Wednesday, May 2, 2012

SUMMARY OF CURRENT CONDITIONS and CONCERNS RE FUKUHIMA

excerpt from my chapter on Fukushima:

By May 2012 public alarm about the condition of nuclear plants in Japan was rising. A report titled “Lessons From Fukushima Dai-ichi ” issued October 28, 2011 by BBT University President asserted that fourteen nuclear reactors in Japan were extensively damaged by the earthquake. Reports of fires and radiological water spills at the reactors in Tokai lent support to concerns about widespread damage to nuclear reactors in Japan.  However, the greatest concern remains the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi plant appeared to be deteriorating, based on webcam-documented massive steam and smoke emissions around reactors 3 and 4. Massive steam and smoke releases occurred at the plant on May 1 and May 2.  

Two former Japanese diplomats had become so alarmed by conditions at the plant that they issued a public plea to the U.N. for intervention. Former Japanese U.N. diplomat Akio Matsumura posted the letter to the UN authored by Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, Japan’s former ambassador to Switzerland, on his (Matsumura’s) webpage with this explanation:
 
[Matsumura] 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; dangerously, they are open to the air. 

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 numbers 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).  

Mitsuhei Murata’s letter dated March 25, 2012 to Secretary-General, Honorable Ban Ki-moon specifically addresses the threat to Japan and “the whole world” posed by NO. 4 reactor”:
 
[Murata] I was asked to make a statement at the public hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 23. I raised the crucial problem. of N0.4 reactor of Fukushima containing1535 fuel rods. It could be fatally damaged by continuing aftershocks. Moreover, 50 meters away from it exists a common cooling pool for 6 reactors containing 6375 fuel rods!

It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO.4 reactor. This is confirmed by most reliable experts like Dr. Arnie Gundersen or Dr. Fumiaki Koide…
 
Any response to the letter was not made publicly available. On May 1, 2012 a coalition of Japanese civil organizations sent a second letter to the U.N. Secretary General pleading for assistance:
 
We Japanese civil organizations express our deepest concern that our government does not inform its citizens about the extent of risk of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool. Given the fact that collapse of this pool could potentially lead to catastrophic consequences with worldwide implications, what the Japanese government should be doing as a responsible member of the international community is to avoid any further disaster by mobilizing all the wisdom and the means available in order to stabilize this spent nuclear fuel. It is clearly evident that Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool is no longer a Japanese issue but an international issue with potentially serious consequences. Therefore, it is imperative for the Japanese government and the international community to work together on this crisis before it becomes too late. We are appealing to the United Nations to help Japan and the planet in order to prevent the irreversible consequences of a catastrophe that could affect generations to come. We herewith make our urgent request to you as follows:
 
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.

What conditions at the plant warranted such desperate pleas for assistance? Akio Matsumura included on his webposting comments made by Robert Alvarez regarding the amount of fuel stored at Fukuhima Daiichi:
 
[Alvarez] Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel). . . .
 
Nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson’s comments made in an April 17 interview about the amount of radiation in Daiichi’s spent fuel pools are instructive:
 
[Gunderson] There’s enough fuel in that pool [4], that it’s almost as much cesium as in all of the atom bombs that were ever dropped into the atmosphere, 800 bombs were dropped into the atmosphere, well there’s as much cesium in that one pool as in those bombs.

The quantity of radiation stored at the Daiichi plant could conceivably kill most of the inhabitants of planet earth were it to be distributed evenly. Certainly, Japan faces a radiological apocalypse in areas subject to Fukushima fallout. Given these conditions, there is little wonder that Japanese citizens are using their political capital to appeal directly to the U.N. for assistance. 

Rumors that Tepco has abandoned or plans on abandoning the Fukushima plant lend urgency to Japanese citizen concerns.

MAJIA HERE: That is the end of the excerpt for today.

However, here is an update from Enenews: Happening Now: Radiation triples at Tokyo monitoring station — Levels spike at multiple locations in last two hours

 
REFERENCES

Kenichi Ohmae (BBT University President) “Lessons of Fukushima Dai-ichi” (2011, October 28): Full report index available here:  http://pr.bbt757.com/eng/. Full report here http://pr.bbt757.com/eng/pdf/finalrepo_111225.pdf. In Japanese available here:  http://pr.bbt757.com/2011/1028.html. Appendix of conditions at various plants around Japan http://pr.bbt757.com/eng/pdf/apdx_chronology_and_power-loss.pdf.

      “Low-level radioactive water leaks at Tokai nuclear plant” Kyodo News (2012, March 19): http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/03/147881.html and “Research Reactor Ceiling Catches Fire,” Japan Times (2011, December 21): http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20111221b3.html.

      These releases were visible on the Tepco webcam http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/f1-np/camera/index-j.html and were taped and posted at youtube. I witnessed the releases in real time on the webcam and saved screen shots documenting releases.

      Akio Matsumura “Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident,” Akio Matsumura: Finding the Missing Link (2012, April 3): http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/04/682.html.

      The letter “Urgent Request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon May 1, 2012” was released publicly and was made available at Reader Supported News (2012, May 1): http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-news-section/209-209/11240-urgent-request-for-un-intervention-to-stabilize-fukushima-unit-4-spent-nuclear-fuel-.

      “Arnie Gundersen Interview.” WBAI’s Five O’Clock Shadow Date: Tuesday April 17, 2012 5:00pm (At 25:45 in the interview): (http://archive.wbai.org/show1.php?showid=fiveshadow.

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