The time is now if we're to keep the Journal a vibrant voice exploring the Asia-Pacific and the world. With nearly $4,000 toward the $12,000 needed to operate in 2015 and allow us to redesign and upgrade the site, we need your support now. We have a donor who pledges to match gifts of $50-200 during the final weeks of our drive. APJ is a 501 (c) tax exempt organization; your contribution is tax deductible. Please donate here!
steve from virginiaFirst of all, the seriousness of the reactor situation is seeping into the public consciousness which is a step forward. Hopefully, the Japanese government will be on the same page as these nuclear engineers and consultants soon. Waiting another year is unacceptable b/c the reactors will not heal themselves. Steps need to be taken right away: - Remove fuel assemblies in Fukushima Daiichi units 5 and 6 immediately. The infrastructure to handle the fuel is intact in these reactors. - Remove spent fuel in common pool. Much of this fuel is cool enough to put into dry casks. The rest can be transported in fuel transport casks used to handle hot fuel. - Un-energized fuel rods in SFP 4 can be transported in transport casks. - Pump concrete into basement of reactor unit 4 and build/install concrete bulkheads under spent fuel pool. There is no reason why this has not been done already as workers have been in and on top of this building to do the cleanup and demo to date. - Build sheet-pile/slurry wall cofferdam around the entire site. This would control water flowing through the campus. This also should have been done immediately after the incidents. A rail spur should be built into the site so that heavy loads can be transported easily. - There are four 500 ton cranes on the site already, there is adequate heavy lift. No new crane construction is necessary. - A small hydraulic crane can be placed next to the pool(s) to load assemblies into fuel transfer casks that are used now to load fuel into the reactor buildings. These casks hold water and have boronated supports. The casks can be transported by water-filled rail car to Rokkasho for storage. All cranes can be operated hydraulically by remote control. - Hire Boots and Coots and have them engineer solution for removing cores from under reactors (carefully). Corium and concrete can be drilled w/ drilling equipment and material transported in water-filled casks on rail cars to Rokkasho. Reactors can then be demolished and buried within cofferdam and buried in concrete then paved over along with machinery used to do the work. - Remove Tepco from the recovery job, they are not up to it.
Jane SmithSteve you are the voice of reason. I must confess, I don't understand how the fate of the nation, or the world (or any of us who live on the west coast of the US) can be permitted to remain in the hands of a corporation that has proven itself time and time again to lie, and be corrupt, incompetent, and indifferent to the health and safety of its own workers and its own country men, women, and children. I don't understand how Ineptco can continue addressing this challenge on what seems to be a leisurely timetable lacking any meaningful sense of urgency. I don't understand why the government of Japan appears willing to let this situation continue and does not seem willing to stand up to Ineptco (Tepco) and require them to accept help and materials from other countries - help that will permit them to achieve their time table faster. I don't understand why an international coalition has not come together to work with the Japanese government and Ineptco (Tepco) to address each of the items you mention. I get that face saving is important in the Japanese culture. I get that it is important to maintain happy diplomatic relations with Japan so everyone walks on eggs with them. I get that Japan is a soverign nation with a right to determine its own destiny. What I don't get is why these things seem to be taking precedence over protecting the planet from an even bigger radiological catastrophe than has already happened. I also understand that manpower and expense for all the specialized materials and construction necessary for cleanup and mitigation may be an issue for Ineptco, however, if Ineptco (Tepco) truly can't affford to buy or develop or staff what is needed to clean up the mess and reduce the risk to all peoples, then I would think it would be in the self interest of every country in the northern hemisphere, if not the world, to donate dry casks for spent fuel storage, raw materials to create barriers to contain water, or cover buildings, etc. AND to provide the manpower necessary to speed the timetable for securing ALL spent fuel rods at the plant. It isn't about money or profit any more. It is about protecting lives and saving the planet from a future of catastrophic radiation contamination. The situation we presently have is maddness on a colossal scale. I appeal to any journalists who read this to tell their readers the true story of the ongoing risk at Fukushima. I also encourage any politicians who might read this to investigate further and raise this issue with their colleagues and demand action on the part of their government. At the very least, an international inspection team should be permitted access to unit 4 to provide an independent risk assessment. If action is being taken, let the world know. Considering all that has happened, I do not feel comfortable knowing that my life rests in the hands of of Ineptco (Tepco).
Stephen W. AnderleI assume that the water level in the spent fuel pools is at least as high above the fuel rods as they are long or tall. If they could build a container just 6" wider than the fuel assemblys, fill it with water and place it in the fuel pool beside the fuel bundles. Then lift a bundle up and place it in the container. seal the container and have entry and exit pipes for circulating water. It wouldnt take much as you would be handling only one bundle at a time. then remove the container and transport it to a safer better fuel pool far enough away so there woukld be no worrys. Then when the fuel pool is empty it could be cleaned of contamination and dismantled.
Dr Timothy NorrisAt the outset of the development of nuclear power, several reactor configurations were possible. Military considerations, together with decisions from leading military staff such as Admiral Rickover, resulted in solid fuel-rod nuclear systems being developed with the aim of generating Plutonium for armaments. The waste products from conventional solid fuel-rod nuclear reactors has to be stored for at least 10000 years before normal handling of the waste can be resumed. This is a most unfortunate situation. However, I kindly draw your attention to the Thorium LFTR reactor configuration devised by Dr Alvin Weinberg (Nobel Prize winner) around the 1950's at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, USA. This reactor configuration was not pursued commercially becuase it could not generate Plutonium for armaments and therefore, during the Cold War, was of no interest. The very very important detail of Thorium LFTR is that it employs a high neutron flux to convert Thorium 232 to Uranium 233 for fission; this same neutron flux can be employed concurrently to process convention nuclear waste and transmute it into relatively harmless products which only require 300 years storage before normal handlign can be resumed. This is a considerable advantage in comparison to contemporary 10000 yars storage requirements for nuclear fuel rods. Thorium LFTR is potentially concurrently capable of generating useful energy for civil purposes from the nuclear waste. In other words, the nuclear waste sitting at Fukushima could in theory be converted into a useful energy resource via Thorium LFTR, but is useless in respect of conventional nuclear reactor configurations based upon solid fuel rods. Conventional renewable energy sstems, for example wind turbines, ocean turbines, tidal schemes are not able to provide such a transmutation characteristic as Thorium LFTR. ery sensibly, the Chinese are working on Thorium LFTR on account of the huge amount of Thorium byprodut that China has from rare Earth element mining. The Chinese are being really really sensible. It is thus submitted that if we are really serious about disposing of this Fukushima spent nuclear fuel rod waste, and also even larger quantites in the USA, there should be a World effort to develop Thorium LFTR, in the near term for transmuting and rendering harmless existing dangerous nuclear waste, and over the longer term as the primary energy source after "peak oil". Thank you for reading this comment which I hope will assist to motivate action in respect of Thorium LFTR. Conventional nuclear reactors are fundamentally an unsatisfactory configuration, weheras Throium LFTR represents what the World should have done, and would have avoided this ghastly situation now unfolding at Fukushima. I trust that the IAEA takes aforementioned really seriously in is future strategy in respect of nuclear power. Thank you.
Romi Elnagar, MLISThis is an excellent article. I will be citing it for an article on Fukushima in a small publication put out by some US Green Party members, GREEN HOROZON. Could you please indicate the publication date? Thank you very much.
Johnathon Campbell@Dr Timothy Norris Thorium fueled reactors are not the solution. To read about all their flaws go to: http://fairewinds.org/demystifying/thorium-reactors