3 Fukushima reactor cores melted into earth during accident, still missing – 4th could explode

As the world approaches the day when the TEPCO-controlled cleanup of more than 1500 fuel rods at the ruined Fukushima Reactor 4 [typo corrected] is started, we learn even more about the disaster that lays in wait for us. (Read our write-up here; it will get you fully oriented.)

Now there’s an excellent new summary from Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers at Truthout which contains these crucial points, one of which is news to me (my emphasis and reparagraphing):

The Problems of Fukushima

Fukushima Reactor 4 after earthquake and tsunami severely damaged it

Fukushima Reactor 4 after earthquake and tsunami severely damaged it

There are three major problems at Fukushima:

(1) Three reactor cores are missing;

(2) Radiated water has been leaking from the plant in mass quantities for 2.5 years; and

(3) Eleven thousand spent nuclear fuel rods, perhaps the most dangerous things ever created by humans, are stored at the plant and need to be removed, 1,533 of those are in a very precarious and dangerous position.

Each of these three could result in dramatic radiation events, unlike any radiation exposure humans have ever experienced.  We’ll discuss them in order, saving the most dangerous for last.

The 1533 fuel rods in item (3) are stored in the severely damaged (and perhaps crumbling) Reactor 4 building, sitting high off the ground in racks that have been distorted. The 11,000 (or so) fuel rods mentioned in the same paragraph are the total number of fuel rods at the site.

Your bottom line — None, some, or all could go up. What does “go up” mean? They could burn (spewing nuclear debris). They could explode (spewing lots of nuclear debris). They could go critical (atom-bomb style).

The rest of this summary article is excellent; a great look at where-we-are-now. Please do click through. Each of the points above is expanded and fully explained.

Your solution — Sign the petition here. It has a bunch of big names behind it. Please.

Should TEPCO be allowed to control the cleanup?

I know it’s the neoliberal way that private enterprise should trump government when government wants to regulate. But can the world afford to coddle neoliberal ideology and allow TEPCO to run this?

Should Japan take control of TEPCO? Or better, can Japan be trusted? After all, it’s because of the relationship with the Japanese government that this happened in the first place. Should the world have a veto in what happens here?

Here’s the authors above on TEPCO and the Japanese government:

 TEPCO “is already Japan’s most distrusted firm” and has been exposed as “dangerously incompetent.”  A poll found that 91 percent of the Japanese public wants the government to intervene at Fukushima.

Tepco’s management of the stricken power plant has been described as a comedy of errors. The constant stream of mistakes has been made worse by constant false denials and efforts to minimize major problems. Indeed the entire Fukushima catastrophe could have been avoided:

“Tepco at first blamed the accident on ‘an unforeseen massive tsunami’ triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Then it admitted it had in fact foreseen just such a scenario but hadn’t done anything about it.”

The reality is Fukushima was plagued by human error from the outset.  An official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster, caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design. …

[T]he meltdown itself was denied for months, with TEPCO claiming it had not been confirmed.  Japan Times reports that “in December 2011, the government announced that the plant had reached ‘a state of cold shutdown.’ Normally, that means radiation releases are under control and the temperature of its nuclear fuel is consistently below boiling point.”  Unfortunately, the statement was false – the reactors continue to need water to keep them cool, the fuel rods need to be kept cool – there has been no cold shutdown. …

Of course there’s more. Please do read.

What to do …

The authors have identified a widely approved (by international experts) three-point plan to get us (hopefully) through this crisis intact. These points are:

1. End the media blackout on Fukushima, the risks, and the coddling of TEPCO. Have you heard David Gregory dance on about this? Or anyone? Me neither.

2. Recognize TEPCO’s incompetence and coverups.

3. In the words of the authors, “transfer responsibility for the Fukushima reactor site to a worldwide engineering group overseen by a civil society panel and an international group of nuclear experts independent from TEPCO and the International Atomic Energy Administration , IAEA.

Yes, even the UN is complicit with the coddled nuclear industry.

Remember, this TEPCO-controlled “cleanup” starts in November and will last for years. That’s years of exposure to earthquake, tsunami, accident, arrogance and incompetence. The time to interfere is now.

Your solution — Sign the petition here. It has a bunch of big names behind it. Please.

About those three reactor cores

I mentioned above that one item in the list of three problems (above) was new to me — the melted reactor cores. Apparently the three reactor cores from reactors 1, 2, and 3 have melted through the floor and are somewhere deep in the earth.

Here more on that from the same source:

Since the accident at Fukushima on March 11, 2011, three reactor cores have gone missing.  There was an unprecedented three reactor ‘melt-down.’ These melted cores, called corium lavas, are thought to have passed through the basements of reactor buildings 1, 2 and 3, and to be somewhere in the ground underneath. …

It is an unprecedented situation to not know where these cores are. TEPCO is pouring water where they think the cores are, but they are not sure. There are occasional steam eruptions coming from the grounds of the reactors, so the cores are thought to still be hot. The concern is that the corium lavas will enter or may have already entered the aquifer below the plant. …

Jeez. Do we have to make the largest metropolitan area in the world a nuclear dump site for the world to wake up? What’s the price for coddling private profit?

Your solution — Sign the petition here. It has a bunch of big names behind it. Please.

And thanks!

GP

To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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