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, as reported by washingtonsblog.
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.
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.
Why are American nuclear authorities ignoring this threat?
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.”
But yet here we sit, essentially doing nothing with no media reporting of Fukushima even when a US Senator comes out with such statements. Imagine if our leaders really cared about national security, every person within Homeland Security would be focused on attempting to mitigate the effects of Fukushima. Imagine if the EPA actually cared about the environment would not they be spending every waking minute trying to shelter our air, water, and food from radiation. Think about the FDA which is tasked with keeping our food safe, would not radated food coming out of Japan and the Pacific ocean be alarming to them.
I have said it before and will say it again, there is no better example of how our government, and the main stream media does not do their jobs then Fukushima. How long until charges are brought against them, or better yet how long till they get cancer, and birth defects just like we and our children will.