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Dangers in removing Fukushima’s spent nuclear fuel rods

spent-fuel-rodsJapanese gamble Armageddon in Last Ditch Fukushima Effort, Whiteout Press, August 20, 2013. Fukushima, Japan Japan gambles the world “……….For the past two years, there have been varying and sporadic reports, some official and some unofficial, describing how the Fukushima nuclear meltdown is anything but under control. In fact, millions of gallons of radioactive wastewater continue to spill out into the Pacific to this day. And while the reactors and their safety mechanisms continue to break down, the world comes closer and closer to global Armageddon.

To stop the complete and total meltdown of Japan’s nuclear reactors, authorities have proposed a dangerous plan. The biggest problem is Fukushima’s Reactor Number 4. The reactor’s cooling pool for spent nuclear rods is located on the top floor of the TEPCO building. And that building was heavily damaged by the 2011 quake. Due to its instability, authorities say they must move the 400 tons of spent fuel rods right away.

Spent fuel rod transfers occur on a fairly regular basis, but always under the most secure and controlled setting due to the potential nuclear catastrophe that would happen if just one spent rod is mishandled. In the case of Fukushima’s Reactor 4, officials will attempt to remove 1,300 spent fuel rods from a structurally unsafe building in a highly contaminated environment.

The problems and dangers

One nuclear fallout expert, Christina Consolo, spoke to RT News to answer the outlet’s questions regarding the situation in Fukushima. She detailed a list of potential problems authorities might encounter when they attempt to move the spent rods. Those potentially catastrophic hurdles include (from RT News):

  • The racks inside the pool that contain this fuel were damaged by the explosion in the early days of the accident.
  • Zirconium cladding which encased the rods burned when water levels dropped, but to what extent the rods have been damaged is not known, and probably won’t be until removal is attempted.
  • Saltwater cooling has caused corrosion of the pool walls, and probably the fuel rods and racks.
  • The building is sinking.
  • The cranes that normally lift the fuel were destroyed.
  • Computer-guided removal will not be possible; everything will have to be done manually.
  • TEPCO cannot attempt this process without humans, which will manage this enormous task while being bombarded with radiation during the extraction and casking.
  • The process of removing each rod will have to be repeated over 1,300 times without incident.
  • Moving damaged nuclear fuel under such complex conditions could result in a criticality if the rods come into close proximity to one another, which would then set off a chain reaction that cannot be stopped.

What is most likely to go wrong?

When asked what the biggest potential dangers are in removing the damaged spent fuel rods, Christina Consolo replied, “The most serious complication would be anything that leads to a nuclear chain reaction. And as outlined above, there are many different ways this could occur. In a fuel pool containing damaged rods and racks, it could potentially start up on its own at anytime. TEPCO has been incredibly lucky that this hasn’t happened so far.”

She also expressed concern for the human workers that will have to submerse themselves into a highly radioactive environment and then perform extremely precise movements. Not only might their senses and thinking be affected, but their protective gear will make the entire operation somewhat clumsy.

“My second biggest concern would be the physical and mental fitness of the workers that will be in such close proximity to exposed fuel during this extraction process,” Consolo told RT News, “They will be the ones guiding this operation and will need to be in the highest state of alertness to have any chance at all of executing this plan manually and successfully. Many of their senses, most importantly eyesight, will be hindered by the apparatus that will need to be worn during their exposure to prevent immediate death from lifting compromised fuel rods out of the pool.”

August 22, 2013 - Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Reference, technology, wastes


  1. Forget NSA spying on every aspect of human life like a 666 prophetic curse and invasion of our very being. TEPCO is an all out global horror story so real that most of us are denying deer in the headlights. All TEPCO officials should be immediately removed and jailed. Bring in an international team of experts and remove those fuel rods now. That’s why Germany has gone cold sober and stopped all nuclear in the country. The God Joke is about to burst everyone’s bubble.

    Comment by Rex Ontime | August 28, 2013 | Reply

  2. The international community needs to prioritize this issue over all else……because all else is moot if it isn’t addressed. This is humanity’s change to work together. This is where God could prevail…………….God being the good and decent in all of us.

    Comment by minnie flanagan | September 26, 2013 | Reply

    • I would like God to come back purifying the universe with his light before others suffer by reason of the stupidity of another in this runaway no way out nuclear disaster. People are calling on God to save us. God in each other is to be good to each other even if they are called by another sexuality name. The sooner people around the world see this the sooner people will be taken off of the planet rising off of it even as Jesus raised off of it with in spirit Jesus in us. Jesus wants to see himself in us. The new Jerusalem will be waiting for us to enter it when he is in us working through us. That city will according to scripture return to earth in a 1000 years. Wicked will be raised being judged being done away with in God’s light at that time.

      Comment by Jonathan Hughes | November 21, 2013 | Reply

  3. Sorry, I see NSA:s behavior, as well as Tepco’s, as coming from a same type of egoistic arrogance, ignoring all democratic ideas, and accountability. Both stinks, and continue to stink. But it also speaks to me about each one of us, ignoring democracy and fairness in favor of short time profits, and unbridled egoism. The Earth is shrinking with each day, soon without new places to jump to, as man made disaster strikes the one you stand on. One example is Fukushima, another is global warming. Neither care for your politics, neither listen to money. All our abstract ideas falls flat to the ground there, as reality knocks on our door.

    Comment by Yoron | October 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Democracy is one of the oldest and most failed systems of government. It’s mob rule. The Constitutional Republic we U.S. citizens USED TO HAVE, was unique, and ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity. Not many people know what the difference in these two systems is, yet somehow think they are very intelligent and well informed.

      Comment by Kell Hawkins | October 24, 2013 | Reply

  4. […] I have no idea whether this startling claim about — let’s call it by its real name, possible near-term extinction — is true. But I do know that removing spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors is always critically dangerous. According to Harvey Wasserman: “Fuel rods are the most lethal substance human beings have ever created.” Here’s a report from that says the Japanese are “gambling Armaggeddon.&… […]

    Pingback by Fukushima: As critically dangerous fuel rod removal begins, so does a global meditation movement in support. | Exopermaculture | November 9, 2013 | Reply

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