Fukushima damage leaves spent fuel at risk, says U.S. lawmaker


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on deaf ears I'm afraid.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

He used the forbidden words "International assistance". The government will dig their heels in even deeper now.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

As many have said, a global catastrophe is waiting to happen. Three monkeys do not cut it. They sure don't play a mean pin-ball.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Given that the Japanese government rarely accepts assistance despite it being VERY much needed, and never accepts criticism, this will be a 'thank you for your ideas, we will keep it in mind' instance, methinks. And when this happens again, it'll be "how could we have known?".

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I love Japan but it really pissed me off how, in a crisis like this, GOJ is STILL being arrogant and not accepting "defeat". They need to accept international assistance!!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I love Japan too, but this shitty Minshuto goverment really, really SUCKS! Now they want to tell us that down in Fukui real close to Osaka is 100% safe?? What a bunch of BS!!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"Pride comes before a fall"...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Wyden said he was most worried about spent fuel rods stored in damaged pools adjacent to the ocean, and urged the Japanese government to accept international help to prevent further release of the radioactive material if another earthquake should happen.

Japan sticking to "we can do it ourselves" Japan needs to accept help and stop stuffing about.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Late last year, the gov't demanded that TEPCO remove all the spent fuel from the Fukushima NPP. It also requested all the power companies stop using the system of open pools for storing spent fuel.

The American Senator has also called for the removal of the spent fuels. I don't know his background, but the statement from the gov't and the Senator makes it sound like it would be a simple operation and could happen faster with foreign experts.

The problem of removing the spent fuel is far from simple and even with the help of foreign experts could not speed up the length of time it will take.

Following the nuclear disaster, Gregory Jaczko was immediately dispatched to Tokyo but did very little to try and help the gov't or TEPCO and was only there to report directly to President Obama on what was happening with the disaster and whether their citizens should be evacuated.

Under normal operations, fuel removed from the reactors is placed in pools for a period of cooling. From there its removed to a common pool for further cooling. From there the fuel is placed inside specially built dry casks and stored in a specially built storage building located on the docks.

There are something like 6,000 fuel assemblies containing about 450 fuel rods each. Decades of fuels.

The dry cask storage wasn't damaged in the disaster but is full and further buildings will be required. Many more of the special casks will also have to be constructed. These are suppose to be able to last for 1,000 years.

The over head crane in the common pool was damaged by the earthquake and needs to be replaced. There is no reported radiation problem in the building so replacing the crane should not be a major problem.

Reactors 5&6 weren't damaged, removing the fuel should not be a problem.

TEPCO reported no damage to storage pools in reactors 1&2, but the radiation levels inside the buildings are dangerously high and workers can only spend very short periods inside.

No3 reactor, the only one with some plutonium fuel, about 30 fuel assemblies was the most damaged by the explosions. There are fuel rods mixed in the debris and this week, TEPCO have stated the 35 ton crane is inside the pool. It also stated there was no damage to the fuel assemblies but that may not be correct. It will take many years to deal with this reactor and remove the crane and the fuels.

The No4 reactor spend fuel pool was in danger of collapsing from the explosions. Had it happened, the disaster would have been far worse, maybe even evacuating Tokyo? TEPCO have reinforced the structure holding up the pool but it certainly remains a major concern especially with more powerful aftershocks.

TEPCO is removing the debris from No4 reactor and this will probably be the first to have the fuel removed from the pool. It will still take 2 years to remove them.

Japan has no where to store large quantities of nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

America uses the same system of open pools for storing nuclear fuel, and their pools are also full, and also have a problem finding a location to build a storage for all their nuclear waste.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The fact is help is needed to prevent a further catastrophe. Saving face is a bit ... willfully stupid. Perhaps France could offer their expertise. A major issue is accessibility to the spent fuel and their extraction and transport. This is a large amount of material. It would be a massive and complex undertaking.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Will America offer to take all the nuclear fuel from Fukushima and in fact, from all the nuclear power plants?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In a statement on his website, Wyden said the only protection for the pools from another tsunami appeared to be “a small, makeshift sea wall erected out of bags of rock.”

Those must have been the rocks they took out of the heads on the leaders of TEPCO, the nuclear control agency and the DPJ government. Feel sympathy for folks who'll have to endure decades on this kind of incompetence.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Zichi is correct, there is no quick way to remove the fuel rods and there are no cooling pool facilities nor storage facilities in place in Japan do move the fuel rods into...These must be built. IMO International effort could help speed the building of this infrastructure..However,long term storage (1000 years??) is a theory that can only be proven by observing 1000 years of storage..No one knows,with any certainty, how long fuel can be safely stored..In the US we also have no Idea how we are going to deal with our ever growing stock pile of expended fuel rods,European countries also have no nuclear fuel waste storage solution..some believe the fuel should be stored far underground but even this is not a proven solution and the building of such a storage area would take decades. I sure hope Japan has a long period without any more major quakes or tsunami's occurring near these damaged plants....many scientist have been warning that nuclear plants are not safe...the world needs to solve the nuclear waste problem before building any more NPPs and we should start shutting down older plants before we see a day when there are two/three/four or perhaps more ongoing disasters to be dealt with at once.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There are about 120,000 tons of highly radioactive waste water from cooling the reactors and the plant for filtering the water, built by French and American companies, and operated by their engineers seems unable to deal with the demand.

By the end of the event there will be more than 1 million tons of waste water.

Add in the melted fuel, if a way is ever discovered to remove it, and if the reactors are dismantled, many of the parts will need safe nuclear storage.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Yes,that contaminated water is an issue that should be addressed ASAP..More equipment/engineers and technical aide is needed from the international community..every piece of available filtering equipment should be deployed in this effort..IMO the situation with these plants is allot more dangerous than the public is being allowed to know. There is a great risk that this disaster could dwarf the Chernobyl disaster by quite some magnitude. I shudder to think what would become of the waste water storage tanks and the fuel storage areas inside these reactors should a major quake or tsunami hit this area again...Some say it is unlikely to happen anytime soon and others say it could happen anytime..But one thing is certain,a quake is very possible and the results would most likely be horrific for the Japanese people and most of Japans Pacific neighbors...Although it does no one any good to panic we should be pressing our governments to do all they can to secure these plants.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


So you would pull overseas staff from their needed jobs. France recently had 2 incidents, etc.

Those overseas experts are just as good and well trained as the Japanese ones. There is no quick answer and needed equipment and supplies are in short demand as each country runs their reactors as lean as possible.

Maybe you missed the news that the USA, etc recently extended their own nuclear reactors by 10-20yrs beyond their planned life-expectancies.

USA, etc also has many quake faults, 2 run right under Manhattan and way more south in California, etc.

Overseas experts won't make any change at Fukushima as NONE of them has experience dealing with such a situation. All their experience/expertise is studies/models and paper-work.

That is the reality.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There will be no simple solutions at the Fukushima plant. It will take 100 years to decommission it, and the plant and surrounding area will be off limits forever.

Decontamination of the soil will produce about 25 million tons, enough to fill about 10 Tokyo Domes.

Following on from the nuclear disaster and the contamination problems who's going to want a nuclear waste storage depot in their back yards? Don't say, the current no-go zone because that's not a safe location to store highly dangerous nuclear waste for 1,000 years.

And they said, nuclear energy was,

"Safe, clean and cheap!"

7 ( +7 / -0 )

And just by complete coincidence NHK news today announces TEPCO's plan for the removal of spent nuclear fuel rods from No 4 fuel pool. Ta-daa!!!

Great, you might think. But just consider this. They propose to completely cover the upper stories of the No 4 fuel pool building first to prevent atmospheric radiation leakage, and to install a filter into the cover. To build the awning will take until the fall/autumn of next year, even before they begin to try extracting anything from the pool!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Someone gave me minus one, so you want the link too? Gimme a break, please! http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120417_15.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )


I put you back up!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Many thanks, zichi. :8)

Interesting too is how among the finger pointing that Mitsubishi reactors in the States seem to be having problems at San Onofre: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0413-san-onofre-20120413,0,2614407.story

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Parts of Japan will be lost forever. And it can happen to any country, all because of man-made nuclear reactors.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

PS Steve, 1,000 years is not really "long-term storage".

With a half-life of 240,000 years some radioactive materials like Plutonium will not be anywhere near safe after only 1,000 years. "Short-to-medium-term" might be more appropriate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is no place for the waste no place for contaminated water, no plan for the future as regards these issues. Globally this is becoming an issue. Japan has 54 potential dirty bombs producing waste that has no place to go. What is the plan? It's a disaster compounded by stupidity at all levels, help was needed from the start and rejected from the start. Just surprised the international community has taken this long to start commenting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

International assistance... isn't that what most of us having been saying since oh, March 11th, 2011?? We know that won't happen.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The people who say "international assistance"

what do you think they could do to increase the speed of the work at Fukushima? There are both American and French companies working at Fukushima.

The best international assistance would be to offer to take the spent fuel waste.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

America has 4 or 5 nuclear plants on the West Coast Pacific Ring of Fire with the same reactor designs and the same open pool systems.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Zichi and how exactly would you suggest the do that safely? Shame they didn't let the French and Americans companies in from day one, eh?

Zichi, I kind of think that the US ones might actually follow safety standards and not look the other way. Or at least, I hope.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Irradiated waste? Seal it in concrete and drop it in the middle of the ocean. By the time tectonic activity brings it close to a subduction area, it will already be past its half-life. Fuel rods? Ditto but with additional safeguards to avoid the containers being ruptured from the pressure.

There! I've solved the problem! :-D

0 ( +0 / -0 )


No nuclear plant on the Pacific Ring of Fire could ever be considered safe. Maybe that's why nearly all the America atomic plants are on the east side of the country.

Barlett Nuclear, General Electric Hitachi US, Toshiba, Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems are all international companies working at Fukushima. The American company Kurion and the French nuclear provider ARVEA are also working at Fukushima.

American and French scientists are working with Japanese scientists.

On the day of the 3/11 earthquake there were engineers from General Electric America working at the plant. They work at all the NPP's.

TEPCO is the name in the media but they are not working alone at the plant.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


Zichi, I kind of think that the US ones might actually follow safety standards and not look the other way. Or at least, I hope.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant was designed and built by General Electric of America, a design which is also common in America?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The nuclear disaster happened because TEPCO was sold a defective plant design and build by General Electric of America, which also insisted that the emergency generators remain below sea level.

We should not overlook the involvement of foreign firms in the designing and building of many of the nuclear power plants.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Perhaps the Russians can be contracted to remove the fuel rods. They have a lot of experience with spent fuel. Give them a bonus for doing it quickly. The waste can be placed in destruction proof containers at the bottom of old mine shafts.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


The waste can be placed in destruction proof containers at the bottom of old mine shafts.

We have no current technology to ensure that containers with nuclear waste can last more than 10,000 years. The current standard seems to be thinking about 1,000 years.

Mines have a habit of flooding so your Russian friends won't accept your suggestion?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

it will take at least 7 years before the spent fuel rods can safely be removed, maybe longer if some of them melted

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Zichi, you didn't answer my question about how they could do that safely.

No nuclear plant on the Pacific Ring of Fire could ever be considered safe. Maybe that's why nearly all the America atomic plants are on the east side of the country.

I don't think ANY nuclear power plant is 100% safe. Which is why I don't support the idea of nuclear power.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Build a large triangular pyramid ramp over the reactors, cut in venting fans at the tops, make it sturdy and lead lined. Build the ground supports spring loaded, and and build underground tunnels radiation resistant that can be used to traverse the compound in catastrophy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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