Interviewed by Radio Australia, Institute for Policy Studies' Bob Alvarez addressed what could happen if another major earthquake rocked the coastal Fukishima area. "The drainage of water caused by an earthquake or the toppling of the pool, which would be the worst possible consequence, could result in essentially the cladding around the spent fuel, which is made of an alloy of zirconium, to heat up and catch fire. And then there would be a massive release of radioactivity," he said. "The spent fuel pool in number four at Fukushima contains roughly ten times more caesium 137 than released by the Chernobyl accident," he pointed out.
Mitsuhei Murata (pictured left), a former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland and a career diplomat who fears for the future of his nation, was also interviewed on the show. He also fears that inaction could spell further disaster. "I call it the sickness of Japan," he said. "Colloquially it can be explained that first, we hide; then we postpone; and then we assume no responsibility." When asked by show host, Mark Willacy, whether a problem with the fuel pool at Unit 4 could spell the end of Japan, Murata replied: "Yes. And there is no one who denies that." Read the full transcript or listen to the show.
Writes Bob Alvarez: In a recent report by the Holophi company in Switzerland, "Estimating the Potential Impact of Failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool: A Local Problem for Japan or a Global Mega Crisis?" http://www.holophi.ch/resources/Holophi-Special-Report-on-Fukushima-SFP-4-r.pdf , the authors conclude: "The results of this analysis suggest that a nominal release of 10% of the SFP 4 inventory of cesium and strontium would represent 3-10 times the March 2011 release amounts, substantially increasing risk levels in Japan and impacting marine life. Release of 100% of the SFP 4 inventory, or 30-100 times the March 2011 release amounts, could result in significant global impact." The Bellona Foundation has reported and commented on this story.