Monday, May 28, 2012

On spent fuel pool 4 and the Ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Tepco has gone all out to demonstrate to the global public that spent fuel pool #4 is intact. I think the best photos can be found here:

Many observers had believed spent fuel pool 4 was indeed intact (e.g., Sickputer & Joy) because the incineration of the pool would have been undeniably visible in the form of skyrocketing radiation readings in Tokyo and huge plumes of black smoke visible in the Tepco webcam.

I admit to have been uncertain about the status of the #4 pool for several reasons.

First, the early reports indicated that there was a fire in unit 4 spent fuel pool. This is documented in NRC minutes discussing zirconium fires in spent fuel pool 4 and early media reports (see my posts here for source citations ( and

More importantly, there have been (intermittently) considerable amounts of steam/smoke arising from the area between units 3 and 4 visible on the Tepco webcam.

I have many screen shots of these eruptions of steam and smoke. Quite a few videos documenting these releases are available at You tube (see some sample links at bottom of post).

Now that Tepco has released enough photos to convince me that spent fuel pool 4 is still there, I really wonder about the source of the very large steam /smoke releases that have been visible on the Tepco webcam.

It is possible that the #3 fuel pool or reactor (or both) may be the source of these releases.

In its recent photo debut of spent fuel pool 4, Tepco neglected to show us any photos of the inside of unit 3, which has the largest explosion. We did not even get any close-ups of the outside of the unit 3 building in Tepco’s most recent photo releases.

The mainstream media have been exceedingly quiet about this reactor, which was using Mox fuel.

So, perhaps unit 3 is the source.

An observer named Tacomagroove has argued that the real danger is unit 1, which suffered a melt-through of the reactor containment.  She contends that the melted corium is in “china syndrome” mode.

Joy, has suggested that the corium could be moving toward the ocean and Tacomagroove supports this thesis by noting that Tepco is building a wall between areas of the plant and the ocean.

I’ve seen taped segments of the Fukushima webcam by Nuckechen and others that depict vast amounts of emissions coming from the top, right hand corner of the unit 1 building (as seen from the Tepco webcam).

Unit 1 is clearly the source of some emissions, but I don’t think it explains the steam/smoke that erupts between buildings 3 and 4.

I wish I knew.

I suppose that the bigger issue is that the plant is still emitting “trillions of becquerels” each day and the fall out continues unabated (see Gunderson excerpt end of this post).

I worry that Tepco will use its latest photos of unit 4 to further promote its absurd claims that the plant is in “cold shutdown.”

I guess the most important questions are how to stop the emissions and what are the implications of 15-plus months of continuous emissions?

Dr. Chris Busby reported on the Russian television network RT on August 17 2011 that air filters from Tokyo showed levels of Cesium-137 one thousand times higher than the levels of that radionuclide found in the air at the peak of atmospheric atomic weapons testing in 1963 (see references for link).

He said that almost a year ago.

Fallout has continued to bio-accumulate, shaped only by the vagaries of uncontained contained melted fuel rods, wind, precipitation and other atmospheric variables.
Iodine-131 levels, indicative of fission, have been rising in Japan’s Gunma prefecture (see sources in references)

How long can that continue before people become demonstrably sickened?

How long will the fantasy of ‘cold-shutdown’ be perpetuated, punctuated only by the occasional warning of the collapse of a spent fuel pool. These punctuated moments of crisis will simply be handled with more strategically designed press debuts and the world will go back to sleep.

Dr. Christopher Busby interviewed by Russia Today (RT) and uploaded to YouTube “Christopher Busby: Chernobyl-like radiation found in Tokyo,” [RussiaToday] YouTube (uploaded 2011, August 17):

Helen Caldicott Interview with Arnie Gunderson: If You Love This Planet Radio May 8, 2012
EXCERPT: I would say there are billions, actually trillions, of becquerels per day being released airborne, mainly from Units 2 and 3.

Actually on cold nights you can still the steam coming off those reactors, its not just steam its radioactive steam.

Something on the order of trillions of becquerels per day… trillions of disintegrations per second per day are being released even now.

Dr. Helen Caldicott: So what you’re really saying Arnie Gundersen is that the ocean will continue to be contaminated, kind of for the rest of time. Because there’s no foreseeable way to prevent water leaking out of containment vessels continuously into the ocean… We’re talking about continual contamination of the Pacific Ocean.

Arnie Gundersen: You’re right.


Bobby1, whose highly reliable work I've cited before, has produced a graph representing rising Iodine-131 detections in the sewage sludge from Gunma Prefecture

The data for his graph comes from this Gunma Prefecture site:


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