Lucas Hixon of Enformable has a very interesting article up concerning his efforts with David Lochbaum to obtain through freedom of information access requests NRC records from the earliest days of the disaster. (See http://enformable.com/2015/12/nrc-management-of-foia-requests-puzzling-experts/).
The latest document to be released that I've seen is dated March 18 and is available here:
The document indicates that the NRC was asked to come up with source terms for Fukushima in order to predict the radiation dose to exposed US populations. While making that prediction, the NRC assessed that:
1) 25% of the total fuel in unit 2 released to the atmosphereAs I've mentioned previously on my blog, there was no word on the fuel in unit 1's reactor and pool, and no information about the fuel in reactor 3, nor the conditions at the common spent fuel pool.
2) 50% of the total spent fuel from unit 3 was released to atmosphere
3)100 percent of the spent fuel was released into the atmosphere from unit 4.
Unit 3 appeared to suffer the greatest destruction and a fly-over in March 2011 showed green glowing material in either unit 3 or 4 (not sure which):
So, the burning question (bad pun) is whether the NRC's March 18 assessment of the condition of spent fuel pool #4 was correct because TEPCO claimed to have successfully removed fuel from spent fuel building 4 a year or so ago AND webcam watchers viewed what appeared to be "fires" on the webcams in units 3 and 4 in the summer and fall of 2011.
Here is an example of what webcam watchers saw:
My personal belief, based on webcam imagery and EPA Radnet data, has always been that there were fires in 3 and 4 throughout 2011, although its possible the fires were limited to unit 3 and simply affected building 4 because of the two units' close proximity:
EPA radiation monitoring showed unprecedented beta level highs in the US beginning in the fall of 2011 and continuing on through January 2012 before dropping in February 2012.
Many people I knew developed odd and difficult to diagnose/treat illnesses in the spring of 2012. I lost tons and tons of hair and so did my hair-stylist. Many people I knew had inexplicable gastro-linked illnesses and sudden problems breathing but no diagnosable heart problems. Many people had unusually bad dental problems.
So, my personal interpretation is that much of what didn't burn in units 3 and 4 in March 2011 ended up in the atmosphere and ocean over the course of the rest of the year.
Emissions are still visible from these units so there is no doubt still some remaining fuel.
Everyday people like myself will probably never know the full truth of what transpired at Fukushima but we do know the following facts:
1. Source terms for Fukushima have been revised many times upwards and scientific studies have found evidence that unit 4 fuel ended up in the atmosphere.
2. TEPCO admits uncontained fuel is in direct contact with water coursing under the site and into the Pacific Ocean resulting in UNMITIGATED and DIRECT contamination of the Pacific and also of Japan's ground water.
3. TEPCO cannot locate melted reactor fuel for units 1 and 2 despite use of a muon test.
4. Radiation readings continue to rise in groundwater and in the port water at the Daiichi site.
5. Iodine-131 continues to be detected in city sludge in Japan, although it looks as if the government is halting municipal testing.
6. Reactor buildings are in danger of collapse due to an earthquake or liquefaction of the ground because of the volume of water that must be pumped into buildings to prevent fires.
7. Animal life in Fukushima prefecture is already experiencing adverse effects, as documented by many scientists, including Mousseau and Moller.
8. Pacific life is collapsing with possible links to Fukushima (albeit unproven and repeatedly denied by "experts" without supporting evidence)
9. Fukushima is an unprecedented event with unknown and potentially catastrophic regional impacts which will be forcefully denied by authorities wishing to preserve a nuclear complex based on death, destruction, and psychosis.