TEPCO to start removing spent fuel from Fukushima No. 4 reactor on Monday

By Aaron Sheldrick

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

This really should be steam effort, Russia, with its experience, the US, France, the UK and Japan. TEPCO should NOT be doing this on its own. NFW.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's gotta be done some day ... and, well, here goes the nerve-wracking operation.

And if something does go wrong ... then what? I hope TEPCO and the government are ready to act quickly and safely if something goes haywire.

And I hope they will let us know what is happening step-by-step as the removal work progresses ...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Steam effort? Maybe it will leave a pile? No, what was meant to be written was... 'a' team effort.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@TheResident. You really should consider a career in the paranormal. Reading minds and determining their perimeters is something worth sharing. If the situation at Dai-Ichi Number 4 doesn't scare you, you don't understand.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Does Not give me a "Peaceful, Easy Feeling."

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"The hazardous removal operation has been likened by Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, to trying to pull cigarettes from a crushed pack."

Former U.S. nuclear executive, self-appointed Chief Engineer of his own organisation. Claimed SFP4 had blown up, claimed that nuclear fission was still happening in the reactors, claims there will be a million cancers from Fukushima. He also hypes the flammability of Zirconium. Fear-mongering is this guy's ticket to fame.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson said, "Don't forget to say your prayers!"

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Did you mean 'parameters' Yong Yang? The end is nigh buddy. Get yourself and your family out.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Probably the scariest headline I've read in the past few months. Leaving TEPCO in charge is like playing Russian Roulette, only with 5 bullets instead of 1, where the bullets are nuclear.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I would like to see more information of the worse case scenario if one or more of these fuel rods is dropped or is damaged so much that the plutonium is exposed to the atmosphere. What would be the contamination zone and radiation levels downwind and cross wind from the site?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

TEPCO says the assembly removal process will begin around mid-November, withholding the actual date for what it says are security reasons.

And then the headline states the actual date......ummmm....WTF?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Saying "the end is nigh" is scaremongering of the highest order. Why not wear a sandwich board and walk around Shinjuku prophesising doom and destruction. Someone has to carry out the operation. The building has been reinforced, as has the pool. There is water in the pool, so no reason for the rods to be exposed to the air. I sometimes think somd JT posters WANT something to go wrong so they can boast that they told us so.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They won't be removing the more dangerous FR's for awhile. This is good practice.

I'd like to get my 225lb 76 year old mother over here. She scare the shit out of thosa bafoons, but the job would be done right.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Thunderbird2: the article itself is already scary enough. It seems impossible that everything can be done properly. A mistake appears like unavoidable. I believe Japan is over, and the incredible fact is that the Japanese government and the rest of the world seem very quiet about it. Where will million Japanese people go to live? This disaster will influence also other countries as well. I hope it will show human beings which monster they created (nuclear power). When I think there are more than 400 nuclear reactors around the world I feel so bad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

D-Day of the 21st century. Let the games begin and hope these clowns don't stuff up!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This is the one and only time I am going to appeal to TEPCO do actually do their jobs as they should, not as they have. Granted, the people on the ground do their best and risk their lives; it's the people at the top I'm worried about. I want to hear how the execs will be standing at ground level and watching the process, and how they are managing things well. I don't want to hear about how they are hiding in Osaka (with stomach aches) and hoping the companies they've sub-contracted to are in charge and how it's difficult to know who their staff are.

Best of luck, people.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

So let's hope the people on the ground are well trained (not Yakuza slave labor) and that the senior managers have provided the proper equipment and contingency plans so that no more radiation is leaked into the environment.

Still, I don't have a good feeling about this. TEPCO as an entity has been proven incompetent so many times that the odds are against this going well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


I have people I love and friends in Japan... they can't just hop on an airliner and fly away to their home country. I can't allow myself to believe that 'Japan is finished' or that there will be a cock up resulting in a nuclear explosion. From that perspective I have to have faith in the TEPCO engineers. I don't care whether the bosses are in the area, or at a izakaya quaffing beer and eating yakitori while their people do their job. What I care about is that the cranes work, that the guys operating them are trained and that the 90 ton caskets can be transferred without mishap.

If I believed that the operation will fail I would be letting those I care about down. Say I'm in denial if you like, but sometimes you have to start believing in others, that they can do what they have to. TEPCO isn't what we need to worry about... it's down to people, not a company to get this right.

As I said above, the building has been reinforced, as has the pool... I was at a lecture a couple of weeks ago and spoke to some British and European scientists who had been to Fukushima in the past month... they didn't appear to be in any form of panic. I believe, personally, that it's the media hyping this up to be an end of the world scenario, coupled with anti nuclear scientists with an axe to grind.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Not to worry. Even if the exercise becomes disastrous the Secrets Act will prevent anyone from telling the truth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Thunderbird2: I get your point, I love Japan and I'm hoping everything will be okay. But TEPCO showed us they are not able to handle this disaster properly (and I doubt it's actually possible to do it also for other experts, Japanese or foreign), and this operation is really very delicate and complicated. Plus, there are earthquakes almost every day. I believe to be only realistic, and I'm sorry but you seem actually in denial.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@TheResident. No, perimeters will do because two dimensional is about as far as you'll get because if you don't understand the reasons for people's fears then you don't understand the problem. QED.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@thunderbird2. I apologize. My disrespectful comments were aiimed at YongYang. I am over 40 years old. Does the situation worry me, of course. Did I leave Tokyo in the weeks after 3/11, no. Life must go on, what will be will be. There is niothing that we as the general public can actually do about it. My point to people like YongYang, that is, if you have the choice to leave (as he does), then rather just constantly criticize Japan then maybe he SHOULD go.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Fizzbit... there are newspapers and online news agencies which are peddling the same doomladen scenarious, quoting the same anti-nuclear Japanese scientist, as well as other anti-nuclear boffins. There is very little balanced reporting of this subject... probably because the only people talking about it ARE the anti nuclear people.

I am neither pro nor anti... I only care about the people who are in the firing line as it were. We should also understand that the people who assembled the water tanks are not the same people handling the cranes. They will be core staff, probably the same people who would normally be operating the cranes that were there originally. We should also remember that they will have been practising this, as well as carrying out dummy runs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They going to build more nuclear plants in Japan?

LDP official hints at building new nuclear plants

The secretary general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party has hinted at the possibility of studying building new nuclear power plants in Japan as long as their safety can be guaranteed.

Shigeru Ishiba spoke to reporters on Saturday about the country's future energy policy.

Ishiba said the government will first have to restart existing idled nuclear plants after ensuring their safety.

But he said even if the percentage of renewable energy increases in the country's total power supply, he would not deny the possibility of studying building new nuclear plants from the viewpoint of energy security.

Ishiba said new nuclear plants would be built if safer ones become available in response to the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power station.

He added that theoretically, it is impossible to accept restarting nuclear plants and reject building new ones.

Ishiba also spoke about the issue of building a final nuclear waste disposal site. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi cites the absence of such a disposal site in Japan as one of the reasons for his call for the country to abolish nuclear power plants.

Ishiba suggested that the government should take the initiative of designating which area would be suitable for building a final nuclear waste disposal site, rather than wait for a local community to express its candidacy for hosting such a site.

Nov. 16, 2013 - Updated 11:49 UTC

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I wonder what it will happen in the worst case scenario. It seems that a big disaster couldn't be stopped so it would continue to pollute the whole world, not only Japan. Why is the whole world so "calm" about this problem? In the international news site it's not regarded like something really relevant.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )


" They going to build more nuclear plants in Japan? "

They are and they should. And modern plant designs are much safer than the outdated Mark 1 design in Fukushima, Daiichi, which was going to be phased out anyway. Listening to the chorus of complainers, it is like people criticizing the problems with buggy carriages.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )


There's also online news agency's reporting that the UN is going to take over the US. I'm sure you're smart enough to differentiate between news and conspiracy theories. Most people can, or just don't care. But I see a lot more online news about meaningless fluff than I do about Fukushima doomsday stories. But I've never looked either.

On the flip side, you still get comparisons of Fukushima fallout and eating bananas.

I read ENENews everyday. I hope your not talking about them. Now the posters on the other hand, yes.

Optimism is good, but knowing the truth is vital. TEPCO and the J Gov. have and are still lying and covering up information. I think you're picking on the wrong people.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

They are very quiet about Fukushima in the United States. Rarely do we hear anything about it at all which is why I have to read Japan today to keep up with it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Christopher Blackwell: Same here in Italy. Even the most trivial thing about the British Royal Family is more newsworthy than what is happening at Fukushima. It's surreal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They are and they should. And modern plant designs are much safer than the outdated Mark 1 design in Fukushima, Daiichi, which was going to be phased out anyway. Listening to the chorus of complainers, it is like people criticizing the problems with buggy carriages.<

"If there are no smoke there won't be fire". Nothing is absolute, there are no guarantee, only guarantee are "You pay tax and you go meet your make", everything else that are man make does come with a risk.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They are very quiet about Fukushima in the United States. Rarely do we hear anything about it at all which is why I have to read Japan today to keep up with it.

You could try and read the likes of Forbes etc... they are always covering it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

if they had asked for help earlier on it would have been best for everyone but that would have prevented the Tokyo Olympic bid. Every reasonable precaution is being neutered by that political albatross

2 ( +3 / -1 )

there is a good reason why ALL governments and media are silent about fukushima. there is simply nothing we can do …. it is an illusion that the unstoppable radioactive environmental pollution can be cleaned up. there is no protocol for this situation and what is being released into the environment stays in water and air and travels across the northern hemisphere which already accumulated chernobyl's and three mile island's radioactivity. it will become part of our food system, fish, vegetables, dairy, the air we breathe, the water we drink. radioactive pollution is without taste, without smell and comes without warning. the forces we have called in to provide us with "cheap" energy are impossible to handle and will cost us ultimately our health. cancer cannot be traced back to its origin. that's the card the nuke industry has up their sleeves.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Many of us in Alaska are very concerned that another large quake and or tsunami may one day occur and cause further damage to these plants causing them to go into meltdown. These fuel rods need to be removed and stored ASAP but it sounds like it will take many decades to completely remove all the rods from all the plants....What happens if a powerful quake should occur while the crane operator is lifting a stored fuel rod assembly????? This is a frightening possibility and would, without a doubt , release massive amounts of radiation and could also cause the other stored rod assemblies to melt down via a domino effect.....I pray all goes well.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Fears regarding environmental radioactivity, often a legacy of Cold War activities and distrust of governmental and scientific authorities, have resulted in perception of risks by the public that are not commensurate with actual risk covered at length in the LATimes and Forbes

The World Health Organization’s 20-year review of the Chernobyl disaster found that its psychological impacts did more health damage than radiation exposure did, and a principle cause of the population’s debilitating stress was “an exaggerated sense of the dangers to health of exposure to radiation.”

NY Times from their article on Fear vs Radiation

There's plenty of information available on this issue. Unfortunately because it's positive you probably won't find it whe you Google - "when will we die from Fukushim" which is why you can't find it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

What is it that people say when the roller coaster is about to start? Heeere we go...just hope there's transparency and no filtering and cover up. It's a problem that can impact all of Japan and the world so it's vital that information is transparent. Any bets on this? One final comment. Someone chain Murphy to the ground and keep a guard over him.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Does Tepco have the needed technical skill-sets as well as the ethical integrity to finish the job flawlessly ? The answer should be crystal clear given its past track records. But, with a stroke of luck, Japan may be spared from another havoc on the top of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

For people who don't know, so far 8 trillion yen, a bit more than $80 billion has been set aside for Fukushima's clean-up, that does not include the expenditures required for decommissioning 6 nuclear reactors in Fukushima . To give you a size reference to the money, in 2014 Japanese defense budget, the fifth largest one in the world, only asks for about $49 billion.

Money does not grow on trees, the hefty Fukushima price tag will have to be paid. who will pay that ? (this should be a no-brainier question.)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The assemblies aren't "brittle". Exposing them to air will not release anything. The unit 4 building is not tilting. Draining of the pool, which is not a viable problem, will not cause a fire or release any radioactivity. Visible inspections show there hasn't been any dangerous corrosion. Plutonium is toxic but hardly one of the most toxic substances known. Heck an equal amount of caffeine is more deadly. They are kept underwater for shielding, after 2.5 years they don't need constant cooling.

Wait the article claims it will start on Monday then goes on to say they are withholding the actual date. So the one of those statements is a lie by the reporter.

This whole article is a mass of half truths and outright lies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites