Friday, April 6, 2012

STATUS FOR SPENT FUEL POOL #4: IMMINENT DANGER?


A former Japanese diplomat, with a rather extensive history as secretary generals for United Nations administrative units, has a webpage that discusses Fukushima.

The former diplomat is named Akio Matsumura. He has an interesting personal history and seems to be very concerned about ethics. He certainly has stature because I found a picture of him posing with Gorbachev. Here is a short bio

Akio Matsumura's webpage has recent excerpts from:
(1) a correspondence with Robert Alvarez and 
(2) a letter to the United Nations written by a former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland.

Here is the link to this important post by Matsumura  http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/04/682.html


I. Robert Alvarez's comments about the amount of fuel at Fukushima Diachi in correspondence with Matsumura
[quote] Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of  the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel).

It is important for the public to understand that reactors that have been operating for decades, such as those at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site have generated some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet.

[end quote]

II. Akio Matsumura also has a letter from Japan's former ambassador to Switzerland, Mitsuhei Murata to the United Nations:

[Excerpt from Mitsuhei Murata's letter] "I was asked to make a statement at the public hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 23. I raised the crucial problem. of N0.4 reactor of Fukushima containing1535 fuel rods. It could be fatally damaged by continuing aftershocks. Moreover, 50 meters away from it exists a common cooling pool for 6 reactors containing 6375 fuel rods!

It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO.4 reactor. This is confirmed by most reliable experts like Dr. Arnie Gundersen or Dr. Fumiaki Koide."

[end excerpt from Mitsuhei Murata's letter to the UN]

Majia here: What is going on with 4? Why is 3 never mentioned? Let us consider the evidence. 

We know that unit 3 and spent fuel pool 3 are pretty much gone; they were blown apart in March 2011.

We don't know what, precisely, is the status of unit 4 because of the lack of accurate information.

Early reports from the NRC stated that spent fuel pool 4 was dry, burning, and missing a wall. I'll include the evidence below.

However, it is possible that the side of the pool was fixed or not deep enough to prevent some level of water containment and a continuous "feed and bleed" operation has kept water on unit 4 spent fuel pool using continuous injections.

I don't know. I also don't understand why no one mentions the condition of spent fuel pool #3. No way that one is still around if you've seen images of the building.

Here is the data I've collected on unit 4:
 
JOHN MONAGER: Unit 1 and 2 is boiling
    8 down, and Unit 3 and 4 is having zirc/water reaction.
    9 They believe there is essentially no walls on Unit 3.
    10 The explosion — I'm sorry — Unit 4. The explosion
    11 leveled the walls, leveled the structure for the Unit
    12 4 spent-fuel pool all the way down to the approximate
    13 level of the bottom of the fuels. So, there's no
    14 water in there whatsoever.
    15 MALE PARTICIPANT: And no ability to
    16 retain water.
    17
    http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1205/ML12052A108.pdf

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        NRC March Email: “The walls of the Unit 4 spent fuel pool have collapsed, and there is no water in there”http://enenews.com/nrc-march-email-the-walls-of-the-unit-4-spent-fuel-pool-have-collapsed-and-there-is-no-water-in-there

            March 16th, 2011 – Unit 4 SFP walls have collapsed – Fuel may no longer be intact, Enformable, Jan. 11, 2012:
            From: Boska, John
            Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:31 AM
            To: Guzman, Richard
            Cc: Pickett, Douglas
            Subject: Developments in Japan
            Importance: High
            Rich, please review and comment, for distribution to our branch.
            In a briefing with Joe Giitter that just ended, we were informed that the situation is now much worse in Japan. The walls of the Unit 4 spent fuel pool have collapsed, and there is no water in there. There were a large number of fuel assemblies in the pool, and the fuel may no longer be intact. The radiation levels are increasing so much that it may prove difficult to work on the other 5 reactors at the site, which could lead to more fuel…

--------------------------------------------------------------
        

        On the morning of Tue March 15, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a statement warning that the Japanese authorities had reported a fire in spent fuel pool #4.
                Japanese authorities also today informed the IAEA at 03:50 UTC that the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was on fire and radioactivity was being released directly into the atmosphere.
                At the time of these reports, dose rates of up to 400 millisievert per hour were reported at the site. Japanese authorities stated that the the fire in the pool was caused by a hydrogen explosion. (http://www.iaea.org/press/?p=1248)
                The fuel pool fire was reportedly extinguished later on March 15 (IAEA http://www.iaea.org/press/p=1252).
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                   Jim Riccio, a nuclear expert for Greenpeace, reported on March 16 to The Guardian that the spent fuel pool at unit 4 was still boiling: "The spent fuel pool in unit 4 is boiling, and once that starts you can't stop it… The threat is that if you boil off the water, the metal cladding on the fuel rods that is exposed to the air, and is volatile, will catch fire. That will propel the radiation even further"
                    (cited in Goldenberg, 2011 3/16). Goldenberg, Suzanne. “Japan Nuclear Crisis: Fire in fuel pools 'would raise radiation exposure'. The Guardian (2011, March 16): .http://www.guardian.co.
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