U.S. Senator Tours Fukushima, Warns Situation Worse Than Reported …Urges Japan to Accept International Help to Stabilize Dangerous Spent Fuel Pools

Reuters reports:

Japan, with assistance from the U.S., needs to do more to move spent fuel rods out of harm’s way at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden on Monday.

Wyden, a senior Democratic senator on the Senate Energy committee, toured the ruined Fukushima plant on April 6, and said the damage was far worse than he expected.

“Seeing the extent of the disaster first-hand during my visit conveyed the magnitude of this tragedy and the continuing risks and challenges in a way that news accounts cannot,” said Wyden in a letter to Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan’s ambassador to the United States.


Wyden said he was most worried about spent fuel rods stored in damaged pools adjacent to the ocean, and urged the Japanese government to accept international help to prevent further release of the radioactive material if another earthquake should happen.

In a statement on his website, Wyden said the only protection for the pools from another tsunami appeared to be “a small, makeshift sea wall erected out of bags of rock.”

Wyden said the spent fuel should be moved to safer storage sooner than anticipated under a 10-year clean-up plan from TEPCO, the owner of the nuclear plant.

The lawmaker also wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and top U.S. nuclear regulator Gregory Jaczko to ask them to find ways to help Japan address the problem.

Click here to read Wyden’s letters to Ambassador Fujisaki, Secretary Chu, Secretary Clinton and Chairman Jaczko.

For background on the dangers posed by the spent fuel pools, see this and this.

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  • Mike

    Take a bath with the rods Ron…jerk!

    • Frank

      What do you know about Ron Wyden, Mike? He endangered himself to get a firsthand look at the situation, and for this you call him a “jerk?”

  • Joe

    The power of a letter….give me a break…like a letter will do squat.

  • William McClellan

    Further disaster in Fukushima is more likely and more dangerous than a nuclear shoot-out over Iran (already too likely). While we have any unilateral imperial power left, we should take immediate action to dry-seal the rods and eliminate the danger of a meltdown that would release 85x what Chernobyl did. The alternative: do nothing, whine, suppress the news, and let it happen. Evacuate Tokyo. Let the Japanese Current take it all to the West Coast. Let the jet stream contaminate the whole Northern Hemisphere. Why isn’t this story getting more play? Because big money controls our consolidated (purportedly “free”) media, and this is inconvenient for stock prices. This time, however, fact must trump bottom line. Kudos to Sen Wyden for touring the site, understanding, and ringing the alarm.