1. The image of the reactor 3 ejecting what looks like hundreds of tons from the SFP into the sky is much more terrifying than that refinery fire.

    “even though the reactors have been in a cold shutdown condition for two full years”

    Hot Meltdown for 3 years is a more accurate definition Rod.

    “Please pay attention to good sources of information and recognize that there are plenty of sources that are lying to the world.”

    Yes that is good advice. Almost all official sources have lied repeatedly.

    1. @Matthew L

      What are you talking about? There was no ejection of any material from a spent fuel pool. The explosion you are talking about was a hydrogen gas explosion the threw some metal and concrete building materials into the air. Pop, it was done. Chiba burned uncontrollably for TEN DAYS!

      1. Well it was either the pool or the reactor core itself, no other part of the building could have forced that explosion skywards only. What concrete would you claim that was? the roof was made of metal.

        There where 3 explosions in rapid succession, two of which probably where hydrogen.

        1. Aerial photographs of unit 3 from the last year seem to show the pool intact and full of water. It may be that there was an explosion there in March 2011 and that subsequent replenishment of the pool has masked this, but it doesn’t seem that likely to me. The edges of the pool don’t appear to be damaged and I would tend to assume that an explosion from within would have caused damage to these.

          As for the reactor itself exploding, I can’t offer an opinion on that. My guess is that if this had happened, we would really have known about it, but I am no kind of expert so I don’t know.

          1. Rod the top floor seems to all be there, do you have any photos that show any missing concrete from the top of the building?

            The pool does appear to hold water. But the metal roof girders were completely gone directly over pool while relatively intact over the rest of the roof.

            At a depth of 11 m the water pressure is only 1.1 kg/cm2 at the bottom of the pool. A rapid (but gradual) steam explosion at the bottom would eject everything above it without much damage to the pool itself.

            What kink of pressure can steam produce and what pressure could the pool withstand?

            1. @Matthew L

              Look at the sides of the exposed building to see what I meant when I said “concrete siding.” The secondary containment was not just sheet metal.

              I have no idea was a “rapid (but gradual) steam explosion” might look like. There was never anything in the used fuel pools that could have created steam; they never exceeded the boiling point. Here is a post I wrote about the study that Oak Ridge scientists did to prove that Unit 4, which was the “worst case” and the one that Chairman Jaczko incorrectly swore to congress was on fire, never exceeded about 190 F.


          2. Hi rod, what i meant by gradual is that the vaporization of water may take a second or two as opposed to being instantaneous like gunpowder in a sealed container and therefore put less stress to the sides and bottom of the pool.

            I just read in your other article that “Fully 95% of the potential energy remains in the fuel assemblies that are removed from reactors in the once through fuel cycle”

            Also the no3 reactor and pool contained MOX fuel. I read that it runs hotter than enriched uranium. There are no control rods in the pool so if the bundles sustained damage or the water level got too low perhaps there was some fission which heated to water creating a steam explosion?

            If you spend time in the kitchen you will know the danger of spilling any water in a frying pan full of hot oil.

            @Bill Rodgers

            Yes I understand there are panels and also concrete walls around the top floor but still the mass ejected directly upwards just doesnt make sense.

            I hope you dont mind me linking to the video to make it clear what i mean.


            Certainly not anything like the other explosions.

          3. Matthew,
            I am going to go against my (our) normal instinct to “start shooting” at the apparent anti-nuke.

            I think there may be some misconceptions on the technology at play here and I’d like to address them in a clear and factual manner.

            It is true the spent fuel is stored without control rods. However, the water in the pool is highly borated and the design is such to minimize criticality (as opposed to a reactor layout, which is designed to maximize it). Furthermore, most of the conditions which occur in an accident are detrimental to reactivity. As the water heats up, it’s moderation ability goes down, producing less “thermal” neutrons capable of causing fission. Counter to this is the slight reduction in boron concentration, but the high boron load and low density change capable in atmospheric conditions make this a small effect. Boiling around the fuel rods also reduces moderation. If the fuel rods were to be exposed, they would have no chance of fission (no moderation). They could overheat and eventually burst if taken from the reactor recently, but that would hardly be an explosion.

            The 95% Rod speaks about does exist. However, it is mostly only available in the fast spectrum of neutrons (and a few percent from the remaining U235 and Pu239/241). The conditions in a spent fuel pool do not allow for this kind of condition to exist. Furthermore, U238 is not capable of criticality. It can fission, but only with very small probabilities incapable of sustaining a reaction. In a fast reactor, the idea is to transmute it to Pu239 for burning. This process is not fast and therefore could not cause an explosion no matter how many neutrons existed.

            Lastly, the reason the spent fuel is “spent” is because the presence of fission products will not allow for thermal spectrum criticality because they absorb neutrons very well. Coupled with the fact that any sudden heating of the Uranium would cause massive negative reactivity from fuel expansion and U238 neutron resonance capture and you have a situation which does not favor (or allow) explosions to happen.

            Addressing MOX fuel, the behavior is very similar to Uranium. The delay fraction of the neutrons is such that it operates a bit closer to prompt criticality, however, it still falls within all of the margins dictated to prohibit that becoming a possibility. Basically it just means that it responds to power changes a bit quicker than Uranium in operation.

            As far as how “hot” it runs, it is basically the same as Uranium. It is true that the thermal conductivity of the fuel is slightly lower (5-10%) than Uranium at lower temperatures, dictating a higher centerline temperature, but we are talking about very small changes (it actually gets better than Uranium at higher, accident-condition temperatures). The operational power limits per linear foot are still most likely determined by departure from nucleate boiling characteristics. If this occurs, both are going to overheat with similar consequences (Note, DNB is impossible from decay heat alone–so in a SFP, it isn’t a consideration). Also please note that all LWR reactors have Plutonium in them after operation. By the end of a fuel cycle, approximately half of all fissions are from bred Pu239 and Pu241.

            Regarding decay heat, MOX fuel actually produces less energy than LEU, so that’s a definite advantage of MOX. Point is…MOX is just another nuclear fuel. There is nothing inherently evil/dangerous about it. In a large release, Pu might sound scarier, but like Uranium fuel, the fission products are the risks. The Uranium and Plutonium themselves are more chemically toxic than radiotoxic. The Xenon, Cesium, Iodine, Strontium, etc are the greater hazards.

            The explosion was caused by the large amount of Hydrogen produced from the oxidation of the Zirconium cladding in the reactor. This happens in a particular environment with the right amount of decay heat and steam. Given the amount of decay heat in the spent fuel pools of the reactors, low pressure of the pool, and fact that we know the fuel didn’t uncover, this becomes really an impossible source of H2.

            Furthermore, everyone who knows reactor design knew before the explosions happened that they were a possibility. In fact, just about nothing that happened at Fukushima surprised anyone with a background in this. Other than a few interesting aspects regarding better interpretation of control readouts, I’d say the biggest surprises surrounded how well things held up beyond their design condition. For instance, batteries lasted close to 3x their designed value.

          4. what i meant by gradual is that the vaporization of water may take a second or two as opposed to being instantaneous like gunpowder in a sealed container

            None of the fuel pools ever achieved a temperature greater than 190°F.  The vapor pressure of the water was always much less than atmospheric.  There was no boiling and no potential for a vapor explosion.  This is what you would expect with an unconfined pool open to the atmosphere and evaporative, convective and radiative cooling.

            So-called BLEVEs (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosions) require some form of confinement under pressure.  Spent-fuel pools are just that, pools.  What you postulate was impossible due to the way the system was set up.

          5. Matthew,

            There was no steam explosion inside the pool. The hydrogen cannot explode underwater, and steam explosions that you mention can only occur from molten metal chemical reactions with water. That’s impossible, because the spent fuel never gets hot enough to melt zircalloy, even with loss of all water (drainage accident). Such a loss of water coverage never occured at Fukushima.

            The hydrogen came from the reactor zirconium alloy that boiled dry, then reacted with steam left in the reactor at elevated temperature (not a steam explosion but a significant chemical reaction). The hydrogen then overpressurized things and the hydrogen made its way through the containment head that lifted off (or at least in some of the units, through the standby gas system leakage, this is still a point of debate). Some hydrogen is also generated from the radiation. Radiolysis, like electrolysis but with radiation. Some hydrogen is also produced in the spent fuel pool this way. All of this makes its way to the top floor service building which is not armored (not part of the primary containment) so easily blew apart.

          6. @ Corey, E-P, and Cyril

            Excellent explanations, all.

            Readers without a background in nuclear engineering may have to do some background research though, because many of the terms and concepts involved are not intuitively obvious to someone not steeped in this technology.

            The important thing was that you made a patent effort to clarify, unravel, and interpret these events, which are too easily misunderstood, even by the most sincere seeker of knowledge, and therefore subject to intentional fear-mongering by agenda-driven ideologues.

            Some of us have been at this so long we almost forget what it was like to be a non-nuke – hard to remember a time when we didn’t know what Doppler Defect was. As for promoting patient explication and eschewing sarcasm – If only I could more frequently follow my own advice!

          7. I will correct that U238 cannot explode no matter how many neutrons there are. I suppose in the case of a nuclear weapon that there is such a presence of neutrons that U238 tampers produce much greater yield than Lead. However, that’s a bit of an extreme case.

          8. Corey, That was an excellent post, thank you for taking the time for the very eloquent explanations. Cyril and PE It is very much appreciated.
            Certainly what you say makes sense and your posts were very educational, especially the characteristics of spent fuel which explains why it is removed from the reactor even though it still contains a lot of potential energy.

            I certainly dont want to believe the worst but sometimes its hard not to and it can be very easy to jump to conclusions.

            Years ago there was a gas explosion in an office block near to my home. it completed took out the entire 4th floor and left only the support pillars and . elevator/stairs, The other floors were untouched. Luckily the energy of the explosion was released in all horizontal directions due to little resistance which minimized the damage. That is what the blow out panels are for of course.

            But the R3 explosion in the video above was definitely constrained on all sides by an extremely strong containment of some kind and the path of least resistance was out of the top of whatever part of the building it was in, ejecting with it a lot of solid matter. It just doesnt look like a gas explosion.

          9. Matthew,
            I won’t try to argue how the explosions looked other than to say the roof of those buildings were of roughly equal structure construction as the sides. So in that sense, it is possible that if the ignition source was in the right place, coupled with the large amount of H2 in unit 3, that it went more vertical.

            However, the bigger piece of evidence that this conspiracy theory is highly suspect is that I saw highly detailed plans for clean up and decommissioning of the Fukushima Unit 3 reactor building. It turns out that my company (Westinghouse) is HIGHLY involved with this effort. What I saw I cannot discuss in detail, but it is sufficient to say that the effort presented to me was clearly many (10s) of millions of dollars of design, construction, analysis, and modeling. They had the entire area modeled in detail and I can tell you that both the SFP and reactor are intact. Now, answer me this…would my company be paid tens of millions of dollars to do all of that work for something that was bogus? It certainly would be an elaborate hoax. Harder still would it be for the people on the project to not figure it out and not tell if they did. You’ll find most engineers are not particularly tolerant of B.S. or lying. As such, I would highly suspect that keeping their mouths shut would be very difficult.

            1. @Cory Stansbury

              You’ll find most engineers are not particularly tolerant of B.S. or lying. As such, I would highly suspect that keeping their mouths shut would be very difficult.

              Well said. I hope that visitors to Atomic Insights can recognize that as a partial explanation for the occasionally frosty reception provided. Engineers do not suffer fools gladly.

          10. “Engineers do not suffer fools gladly”

            A fool accepts a narrative, without question, without investigation. So, really, a fool could be ignorantly pro-nuclear, or ignorantly anti-nuclear. The trick is to separate the fools from the cynics. Then, it falls upon you to silence the fools, and convince the cynics. Derision will do neither.

          11. Hi Cory,

            From the diagrams i have seen the roof is made entirely from metal. concrete goes as high as the operating floor.
            I do believe the reactor vessel, though leaking, is mostly intact and so is the pool, Whether the pool still contains much of its original load would depend on whether the blast was in it or not. I was only trying to theorize of ways such a massive blast could be contained by the pool and still remain intact.

            It is great news to hear that an American company will be taking part in the cleanup effort. It it the first time I have heard of such an operation and I hope it much success.

    2. They’re ALL LYING! Only you know THE TRUTH! Fukushima is emitting thousands of tons of HOT PARTICLES per second, faster than the s%$t coming out of Arnie’s mouth! A US Government/WHO/IAEA/TEPCO/Knights Templar/Otaku/Chia Pet CONSPIRACY has deployed the VICIOUS VACCINATORS, FIENDISH FLUORIDATORS, and their (obviously Japanese) GIGANTIC KILLER ROBOTS to censor THE TRUTH coming out of the Fukushima disaster. These elements – and their SINISTER ROBOTIC MINIONS – seek, hunt, immobilize, vaccinate, fluoridate, and lobotomize TRUTH tellers wh do not tow the PARTY LINE. Run and hide, devoted TRUTH teller! Run and hide! They may be coming for YOU! And then they’ll put you in the CAMPS, where the machine guns face INWARD.

      1. Dave if you post some of that at some of the anti nuke sites in the comments you’ll probably find agreement and initiate a long and bizarre discussion! Especially if you were to add a HAARP passage.

        You would also get a wonderful demonstration of Poe’s Law.

        Poe’s law, named after its author Nathan Poe, is an Internet adage reflecting the idea that without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism” – from its wiki.

        1. Oh, I forgot about HAARP. How could I have missed that? It’s what guides the hot particles and gamma rays directly to the West Coast! Maybe the robots too. A voice in my head tells me that Voltron is overdue to attack and fluoridate Seattle. HAARP is guiding him in, obviously.

          1. “Hot Particle” – lol. Thats the best.

            Its also a new word and hot topic now amongst the antis – it seemingly added another layer of possibilities to all the failed lines of reasoning and conspiracy theories. .

            1. @John Tucker

              I am not sure why some people fixate on the notion of “hot particles” as a myth. I’ve seen one with my own eyes and instruments. They exist.

              My experience was during a routine planned maintenance system (PMS) filter cleaning of a charging pump filter. When the ELT did the required survey, we were both surprised to see a significant count. That was unusual. Charging pump filters are generally almost spotless because the water that flows through them is virtually pure deionized water. The step in the PM to survey them is because there is a small probability of back flow that can cause contamination.

              The filter looked just as clean as it normally did. Upon closer inspection we found a minute particle — approximately the size of a grain of fine black sand — of “crud” that contained all of the measured radioactivity from the filter. Once that tiny particle was removed, the filter was clean and non radioactive.

              The part that is incorrect about the way that Gundersen talks about “hot particles” is that he has frequently implied that they are somehow both undetectable and dangerous. If they are radioactive enough to be dangerous, they are easy to detect. If they are undetectable, they are not dangerous.


          2. Ive been watching it blossom lately.

            I think its become popular as it is a more of a “random” high energy source of potential radiation exposure that could possibly bypass normal averaged readings and meshes with the concept of significant core material escaping in the fuku incident.

            Its like the new “Actinides.”

    3. @matthew L

      Another point of consideration is that the GE BWR structures were designed with blowout panels.

      So the photos that Rod linked to actually are showing panels designed to blow out during an hydrogen event.

      Think of the panels analogous to a crumple zone of a car. During low speed accidents, the crumple zone is not affected. However during a high speed event the crumple zone is designed to absorb energy of a crash that actually destroys the metal framework but limits the impact to the human occupants.

      The blowout panels of a GE BWR building act in the same way. They are designed to withstand a certain pressure to contain the hydrogen and anything else in the building. However once the pressure increases above the designed failure point then the panels blowout to protect critical reactor components from damage.

      In other words the design worked to some extent as planned during an unplanned hydrogen event.

      I am not a BWR design expert and so am willing to be corrected if that description is technically inaccurate. However, this is information I have picked up by paying attention to the people who developed the GE reactors and those that are running them now, not the purveyors of FUD.

      The spreaders of FUD do not care about engineering design since they have alternate agendas so are willing to scare people to get their point across. Not exactly sources I am willing to consider credible.

    4. @matthewL

      I have seen the videos. Many of us have in fact studied them in attempt to see how the building failed.

      So I guess I don’t understand your concern. It was an explosion due to a quick buildup of a large quantity of hydrogen as described by Cory Stansbury. Explosions happen to go upward, outward, downward, etc. due to many factors. I could get into structure design, thermodynamics of hydrogen conflagration, fluid flows during explosive events, gravity, simple action-reaction issues or any number of other engineering and scientific explanations of why the explosion went up. However the actual modeling of an explosive event is just a little beyond my expertise since I work on the spent fuel side of nuclear power.

      Bottom line though is that it doesn’t really matter in my viewpoint though if the explosion straight up, sideways or down. The Fukushima explosion was following the path of least resistance.

      And yes this was similar to other explosions. Just because it happened at a nuclear plant doesn’t mean it was a nuclear explosion.

      Here is a video that describes a sugar dust explosion in 2008. It shows a similar explosion that destroys the sugar processing facility and killed 14 people.


      Dust explosions are very deadly and exhibit similar blast patterns as those seen at Fukushima.


      Here is a coal dust explosion from 1968: Does the explosion pattern look similar?


      78 people died in that coal dust explosion.

      I point these out as examples of one type of industrial explosions that have occurred unexpectedly which exhibit similar explosive patterns as those seen at Fukushima.

      1. @Bill Rogers

        It also makes eminent sense that an explosion where the fuel is the lightest element in the periodic table would tend to go upward.

        1. Hello Rod,

          As you state in straightforward but accurate language, sometimes the simplest answer is THE answer.

      2. Hi Bill,

        There are certainly similarities in the links you provided. I wasn’t thinking it was a nuclear explosion.

        My concern is more about what was ejected in that black cloud if rubble and where the explosion originated rather than what kind of explosion it was. The walls contained almost 100 percent of the explosive force and all the energy was directed up, yet the entire top floor is still there. The roof is gone obviously.

        1. @matthewL

          Good to hear you aren’t one who believes it was a nuclear explosion. However I’m puzzled about your concern regarding the cloud so will try again.

          It was a massive explosion. That explosive force could be roughly approximated by determining the volume of hydrogen that accumulated which then ignited in an explosive event versus a fireball type of event. An explosive event of this type is by its very nature uncontrollable. We can design components or structures to direct that level of explosive energy but we can’t easily contain it. So the explosive energy will cause destruction in an uncontrolled manner, hopefully to the parts of the structure that were designed to fail first.

          In the case of the panels, the walls contained very little of the explosive force. Those walls where the brackets were weaker (either by design or by the nature of the metal used in fabrication process used to make the brackets) failed first which then provided a pathway for the explosive energy and debris. That is why some panels are gone and others remain still attached. Once one panel was blown out then there was a escape path for the explosive gases.

          The cloud is dust, particles, concrete debris, stuff (yes I know a highly technical term but really just stuff that vaporized, aerosolized, or was just thrown by the explosion). Some of the panels and other building components themselves could have been aerosolized in the explosion and that would have been become part of the cloud.

          Bear in mind we are talking about an event that can and did happen in milliseconds. Some of my studies years ago were of designs of piston chambers and how fast the flame wave front travels in a piston in an internal combustion engine. That is a type of explosion that is contained since the volume of combustible fluid and air are introduced in set proportions inside a known volume that is contained in a structure designed for the constant explosive forces.

          The reason to mention engines goes back to your discussion of seeing a commercial building that had its top floor blown out. Commercial building design codes do not assume they will explode. So architects and engineers working on commercial buildings do not need to consider those consequences. Fire, yes. Explosions, no. So be careful using an analogy of a standard commercial building as your reference point when trying to analyze what happened to Fukushima. Nuclear power plant structures that contain the reactor and associated operating equipment have to account for many different design inputs that do not apply to commercial buildings.

          Now there was a raging debate after the event regarding if Unit 3 was a conflagration or an explosion. That debate was attempted by others to cast doubt on nuclear power plants which produced more disinformation and confusion. For this discussion though the academic definitions of conflagration versus explosion doesn’t really matter since the outcome would have been the same: A cloud of stuff being propelled outward from the plant.

          If the cloud were composed of highly radioactive particles exploding out from the building such as parts of fuel rods, reactor components, etc. then the workers wouldn’t be there at the site nor would the numerous visitors that have come and gone from the site since 2011 been allowed to tour the damaged facility. The site would have been deemed a no-go zone due to high rad levels. However workers have been in and around the 4 units from the time shortly after the tsunami hit the plant to this day which would then indicate by default the cloud was not made up of highly radioactive particles. And we can access relatively recent data on the site dose in different locations which shows where it is safe and unsafe.

          So I come back to your concern about the cloud. Fukushima was designed completely differently the Chernobyl. What is it about the cloud that seems to still bother you after all this discussion including Cory Stansbury’s input from his standpoint?

          1. I dont have much time to visit these days, but thanks for the reply.
            The office explosion I spoke of took out a middle floor and my point was that the windows where much like blow out panels as they effectively saved the rest of the building.

            In the number 3 explosion there is virtually no lateral release of energy relative to the upward blast and does not look like it took place on the top floor. Panels and sections of walls were blown out by a hydrogen blast but that particular explosion was not building wide or it would not have gone only upwards and there would be nothing left of the structure. It had to be between immensely strong walls. Looking at pictures of the top of the reactor building the entire metal roof structure is still there collapsed onto the top floor which is almost virtually undamaged. Except for over the pool, The metal structure is all gone.

            I have a hard time believing the pool could sustain that blast and still hold water but I just cant see any other explanation that makes sense. Can you find any image of the top of the building and show me where you think that blast originated?

            Plus fuel rod fragments were found up to 2 miles from the blast and where bulldozed and buried, and the navy ships suffered massive contamination within hours.

            If i am not wrong workers have not been walking around on the roof like at reactor 4 because the levels are too high there. all of the cleaning there has been done by remote controlled crane.

            Today when i read about the dead whale found with two heads and two tails, coupled with the massive die offs of many species since the accident it is very difficult not to connect the dots. If that cloud was the contents of the SFP then the picture makes sense. That is my concern but i wish to believe a better alternative, but as of yet i cant.

          2. @matthewL

            Again do not assume a commercial building will respond in the same fashion as a nuclear power block building designed to provide an escape path for rapidly expanding gases (hydrogen in this case).

            Secondly there are many photos of Unit 3. It took about 15-30 minutes and Google to find them. I looked at TEPCO’s site and found it fairly easy to search their database of photos.


            I would be careful to assume anything though without truly understanding the context of each photo. This would then require reading the numerous reports that also exist on the TEPCO website regarding the cleanup. So while you may have a hard time understanding how Unit 3 fuel pool could withstand that type of explosion, I on the other hand do not. That type of explosion might cause of a loss of some water but there was insufficient energy to blow apart the fuel pool, or blowout the water from the fuel pool and then blow apart fuel bundles since the explosion was not contained as can be seen in the photos on the TEPCO website.

            There are a particularly interesting set of photos that I easily discovered:


            One photo was taken in November 2011 and shows water in Unit 3 fuel pool. If the fuel pool had been compromised on March 11th 2011 then no water would have been able to be photographed on in November of the same year.

            Finally, the only reference I can to fuel fragments being ejected from any unit are from less then reputable websites that just love to trumpet any amount of FUD. Some of the sites are claiming a conspiracy between IAEA and TEPCO about hiding information. So I am not going to believe any of that information. One source of FUD I am NOT going to believe is Gundersen who has a stake in attempting to prove there was a prompt critical event in Unit 3 fuel pool. Samples taken from Unit 3 have proven him wrong based on the information I have seen.

            So if you have a reputable source, i.e. ANS, NRC, TEPCO, IAEA, or ASME, that discusses ejected fuel material or a prompt criticality event in Unit 3 fuel pool I would be glad to read it. However if you are relying on Gundersen/Fairewinds for your Fukushima information I suggest you stop and go to the source info not Gundersen’s anti-nuclear power focused interpretation.

          3. Hi Bill, I suppose time will tell. I certainly hope you are right about the pool for all of our sake.

            For a long time the IAEA website had zero information on the disaster and it was one of the first places i went looking, The WHO is prohibited from reporting on radiation, so cross that one off as useless, Tepcos estimates have proved wrong on many occasions. The NRC has fractured with its chairman going anti nuke since the disaster.

            FUD is hardly irrational.

          4. Hi Brian,
            Perhaps not in those words but from the WHO website:

            For strengthening coordination in response to radiation emergencies the international organizations with relevant responsibilities have formed IACRNE, where International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the prime coordinating agency. Functional links have been established between agencies to ensure continuous communication prior to, during, and after emergencies and the arrangements are described in the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations (EPR-JPLAN 2013).

            Which as i understand it means that the WHO answers to the IAEA, by the time they report anything it will be old news. There is hardly a mention of Fukushima on the WHO website, though Chernobyl has a page, not much info there but a mention of the UN Action Plan “to overcome the negative legacy of the Chernobyl accident in the third decade of joint recovery efforts”

            What does the UN have to say on the matter: The draft UNSCEAR Fukushima Report was discussed by the Scientific Committee at its 60th session (27-31 May 2013).

            Nothing new in 7 months there. report not released yet.

            Now over to the IAEA website to check the latest on Fukushima:

            Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log: 2 June 2011

            Nothing in 2.5 years! I hope i missed something there because that would be a disgrace.

            Now over to TEPCO: Todays news,

            NHK: “The level of radiation at the plant’s border rose to more than 8 milisieverts in annualized figures in December, from less than 1 milisievert in March in the same year.”

            THE ASAHI SHIMBUN: “Previously, TEPCO officials said they had not released the data because the numbers were not confirmed.”

            Not sure what to think of that one, How difficult is it to confirm a reading?

            Tepco has repeatedly done this sort of thing from the very start.

            I hope you will understand why I dont trust any of those sources.

          5. @matthewL

            You are a person who has his mind made up against nuclear power. You are “hoping” for a good resolution but when presented with data that you state you have never seen, you then shift to another topic.

            You indicated you could not believe that the Unit 3 fuel pool withstood the explosion due to your experience with a commercial building explosion. I presented evidence that the Unit 3 pool was holding water since March 11th and provided discussion about how commercial buildings should not be used as a comparison to buildings designed or nuclear sites. Additionally, a protective cover over the fuel pool was installed which means workers were able to work around Unit 3 thereby indicating that no fuel material was ejected in the nearby vicinity.

            Others such as Cory Stansbury and Cyril r presented their explanations regarding the events and how the FUD is unwarranted.

            However, when asked for proof of fuel material being ejected up to 2 miles you are silent.

            Then to top it all off, you bring the Caldicott driven WHO/IAEA/UN conspiracy theories into the discussions.

            I have been commenting here and other places for several years now as a pro-nuclear person and have seen this tactic used by many anti-nukes. At this stage I have to wonder if you are truly looking for information to understand more about the Fukushima situation or looking attempting to push your own agenda driven by anti-nuclear ideology.

            The content that comprises FUD is by its very nature illogical since many fear inducing comments can be shown to be false either scientifically or by using proven engineering methods. However, I will grant you this. The purpose of FUD is not illogical when considered against the back drop of those who have an anti-nuclear agenda. FUD serves their purpose of scaring people into becoming anti-nuclear. However there are some here that consider FUD to be a criminal act as it drives people to excessive worry which then leads to undue stress thereby causing physical harm. I consider FUD to be in the unethical category myself.

            When people such as Gundersen or Caldicott trumpet wild exaggerations about fuel particles reaching the West Coast, thousands who have nosebleeds in Japan supposedly due to Fukushima or that a failure of Unit 4 fuel pool will cause deaths around the globe but then never provide proof of their claims that is unethical. Not whistle blowing. Not looking out for the common good. It is unethical. Especially since they have both been called out to provide data to support their wild claims, at the very least to provide medical assistance to those that might need it if their claims are true, but they both remain silent. Unethical.

            When comments from individuals such as Gundersen and Calidcott force the burning of more fossil fuels that puts more pollution into the atmosphere, I then consider their comments deceitful at best, immoral at worst.

            TEPCO is a fluid situation that is being conducted under a watchful of eye of many. This cleanup is not a classroom exercise or experiment where test data is smooth, as-expected or can be produced in hours to get a grade. Nor is this cleanup a hotbed of conspiracies or cover-ups.

            Does the situation need to be monitored? Yes it does. But I am not automatically going to disbelieve data points from TEPCO just because they made colossal design decision errors in the past regarding the placement of the emergency diesel generators. That is a knee-jerk reaction which doesn’t take into account the context of the situation.


            So at this stage I believe we have concluded our discussion.

          6. Perhaps not in those words …

            Matthew – If you are going to insist on complaining about what others have said, announced, or published, then you should endeavor to be more precise in your own choice of words. Please.

            Which as i understand it means that the WHO answers to the IAEA …

            You do not understand correctly. Once again, here is where looking at the precise meaning of words — rather than what you wish them to mean — is important. When it comes to IACRNE, as you have said, the “International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the prime coordinating agency.”

            In any kind of large project involving multiple organizations, it’s important to have some sort of coordinating body. The IAEA is the natural choice, since they have, almost exclusively, the expertise in nuclear matters, from knowledge of the technology to competence in health physics.

            The WHO, on the other hand, has a much broader scope. They are concerned with such things as malnutrition, pollution, disease, etc., worldwide. Accidents at nuclear reactors are a very, very small sideline for them. Furthermore, they have practically zero expertise in nuclear technology. It makes absolutely no sense for the WHO to take the role of coordinator in such an activity.

            Please do not confuse the job of coordinating with having any kind of overbearing control. If you knew anything about the history of these organizations, you would know that the IAEA is prohibited, and has been prohibited for over half a century through mutual agreement, from interfering with the WHO on any and all matters related to public health.

            Not sure what to think of that one, How difficult is it to confirm a reading?

            It’s more difficult than you think, which shows that you do not understand what is going on. It’s not like taking a temperature reading. These measurements are made with detectors of various quality, which have to be verified to have been properly calibrated. Then these measurements, which once confirmed are expressed as absorbed does in grays, need to be converted to equivalent dose in sieverts based on the assumptions that are used.

            Sadly, you have set up a Catch-22 situation for TEPCO. You demand that they release their figures before that they have been confirmed, but I’m willing to bet a great deal of money that you, and people like you, would be screaming bloody murder if TEPCO released unconfirmed figures that later turned out to be wrong.

            Frankly, I find your impatient demands somewhat childish and rooted in a lack of understanding of the difficulty involved in gathering, confirming, and analyzing such figures.

            Finally, if you’re getting your panties in a bunch about “8 milisieverts in annualized figures,” then please don’t. This is a small amount of radiation exposure — one-sixth of the exposure that is allowed for nuclear workers in the US under normal conditions, much less when some sort of special situation occurs.

            I hope you will understand why I dont trust any of those sources.

            I understand that people have an inherent, natural reflex to distrust things that they do not know or understand. So in that sense, yes, I do understand your lack of trust.

            My advice to you, if you really are concerned, is to learn about the underlying issues. Educate yourself. Stay away from the simple-minded anti-nuke propaganda sites, and stick to reliable sources.

            Trust can only come from genuine knowledge, and you still have a long way to go. Good luck!

  2. You can still find the CBS News video of the Fukushima events, showing the Chiba LPG tanks on fire, while the reporter talks about the nuclear plant status. Either the video editor didn’t know the difference, or they just decided to go with the most visually impressive pictures. I believe I remember Rod blogging about that news story at the time. Google the phrase ‘Explosion and smoke plumes at Japanese nuclear plant’.

  3. Very good link to the photos of the real disaster, Rod. I already had a lot of them, but there are some I haven’t seen before. Thanks…

  4. Hi Rod , I have been following the Hiroshima Syndrome Updates almost from the beginning. I stumbled onto it by accident when I was looking for reports about Fuku. He presents the info in a way that even I can understand, & I appreciate that. He doesn’t talk down to the reader, just gives the info in a concise way without the hype. The massive amount of mis information bothers me. You don’t read that spent fuel rods have been removed without incident, you read stuff like , when it blows & nuclear explosion,or pacific ocean is dead. On another blog a post about the U.S. Gov. requesting massive amounts of potassium Iodide was put up inferring that something was up “over there” & “they” know something we don’t & there is steam escaping now & blah , blah, blah. I’m not making light of it but how is the lay person to make sense of all that junk? I’m just trying to use common sense & understand but I am routinely talked down to. Anyway, thanks to you & H.S. for not doing that. I now understand more about nuke power, Fuku, 3 mile & Chernobyl than I ever did before.

  5. Most major news sources admit that another natural disaster (big enough earthquake, typhoon) could collapse reactor 4 and the fuel rods could release incredible amounts of radiation into the atmosphere. It would reach the US within 36 hours. The “fear-mongers” only want this contained like Chernobyl (though now it’s cracking out of it’s shell.) There is no disguising that nuclear radiation is deadly short term and long term, and the amounts in those reactors that are exposed and leaking are worth immense concern to the “the world” (as TEPCO said themselves.) And reactors like Fukushima are all across the US, containing fuel rods that stay radioactive for thousands of years, all of which in danger from the planet’s natural disasters that will always keep coming, always overwhelming us. And we have no way to get rid of it. Here’s a BBC article from 2 months ago describing Chernobyl’s 1986 meltdown continuing today:


    1. Yea, all these “major news sources” and the Greens never EVER sit down to be grilled on proof and fact by REAL nuclear experts instead of their lackey “consultants”. Why do we ONLY hear Doomsday stories about nuclear? Ever wonder that?

    2. @Rebecca

      Thank you for stopping by.

      One of the first things that you will find here is that few of us get our nuclear energy information from “major news sources.” As is the case in most professions, we have learned that journalists, who have little, if any, technical training are not reliable sources of information about complex topics. It’s not their fault; they are assigned the task of covering stories that can be given a “once over lightly” treatment without boring their audience.

      Technical specialists have evaluated the structural integrity of the used fuel pool for unit 4 and have pronounced it satisfactory. The fuel assemblies are being steadily moved to the common spent fuel pool. The last time I checked, that process was about 1/3 complete and should be finished in the early spring.

      Radiation is not “deadly” any more than water or aspirin are “deadly”. As is the case for any stressor, “the dose makes the poison”.

      Yes, natural disasters will always occur, but the risk from any of the reactors operating around the world is minuscule compared to all other risks. I just recently updated this post about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s intensive study of the risks of any reactor accident – including spent fuel pool risks. It was called the State of the Art Reactor Consequences Analysis. I hope you read the post and perhaps even skim the lengthy report.


      Please take the time to go beyond what journalists tell you on topics that really concern you. They cannot do justice to complex subjects in the time and space they are allowed, especially with the minimal amount of training that they receive in journalism school.

  6. > I have not provided a link to the site where I found
    > this picture with a filename claiming that it illustrated
    > Fukushima Daiichi.

    You might as well Rod. It’s not alone. You probably don’t want to use Chrome’s right-click –> Search Google for this picture function, but, which one was it?

    1. @Steve

      Putting a link to the offending site on Atomic Insights would do nothing other than to help the site attract viewers and improve its Page Rank. I realize there are many others who have used the same image with the same incorrect caption.

  7. Mochizuki’s “Fukushima Diary” is a site I visit often. Rod should appreciate Mochizuki’s entry there about the “Fukushima Hoax”….


    I would be interested in Rod’s opinion of the site overall.

    1. Hey, POA, you can do one better! E-mail Mochizuki and other anti-nuclear bigshots and tell them to come spout off on a learned real nuclear blog like Atomic Show here! Doesn’t cost a dime and you’re with these guys’ fearful fans so they’re going to lovingly answer you back instead of thrashing challenge mail from guys like Rod! Real gun shy these B.S. cowards! Throw your heroes the challenge to sit down and have their “facts” and fear-smears grilled over in public by experts like Rod and othewrs here instead of using their scare and run tactics hiding behind sealed blogs! If they can’t defend their stuff they ain’t worth listening to! Phoneys! Hey, the ball’s — and their proof’s — in your court, guy!

      1. You must not have looked at Mochizuki’s site very closely, if at all. Particularly the essay I asked Rod to take a look at. Its far from a “fear-smear”. In fact, it criticizes those committed to such propaganda.

        “My heroes”??? You assume too much, and it makes you look a little ridiculous.

        “Sealed blogs”? What the Sam Hill are you prattling about?

        1. There are so many more important issues with respect to nuclear power; climate, radiation science and the environment in general not to mention innovation and all the frontiers active now.

          Fixating on the most negative and implausible aspects of the unknown is disaster.

          These anti sites are Dunning–Kruger demonstration communities. They refuse to followup and learn form their mistakes. Its just a fractured pile of accusations and conspiracy. Its why if you are going to go it yourself outside formal education you need to be extraordinarily diligent about understanding sources, addressing your own beliefs and bias and willing to change your mind frequently.

          Why anyone would continue to go seriously visit them for information is beyond me.

          Looking at the latest Fukushima Diary post its clear hes looking for proof of a public health medical situation related to Fuku radiation.

          There isnt one. I can say that confidentially as the exposures to radiation have not been high enough by legitimate historical medical sources and observations of this situation.

          1. Well, one hopes that your caustic comments are not a reflection on Rod. The same can be said of the comments at Mochizuki’s site.

          2. Why would Rod have anything to do with my opinions? Why do you keep saying that. Do you hope to somehow shame him into some position by my statements? Such a ignorant and petty game.

            Im only waiting to see how you modify your tactics now. By your comments Im not convinced as to your sincerity here.

            And no, its not the “same,” the comments on Mochizuki’s site are also grossly incorrect. Beyond extreme even.

    2. @POA

      I’ve read enough to recognize that the author seems to be sincere, is writing in a second language, and does not have any special nuclear technology expertise. He does not trust the institutions most likely to employ experts.

      I would not say he is sensationalizing, but he does not operate a site that I would go to for accurate information.

      1. Thanks for your response, Rod. In truth, I do not go there for the science, or the lack thereof. His site provides insight to the human costs, the price paid by those directly affected, whether by governmental over-reaction, or by real, or misplaced, fear of over-exposure to radiation.

        As far as “accurate information” goes, he consistently posts actual TEPCO news releases and data. I don’t think I have ever seen him post data that didn’t come directly from TEPCO, but I don’t follow his every posting. When he does post TEPCO data, I have rarely if ever seen him hypothesize about the implications of that data, but again, I don’t follow every one of his postings.

        Getting away from the science, one cannot deny that there is a very real human cost being paid by the Japanese displaced and terrified by this event. In that respect, this event IS a disaster and a tragedy.

        1. The terror IS the tragedy.  People are being scared out of their wits about things which should elicit mild concern at most.  They are suffering depression and other maladies as a direct consequence.

          1. “The terror IS the tragedy. People are being scared out of their wits about things which should elicit mild concern at most. They are suffering depression and other maladies as a direct consequence”

            No doubt. You have a solution to that? Even should this event prove to be as “harmless” towards human health and the environment as many would have us believe, have you doubt that the next “accident” won’t carry the same human costs?

            How many Japanese are paying the price?

            Should Diablo suffer a similiar fate, do you think the human costs here would be lessened because the fears are allegedly unfounded?

            Yes, the terror IS the tragedy. And terror on a large scale is a disaster, whether the terror is scientifically imposed, or imposed by unreasonable or false scientific conjecture.

            These “accidents” only fuel the terror. And TEPCO’s behavior does little to alleviate that terror. Throw the science out the window, and you still have a trajedy of epic proportions. You can deny the danger, but you can’t deny the costs.

          2. but you can’t deny the costs.”

            That some people will exploit any situation? Yes, here we can agree that part is becoming undeniable.

          3. @POA

            ” “The terror IS the tragedy. … ” “No doubt. You have a solution to that?”

            Of course there’s a solution to that!! That’s what we’re all trying to do so hard! Tell people about radiation and nuclear energy and what it is and is not. So that people know enough not to be out of their with with fear when there’s no need, and worry to the proportion of the accident or disaster when something happens.

            TMI: no serious worry, but alert to changes in the situation.
            Chernobyl: worry a lot, get out of there fast, and come back only when the situation is more clear.
            Fukushima: worry and shelter in the beginning.

            When the situation is confused, and you don’t know how it will unfold, being overcautious isn’t bad, but staying that way when it gets more clear what the danger is, is making things worse.
            If there’s a fire at the chemical storage tanks near my work, I’ll run a mile, till either the explosions happened (and then I want to know if I can come back safely or not) or the danger dies down. Avoiding that place for weeks or months or years in terror will only hurt me, not help me anymore.

            That’s why spreading knowledge is so important, and spreading unbased fear is so utterly despicable!

          4. Oh, I agree, nurturing unfounded or unreasonable fear IS despicable. And an unbiased and honest attempt to “spread information” is a sound strategy, but if done halfway, or in a patronizing manner, it isn’t necessarily a “solution”. Its only a solution if you succeed in spreading that information.

            Any reasonable person wants to weigh both sides of any conflicting schools of thought. So access is important, and the way things stand right now, the nuclear naysayers are providing the easiest access to what they would have you believe is “information”. Untrained, unschooled in the science, those seeking information are easily hoodwinked by the sheer volume of opinion or alleged “information” offered by internet opportunists seeking attention, advertisers, profits, or emotional gratification.

            And those who are hoodwinked aren’t the enemies of the nuclear energy advocates. They are simply those that have fallen prey, (if one is to trust your narrative), to a campaign of misinformation. So far, I think its reasonable to offer the opinion that sites such as this, (Atomic Insights), are failing at getting thier message out in a loud enough and accessable enough manner to be successful at offering an alternative narrative.

            Not to beat a dead horse, but patronizing intellectual posturing, or insult and sarcasm are not helpful when you finally find the ear of those who have been immersed in the narrative of the naysayers. I think Rod understands this, and I sincerely hope that his efforts to provide a counter message include the understanding that when it becomes adversarial emotion supercedes knowledge.

            When confronted with sarcastic braying or “my way or the highway” intellectual
            posturing, most people will shut down any window they had open. They become unteachable, and distrustful of the message, even if logic would seem to demand otherwise. I know from my own experience here, that many want to convert questions into stances, automatically assuming that the questioning commenter is a criticizing commenter. Surely, if one is taught 3+2 = 7, the way to reteach them is by providing the correct mathmatical process and understanding. Belittling them, or insulting thier exposure to an incorrect teaching process that causes them to reach incorrect conclusions, is hardly a technique assuring success in your efforts to correct thier understanding.

            Frankly, it troubles me to see the term “antis” bandied about with such derision and smug intellectual narcissism. Is such an approach really a formula for success when seeking to enlighten? If so, it must be a teaching method more powerful than basic human nature, because I don’t think I know anyone that responds very well to being the target of such a teaching “method”. It is my hope that rather than judging the uninformed or misinformed, the focus falls
            away from “us against them”, and becomes more focused on the “knowledge” you wish to sow. There are many of us out here that simply want both sides, so we can draw our own conclusions. Just because I’ve examined the “other side” doesn’t mean I’m the enemy.

            1. @POA

              Unfortunately, one of the public relations challenges that has always plagued the nuclear enterprise is the rather high concentration of people who gravitate to hard science and math. The industry is full of Sheldon Coopers who are quite proud and not terribly good at understanding their fellow human beings. We also have our share of modest, shy people, but they are often too quiet to make public comments.

              I think that is changing — I sure hope it is not changing too slowly for us to do the important work of reducing dependence on ever more difficult to extract hydrocarbons and mitigating the effects of dumping billions of tons of waste products into our shared atmosphere.

        2. @PissedOffAmerican : If you need to go to an anti-nuclear site about what is happening in Fukushima, I think that Ex-skf site is much better than Mochizuki. Much more analysis, also Mochizuki says he’s working from Tepco and government’s document, but he’s actually only extracting a few elements from them, spinning them to the most negative and “radiation is scary” angle. If you keep reading his site, you will be lead to believe that radiation is constantly increasing around the plant, which it’s not, as a whole it’s about constant. But when only the charts of the areas where there was a minor random increase are shown, as well as of the small part of the port where separation from the sea very slowly concentrates radiation, it gives a completely different impression.

          Not time to find the source now, but analysis has shown that the largest amount of radiation that goes to the sea currently comes not from the plant, but from rain water falling on the contaminated areas that carries the cesium to sea through the rivers. Even around the plant, given the high amount of radiations of the ground, small increases can likely be explained by that, rather than actual leaks from the plant that Tepco would have hidden.

  8. India Starts Construction of a Global Nuclear Education Center

    January 5, 2014 • 8:37AM

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present at the laying of the foundation stone for the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership near Delhi this week, as reported Friday by World-Nuclear-News. The Center will have five schools for research into advanced nuclear technology, training and education, international seminars, and courses. Subject areas will include nuclear energy systems, radiological safety, applications of radioisotopes and radiation technologies, and nuclear security. India hopes to attract foreign visiting nuclear experts for international seminars, and is working with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency and Russia, in that regard.

    India approved the project in 2010, and in June 2011, Russia signed an agreement to cooperate in establishing four of the five schools. Indicating the need for such an initiative for nuclear education, the Prime Minister said at the ceremony that India’s “goal is to build 27,000MW of nuclear power generating capacity within the next ten years.”

    The irrational fear of radiation will be viewed in the future the same as the “world is flat and ships fall off the edge” is viewed today…………silly!

  9. “These anti sites are Dunning–Kruger demonstration communities. They refuse to followup and learn form their mistakes. Its just a fractured pile of accusations and conspiracy”

    Again, I think this is an unfair characterization of Mochizukis site, stemming from a cursury examination on your part. Not all “anti” sites resort to sensationalism, conspiracy theories, and unfounded accusation. Certainly, these methods are not part of Mochizuki’s commentary. As advocates, I understand finding facets of his site that may warrant careful criticism, buttressed by rebuttal, but the kind of insulting disdain and open animosity exhibited above is completely unwarranted, as any careful perusal of his site will demonstrate.

    The world isn’t black and white, and “truth” is usually somewhere in the middle of the debate. Offering the kinds of biting insult we see above only discredits your argument, and portrays you as locked into a mindset that corrupts your ability to offer constructive debate.

    1. My “biting insult” ?? lol. He even basically says he cant find what hes looking for and its a conspiracy. That of course is always a possible conclusion albeit not a probable one.

      The most logical conclusion is that as civilian exposures are very very low, and as there is no solid data of direct exposure medical related consequences; there is no widespread radiation health issue.

      But then he goes on talking about knowing someone with cancer and leukemia? What makes you think I have been there before?

      Make your point specifically, if that is possible for you.

      “The world isn’t black and white, and “truth” is usually somewhere in the middle of the debate.”

      LOL!!! I LOVE when people say that. No, the Truth is real and always much more complex that either debater is winning to admit. I find compromise usually occurs when the thesis and or question wasn’t addressed correctly and or from the best or common perspective in the first place.

      Make your point.

  10. “My “biting insult” ?? lol. He even basically says he cant find what hes looking for and its a conspiracy.”

    Acvtually, he states that there is no data supporting a claim of widespread health effects. And as far as a “conspiracy” goes, we are to trust TEPCO? On what basis? Has this company shown itself to be trustworthy?

    “The most logical conclusion is that as civilian exposures are very very low, and as there is no solid data of direct exposure medical related consequences; there is no widespread radiation health issue”

    Nor does he state that there is one.

    “Make your point specifically, if that is possible for you.”

    There was no “point” here in my request to have Rod give me his honest assessment of this site. I was sincerely interested in his feedback. But yours, on the otherhand, is exactly what I expect of you. Your braying is predictable, and tiresome. Like I’ve said before, you ain’t doing Rod any favors.


    How old are you? Still live with your mommy?

    1. Oh, but you haven’t heard my opinion yet.

      Now that POA has finished making his obligatory anonymous obnoxious fool impression ill give you my opinion:

      Fukushima Diary is a antinuclear site.

      I dont know who Mochizuki is and I dont care what kind of person he is with regards to this. The way he posts and sources sensational articles with virtually no scientific followup is, I feel, highly unethical.

      Indeed telling or even suggesting to people, against leading expert (and publishing) scientific consensus, that they are in grave danger and have been contaminated with something that puts them in extreme hazard of developing cancer or other serious disease in the immediate future or they will involved in nearly certain extreme crisis is beyond unethical. Especially after a particularly horrific natural disaster.

      And I wont even go into the costs and comparisons of real pollutants and the environmental consequences that such sensationalism has for everyone.

      If you disagree, make the argument because I can certainly source many aspects of the above. For days I imagine.

      Beyond that with respect to your incessant forum critiques POA:

      Reason creates real and lasting civility in a forum, not the other way around. Mechanically Its even a more important foundation for discussion than actual facts. No one should ever suggest it is a secondary consideration.

  11. I have been studying BWR technology since this natural disaster happened. Even so I consider myself very very far from an expert. However, I would much rather have a BWR 2-6 in my back yard than a coal or gas plant.

  12. “Now that POA has finished making his obligatory anonymous obnoxious fool impression ill give you my opinion”

    Well, you can shove it. You introduce obnoxious into the thread, then you point a hypocritical finger. Frankly, you’re an immature jackass. I once suggested that we ignore each other. Obviously, the urge to bray is far too overpowering for you to exercise a bit of character. I will ignore you, however, because you simply aren’t worth responding to.

    I asked for Rod’s opinion here, and you turned it into a forum for your inability to act civilly towards anyone that may disagree with you. Thats an ego out of control, so I expect to see more childish hee-hawing from you, despite Rod’s obvious willingness to turn the debate in a more civil and constructive direction. If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it. And seeing as how your opinion doesn’t mean squat to me, I won’t be asking.

    Bray on, Tucker. Bray on.

    1. Perhaps you should go back and reread my initial post and explain where it upset your delicate sensibilities and brought out your delightful inner chupacabra. You did after all ask for opinion in a public forum.

      If you dont want others involved perhaps you should email Rod. Its not that difficult.

  13. Hey Tucker, no need getting frustrated talking to rocks! That all these anti-nuclear chiefs won’t even show up for a real debate and have their “facts” and accusations grilled over by nuclear pros also sums up their total credibility to anyone: Z-E-R-O. Unfortunately the media isn’t sharp enough to do the math.

    1. They need to make things right and undo the damage they have done. I used to be modernity anti nuclear, although I was never all that vocal about it. I turned around after researching low dose radiation effects after fukushima. I saw there were big problems with what I thought i knew, what the most vocal people were saying and real research in the area.

      After that I thought about the way my negative beliefs towards nuclear power were conflicting with my other more rational beliefs and ideas as well.

  14. Incidentally do any of you have insights/links on disasters/panics and stress? Ive found some stuff but its rather disjointed.

    If you this situation it via theories and models of PTSD it might be correct for certain circumstances but I think we also have a active panic situation ongoing here.

    I guess the people suffering PTSD would be a subset of those potentially under the influence of, and probably most susceptible to, misinformation and panic induced stress.

    1. I imagine stuff is out there on this. Its likely just very complicated and involves many varied approaches. Id venture to guess the psychological aspects of disasters, natural or man made are now probably the most important with respect to something that is actually addressable.

      Before I get yelled at for going so far off topic, with respect to all disaster responses unbiased as possible verification of information and focused education could play a arguably better role with respect to mass opinion and in the self actualization of the surviver(s).

  15. It’s very likely that radiation from Fukushima is not causing starfish to melt, walrus to suffer or the tuna in my sandwich to glow. However, my understanding is that some of the reactors involved are in an unknown state of meltdown. To prevent the situation from worsening, water is sprayed to cool things down. Much of this water then leaks into the Pacific Ocean. This process of leakage (or groundwater contamination once the molton mass hits that level) will continue for thousands of years unless the Japanese are able to contain, and continue to contain, the process. Until this happens, the radiation leaking into the Pacific Ocean will continue. Radioactive particles will remain so from tens to thousands of years. This is a situation calling for urgent world wide response. If your house was smouldering, would you attack me as a fear-monger if I called it to your attention? Would you write an article about how the house could smoulder for years before igniting? Or about how few people die in house fires? How second hand smoke from house fires is negligible as a health risk? The basic risk here is not complicated to understand. This is an urgent situation which requires urgent worldwide intervention.

    1. @NICURN

      Thank you for stopping by. I hope you stay long enough to engage and that you pay attention to the honest attempts to address your concerns.

      Actually, Tepco is fairly certain that the cores of reactors 1-3 are no longer melted and are certainly not mobile. The vast majority of the material that melted has now solidified either inside of the pressure vessels or within the first meter or so of concrete that is the first layer of containment underneath the pressure vessel. There are some isotopes in that solidified mass of “corium” that are still decaying and generating heat that must be removed to prevent overheating and additional melting, but the amount of water needed to perform that task is relatively modest and easy to supply.

      There is no water being “sprayed”; it is being circulated with pumps and pipes. The system was initially “jury-rigged”, but is becoming more sophisticated and better engineered as time progresses.

      The measured levels of isotopes in the ocean within a few hundred meters off of the coast of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station are generally in the undetectable range with occasional measurements that are slightly detectable. Radiation can be measured at levels FAR below the levels that have been proven to cause any negative health effects.

      If I had some smoldering embers in my fireplace that occasionally sent a wisp of smoke up my chimney that could be detected with a sensitive instrument, I would certainly tell you to mind your own business if you told me that I had to drop everything in order to ensure those embers were completely dowsed and cleaned up.

      There is nothing urgent about the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. The people who own the facility and have the responsibility for cleaning it up are doing a credible job at a measured pace while still trying to fulfill their other important responsibilities of supplying vital electricity to millions of people. Focusing your attention on every step they are taking is not only a waste of your time, it is an annoying distraction to the people who have a job to do.

  16. I appreciate your gracious reply. After making my post I started digging around, especially looking at the TEPCO bulletins and various interpretations of their info. I think calling the state of the reactors a “Cold Shutdown Condition” is a bit deceptive, and appreciate the quotes that even TEPCO uses around that term. To me, cold shutdown implies cooling by way of rods slowing the fission process to a point where it can be safely dealt with. The fuel/cooling rods are in an unknown state of meltdown. TEPCO thinks (hopes) the corium is in a solid state, but.. . .there are several theories about what are happening to it (including forming a crust on the water side so that the matter underneath can no longer be cooled) which don’t rule out the possibility of “re-criticality” (if that’s a term). Also there are what, 400 tons of groundwater leaking into the reactors each day, being contaminated? That’s got to go somewhere. . . by the way, touche on turning my lovely house fire analogy against me. You understood my point. . . this is not a tame fire smouldering in the fireplace, it is a wild thing smouldering between the walls of your home.

    I harbor no animosity towards the people of Japan, the employees of TEPCO or their many contractors. Just wish America could see the danger here and jump in to help.

    1. A couple of corrections and clarifications.

      First of all, control rods don’t cool the core. Their job is simply to absorb neutrons, so that with less neutrons there is less opportunity to cause an atom to fission. Control rods are just one way to limit the rate of fission. Other material can absorb neutrons too, such as boron dissolved in the water used to cool the core. Instead of being absorbed, neutrons can also escape — that is, leave the region with fissile material — before causing a fission.

      Next, the term cold shutdown means two things: (1) there is insufficient reactivity (i.e., the ability to cause fission) to maintain a chain reaction and (2) the water in the core is sufficiently “cold” that it will not boil when the vessel is depressurized.

      TEPCO is probably using quotes around the term “Cold Shutdown Condition” for two reasons. First, the word “cold” is a technical term about a relative temperature that is somewhat confusing for laymen. Few people tend to think of water in a pot on their stove that is almost ready to boil as “cold.”

      Next, TEPCO cannot use the technical term cold shutdown, because it doesn’t apply to their situation. The reactor vessels have been breached. They cannot be pressurized; they do not hold water; and some of the core material is outside of the vessels anyway. Therefore, TEPCO created their own term “Cold Shutdown Condition,” to which they have given a specific meaning. Essentially, it means that the status of the reactor and its core is consistent with the general criteria used for cold shutdown, even though they do not meet all of the requirements for that term as it is understood by agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

      Because of the unusual nature of the situation, TEPCO’s definition also includes limits on the release of radioactive materials from the containment vessel, which of course, is not part of the definition of “cold shutdown” for a reactor during normal situations.

    2. The groundwater situation is not clearly and exactly explained most of the time. There’s around 400 tons that enter the reactors each day, and are pumped so that they never go out of it carrying the radiation.

      There’s around 1000 tons that cross the site each day, and a hypothesis is that around half of it is untouched, and around half of it is contaminated by the radiation that exited the site initially. But despite making big titles in hundreds of newspaper, this is unproven, nothing more than a hypothesis.

      And in the port where this water is supposed to arrive, no increase in radioactivity is seen, it stays about constant :
      It maybe that some radioactivity enters the open water, but if so the amount is small enough that it is diluted below detectability level almost immediately. And the detectability level is very, very low.

      1. Oups, sorry I meant about half and half out of the 600 tons that don’t enter the reactors, just cross the site. Also there’s no data on how contaminated the contaminated half is supposed to be.

        1. Thanks for restating my points, although with much more clarity and apparent erudition. The problem is in intellectualizing the situation to the degree that you have is that you lose some of the emotion, the urgency which could be beneficial in this crisis. Fear may be paralyzing if too great, but in lesser amounts fear can serve to rally people to be their best, to come together to solve a common problem. And I believe Fukushima is a common problem. Until robots are developed to accurately assess the situation, the state of the nuclear material, whether it is solid or molten, burned into or through the concrete, can only be surmised. And until robots can assess and repair the pipes and structures, contaminated water will continue to be produced (there are already over a thousand large tanks of contaminated water as far as I can tell, plus whatever has escaped). Fear for fear’s sake, maybe not so good, but a healthy respect for a serious situation, priceless.

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    Renewables people are masters in marketing. Unreliable intermittent generators whose output is all over the place, and usually badly correlated…

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