While it has for the most part disappeared from
mainstream view, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is anything but over. In fact,
the situation in Japan has gone from bad to worse.
Bottom line: There is no way to contain the
Even more alarming is that the U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC) and other agencies have warned that the nuclear
storage pools (the containment units that are being used to cool the nuclear
fuel) have been damaged and may collapse under their own weight.
Such an event would cause widespread nuclear fallout
throughout the region and force the government to evacuate the nearly 10
million residents of Tokyo and surrounding areas, a scenario which
government emergency planners are now taking into serious consideration.
Leading Japanese newspaper The Mainichi
Daily News reports:
One of the biggest issues that we face is the
possibility that the spent nuclear fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor at the stricken
Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant will collapse. This is something that experts from both within and
outside Japan have pointed out since the massive quake struck. TEPCO,
meanwhile, says that the situation is under control. However, not only independent
experts, but also sources within the government say that it’s a grave
The storage pool in the No. 4 reactor building has a
total of 1,535 fuel rods, or 460 tons of nuclear fuel, in it. The 7-story
building itself has suffered great damage, with the storage pool barely
intact on the building’s third and fourth floors. The roof has been
blown away. If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel
inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive
substances to spread over a wide area. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) and French nuclear energy company Areva
have warned about this risk.
A report released in February by the Independent
Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident stated
that the storage pool of the plant’s No. 4 reactor has clearly been
shown to be “the weakest link” in the parallel, chain-reaction
crises of the nuclear disaster. The worse-case scenario drawn up by the
government includes not only the collapse of the No. 4 reactor pool, but the
disintegration of spent fuel rods from all the plant’s other reactors. If
this were to happen, residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be forced
Former Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport
and Tourism Sumio Mabuchi, who was appointed to the
post of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s
advisor on the nuclear disaster immediately after its outbreak, proposed the
injection of concrete from below the No. 4 reactor to the bottom of the
storage pool, Chernobyl-style. An inspection of the pool floor, however, led
TEPCO to conclude that the pool was strong enough without additional
concrete. The plans were scrapped, and antiseismic
reinforcements were made to the reactor building instead.
There was a chance early on that a storage pool
collapse could be prevented, but according to the report Tokyo Electric Power
Co. refused to take the necessary steps as a cost-cutting measure.
radiation fallout envelops the entire northern hemisphere, there is a distinct possibility that the crisis
will move into an even more critical and dangerous phase.
When news of
the disaster first emerged we warned, contrary to mainstream experts, that it could be
much worse than the Chernobyl accident of the 1980′s,
that no containment would be possible for at least a few years, and
radiation levels across North America would sky rocket. A year on, we are
seeing adverse impacts on ocean water throughout the Pacific, and ground
levels of radioactive contaminants are well beyond safety thresholds for
potable water, food, and soil.
With the Japanese economy already on the brink of
meltdown and the rest of the world drowning in debt, an escalation in the
severity of the disaster in Japan could be the last nail in the coffin for
world financial markets and economic growth.
Even worse, if storage pools in the No. 4 reactor
collapse and disintegrate as the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has warned
could happen, we will see a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented scale as
millions of refugees will have no choice but to flee Tokyo. They’ll
have no possessions, no money, no food, no water, no shelter, and a very
fragile safety net.
This is what SHTF looks like. The government lies. The corporate
cover ups. Downplaying of the severity of the crisis. And