Thom Hartmann hosted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on his radio show to discuss the super typhoon currently hitting Japan, as well as the breakdown in Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5's high-level radioactive waste storage pool cooling system, and other updates from the nuclear catastrophe site.
Until the Fukushima accident, Japan had 55 operating nuclear reactors as well as enrichment and reprocessing plants which had suffered a series of deadly accidents at its nuclear facilities resulting in the deaths of workers and releases of radioactivity into the environment and surrounding communities. Since the Fukushima disaster, there is growing opposition against re-opening those reactors closed for maintenance.
Harvey Wasserman of Solartopia fame (photo, left) hosted Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter and Kevin Kamps on his Progressive Radio Network show "Green Power and Wellness." Harvey's intro is below, and you can listen to the full show at this link here. Harvey plans to have Paul and Kevin back on his show on July 22nd.
FUKUSHIMA IS STILL HAPPENING as we hear from PAUL GUNTER and KEVIN KAMPS of BEYOND NUCLEAR about the horrific on-going disaster in Japan. Far from being calmed and cool, the crisis in spent fuel management continues at Fukushima. Loss of coolant in Unit Five’s spent fuel pool has developed. Units Four, Three, Two and One are also in varying states of flux, to the extent that Tokyo Electric has taken a “vacation” from bring down damaged fuel rods at Unit Four. Paul also reports that a two-inch piece of spent plutonium fuel has been found more than a mile away from the reactors, along with many other fragments of what was obviously a fission explosion. That the assault on nuclear regulators in Japan continues. And that the Japanese people have stood firm against opening any of the 48 other reactors still shut. NONE of this is being reported in ANY corporate media despite its life-and-death impacts on us all. Paul and Kevin will be back with us for more reports. In the meantime, please listen closely and send the links for this important show so others can know that FUKUSHIMA IS NOT OVER!!!
As reported by Mother Jones, a "once in decades storm" packing winds stronger than 150 miles per hour,
As reported by RT, Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5's high-level radioactive waste storage pool cooling system has suffered a leak, requiring its being shut down while repairs are made. If cooling is not restored in the next nine days, the pool water temperature could rise to dangerous levels.
If cooling is disrupted for a long enough period of time (days or weeks, depending on how recently extremely thermally hot irradiated nuclear fuel from an operating reactor core was transferred into the pool), the pool water can boil. If it boils down to just above the tops of the irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies stored in the bottom of the pool, gamma radiation dose rates in the immediate vicinity would become quickly lethal, blocking any further worker intervention to mitigate the crisis.
If irradiated nuclear fuel is uncovered, depending on how densely packed the storage pool is, it could quickly reach the ignition temperature of its zirconium metal cladding. The ensuing "pool fire" could then spread to the entire inventory of irradiated fuel in the pool, resulting in a catastrophic release of radioactivity to the environment. Storage pools are not located within robust radiological containment structures, but rather mere industrial warehouse-like buildings.
On July 8th, TEPCO posted additional information about the cooling system leak, including a photo of the 3 mm hole before and after its attempted repairs.
A Kyodo article republished by Mainichi reports that the May 21st court ruling in Fukui Prefecture, blocking the restart of two atomic reactors at Oi nuclear power plant, is being cited by plaintiffs in more than a dozen additional lawsuits across Japan seeking to block restart of many of Japan's remaining 48 operable atomic reactors. Six atomic reactors -- four wrecked, and two "retired" -- were lost in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe that began on March 11, 2011.
"In the ruling, the Fukui court said nuclear plants are 'merely a tool for generating electricity and thus inferior to people's fundamental rights' to life and that it 'would be natural to suspend nuclear plants if they pose specific risks.'
It also said plaintiffs who live within 250 kilometers of the Oi plant face real risks."