Senator: Fukushima Fuel Pool Is a National Security Issue for AMERICA

George Washington's picture

Fukushima Fuel Pools Are an American National Security Issue

After visiting Fukushima, Senator Ron Wyden warned that the situation was worse than reported … and urged Japan to accept international help to stabilize dangerous spent fuel pools.

An international coalition of nuclear scientists and non-profit groups are calling on the U.N. to coordinate a multi-national effort to stabilize the fuel pools. And see this.

Fuel pool number 4 is, indeed, the top short-term threat facing humanity.

Anti-nuclear physician Dr. Helen Caldicott says that if fuel pool 4 collapses, she will evacuate her family from Boston and move them to the Southern Hemisphere. This is an especially dramatic statement given that the West Coast is much more directly in the path of Fukushima radiation than the East Coast.

And nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen recently said (at 25:00):

There’s more cesium in that [Unit 4] fuel pool than in all 800 nuclear bombs exploded above ground…


But of course it would happen all at once.


It would certainly destroy Japan as a functioning country…


Move south of the equator if that ever happened, I think that’s probably the lesson there.

This week, Wyden said that the spent fuel is a national security threat to the U.S.:

AlterNet asked Sen. Wyden if he considers the spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi a national security threat.


In a statement released by his office, Wyden replied, “The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.”


[Robert Alvarez – a nuclear expert and a former special assistant to the United States Secretary of Energy] agrees, saying, “My major concern is that this effort to get that spent fuel out of there is not something you should be doing casually and taking your time on.”


Yet Tepco’s current plans are to hold the majority of this spent fuel onsite for years in the same elevated, uncontained storage pools, only transferring some of the fuel into more secure, hardened dry casks when the common pool reaches capacity.

Government Agencies Underplaying Risk … So No One Has to Do Anything Different

Why are American nuclear authorities ignoring this threat?

Well, they are totally captured by the nuclear industry, and:

Nuclear waste experts … charge that the NRC is letting this threat [of the Fukushima fuel pools] fester because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants around the U.S., which contain exceedingly higher volumes of spent fuel in similar elevated pools outside of reinforced containment.




In an interview with AlterNet, Alvarez … said that the Japanese government, Tepco and the U.S. NRC are reluctant to say anything publicly about the spent fuel threat because “there is a tendency to want to provide reassurance that everything is fine.”




“The U.S. government right now is engaged in its own kabuki theatre to protect the U.S. industry from the real costs of the lessons at Fukushima,” Gunter said. “The NRC and its champions in the White House and on Capitol Hill are looking to obfuscate the real threats and the necessary policy changes to address the risk.”


There are 31 G.E. Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors (BRWs) in the U.S., the type used at Fukushima. All of these reactors, which comprise just under a third of all nuclear reactors in the U.S., store their spent fuel in elevated pools located outside the primary, or reinforced, containment that protects the reactor core. Thus, the outside structure, the building ostensibly protecting the storage pools, is much weaker, in most cases about as sturdy, experts describe in interviews with AlterNet, as a structure one would find housing a car dealership or a Wal-Mart.

Remember that American nuclear power plants are storing much more nuclear fuel rods in highly-vulnerable pools than even Fukushima.

The NRC and Japanese claim that fuel pool 4 has been stabilized, but:

Nuclear experts, including Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president who coordinated projects at 70 U.S. nuclear power plants, and warned days after the disaster at Fukushima last year of a “Chernobyl on steroids” if the spent fuel pools were to ignite, strongly disagreed with this assessment.


“It is true that in May and June the floor of the U4 SFP [spent fuel pool] was ‘reinforced,’ but not as strong as it was originally,” Gundersen noted in an email to AlterNet. “The entire building however has not been reinforced and is damaged by the explosion in both 4 and 3. So structurally U4 is not as strong as its original design required.”




Alvarez said that even if the unit 4 structure has been tentatively stabilized, it doesn’t change the fact “it sits in a structurally damaged building, is about 100 feet above the ground and is exposed to the atmosphere, in a high-consequence earthquake zone.”


He also said that the urgency of the situation is underscored by the ongoing seismic activity around northeast Japan, in which 13 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 to 5.7 have occurred off the northeast coast of Honshu between April 14 and April 17.


“This has been the norm since 3/11/11 and larger quakes are expected closer to the power plant,” Alvarez added.

(Last year’s big earthquake made a huge earthquake close to Fukushima more likely.)

Boils Down to Money

Of course, it all boils down to money … just like every other crisis the world faces today.

Nuclear power can be safe, or it can be cheap … but it can’t be both. For example, we’ve previously noted:

Apologists for the nuclear power industry pretend there are no better alternatives, so we just have to suck it up and suffer through the Japanese nuclear crisis.


But this is wholly illogical. The truth is that we can store spent fuel rods in dry cask storage, which is much safer than the spent fuel rod pools used in Fukushima and many American reactors.


As the Nation pointed out:

Short of closing plants, there is a fairly reliable solution to the problem of spent fuel rods. It is called “dry cask storage.”




But there is a problem with dry cask storage: it costs money….


Experts say the only near-term answer to better protect our nation’s existing spent nuclear fuel is dry cask storage. But there’s one catch: the nuclear industry doesn’t want to incur the expense, which is about $1 million per cask.

“So now they’re stuck,” said Alvarez, “The NRC has made this policy decision, which the industry is very violently opposed to changing because it saves them a ton of money. And if they have to go to dry hardened storage onsite, they’re going to have to fork over several hundred million dollars per reactor to do this.”


He also pointed out that the contents of the nine dry casks at the Fukushima Daiichi site were undamaged by the disaster.

“Nobody paid much attention to that fact,” Alvarez said. “I’ve never seen anybody at Tepco or anyone [at the NRC or in the nuclear industry] saying, ‘Well, thank god for the dry casks. They were untouched.’ They don’t say a word about it.”

Get it?   The Japanese and American governments are playing Russian roulette with the fuel pools at Fukushima to save nuclear companies from having to spend a couple of million dollars to safely store spent fuel in dry casks.


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AnAnonymous's picture

You need links to support the possibility of it?

South America is one place outside Japan. When it comes to the underlined point, the only non eligible place in the world is Japan.

Actually, your comment has this good: it does not deny the possibility of Japan using an outside place as a nuclear waste dump.

That is progress.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous said:

Actually, your comment has this good: it does not deny the possibility of Japan using an outside place as a nuclear waste dump.

Japan will use the Chinese citizenism roadsides as a nuclear waste dump. Nobody will notice it amidst piles of human feces blobbing up to rival the Himalayas in size.


Dr Benway's picture

Senator: I am a shithead.


Anti-nuclear scientist: Nuclear is baaaad, mmkay?


Coal industry: Oh yeah baby.

Gully Foyle's picture

The problem I have is Wyden offers nothing but a warning. Oregon would get, is being hit, with radioactive materials right now. One would think Wyden is pressureing state and federal government to warn people. To start them on, or at least advise, a diet regimen if not outright meds.

I understand no one wants to create a climate of excessive fear, especially a politician. But if no one starts acting we will see a disaster of epic proportions. The increased Cancer rate over the next twenty years will be incredible.

And who pays for those Cancer patients in the end?

monad's picture

Obamacare has involuntary euthanasia. This is all covered.

AnAnonymous's picture

Why are they avoiding the issue?

Because the issue is dealt with at the most of US citizen technological capabilities.

They cant do more.

Since its inception, US citizenism has conveyed the idea that US citizens could reverse any of their doings.

Another US citizen pipe dream.

US citizens are trying their best. It might not be enough.

Others would avoid such situations that could get hurt more than you can sustain.

But US citizens have the handy solution: shove the garbage onto a third party, that is going to endure the negative consequences for US citizens.

AnAnonymouses's picture

US citizenses are the bestests!

battle axe's picture

AnAnonymous, No one takes you seriously and when you write, you write like a retard, so go away and let educated people express their opinions in peace. 

AnAnonymous's picture

That is a good one.

Battle axe, and peace.

Retardation does not prevent educated US citizens from exposing their enlightened opinions.

Remains to be seen if those educated opinions can be shot down by retardation.

Would tell a lot about the value of US citizen education huh...

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Have you finished my dry cleaning yet, or have you been fucking off on the internet all day again?


LowProfile's picture

Hey, he gets 0.50 RMB per post...  Give him a break, he's trying to save up for an ipharce.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

More propagandist bleatings, more weirdo Confusian sayings from the Lord of US citizenism, AnAnonymous, who is always correct about everything.


AnAnonymous's picture

US citizenism is not everything. So being correct about US citizenism does not mean being correct about everything.

azusgm's picture

Exactly when was it that you were deported?

LowProfile's picture


US citizenism is not everything. So being correct about US citizenism does not mean being correct about everything.

That's not even the issue.  Everyone here knows it, not sure why you keep bothering.

FYI, if you Chinese goobermint assholes want to have any hope at a modern, thriving society, you need to abandon your statist Confucianism and adopt the governmental philosophies of Lao-Tzu.

You fucking roadside night-soil depositing twat.

AnAnonymous's picture

FYI, if you Chinese goobermint assholes want to have any hope at a modern, thriving society, you need to abandon your statist Confucianism and adopt the governmental philosophies of Lao-Tzu.


Who is that you?

As to Chinese,like the rest of the world, they are chosing US citizenism over everything else.

Milestones's picture

You are a complete idiot amd you keep proving day by day.                 Milestones

Joe The Plumber's picture

China troll is getting boring now. He hasnt had an original thought since his first post. He just keeps posting the same thing over and over

AnAnonymous's picture

That is because US citizen nature is eternal. It is hard to provide change from something that does not change.

akak's picture

There is no logical meaning in any of your words --- it is all just the retarded gibbering of a baboon-man.

There is no such thing as "US Citizenism" --- it is merely a creation of your own perverted, twisted and outrageouisly bigoted autistic mind --- but even if there were, there is utterly no sense in claiming that the citizenhood of a nation that has not existed for even 250 years (vs. almost 2500 years for unified China) is somehow "eternal"; it is laughable on the face of it.  Your babbling has no meaning behind it, beyond demonstrating your virulent and mindless anti-American hatred.

pitz's picture

Yeah this would be a disaster for the SUKI (tm) RELIGION (motherfucking RELIGION) if Japan became contaminated.  The ranks of the over two million members of SUKI (tm), The New World Religion (tm), mostly in Japan, have been decimated by the tsunami's damage.

shuckster's picture

Considering that nuclear war will kill everyone in a matter of months and Fukishima will kill everyone by the time they turn 60, I think Fukishima is not a pressing issue...

TruthHunter's picture


  • "Fukishima will kill everyone by the time they turn 60, I think Fukishima is not a pressing issue..."
  • In a paper published by the Chernobyl Ministry in the Ukraine, a multiplication of the cases of disease was registered - of the endocrine system ( 25 times higher from 1987 to 1992), the nervous system (6 times higher), the circulation system (44 times higher), the digestive organs (60 times higher), the cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue (50 times higher), the muscolo-skeletal system and psychological dysfunctions (53 times higher). Among those evaluated, the number of healthy people sank from 1987 to 1996 from 59 % to 18%. Among inhabitants of the contaminated areas from 52% to 21% and among the children of affected parent from 81% to 30%. It has been reported for several years that type I diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) has risen sharply amongst children and youth.

So don't forget all the ugly dying children....


Hobbleknee's picture

Nuclear war won't happen.  Even WOPR knows that.  But Fukushima has been a reality, dumping radiation for over a year, and the cooling pools are precarious.  It's likely that they're lying to us and the pools were already blown into the sky on March 12, 2011.

Charles Bishop Weyland's picture

Who needs a "war' to kill us all?   Watch "On the Beach.' or "Threads."

 not with a bang....just STUPIDITY.

Reptil's picture

No, if that were the case, I wouldn't be sitting next to geiger counters with 0,01 µSv on the display. What has happened up till now is NOTHING compared to what happens if they really lose it.

OTOH I agree with you they have always been a bunch of lying SOBs, ever since the first (unshielded) fission reactor prototype (just outside of Chicago)

The problems with the San Onofre plant (ruptured tubes that carry high pressure radioactive water (and steam) was caused because they "hotrodded" incorrectly.

Who the fuck "hotrods" a nuke plant without really knowing what they're doing? Why the nuclear industry of course, they've always done that.


No nuclear war? The USA has already used ATOM BOMBS IN IRAQ (Fallujah). Enriched Uranium has been found. One of those "small nukes" the FAS has been warning everyone (that listened) about for YEARS.

IAmNotMark's picture

Nuclear war won't happen?  All it take's it having an insane wacko in charge of a nuclear-armed government that decides to push the big red easy button.  NK, Iran, Isreal,... lot's of insane wackos running those governments.  And then there's Obama and Romney...

I think nuclear war is inevitable.  Too many insane wackos with too many big red easy buttons.

LowProfile's picture

One or two nukes?  A BIG "maybe".

All out nuclear war?  Not a chance.

azusgm's picture

In a world where Cheney gets the best of medical technology and a heart transplant, all out nuclear war is impossible?


Would you care to rethink that?

LowProfile's picture





...And nuclear war?  Seriously?  No money in it, so it ain't gonna happen.  TROLL HARDER, BITCHEZ.

battle axe's picture

This is criminal, I mean Dry Caskes, a couple of million? Come on, make these assholes pay, they can afford it. Interesting thing is the "Ring Of Fire" is heating up, Watch out Calif, you are in the Batters up Circle, and when you get hit those Reactors in Calif will go up like a brush fire, and we will all get burned.....

Gully Foyle's picture


There was a fairly detailed post regarding why Thorium was a nonstarter. This was about a month ago. Try to find it.It was worth the read.

LowProfile's picture


There was a fairly detailed post regarding why Thorium was a nonstarter. This was about a month ago. Try to find it.It was worth the read.

If  it was so good, why don't you remember enough about it so we can fucking Google it, you ass?

Joe The Plumber's picture

Pressurized molten sodium. Yeah that is safe and noncorrosive on your pipes and circulating pumps

LowProfile's picture


Pressurized molten sodium. Yeah that is safe and noncorrosive on your pipes and circulating pumps

It's non pressuized, and uses molten sodium-flouride salts, you rancid, cheese-stuffed misinformation-spreading cunt.

CIABS's picture

shuckster: You're an idiot.

Manthong's picture

Always with the negative waves.

It’s still up there 100 feet or so in the air after all of that. Heck, it would probably take a 6.0 or better shaker to bring that all down into an uncontrolled, seething perpetual pile of poisonous plasma that would wreck half the country- and what are the chances of anything like that happening there?

I’d rest a little easier though if they’d just let the WTC 7 building inspection crew check the place out.