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Leakage at Fukushima an emergency 8/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Burns on and On 7/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Unit 4 Danger 7/22/13
Ea O Ka Aina: What the Fukashima? 7/24/13
Ea O Ka Aina: What the Fukushima? 7/11/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Spiking 7/12/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Nuclear Power on the Run 7/18/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Techno-optiminst & Nuke Flack views 7/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima & Hypothyroid in Hawaii 4/1/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout 9/14/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worse than Chernobyl 4/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan condemns Fukushima children 3/8/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fights chain reaction 2/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima dangers continue 12/4/11
Ea O Ka Aina: The Non Battle for Fukushima 11/10/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Deadly Radiation at Fukushima 8/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Danger 7/10/11
Ea O Ka Aina: New Fukushima data discomforting 6/7/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima #2 & #3 meltdown 5/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima sustained chain reaction 5/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Chernobyl & Fukushima 4/26/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Ocean Radioactivity in Fukushima 4/16/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima No Go Zone Expanding 4/11/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Abandoned 4/8/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Poisons Fish 4/6/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Leak goes Unplugged 4/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima reactors reach criticality 3/31/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Non-Containment 3/30/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Water Blessing & Curse 3/28/11