Massive New Radiation Releases Possible from Fukushima … Especially If Melted Core Materials Hit Water

Governments Underreported Severity of Fukushima

As I’ve noted for 6 months, the Japanese and U.S. governments have continually under-reported the severity of the nuclear crisis at Fukushima.

The Wall Street Journal points out:

The Japanese government initially underestimated radiation releases from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in part because of untimely rain, and so exposed people unnecessarily, a report released this week by a government research institute says.

PhysOrg writes:

The amount of radiation released during the Fukushima nuclear disaster was so great that the level of atmospheric radioactive aerosols in Washington state was 10,000 to 100,000 times greater than normal levels in the week following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered the disaster.


[A] study [by University of Texas engineering professor Steven Biegalski and researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory] reports that more radioxenon was released from the Fukushima facilities than in the 1979 meltdown at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania and in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.

Biegalski said the reason for the large release in Fukushima, when compared to the others, is that there were three nuclear reactors at the Japan facilities rather than just one.

Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen notes:

New TEPCO data measured on August 19 & 20 shows severe damage to the spent fuel in Fukushima Daiichi Units 1, 2, and 3…. This TEPCO data clearly contradicts and refutes the July assertion by the NRC the Fukushima Daiichi spent fuel pools were not damaged in this tragic accident.

There are also several unconfirmed reports that the Japanese government is trying to keep people from buying geiger counters to measure radiation.

New, Large Radiation Releases Are Possible

Mainichi Dailly News notes:

As a radiation meteorology and nuclear safety expert at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute, Hiroaki Koide [says]:

The nuclear disaster is ongoing.


At present, I believe that there is a possibility that massive amounts of radioactive materials will be released into the environment again.

At the No. 1 reactor, there’s a chance that melted fuel has burned through the bottom of the pressure vessel, the containment vessel and the floor of the reactor building, and has sunk into the ground. From there, radioactive materials may be seeping into the ocean and groundwater.


The government and plant operator TEPCO are trumpeting the operation of the circulation cooling system, as if it marks a successful resolution to the disaster. However, radiation continues to leak from the reactors. The longer the circulation cooling system keeps running, the more radioactive waste it will accumulate. It isn’t really leading us in the direction we need to go.

It’s doubtful that there’s even a need to keep pouring water into the No.1 reactor, where nuclear fuel is suspected to have burned through the pressure vessel. Meanwhile, it is necessary to keep cooling the No. 2 and 3 reactors, which are believed to still contain some fuel, but the cooling system itself is unstable. If the fuel were to become overheated again and melt, coming into contact with water and trigger a steam explosion, more radioactive materials will be released.


We are now head to head with a situation that mankind has never faced before.

Mainichi also reports:

The Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) and residents of the zone between 20 and 30 kilometers from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant held an emergency evacuation drill on Sept. 12 … in preparation for any further large-scale emission of radioactive materials from the plant.


The scenario for the drill presupposed further meltdown of the Fukushima plant’s No. 3 reactor core, and a local accumulation of radioactive materials emitting 20 millisieverts of radiation within the next four days. …

And nuclear expert Paul Gunter says that we face a “China Syndrome”, where the fuel from the reactor cores at Fukushima have melted through the container vessels, into the ground, and are hitting groundwater and creating highly-radioactive steam:

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  • Becoming shrill?????

    As you are well resourced and connected, you may be a deniable reliable, so we should be concerned at the increase in tone?

    Any clues you wish to give?

  • WashingtonsBlog

    Mr. Donnely,

    I don’t have any inside information on the groundwater/steam issue, and have written what I do know. I have written about the seriousness of Fukushima for months. For example:

  • TulsaTime

    GW- It’s sad that coverage of this has dropped from scant to non-existant. But then the potential is so severe nobody wants to be accused of fear mongering. I continue to be amazed that there is so much more threat from the used fuel pools, and that the pools in the US are much more loaded up that the ones in fukushima. I had a course in college in 72 that made the point that our society was in no way prepared for dealing with an accident, much less the ‘minor’ details of radioactive waste. Some of the profs had stories from Oak Ridge about contaminations that still creep me out.

  • Wayne Harris

    From an article obviously penned by the nuclear industry’s PR department, via New Scientist (
    Scaremongering about Fukushima radiation is damaging

    ALARMIST predictions that the long-term health effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident will be worse than those following Chernobyl in 1986 are likely to aggravate harmful psychological effects of the incident. That was the warning heard at a conference on radiation research in Warsaw, Poland, this week.

    “We’ve got to stop these sorts of reports coming out, because they are really upsetting the Japanese population,” says Gerry Thomas at Imperial College London, who is attending the meeting. “The media has a hell of a lot of responsibility here, because the worst post-Chernobyl effects were the psychological consequences and this shouldn’t happen again.”

    Perhaps Mr. Thomas would care to tell that to the friends and relatives of the nearly 6,000 people (probably greatly underreported) who died within four years of Chernobyl?

    It gets worse: Citing Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency report, the article goes on to claim the release of radioactivity from Fukushima is “about 10 per cent that of Chernobyl” and that giving children timely doses of iodine has made everything all better: “‘The Japanese did the right thing, providing stable iodine to ensure that radioactive doses to children were minimal,’ Thomas says.”

    We can only wish that were true, because as the Wall Street Journal has reported: “Nearly half the children surveyed in three towns near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant received low-grade internal exposure to radiation during the early days of the accident there.”

    You can’t refute this stunningly insensitive industry pap in New Scientist’s comments section without subscribing to the magazine, which I have no interest in doing, so I’m venting here, where I have consistently gotten the most accurate and earliest information on what is really going on at Fukushima.

    • forseti-fukushima

      So we shouldn’t believe a Scientific periodical now – we should just go with the bits and pieces that Washingtons selects out of articles and posts? Many of those bits and pieces entirely comprised of statements such as “if” and “possible” and “maybe…” It’s possible for a meteor to hit the earth too but I am not building a bunker just yet. Anyone who tries to properly represent the situation and quotes Arnie as a nuclear industry expert is severely mistaken – perhaps more severe than the actual accident in Fukushima is turning out to be.. 🙂

      • Jeremy Acton

        New Scientist is a very interestingmagazine which I have been privileged to read for 20 years thanks to a more fortunate person donating me many boxes of NS, BUT I have been researching the collapse of the WTC Towers ever since they ‘fell’ and was disgusted to read a NS article that spouted the NIST theory that fire from the airplanes caused thermal expansion of certain structural members which led to catastrophic collapse of the Towers (WTC 7 wasn’t mentioned in the article). I was AMAZED that a physical event such as this was not seen as a clear act of demolition ( by the magazine, and I expected to see many questions raised by readers and scientists about how a building and its service core collapses at free fall through itself generating molten metal in the wreckage and samples of thermite in its dust. I did not see ANY correspondence from readers on the 911 issue in subsequent issues of NS, like there was a moratorium on the debate. WRT the 911 issue, NS is part of the mass media spouting official and unscientific false information about the collapses, and I have no doubt that the Fukushima article has done the same.

        • Tom Joad

          Do you have any idea of the amount of work, manpower, and planning required for a controlled demolition of a building the size of the WTC? With no one working there noticing? It takes weeks, so would have to be done in advance. Then the planes would have caused premature detonation. The Fukishima disaster is a real, present danger, though, and I hate to see it be equated with irresponsible, uneducated conspiracy theories like the WTC ‘demolition’.

          • Puh-leeze. You are obviously just an establishment troll, but for the minority out there who still believe the BS ‘official story’, watch this 15 minute documentary:
            => I challenge anyone to watch that and not come away convinced of the ‘truth’ the trolls so desperately try to repudiate. 15 min – that’s all it takes.

          • Christina Gramling

            I don’t think it’s the event that is being referenced, it’s the media reaction. As 9/11, there have been contradiction after contradiction, and as 9/11, there has been pretty much an American media blackout on this whole Fukushima event. This flipping serious. I recall a news story about radiation being found in cows milk from Oregon, than all of a sudden, yeah, it’s there, but not enough to hurt you … seriously? Lies. All lies. I ain’t buyin’ it.

  • jack

    karma is strange…
    america exposed japan to radiation in the 40’s and now japan is exposing america to radiation in 2011.

    • Jeremy Acton

      What goes around comes around! Chernobyl and Fukushima make the point that a nuclear disaster anywhere is a nuclear disaster EVERYWHERE.

  • David

    I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. Is there a reliable website that would have data on radiation levels in my area?

  • Bonner Fossi

    Upon investigation into the issue of steam rising from cracks in the ground the story seems to be true because even Japan media now admits that it is true. If we were just talking about radioactive water getting into ground water then you would only see water coming from the cracks in the earth that were radioactive. When you have steam then you have a situation where the “radioactive slag” has melted through the floor and into the ground and thus the term being used is “china syndrome”. Either way this poses a grave threat to the ground water supply. Since public data right out of Japan said that 98% of the ground water comes from a large single aquifer, then common sense Sais that another water source must be used. Now you have limited choices. First is to have a mass evacuation of the country that uses the water from the aquifer or second is to let the people bathe and drink the water and watch them die. To try to import the mass supply of water needed would be a logistics nightmare. Not to mention that time is running out. No matter how you slice or dice this situation it is out of control and time is running out. To argue about if it is fact or fiction at this point is moot because even with slight common sense a person can easily see the situation is grave.

  • Howard T. Lewis III

    Warning of radioactive steam? A bit late for that. However, a digital camera can be adjusted to serve as a geiger counter given the proper adjustments, setting a standard ‘0’ and a standard background incidence of demonstrated exposed pixels compared to standard known radioactivity and comparing images from timed exposures and control exposures of known radioactivity and standard background and ‘0’.

    • Josh

      so tell us how to do this in simple terms…re the digital camera

  • Richard Wilcox
  • Gabriel

    I’m planning a 7-day trip to Tokyo in mid-October. What kind of health risk could this pose? I am not particularly healthy to begin with and have a history of cancer in the family…

  • bakool100

    i am an indian residing in the present moment is the tokyo area safe to live in or in the near future?

  • IndianaJohn