Senator: Fukushima Fuel Pool Is a National Security Issue for AMERICA

Fukushima Fuel Pools Are an American National Security Issue

After visiting Fukushima, Senator Ron Wyden warned that the situation was worse than reported … and urged Japan to accept international help to stabilize dangerous spent fuel pools.

An international coalition of nuclear scientists and non-profit groups are calling on the U.N. to coordinate a multi-national effort to stabilize the fuel pools. And see this.

Fuel pool number 4 is, indeed, the top short-term threat facing humanity.

Anti-nuclear physician Dr. Helen Caldicott says that if fuel pool 4 collapses, she will evacuate her family from Boston and move them to the Southern Hemisphere. This is an especially dramatic statement given that the West Coast is much more directly in the path of Fukushima radiation than the East Coast.

And nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen recently said (at 25:00):

There’s more cesium in that [Unit 4] fuel pool than in all 800 nuclear bombs exploded above ground…

But of course it would happen all at once.

It would certainly destroy Japan as a functioning country…

Move south of the equator if that ever happened, I think that’s probably the lesson there.

This week, Wyden said that the spent fuel is a national security threat to the U.S.:

AlterNet asked Sen. Wyden if he considers the spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi a national security threat.

In a statement released by his office, Wyden replied, “The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.”

[Robert Alvarez – a nuclear expert and a former special assistant to the United States Secretary of Energy] agrees, saying, “My major concern is that this effort to get that spent fuel out of there is not something you should be doing casually and taking your time on.”

Yet Tepco’s current plans are to hold the majority of this spent fuel onsite for years in the same elevated, uncontained storage pools, only transferring some of the fuel into more secure, hardened dry casks when the common pool reaches capacity.

Government Agencies Underplaying Risk … So No One Has to Do Anything Different

Why are American nuclear authorities ignoring this threat?

Well, they are totally captured by the nuclear industry, and:

Nuclear waste experts … charge that the NRC is letting this threat [of the Fukushima fuel pools] fester because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants around the U.S., which contain exceedingly higher volumes of spent fuel in similar elevated pools outside of reinforced containment.


In an interview with AlterNet, Alvarez … said that the Japanese government, Tepco and the U.S. NRC are reluctant to say anything publicly about the spent fuel threat because “there is a tendency to want to provide reassurance that everything is fine.”


“The U.S. government right now is engaged in its own kabuki theatre to protect the U.S. industry from the real costs of the lessons at Fukushima,” Gunter said. “The NRC and its champions in the White House and on Capitol Hill are looking to obfuscate the real threats and the necessary policy changes to address the risk.”

There are 31 G.E. Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors (BRWs) in the U.S., the type used at Fukushima. All of these reactors, which comprise just under a third of all nuclear reactors in the U.S., store their spent fuel in elevated pools located outside the primary, or reinforced, containment that protects the reactor core. Thus, the outside structure, the building ostensibly protecting the storage pools, is much weaker, in most cases about as sturdy, experts describe in interviews with AlterNet, as a structure one would find housing a car dealership or a Wal-Mart.

Remember that American nuclear power plants are storing much more nuclear fuel rods in highly-vulnerable pools than even Fukushima.

The NRC and Japanese claim that fuel pool 4 has been stabilized, but:

Nuclear experts, including Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president who coordinated projects at 70 U.S. nuclear power plants, and warned days after the disaster at Fukushima last year of a “Chernobyl on steroids” if the spent fuel pools were to ignite, strongly disagreed with this assessment.

“It is true that in May and June the floor of the U4 SFP [spent fuel pool] was ‘reinforced,’ but not as strong as it was originally,” Gundersen noted in an email to AlterNet. “The entire building however has not been reinforced and is damaged by the explosion in both 4 and 3. So structurally U4 is not as strong as its original design required.”


Alvarez said that even if the unit 4 structure has been tentatively stabilized, it doesn’t change the fact “it sits in a structurally damaged building, is about 100 feet above the ground and is exposed to the atmosphere, in a high-consequence earthquake zone.”

He also said that the urgency of the situation is underscored by the ongoing seismic activity around northeast Japan, in which 13 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 to 5.7 have occurred off the northeast coast of Honshu between April 14 and April 17.

“This has been the norm since 3/11/11 and larger quakes are expected closer to the power plant,” Alvarez added.

(Last year’s big earthquake made a huge earthquake close to Fukushima more likely.)

Boils Down to Money

Of course, it all boils down to money … just like every other crisis the world faces today.

Nuclear power can be safe, or it can be cheap … but it can’t be both. For example, we’ve previously noted:

Apologists for the nuclear power industry pretend there are no better alternatives, so we just have to suck it up and suffer through the Japanese nuclear crisis.

But this is wholly illogical. The truth is that we can store spent fuel rods in dry cask storage, which is much safer than the spent fuel rod pools used in Fukushima and many American reactors.

As the Nation pointed out:

Short of closing plants, there is a fairly reliable solution to the problem of spent fuel rods. It is called “dry cask storage.”


But there is a problem with dry cask storage: it costs money….


Experts say the only near-term answer to better protect our nation’s existing spent nuclear fuel is dry cask storage. But there’s one catch: the nuclear industry doesn’t want to incur the expense, which is about $1 million per cask.

“So now they’re stuck,” said Alvarez, “The NRC has made this policy decision, which the industry is very violently opposed to changing because it saves them a ton of money. And if they have to go to dry hardened storage onsite, they’re going to have to fork over several hundred million dollars per reactor to do this.”

He also pointed out that the contents of the nine dry casks at the Fukushima Daiichi site were undamaged by the disaster.

“Nobody paid much attention to that fact,” Alvarez said. “I’ve never seen anybody at Tepco or anyone [at the NRC or in the nuclear industry] saying, ‘Well, thank god for the dry casks. They were untouched.’ They don’t say a word about it.”

Get it?   The Japanese and American governments are playing Russian roulette with the fuel pools at Fukushima to save nuclear companies from having to spend a couple of million dollars to safely store spent fuel in dry casks.

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  • It may be that less than an earthquake could take out Unit 4.

    • gozounlimited

      How about a rare tornado ….. (compliments of geoengineering?)

      Killer Tornado Near Tokyo

      24,000 homes are currently without electricity just northeast of Japans capital city as a powerful tornado (radiated?) has ripped through Tokyo.

      Reports of people injured and killed are surfacing as locals are in shock that such a rare event has taken place.

      read more:

  • Abby

    A DISASTER OF EPIC PROPORTIONS”, and just yesterday, May 5th, a tornado. Where are the journalists, where are the other countrys who should be all over this corporate nuclear armegedeon.
    Where is MIT, and other esteemed schools?

    • Frankly

      Where are the ‘esteemed schools’?
      Prostitute organizations for peasant pre-occupation & grooming, that is?
      Considering this:
      & the fact that all-too-many admitted financiers/owners of these acknowledged mainland-continental-US(!!) domestic spy drones actually ARE universities & so-called post-secondary institutions, I’d say it at least indirectly answers the question of what types of things those ‘esteemed schools’ are indeed ulterior occupied with.

    • Ponderer

      The “esteemed schools” are being given grants totaling 47 MILLION DOLLARS from the DOE to train “nuclear leaders” and to do further research on nuclear energy.

      Guess the “esteemed schools” have a price…and it has been paid.

    • gozounlimited

      Fukushima reactor No. 4 vulnerable to catastrophic collapse; could unleash 85 times Cesium-137 radiation of Chernobyl; human civilization on the brink

      The usual suspects of deception are saying absolutely nothing about this problem. The mainstream media (the dying dinosaur media, actually) pretends there’s no problem with Fukushima. President Obama says nothing about it. Federal regulators, including the NRC, are all but silent. It’s as if they think their silence on the issue somehow makes it go away.

      Perhaps these professional liars in the media and government have become so used to idea that they can simply spin their own reality (and get the public suckers to believe almost anything) that they now believe they can ignore the laws of physics. That’s why they have refused to cover the low-level radiation plume that continues to be emitted from Fukushima.

      The fate of the world now rests on reactor No. 4

      read more:
      Nuclear ‘hot spots’ detected at 20 schools in Fukushima

      Fukushima, Japan: More than 20 schools in Koriyama city in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, have ‘hot spots’ with high radiation levels on their premises, a civil group said.

      read more:

  • jeff

    Send in the TSA

  • David W

    How painfully predictable. The vaunted UN and other luminaries sit dumb, speechless, inert, vacuous and oblivious, as Rome totters, and the world with it..

  • Blame Your Ignorance

    The mega-profits that are afforded the Nuclear Industry are not from selling electricity to the Public. It is from the huge subsidies given to them from governments! Utilities are not legally allowed to lose money!

    So, the Public has to pay astronomical rates for power PLUS subsidize for all the “decommissioning” of older plants, the building of new plants, the protection and disposal of the nuclear waste, all the nuclear bomb production generated from the plant’s activities….it just financially never ends! All the while not a single plant has NEVER generated a single dime in profit! WTF?

    SHUT all of them down, NOW! We don’t need them and we have NEVER needed these death machines! Nothing is practical about them. Nothing has ever been safe about them!

    Your life and that of future generations, are at severe risk of destruction and degenerative diseases. Also remember all the wildlife and plant life will also be severely damaged for 10s of thousands of years. We are the culprits responsible for civilization’s failure, if we allow this to continue.

  • Howard T. Lewis III

    Poltroonism enters total paralysis. Wyland just made the understatement of the century and still apparently sees no need to call in experts not employed by the Rockefellers or the NRC wankers.

  • On 05/25/2012, Ron Paul Supporters across America should gather together to discuss the idea of Dr. Paul running on an independent platform and brainstorm a clever strategy on how to launch a parallel campaign in the event he is denied the opportunity of becoming the Republican presidential candidate. The end goal is witnessing Congressman Ron Paul announcing his presidential bid as an independent the same day America celebrates Constitution day: September 17th, 2012.

    A very interesting video clip indeed.

  • elizabeth

    The senator needs to be questioned on this further. If this is even remotely the case then the American people better get off their sofa’s and turn off their boob tubes and start demanding answers from their representatives. But, who knows if they will, they’ll probably channel surf, pop open a beer and belch. It makes me disgusted to even be in the same country with idiots like these. We all have to pay for these mindless little f–ks while we all get sold down the river. Hey dudes, get your ass off the sofa and stop being a major embarrassment to yourselves and your country. Personally guys like that deserve environmental catastrophic things to occur!

  • Concrete man

    Thank you for your good work on this issue.

    However, I strongly disagree with the contention that nuclear power can be either safe, clean, or cheap. I can be NONE of these, inherently. Some people like to claim that if only people were not involved that in theory it could work (it could not). Or that thorium reactors will save the day, more pure nonsense. Read the book by Martin Cohen and Andrew McKillop, The Doomsday Machine (2012, Palgrave). The best book to date I have ever read on the topic and written for the lay reader. Everyone should READ THIS BOOK!

    • Bev

      Add this:

      NO DEBT MONEY such as GREENBACKs now would provide the money to fix the danger to us all of nuclear meltdown. We need to do this now.


      Greenbacks to have money that is not Debt, to fix all this for all of our sakes.

      • Bev

        We will be very lucky if the reason we are not repairing this deadly damage is because of a lack of money…the easiest thing in the world to create on a computer keyboard…especially, if the money is not debt to the public/government.

        NO DEBT MONEY such as GREENBACKs now would provide the money to fix the danger to us all of nuclear meltdown. We need to do this Now.


        Governments Get Greenbacks Now to have money that is not Debt, to fix all this for all of our sakes. If you don’t know how, ask expert Rep. Dennis Kucinich about how easy it is to help us all NOW.

        Phone (202)225-5871
        Fax (202)225-5745

  • Paul Guzdek

    Why is it there is so much regulation on the automobile industries who have to shell out millions on EPA issues, millions on recalls and safety issues and not going after this ticking time bomb? Some say greed. Some say political buyouts or bailouts. Don’t vote the incompetant incumbents this year! Time to get new people that will at least try to do the right thing! We have outgrown the 2 party system. No more Jackasses or elephants, they truly belong in a zoo behind cages not pretending that they are looking out for our best interest!

  • Michael

    What I think about are those very rich elites who ascribe to population reduction policies addressed by the Bilderberg meetings each year. An “accident” at Unit # 4 would go a long way to achieve the lower population numbers that are their goal. They are both crazy and motivated. I think it is a matter of when and not if.

  • wilson

    Nuclear Power (which provides on 16% of the world’s electricity) is man* playing G_d.
    Nuclear power was first used as a weapon. Now, there are 400+ nuclear bombs (plants) around the world. HAARP can detonate any/all of them. Whoever controls HAARP, controls the world. The rhetorical question: Who Owns America? But with Fukushima set to blow, even the Zionists will die.
    So, the final enemy is death itself. Its the Global Way Of The Cross. Pray that Jesus Christ will accompany us all in the Global Crucifixion, leading us to heaven.

  • Peter Joseph Paul

    This country needs an extreme enema,to flush out,eliminate and dispose of the jackasses in
    Washington who lie to us,cheat us,and rape us. These are the very vermin that we elected who say they are looking out for our best interests. It’s time for new minds on Capitol Hill.
    Get real,you idiots! Dry Cask Storage is the safest way to store spent fuel rods.

    Who cares how much it costs. You’ll just have to cut your profits you greedy bastards!
    The government should force The N.R.C. to implement this solution or face a prison sentence and
    and a huge fine for not complying. This is just insane to ignore this huge problem.
    Fukishima is a warning! Wakeup,you imbeciles,before it’s too late for all the nuclear reactors in this country. We cannot allow The N.R.C. to sweep this under the rug,so to speak.

    How long will it take for a disaster to occur in the U.S.A.,from an earthquake,tornado or C.M.E.
    We must take action yesterday,not tomorrow,when it will be too late!
    Dry Cask Storage is the solution! Spend the money,you cheap jerks!

    A New Yorker

  • Bev

    Boils Down to Money…to fully fund the Best Engineering in the world.

    For money to fix Fukushima:

    The American Monetary Institute at
    This topic should be foremost to all politicians across the world.
    Re-introduced this former bill by Dennis Kucinich The NEED Act, HR 2990, see:

  • Bev

    Boils Down to Money…to fully fund the Best Engineering in the world.

    For money to fix Fukushima:

    The American Monetary Institute at
    This topic should be foremost to all politicians across the world.
    Re-introduced this former bill by Dennis Kucinich The NEED Act, HR 2990, see:

  • RalphEaton2011

    For all the BS yakking about global warming, this is the real issue. And you watch, the war on hydrocarbon fuels will translate to more nukes.