The Amount of Radioactive Fuel at Fukushima DWARFS Chernobyl

George Washington's picture

Washington’s Blog

Science Insider noted yesterday:

The Daiichi complex in Fukushima, Japan ... had a total of 1760
metric tons of fresh and used nuclear fuel on site last year,
according to a presentation by its owners, the Tokyo Electric
Power Company (Tepco). The most damaged Daiichi reactor, number 3,
contains about 90 tons of fuel,
and the storage pool above reactor 4, which the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) Gregory Jaczko reported yesterday had
lost its cooling water, contains 135
tons of spent fuel. The amount of fuel lost in the core melt
at Three Mile Island in 1979 was about 30 tons; the Chernobyl reactors
had about 180 tons when the accident occurred in 1986.

And see this.

That means that Fukushima has nearly 10 times more nuclear fuel than Chernobyl.

It also means that a single spent fuel pool - at reactor 4, which has lost all of its water and thus faces a release of its radioactive material - has 75% as much nuclear fuel as at all of Chernobyl.

However, the real numbers are even worse.

Specifically, Tepco very recently transferred many more radioactive spent fuel rods into the storage pools. According to Associated Press, there were - at the time of the earthquake and tsunami - 3,400 tons of fuel in seven spent fuel pools plus 877 tons of active fuel in the cores of the reactors.

That totals 4,277 tons of nuclear fuel at Fukushima.

Which means that there is almost 24 times more nuclear fuel at Fukushima than Chernobyl.

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Mr. Mandelbrot's picture

The world's first nuclear meltdown occurred just 30 miles outside of Los Angeles in 1959 . . .

Charles Wilson's picture

1957, USSR:

Note last paragraph under "Aftermath".



StychoKiller's picture

Is the surface of a planet the right place for an expanding
technological civilization??

CustomersMan's picture



         I remember having a spent "fuel rod"  also.



CustomersMan's picture



        Anybody notice the name: Fukushima


        Its like  Fuk Us!  Hi Ma!


        Reminds me of 2 sisters I was with, saying good bye to Mom before letting me in for a great 2 on 1. Ahhhh,  Memories, they took some pictures with a polaroid, never got any of the pics myself.


         It needed pointing out, No?

dondonsurvelo's picture

George Washington has gone full retard.

Grimbert's picture

A bit off topic...

I clicked on  And see this.

and got:

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If you have comments about the Kyiv Post ban, please address them to and include your name, city of residence and contact telephone number for verification.

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Misstrial's picture

Interesting info.

Thank you for posting.


honestann's picture

SOMEBODY needs to find out which of the ponds are holding MOX rods, either "spent" or "new" (waiting to be installed into a reactor).

While the material in any of those rods is very dangerous, the plutonium in those 7% plutonium MOX rods is roughly one million times more deadly than uranium.  A mere one-millionth gram, 1/1000 the volume of a piece of dust, will kill you dead.  And 1/1000 of that will likely give you cancer.

SOMEBODY needs to fess up, and tell us how many and where every MOX fuel rod is stored.  How about you, TEMCO?  Or anyone?  If any TEMCO employee is reading these messages, please find out and post the answer.

PenGun's picture

 The #3 reactor was fueled with MOX. That's why all the effort is directed at it although #4 may be closer to an explosion.

honestann's picture

I know.  But they've been shifting rods around like crazy, and supposedly they're storing rods from other nuclear facilities on site too.  So we need to know where are the MOX rods!

Note:  Of course I'm concerned about the MOX rods in the reactor, but supposedly they're still inside double containment (so far, anyway).  The ponds are now completely explosed to the outside world, and any fire or stream or explosion will eject that material into the atmosphere.

So we need to know where "spent" MOX rods are too.  Plus, I've heard they sometimes store the next set of brand new unspent fuel rods in the ponds until they're ready to load them into the reactors.  So we need specific answers about the ponds even more than the reactors (so far).

Of course, if reactor #3 vessel blows, that's an unmitigated disaster.

CustomersMan's picture



       Update on Japanese Nuclear Plants


        Yesterday, I mentioned that a company from Dimona, Israel was in charge of protecting the Japanese Power Plants. (see previous entry). Now why is it that many countries that allow Israeli companies (and connected companies)  to manage their security have MEGA-DISASTERS?  For example 9/11, Israeli control of airport security, they were also very involved in buying the entire WTC Complex, and double insuring it for "terrorist attacks", and had connections to the security of the building. The London Tube Bombing, again Israeli connected, and again they were in charge of security. In both cases video is either missing or tampered with. The bombing in Spain, there again. There are others.

          ...And Now Japan Nuclear Plants and an Israeli company just happens to run security. Oh MY. Very Strange Coincidences, YES?

        Now, I read this at : Intriguing


Stuxnet found in Japan in October - Is Fukushima an unintended consequence of Israel's hacker attack against Bushehr? Tags:

According to the security company, the virus is designed to target a German-made program often used in systems managing water, gas and oil pipelines. The program is used at public utilities around the world, including in Japan.

Webmaster's Commentary at : 

Here is a nightmare scenario for you.

1. Israel and the US create Stuxnet.

2. Stuxnet is deployed to wreck Iran's nuclear power station.

3. But Stuxnet escapes from its intended target and spreads across Asia!

4. As the above article documents, Stuxnet was in Japan last October, presumably still spreading and intended to wreck nuclear power plants.

5. Stuxnet targets the Siemens controller

6. Fukushima uses the Seimens controllers Stuxnet was designed interfere with!

So now the difficulty the Fukushima nuclear plant operators faced in recovering control over their runaway reactors takes on a darker significance. Remember that the first problem following the quake was that the automated shutdown systems failed to operate at some of the reactors, because pumps failed and valves would not open even while running on batteries; the very sorts of mischief Stuxnet supposedly was designed to cause at Iran's power station.

Did we all just get hacked to death by Israel?

Would anyone reading this in Japan please forward to the Fukushima managers.


        You people are all bright, does this smell yet or what?


        CuzMan - We can't wait for the news

johnQpublic's picture

now thats a conspiracy theory


prolly not true, but really intriguing

SilverRhino's picture

Right, the 9.0 eathquake and 10 meter tsunami had nothing to do with the problem. Let's blame a computer virus.

Franken_Stein's picture


What you need for such a kind of disaster is a lead plated exoskeleton with an autarkic oxygen supply and servo motors.

The kind we all know from the movie: "Aliens".


You don't have to be a genius to come to this conclusion.



Armchair Bear's picture

One thing has been really perplexing me over this whole situation - where is the backup system?  Where are the robots to go in and contain the mess?


I hear we have drones the size of hummingbirds or flies, that can videotape you wherever you are.  I hear they are working on robot soldiers that will refuel on the battlefield (by eating the dead probably) and we have drone planes flying into the world trade center and spewing chemtrails everywhere...


Where the fuck is IRON MAN when you need him?


Answer;  they only spend their technological efforts on making war against the people - not on protecting us from the results of their evil decisions to take the lives of billions for granted as long as they stole all the wealth from our labor and built their underground bunkers stocked with the organic foods they want to keep us from eating.

honestann's picture

Yes, those systems do exist, but only a few of us have mentioned them.  That is just too strange.

PenGun's picture

 Come play some Stalker. My present Exo is very nice but I have upgrades to make. Ahh Chernobyl with the giegers screaming ... my favorite place.



 In a video game that is.

InformedSpectator's picture

The TOTAL weight of fuel rods is not a useful number.  What is important is 

the weight of fuel rods that are, perhaps, 3 yrs old or younger.

This is because (I have read) that after 5 years the rods are cool 

enough to be placed in DRY storage.  Wet storage is needed when

they are still generating too much heat.

ALL this being said, the news item indicates that there is a LOT

of "young" fuel rods.  When THAT number is reported, it will

be a lot clearer what weight of rods is likely to melt.

anonnn's picture

Each running reactor "core" contains 200+ assemblies and each assembly contains 200+ rods. That's about 50,000 rods in each core...times reactor cores [at Fukushima] equals 300,000+ rods, minimum...NOT INCLUDING SPENT RODS. These rods are of highest activity.

Just simple arithmatic.

The # of spent rods likely more than that amount.

Btw, MOX means any combination of Uranium, plutonium or thorium. So unsure what is composition of unit 3 fuel.

 The multiple-kabooms and appearances of unit 3 are ugly tells of omitted data...vital are  the missing thermal/spectroscopic images that surely are being viewed by a chosen few.



Pablo Escobar's picture

At a little more than 2 kg of uranium oxide per fuel rod, and I've seen eleswhere on the web estimates of over  600,000 rods at this one site alone, that implies over 1.2 million kg of radioactive material that is available to be vaporized into smoke and ash particles....


Clearly, the scope of that metric alone is enough to rank this as the MOADB (mother of all dirty bombs), and dwarfs the amount of radioactive debris from multiple atomic bomb airbursts.....


So we don't get a nuclear winter, where death comes to the world within 2 growing seasons.


Instead, we get a nuclear solution to our Social Security and medicaid crisis, where average life expectancies, world wide, will be cut in half, for thousands of years, until humans mutate enough to shake off the effects of ingested radioisotope particles......


The good news, is that future humans will emerge from this fiasco, after thousands of years, as better genetically equiped to handle radiation during spaceflight.


It pays to look on the bright side, and make lemonade out of glowing lemons....



J C Bider's picture

One question I have is about where all this water from the pools has gone and where is the sea water running off to?  Can you store radioactive waste in water and not have the water become radioactive?  I don't know the science of this.

If the radioactivity goes into the air does it not go into the water too.  So now we have all this water leaking out either evaporating or going into the ground and no one is talking about what is going on with it.  Big missing link here!

And then there is the very smart scientist (probably male) who came up with the brilliant plan to put plutonium into the fuel (MOX) so that terrorists would be afraid of stealing it and clearly gave no thought about how anybody could handle the stuff if something really bad happened and it landed in our back yard.

I sure hope that all those people who are sure that everything is under control here and that there is no danger will volunteer to go over to Japan and clean up the area 20 miles around the plant and then move their whole family there and live there for the next 50 years with their children and grand children.




J C Bider's picture

You know, men don't like to admit they are wrong.  They have a great need to "save face".  I find that women are much better at admiting when things are going wrong and therefor starting to do something new about a situation.

I bet that right now the Earth is saying to herself "Hmmm.  I think that little experiment with those two legged things is not going well.  They take over everything.  They destroy almost everything that they touch, and they leave tons of shit behind.  I think it is time to let them expire and start over with a better design."

DeweyLeon's picture

"I find that women are much better at admiting when things are going wrong and therefor starting to do something new about a situation."


lol, you're either a woman or a man who's never been married.

Franken_Stein's picture


Why does the author write in his 1st sentence, there's about 10x more fuel in Fukushima than Chernobyl,

but in the last sentence he writes it's 24 times more ?



Eddie Stobart's picture

Because they are summaries from two different sources.

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

Any of the possible outcomes are just a little part of the nightmare: Once this stuff reaches an underground aquifer, it will mean Japan's water will be poisoned for good. The soil is poisoned already. This means poison in the water, the food, the air. It's the last nail in the coffin for Japan...  we haven't seen anything yet. A new explosion cannot be ruled out, and the latter could make Nagasaki and Hiroshima look like a day at the park.

Thorny Xi's picture

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... glow in the dark ... the only real problem facing the world due to this event is an immediate and long term shortage of HD Video Tape, which threatens to screw up global moviemaking and television programming.  Without reliable HD Jersey Shore-like diversions, many people might look up from the flatscreen - also going into short supply since Japan was home to most real, established electronics trading firms - and find that there's damn little left outside the box.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

"the only real problem facing the world due to this event is an immediate and long term shortage of HD Video Tape"

You're right.  Once you completely discount Japan, the world probably won't suffer too much.  Got to overlook any economic or foreign policy problems.  No biggie.  We don't need Atsugi anymore.

Eddie Stobart's picture

So this blog has stooped to publishing not terribly relevant facts. Here we have a fact comparing two nuclear power stations. Here are some more. Chernobyl is in Ukraine and Fukushima is in Japan. Fukushima is further south than Chernobyl. Chernobyl means wormwood. Fukushima means good-fortune island.

Now if you deliberately want to spread doom and gloom you might want to focus on Mt. Fuji. That hasn't erupted for 300 years. The quake occurred along a transform fault zone that splits off from the subduction zone, and ends/intersects at the Mt. Fuji magma chamber. A few weeks before the last eruption Japan was hit by the Great H?ei earthquake. Indonesia is currently seeing an increase in volcanism following the 2004 subduction zone quake.


Bicycle Repairman's picture

The fact about Fukushima having 24X radioactive material on site is far more relevant.  Your stuff is a bunch of non sequitors.

Thorny Xi's picture

George ... ALL of the "fuel rods" are now high level radioactive waste.  The "spent" rods have been nuclear waste since they were removed.  Words have power - call a spade a spade.  I'm really getting tired of the newspeak - I don't know who set the vocabulary agenda last week, but it's sure been purvasive.  Radioactive waste is radioactive waste.  The waste is the reason people and nuclear power plants have always had neighborhood issues.  Spent fuel my a$$.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

" I don't know who set the vocabulary agenda last week"

Yeah, you do.  This is a battle waged here.  Don't let the sockpuppets define terms,  or implant memes.

Dr. Gonzo's picture

Kind of makes you feel stupid for getting pat down at the air port. The same leaders making us prisoners and subjecting average joes to the most degrading violations of privacy (in the name of public safety) are in charge of self inflicting one of the biggest catastrophes of man kind. Between their oil spills and nuclear meltdowns the people will be lucky to last another 5 years. Between grabbing random people cocks at the airport and spying on everyone it's a big fucking joke. They are the danger to us. 

Subprime JD's picture

While true that there is more fuel at Fukushima then there was at Chernobyl, the Japanese have a much better handle on the situation. In addition, instead of keeping it secret and not requesting international help like the Russians, the Japanese are doing just that. In fact, the engineers are in the process of putting the power cord back into operation.

In the end there will be a 30 mile radioactive no go zone, but that will be the extent of the harm. All this doomsayer and alarmist proclamations of disaster is a bunch of nonsense, similar to the declarations of doom from the GOM oil spill that supposedly was going to spread to the east coast of the US all the way to Europe.

A bit of grounded realism is required.

Ruffcut's picture

So you think there is no continued harm in the GOM? Just because the payoffs were high enuff. YOu been there swimming, eating shrimp or banging out the bucks from your fishing operation.

"only a 30 mile radius, no go zone".

Shucks! No big deal. No one here is in panic mode threatening to kill themselves.

Most are truth seekers and are tired of the complete lies and bullshit, that you are so interested in being a part of.

A million deaths cause by chernobyl? If this only causes 100,000, better than expected? Go to denningers naive tyranny of a blog, where he only cares about his ponzi money and staying on a soap box. Don't share your bullshit here. GW is trying to provide knowledge for us to use our little peanuts to determine outcomes, not dished out from propaganda media.

Subprime JD's picture

During the gulf oil spill event, I looked at the largest oil spill in history, gulf war I. Guess what happened?? The oil fucking evaporated and the scientists were shocked as to how quickly the area recovered. Doomer porn is bad for your health. Try having a bit of balance and you will be much happier in life. I know the ponzi is a ponzi but I try NOT to want to accept the WORST CASE SCENARIO in every situation it will drive a man crazy.

Ruffcut's picture

The oil evaporated?

When oil leaks underneath the car, if you have owned one, it always evaporates away. THus I never have seen oil, in a parking lot, the garage. I will pour it on your stoopid head and you don't have to scrub it off, NO, it will magically go away.

You fucking MSM ignorant TROLL.

Next time, change your name to dumber that dogshit. Go back to watching fux news and accept your limitations of thought.

Subprime JD's picture

Not a MSM troll. Been a ZH'er since it was blogspot. I'm simply not absolute doomer. Original name is great depression trader.

Re the gulf war oil spill:

a 1993 study sponsored by UNESCO, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States found the spill did "little long-term damage": About half the oil evaporated, 1,000,000 US barrels (120,000 m3) were recovered and 2,000,000 US barrels (240,000 m3) to 3,000,000 US barrels (360,000 m3) washed ashore, mainly in Saudi Arabia.[7]

Dr. Jacqueline Michel, US geochemist (2010 interview – transcript of radio broadcast):[8]

The long term effects were very significant. There was no shoreline cleanup, essentially, over the 800 kilometers that the oil – - in Saudi Arabia. And so when we went back in to do quantitative survey in 2002 and 2003, there was a million cubic meters of oil sediment remained then 12 years after the spill.... [T]he oil penetrated much more deeply into the intertidal sediment than normal because those sediments there have a lot of crab burrows, and the oil penetrated deep, sometimes 30, 40 centimeters, you know a couple of feet, into the mud of these tidal flats. There’s no way to get it out now. So it has had long term impact.

Dr. Hans-Jörg Barth, German geographer (2001 research report):[9]

The study demonstrated that, in contrary to previously published reports e.g. already 1993 by UNEP, several coastal areas even in 2001 still show significant oil impact and in some places no recovery at all. The salt marshes which occur at almost 50% of the coastline show the heaviest impact compared to the other ecosystem types after 10 years. Completely recovered are the rocky shores and mangroves. Sand beaches are on the best way to complete recovery. The main reason for the delayed recovery of the salt marshes is the absence of physical energy (wave action) and the mostly anaerobic milieu of the oiled substrates. The latter is mostly caused by cyanobacteria which forms impermeable mats. In other cases tar crusts are responsible. The availability of oxygen is the most important criteria for oil degradation. Where oil degrades it was obvious that benthic intertidal fauna such as crabs re-colonise the destroyed habitats long before the halophytes. The most important paths of regeneration are the tidal channels and the adjacent areas. Full recovery of the salt marshes will certainly need some more decades.

The Financial Times, in reference to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, cited the 1993 optimistic assessment of the Gulf War oil spill as evidence that "Initial warnings of catastrophic environmental damage from oil spills can turn out to be overdone".[10]


jomama's picture

are you really trying to tell us that soil inundated with oil is as fertile as it once was before?  link us one paper that shows growth rate of any plant with exception of maybe bamboo that will outperform in soil polluted with crude oil.

also, are you seriously asserting that hydrocarbons that vaporize into the atmosphere are innocuous and cause no growth inhibiting effects for the animals, plants and organisms around them?

and finally, you won't even touch the use of Corexit, which the FDA has no assay for- like they don't assay for heavy metals either, all present in crude oil. 

your misplaced optimism is staggering.  especially for someone who's been a ZH'er since the blogspot.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

"While true that there is more fuel at Fukushima then there was at Chernobyl, the Japanese have a much better handle on the situation."

You have no reason whatsoever for making this statement.

greenfire's picture

Yeah.  It's plugged back in. The power cord makes everything better.  "Only" a fraction of the square miles made unihabitable for thousands of years, compared to Chernobyl. Oh yeah, and the Gulf with it's dying fisheries, but's as clean as the pure driven snow.  All is good.  Human's rule.  Long live free market (hahaha) capitalism.  Gosh, I'm feeling more well grounded and ready to buy some schwag at the mall.  Awww shucks, that thing I wanted isn't available.  Supply chain disruption, bitchez....

Subprime JD's picture

By no means am I saying that Fuku isnt a problem, its just not going to be as bad as many on ZH believe it will be. Lets remember that the majority of the Japanese population resides far southwest of the Fuku plant. Fuku is conveniently located in the NE section of Japan allowing for the majority of the radioactive particles to drift towards the pacific.

The gulf of mexico was definitely affected by the oil spill but I recall our GW blog claiming that it was a "volcano" ready to spew for years on end.

George Washington's picture

I never said volcano.  I almost wonder whether those who continually accuse me of things I never said are a little ... cough ...

You Know Those Obnoxious Posters Who Almost Seem Like Alter Egos Of The Same Person? They Actually Might Be ...


BigDuke6's picture

People with blogs are cool, they have stuff to say.