Spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi safer than asserted

By Will Davis

In recent days, a number of articles have been printed that assert that a grave danger exists at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear generating station. These articles claim that this danger exists due to the condition of the spent nuclear fuel at the site and the supposedly shaky condition of its storage and care. Two examples:

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Is Far From Over” by Robert Alvarez

Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident” by Akio Matsumura

These articles are highly deceptive. The occurrence of a cataclysmic release of radioactive material as surmised is hinged upon the occurrence of so many statistically impossible events that it is certain to be a practical impossibility. Since the assertions continue to gain a wider audience, however, it is necessary to examine them and make a realistic assessment of their likelihood.

Assertion 1: The spent fuel pools, particularly at Fukushima Daiichi No. 4 plant (1F-4), are liable to collapse

Since shortly after the Tohoku quake and tsunami, TEPCO has continually inspected the buildings at the site for physical integrity. More importantly, TEPCO has conducted seismic safety studies of all the reactor buildings; the results of these studies are linked below, which show that the reactor buildings are safe in the event of further (even severe) earthquakes.

Submission of Reports about the study regarding current seismic safety and reinforcement of reactor buildings at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Important Report from TEPCO” (particularly items dated April 5)

“At 11:04 pm on April 1, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake centered in the coast of Fukushima Prefecture occurred. Hama-dori of Fukusihma Prefecture registered intensity 5 lower on the Japanese seismic (intensity) scale of 7. No abnormalities were detected at facilities for water injection into the reactors, nitrogen gas injection, cooling of spent fuel pool, and the treatment of highly contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. They all operate normally after the quake. As for the degree of the shake of the reactor buildings, Unit 6’s reactor building’s foundation registered 40.7 gal in horizontal direction and 19.4 gal in vertical direction.

We, TEPCO, evaluate earthquake-proof safety by developing Design Basis Earthquake Ground Motion Ss as large-scale quake which would possibly occur in future. For example, the degree of shake of Unit 6’s reactor building’s foundation against the Design Basis Earthquake Ground Motion is 448 gal in horizontal direction and 415 gal in vertical direction (which is around 10 times large in horizontal way and around 20 times large in vertical way compared with the quake occurred on April 1, 2012). We assess that the level of this Design Basis Earthquake Ground Motion is almost same as the one recorded for the Tohoku–Pacific Ocean Earthquake. Based on the Motion, we simulated the damaged situation of the current reactor buildings of Unit 1 to 4, having implemented quake response analysis for the reactor buildings as well as equipments and pipes which are important in terms of safety. As a result, we confirmed that there are no negative signal, such as shear/twist of quake-proof walls of buildings, the fact that the stress of facilities/piping lowers the standard value, and the fact that buildings collapse and facilities/ piping lose their functions.”

NUREG /CR-4982, “Severe Accidents in Spent Fuel Pools in support of Generic Safety Issue 82,” Brookhaven National Laboratory, indicates that the likelihood of seismically induced spent fuel pool failure may be as low as 1 X 10-10 occurrences per reactor year, which is a statistically insignificant rate of occurrence.

From the above, it can easily be ascertained that further seismic damage to the buildings is not likely. It should be added that TEPCO is continuing to remove material (both debris and structural material) from the upper levels of the damaged reactor buildings—further reducing their mass, and the amount of mass at higher levels that could induce larger swaying moment. Thus, seismically induced collapse of the reactor buildings (as asserted in various articles penned by activists) is very unlikely. Assertion 1: False

Assertion 2: The spent fuel pool at 1F-4 is in particularly dire structural condition

TEPCO has continuously monitored the 1F-4 building for damage (having no damaged reactor in the building, it is the most widely accessible among 1F-1 through 1F-4, and thus most easily examined). TEPCO has also constructed, as a result of structural studies performed on the building, a steel-reinforced concrete support beneath the spent fuel pool at this plant. Photos are available at TEPCO “Completion of Installation of Supporting Structure…

TEPCO estimates, in fact, that the seismic safety margin of the 1F-4 building’s spent fuel pool is now improved 20 percent over the original condition. Thus, there is no basis to assertions that 1F-4’s spent fuel pool is in a dire condition. Assertion 2: False





Assertion 3: The spent fuel in these plants’ spent fuel pools could ignite, leading to a massive radiological release

This assertion is patently false. First, it is important to understand that in order for the fuel to ignite, it has to get hot—and in its present condition, submerged in spent fuel pools with redundant cooling systems and filtration systems, constant remote temperature monitoring, backup generating and pumping systems in mobile units in place (on standby), and high reach concrete pump trucks on site (if necessary), there is no chance of the fuel heating up in any significant way while it is in the pools in the buildings.

We’ve seen already that it’s unlikely that the buildings would be damaged in a quake—and we can surmise, given the manpower and equipment on site, that even if any sort of equipment leak or malfunction temporarily suspended cooling for the spent fuel, that malfunction would be quickly detected and fixed. So, it’s just not likely at all that the fuel would even begin to get noticeably hot in the spent fuel pools as-is now. Temperatures of the water in the spent fuel pools is currently in the ~30 °C and under range.

In order for apocalyptic assertions of a “fuel clad ignition and fire” to occur, moreover, the clad itself would need to be heated to incredible temperatures, which just isn’t possible. Ignition of the cladding (Zircalloy-2) on those fuel elements can occur roughly at 900 ºC in the proper conditions, but it’s important to note that, depending on the surrounding conditions (presence or absence of water vapor and oxygen content of the surroundings), the material may not ignite at that temperature anyway. From NUREG /CR-4982:

“The cladding on such fuel will not ignite until 900 ºC (1652 ºF), while the fuel melting point for UO2 fuel is 2880 ºC (5216 ºF).”

An online video shows Zirc-2 tube being heated with a blow torch (probably over 2000 ºC) and not catching fire. In point of fact, while the chemistry of rapid oxidation /combustion of Zirc cladding is complex, it just would not be possible under the conditions at the site. Further, even under the wild assumption that the buildings somehow collapsed, all of the other resources on site, and remotely off site, are still available to move in and provide cooling for the fuel.

In addition, the rate of heatup of the fuel depends on how long it’s been out of a reactor. According to NUREG /CR-4982, unless the spent fuel is recently discharged from an operating reactor (within 180 days), ignition of the clad is completely impossible in any situation, regardless. Experts have calculated that the heat output presently from the hottest of the spent fuel is only on the order of several hundred watts per element—a very insignificant amount in comparison to heating the material to between 900 ºC–2000 ºC in order to ignite it.

In addition, in order for a “cataclysmic” spread of the radionuclides contained in this spent fuel to occur, we can see that a massive fire is needed to both release the material and provide a driving head (or “loft”) to spread it to the winds. It’s clear that no such fire is possible, given the above information. The assertions simply fall apart.  Assertion 3: False  


In fact, all three assertions, as we’ve seen, fall apart at every turn—there’s no basis to assertions of shaky buildings, or a structurally failed 1F-4 plant, or the chance of zircalloy cladding fire, or billowing of the released material to the entire earth. Realistic, practical analysis, performed by personnel on site (TEPCO/NISA), nuclear professionals here in the United States with decades of experience in both theory and practice, and official peer-reviewed studies and documents (e.g., NUREG /CR-4982) show that the predictions of apocalypse being spread now are just as unlikely to occur as those predictions of apocalypse that were made then at the time of the accident.


The author expresses his gratitude for assistance in this analysis provided by John H. Bickel, Meredith Angwin, Margaret Harding, Leslie Corrice, Rod Adams, Cheryl Rofer, Bill Rodgers, Paul Bowersox, Rick Michal, Steve Skutnik, and Dan Yurman.

Will Davis is the author of the nuclear energy blog “Atomic Power Review,” and is a member of the American Nuclear Society.  A former US Navy reactor operator, Davis finds his calling to be presenting the public with information about nuclear energy technology and its history.

184 thoughts on “Spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi safer than asserted

  1. Pingback: Anotherweek of GW News, June 10, 2012 [A Few Things Ill Considered] « Random Information

  2. James Greenidge

    I remember TMI where the frantically fearsome media and anti-nukes totally and positively wouldn’t believable nothing would happen despite the facts filtering through over the months that there was no burn-through, no China Syndrome. No proof, no assurances did it for them — Doomsday was just ready burst from that eggshell dome at the brush of a feather!! Let me tell you, Mark, the TEPCO guys might be a sorted bunch and pro-nuke pros very staunch in assertions and reassurances, but I’d still take their skilled and experienced word over ANYTHING Greenpeace & Company assert and can’t prove in their rabidly exaggerated kill-nuclear stances. Stay cool and don’t infect the kids with fear.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  3. mglueckert

    All of the craziness aside—and by craziness i mean the doomsday references at one end of the spectrum and people people saying “everything’s going great!” at the other—your post and reference to advocating for nuclear fission pre 3/11 made me wonder how one ever could advocate for energy production that leaves such awful toxicity behind it. As i understand it, the waste nuclear power generation leaves behind will be with us for tens or hundreds of thousands of years (or more?). Is this true? If so, has anyone really ever bothered to figure out what to do with the stuff or should we just stick our heads in the sand and let it pile up? And is sticking the stuff in a hole under a mountain a truly practical solution?

    I ask these things not to push buttons, but out of my own common sense and in the interest of learning something (disclaimer: i’m not an expert/insider of the industry or a scientist)

  4. Pingback: How Nuclear Fear Mongers Dupe the Mainstream Media | Japan Probe

  5. Mark Gubrud

    The principal weakness of this article is that instead directly addressing the most worrisome scenario — that the spent fuel pool at Unit 4 is in danger of collapse or breach, exposing the spent fuel to air and allowing them to overheat and burn — the author tries readers’ patience with the irrelevant assertion that the fuel can’t burn “in its present condition.”

    Quoting at length from a public release in broken English from that unimpeachable source TEPCO itself provides at best weak reassurance against concerns that the structure is damaged (why else did they reinforce it?) and that a further earthquake or other upset could lead to collapse or a leak which might drain the pool.

    In the event of a substantial leak, as soon as the fuel is uncovered, radiation in the vicinity increases manyfold, so the ability to keep the fuel cool by a continuous spray of water is doubtful, to say nothing of what happens to all that draining, contaminated water.

    In the event of collapse, you have the fuel in a heap, under and surrounded by rubble, and possibly no way to get water on it even if there is someone willing to hang around and operate the sprayers (assuming they still work).

    The assertion that for the fuel to heat above 900C “is completely impossible in any situation” is dubious since this always depends not only on the power output per element but also on the size and configuration of the entire mass. If the pool collapses, and the spent fuel is sitting in a big heap with no coolant, does NUREG/CR-4982 tell us what the maximum temperature will be in the center of that heap?

    I honestly don’t know how to assess the actual level of danger in this situation. But this article does not persuade me that TEPCO and nuclear advocates aren’t just keeping their fingers crossed and telling everybody else to stay calm.

  6. Paul Victor

    What I haven’t seen here and what in my view is the biggest problem, is the apparent destruction (but I don’t have any details) of the lifting cranes for the spent fuel. Does anybody have hard evidence that the spent fuel can be handled in any way should this be necessary (even in the not so near future- e.g. to bury the fuel rods).
    What I learned from the Japanese diplomat that sent the letter to the UN, is that they need such cranes but cannot now build them in site due to local high radioactivity. How can this be solved if the above is true?

  7. DV82XL

    @duke – Without knowing what you do know about biophysics and statistics, it’s hard to give an answer on the radiation question that would not be indistinguishable from my personal opinion. The fact is that there is a plurality of opinion on the subject from a number of legitimate sources and at this point the very best advice that anyone can give is to say that you have to research the subject in some depth before drawing a conclusion.

    The current state of affairs is that the data can be interpreted statistically to show that there is no effect from long term exposure to low level ionizing radiation, a small positive effect, or a small negative effect depending on the dataset and how it is analyzed. As such the absolute risks to human health are also open to interpretation.

  8. Brian Mays

    Duke – If you truly concerned about the aftermath of the Fukushima accident and are looking for reliable sources, you can’t do much better than to look at conclusions of United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and the World Health Organization (WHO):

    “Studies indicate minimal health risks from radiation in the aftermath of Japan’s nuclear disaster.”


    This is not from a quack website like “Natural News”; this is from Nature, one of the most esteemed science journals in the world.

    If you want to improve your knowledge of the health effects of ionizing radiation, then I suggest that you read the report from the National Academy of Sciences: Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation (2006), which is also known as the “BEIR VII” report. It is now available online for free at


    This is a rather dense report, with many references to the scientific literature, but even if you read only the Public Summary or the Executive Summary, you will have improved your knowledge and will be better prepared to critically evaluate the claims of such websites as naturalnews.com or infowars.com, who are only pimping misinformation.

    If you have additional questions, please ask.

  9. duke

    Thanks. Disregard the article. Got it. I know its not solid info. I actually receive emails from there in regard to folk style remedies as a basis for looking into concerns patients ask me about but since they had some wack-a-doo world ending articles, it freaked me out. So i went looking for people in the “know” w/ solid back grounds in the industry. Hence my reason for asking the question on this site.

    With that said, is there any concern regarding this? If this was slightly understated initially should there be concern that other info is as well?


    Again, im not trying to have a tone here, i just want to put my fears at ease and not worry about my kids and fukushima constantly lol. Where would you suggest i go to read about the specifics of the accident and how it will NOT cause a severe issue for the world?

    This article was a great start but i think its just that, a start. Since this site has many individuals in the nuclear industry i figured someone could address the concerns i presented, even if just a few sentences so i could put it to rest. I didn’t really get an answer other than the info being put forth, however ludicrous should just be ignored. While that may be easy for you to do b/c of your background i don’t know “why that is” from your response so it still leaves me concerned.

    I am aware of some of the discussions concerning background radiation etc. And again, i admit it is not a focus of mine. The condescending attitude about my knowledge of the human body wasn’t quite necessary but anyway, I wasn’t taking the position that it means death to all. It just seems that any increased radiation presents a problem to cell proliferation from its initial gene sequence. To infer its all safe b/c no ones died of a microwave in their house sounds a little optomistic considering you won’t find it if you don’t look for it.

    Don’t get me wrong, im not looking for a long winded argument like pissed america so i won’t take that away from the two of you, this will actually be my last post. If the only assurance you can provide to all my queries above is don’t read other sites that aren’t referencing engineering textbooks and no one has died of background radiation yet so don’t worry about it being dispersed by nuclear facilities, i don’t really know who im supposed to ask? Id prefer not to have to worry about any of fukushimas issues at all. I was kinda hoping I would get a bit more of an explanation since i admitted i know little regarding nuclear energy. Talk to me like im your 5 year old asking you if i should be afraid b/c little johnny said the world was going to end b/c of fukushima exploding.

    Its not that i don’t want to learn, its that i don’t have the time to become a nuclear engineer to discuss it with you. If i did, then i wouldn’t need your opinion. sorry.

  10. DV82XL

    First if you are planning to go into medicine, I would suggest that you acquire a foundation in the basic sciences and in doing so learn to judge source material better than you do now. Natural News doesn’t reference the material that it publishes back to primary sources, and makes some rather astonishing claims in many areas without providing anything in the way of solid proof.

    Generally speaking sites of this nature are of limited value when researching any topic and indeed if you look closely most of them claim somewhere in the fine print that they are primarily for entertainment not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind and cannot be held responsible for the contents of the articles they publish. This should be a red flag as to the reliability of the information you might find on such sites.

    As for (ionizing) radiation and its impact on health at low doses, I would suggest that you again first learn enough of the fundamentals of radiation biophysics and statistics and then research the topic yourself. As it stands there is a plurality of opinion on the subject, much of which can only be understood if you have a basic grounding in these subjects.

    Having said that consider that natural background radiation in some parts of the world are rather high yet there is no evidence that populations in these places have been adversely impacted health wise. This would seem to indicate that the dangers from long exposure to low level ionizing radiation are not as bad as some think.

  11. duke

    Sorry to jump in the middle of this thread so late but ive read it w/ much interest. I am an aspiring medical student and admit i know little of the nuclear industry or how the atom is harnassed. I will say that when this occurred and i began reading all the apocalyptic news my heart sank.

    This site is a breath of fresh air in order to provide some real understanding of the issues. I am glad to learn the potential for some apocalyptic ending is not likely to occur. Unfortunately I came across this site second hand, it was not in the first few pages of any google search.

    Regardless, i do have a few questions i was hoping someone more knowledgeable than me could answer.

    1. Many of the threads here indicate the radiation in the evacuation zone is not dangerous. I know this article is sourced from Gunderson but i would appreciate if someone could shed light on the alleged soil test results they claim he completed.


    2. The site also references the potential for a seismic event to crack the cooling pool and expose the rods to open air leading to an apocalyptic explosion. I see we have covered this in this article but is this scenario possible?

    3. This is another article from the same site w/ references from other blog sites, japanese ambassador and again, gunderson. It alleges cover up, alleges 18,000 increased stillbirths post accident as well as a host of other allegations. If anyone could rebutt any or all of these allegations i would appreciate it.


    4. I have seen a few references in the comments to radiation being safe and i was curious as to the belief behind these assertions. I know thats a long discussion but i would tend to disagree with radiation exposure being harmless regardless of how small the dose.

    Again, im not trying to butt heads w/ anyone here or jump into the ongoing argument. i was just hoping someone with the knowledge of nuclear energy could help alleviate my concerns by answering my questions. I also admit i have not had the chance to read anything else on this site yet so i apologize if this is all addressed elsewhere.

    Thanks for your time!

  12. PissedOffAmerican

    “If you are not willing to consider the facts around Jaczko’s diplomatic incident when he should have had the correct status of Fukushima but instead publicly stated that Americans should move beyond 50 miles (while saying nothing about any other nationality) then this discussion is no longer about trust as you claim”

    On one side of the coin you seem to want to forgive TEPCO from its inept initial handling of the situation, and the many inaccuracies in its early reports, due to “the heat of the moment”. Yet, on the other side, you want to demonize Jaczko for falling victim to the same “heat of the moment” confusions that you forgive TEPCO for.

    Personally, I think Jaczko’s real sin, the reason for his contentious tenure, was his unwillingness to drop his drawers and bend over for you guys. You wanted a poodle, and you got a bulldog.

    Personally, had my family been in Japan at the early stages of this event, I would want any involved American official to err on the extreme side of caution, particularly if I had infants in my family. Truth be told, in those early stages it would not have been unreasonable to consider huge aftershocks and subsequent tsunamis. In reality, you really had no way to gauge which direction this disaster was going to head, for the worse, or the better. In a worst case scenario, with Americans receiving high doses resulting in radiation sickness, how do you think the American public would have reacted if Jaczko had of told the Americans in Japan “Hey, it ain’t no big thing, stay put”???

    (And please, may I see collaboration for your assertion that Jaczko had pregnant women considering abortions? Sounds like propaganda to me)

    We now learn that the radiation released was allegedly double the amount originally reported by TEPCO. (This from TEPCO) Certainly, one would have hoped, for the safety of the general populace, that the initial estimates would have erred on the side of caution. But no, the early estimates erred in the opposite direction, (predictably considering TEPCO’s and the industry’s history), understating the amounts of radiation released. Yet you malign Jaczko, and defend TEPCO. Theres a disconnect there. Really, the bias in the manner you folks are meting out judgements is painfully obvious, whether it be by tolerating loudmouthed “pro” bullies on your websites while chastizing posters such as myself, or the blatantly hypocritical judgements you award to officials and dignitaries that don’t march to your drum.

    And a quick note on the Yakuza thing. Having a sister highly succesful in the garment industry, both in L.A. and New York, I have some working knowledge about how organized crime weasels its way into industry. And your assertion that it only does so by sending in labor is BS. Initially, it gets a foothold by the intimidation, bribery and blackmail of management, usually with an attempt to place one of its people in a management role. They can’t send in the labor without the participation of management on some level. To opine that Yakuza involvement is only on the level of labor is either extremely naive, or purposely disingenuous. It is not unreasonable at all to assume that Yakuza has people in management positions, and it is not possible to state unequivically that any tier of the corporate structure is uninfected. Nor, of course is it possible to state difinitively that there are no Yakuza members in engineering or procurement roles. The higher up the ladder Yakuza can place its people, the more diverse thier roles, the better the opportunity to increase illicit profits and skimming.

  13. PissedOffAmerican

    “….at your pathetic attempts to lie and prevaricate your way to relevancy”

    I challenge anyone at this site to post an example of me “lying” on this website.

  14. Bill Rodgers

    I guess we have now concluded this discussion.

    Trust is an issue. I agree but eventually facts win out. I know the facts of the situation will prove my technical position more correct then the fear based positions Alvarez, Gundersen, Caldicott continue to publish. Why do I know that? Because I am NOT in the business of selling fear of nuclear power. I am in the business of designing equipment for the power generation industry, both nuclear and non-nuclear. My work depends on knowing the facts of the situation and developing equipment to solve problems not selling books that proclaim a million people died because of Chernobyl which was factually wrong as the years of studying the situation by UNSCEAR researchers has proven. Caldicott can not change the facts to suit her anti-nuclear position or in an ongoing effort to try and sell her books. That is called intellectual dishonesty and is an ethically challenged position which George Monbiot for the Guardian discussed in his excellent series of articles last year. Spend some of your dial up time reading Monbiot’s articles about his discussions with Caldicott which she eventually walked away from because she could not back up her “facts” with actual data.

    So if you are not willing to spend time reading root cause reports about Fukushima then we can not discuss the issues on the same level and we are starting to go around in circles. If we can not even agree to the fact that Gundersen was spectacularly wrong about the hot particles, burning fuel, etc. all of which needlessly increased the fear of people living on the West Coast to the point that some pregnant women were so afraid they considered abortions even after talking with knowledgeable doctors, then this discussion is going nowhere.

    If you are not willing to consider the facts around Jaczko’s diplomatic incident when he should have had the correct status of Fukushima but instead publicly stated that Americans should move beyond 50 miles (while saying nothing about any other nationality) then this discussion is no longer about trust as you claim. This discussion has now moved from an issue of trust, root cause analysis and facts to more about how your beliefs from listening to 30+ years of FUD are being challenged which is usually an uncomfortable situation for anyone.

    Good luck with holding onto that position. Check back in a year to see the future progress of the cleanup of unit 4 spent fuel pool and lets discuss whose “facts” were more right. Ours or Alvarez’s.

  15. PissedOffAmerican

    Well, that pretty well cinches it, doesn’t it, DV8???

    I guess I’ll assume that Rod, Will, and Bill DO consider you a constructive and adequate spokesman for the science and the industry.

  16. DV82XL

    POA – You are so selective in what you choose to take from other’s posting that you must think we are all idiots. Not only that but you take them out of context, and you tell baldfaced lies. For example: the only time Rod Addams killed one of your posts is when it was filled with nothing but crude, coarse invective directed towards me with nothing else germane to the discussion at hand. Frankly he did you a favor by deleting it as it made you look like an ass.

    As for issues of credibility among those too lazy or stupid to familiarize themselves with the basics of a topic before making a decision, most generally don’t care what they are fed. Politicians and product advertisers have known this for centuries, it is a very very few that both refuse to learn and maintain that they are concerned with an issue like you claim you do.

    In other words, your attitude is in a minority, ether someone will learn enough to understand a topic, or they will be indifferent, ether way this makes you a member of a minuscule demographic. Like I have written before: you don’t count, as you don’t represent anyone other than yourself.

    The idiot fringe of the antinuclear movement will never be brought onside, it is a huge waste of effort to even attempt to. Thinking people will be decide based on the facts, after they have looked at all sides, most it would seem, when they do consider it, fall on the pronuclear side. Consider that the “industry” (such as it is) does very little public outreach, and whether you choose to believe it or not, (as if that would make any difference) support hovers around fifty percent.

    That’s why you will never get any traction on sites like this – the only one that doesn’t understand what is going on is you. The rest of us just laugh at your pathetic attempts to lie and prevaricate your way to relevancy.

  17. PissedOffAmerican

    “But I ask again what is the relevance to the current discussion about Alvarez’s end-of-the-world claims?”

    Credibility, of course. Those of us unschooled in nuclear science cannot draw our conclusions from anything other than the basic assurances of the industry. In this respect, Fukushima is a firestorm of bad PR for you guys. Eenie, meenie, miney moe, who are we to trust? It isn’t just the nuclear aspect of it, its the “bigness” of it. Fossil, wind, sun, nuclear, all HUGE corporate entities spending and putting obscene amounts of money on the line. And raking in even more obscene and unfathomable amounts. Will all these entities decieve, manipulate, lie, murder, bend regulations, engage in CYA at with every accident or catastrophe because of the huge amount of monies involved?? Of course they will, and they do.


    Are we to consider the nuclear energy industrial entities any more honest or ethical than those such as BP, or Dow chemical, Coca Cola, etc? We just watched the lying conniving criminal corporation BP engage in their CYA. And now we have this disaster in Fukushima, that the majority of us believe we were assurred WOULD NEVER HAPPEN. So, now that its happened, you wanna tell us its no big deal, just like BP told us the gulf disaster was no big deal. Frankly, we just don’t believe you. Right or wrong, people like Alvarez, Gunderson, Caldicott are simply more believable at a gut level. We’ve been lied to by these global power players in the various energy sectors far too much, for far too long, far too often.

    We don’t trust you, or the regulators that are becoming little more than advocacy organizations for the very industries they are supposed to protect us against.

    Reread this thread. Citing polls with no apparent listed methodology compiled by a “research” company that has TEPCO as a client. Calling named Japanese officials “anonymous”. Citing IAEA inspections as a foundation of knowledge,when no such inspections, or reports of those inspections, seem to exist. Claiming official IAEA statements do not exist because you failed in your attempt to locate those existing statements. Calling us “idiots”, “trolls”, “ignoramuses”.

    How does that instill trust that when you tell us that Alvarez or Gunderson is lying, or exagerating? That we should take your word above theirs??? I haven’t got time to immerse myself in nuclear science. I’m a finish carpenter, for God’s sakes. You guys have three reactors in a state of meltdown, and we the public have a head full of decades of of fearmongering and hype about China Syndrome, birth defects, the silent killer, cancer, etc. blahblahblahblah. So you tell me, who is the public going to gravitate towards??? And when one of us seeks you out, on your own internet turf? Well, read this thread.

    And in closing, please understand that I am rural, on dial-up, with an aged computer. I can’t see videos, podcasts, etc. Its not rare for a site to take five or ten minutes to load, and its also not rare for a site to freeze the computer. For me to do searches, or follow some of the links, is cumbersome and time consuming. I don’t do it because I want to ignore the truth, or “troll” a website. Like I said, I’m embarrassed for you guys. If you don’t have the common sense to tell someone like DV or Brian to stuff a cork in it, then really I don’t see where you get off trying to tell me that you are anymore credible than Gunderson or Alvarez, who don’t seem to have the sense to tell some of their more rabid followers to STFU either.

  18. Bill Rodgers


    First see the comment above where I point out where you read the IAEA log proving the Japanese did inform the IAEA about a fire within the Unit 4 spent fuel pool area. However a fire in the spent fuel pool area is not the same thing as the fuel being on fire. But I ask again what is the relevance to the current discussion about Alvarez’s end-of-the-world claims?

    Now am I going to apologize for my comments about Jaczko? No.

    If the IAEA had information on 15 March 2011 that the fire in Unit 4 spent fuel pool area was already suspected to be from the hydrogen explosion not from burning spent fuel then Jazcko had the same information. If he didn’t then that is his fault and his responsibility for not handling the crisis correctly. It was rumored that he also had US military assets at his disposal such as satellite thermal information which at the very least should have raised doubts about the fuel pool being drained and the fuel being exposed.

    Please read Dan Yurman’s articles linked below as an example of why I believe Jaczko acted irresponsibly at a time of crisis. Jaczko was the designated leader of the NRC whose primary responsibility at that moment in time was to speak to the facts which means that he needed to show his proof the pools were empty not a computer analysis and not create additional unfounded panic.



    Jaczko stepped into an international issue without full information, did not discuss what he knew or did not know with the people closest to the crisis, depended on a few people at the NRC crisis center which apparently did not include the other four commissioners. And on top of that, his actions created an international incident at a time when our best people should have been focused on helping the Japanese through this situation not mitigating his diplomatic damage.

    So no I am not going to apologize for my comments concerning Jaczko. Especially since his actions are still creating negative ripple effects to this day.

  19. Bill Rodgers

    I congratulate you for reading the IAEA log.

    The entry below the one you quoted at 15March2011 0515UTC states:

    The Japanese authorities are saying that there is a possibility that the fire was caused by a hydrogen explosion.

    So the fire in the Unit 4 spent fuel pool area that was extinguished at 15 March 0200UTC was already suspected at that time to be caused by a hydrogen explosion.

    The ANS report I previously linked discusses this issue and confirms the hydrogen was from Unit 3 and the fire was not spent fuel “burning”.

    Now answer me this question before we start going around in circles.

    What is the relevance of that information from the IAEA log to the current discussion? How does your finding that entry in the IAEA log from 2011 address the fact that Alvarez does not have an understanding of basic engineering or designs of fuel pools in 2012 since he has never completed an engineering class?

  20. PissedOffAmerican

    From Bill Rodgers……..

    “In everything I have seen about the events of Fukushima not once have I ever seen the Japanese make an official announcement that the fuel pools burned. In fact this very issue may be a contributing factor to Chairman Jaczko’s resignation since he has never formally retracted his statements concerning Unit 4 spent fuel pool even though he has been proven spectacularly wrong. So I was intrigued to see an official statement was made from the Japanese to the IAEA concerning the burning of Unit 4 spent fuel pond but curious that the entry you provided did not state a date even though it provided a time”

    So Bill, you gonna apologize to me???? And to Jaczko as well? How come an ignoramus idiot troll like myself could find this and a science type guy like you couldn’t???

    Bill, I suggest you reread this entire thread, and have a talk with Will Davis. You might wanna include Rod Adams. Look, you’ve been polite to me, and I appreciate it. Even if you did insinuate that I was just another “anti” posting crap from the “anti blogs”. But this entire thread should give you pause. It is certainly not the kind of performance you folks can depend on to win over the confidence of the general public. Frankly, I’m embarrassed for the lot of you. With a few exceptions, (you, Lumma, David, and a couple others), it has just been a display of pathetic “piling on”. If you and Will are not disgusted with the antics of some here, than I certainly have you figured wrong.

    And, Brian Mays. I just reread this entire thread, and you haven’t added one single constructive or informative comment. Really, all you’ve done is embarrass yourself, and like a kid on a playground, found a loudmouthed bully to pal around with. You might wanna think about that. Or are you content with your own pathetic performance??? If you’ve shown us your best, I really feel for you.

  21. Bill Rodgers

    Cleaning up the mob connections is a good thing and should have been done long ago. However the Japanese nuclear industry is not the only Japanese industry where the Japanese government will need to overturn those rocks. The Yakuza have a long history in Japan so using the rationale that any information from TEPCO should not be believed because the Yakuza slipped in workers means pretty much anything coming from Japan should not be believed.

    But to scratch below the surface of your comment, the workers that were associated with the Yakuza were construction workers not engineers. So if you find articles where the TEPCO engineers were Yakuza members then you may have a point.

  22. Bill Rodgers


    Once again this discussion is not about what the news reported during the days of the crisis. That issue is long resolved.

    There have been conferences about how the media misreported the entire Tohoku great earthquake including the events at Fukushima to the detriment of the public perception of not only nuclear power but also the long term health effects (or really the minimal long term health issues) to the Japanese population as well as the entire world.


    The issue of this article we are commenting on is Alvarez’s constant commentary about the status of Unit 4 fuel pools that is factually and technically wrong. Not just incorrect, a difference of technical opinion or a misread of the facts but wrong.

    Alvarez is even wrong on the number of casks/canisters it would take to store the Unit 4 spent fuel which means he does not understand the current state of spent fuel storage. Yet he is out there spreading fear about the nuclear power cycle. But he has not proven he truly understands any part of the cycle which is not surprising since his original claim to fame is in the weapon non-proliferation field not the nuclear power field.

    These are the issues you continue to avoid. Instead you continue to dig up news reports from the time of the worst part of the emergency. Yes those articles have an iota of truth to them but are not documents of record to use over a year later when discussing a technical issue such as the long term solutions to Fukushima spent fuel issues.

    Did you even read the ANS report I linked in my comment? If not, why not? (And don’t use the flimsy excuse that it was written by a group who support nuclear power. That excuse is just a smoke screen used by people who do not want to use critical thinking skills).

  23. Brian Mays

    Low character? Ha ha … and this from the person who has accused others of “ad hominem” attacks nine times already on this one page alone.

    Yeah, you’re one to lecture others on hypocrisy.

  24. PissedOffAmerican

    “I notice that you no longer post on Rod Adam’s site. Why is that?”

    Because Rod demonstrated a hypocricy in the manner that he moderates the site that I found indictative of low character. I think he is probably made out of the same kind of clay that you and DV8 have exposed yourself as being molded from.

  25. Brian Mays

    I’m proud that I’m above sophomoric attempts to hijack a website by spamming it with incoherent, idiotic comments. You just provided a perfect example of what I was talking about by posting four raving comments in a row. Bravo! A trained dog couldn’t have risen to the bait better than you.

    In my humble opinion, the administrators of this website would be perfectly within their rights to permanently ban your IP address. They have been patient enough with your trolling.

    I notice that you no longer post on Rod Adam’s site. Why is that?

  26. PissedOffAmerican

    In addition, in regards to TEPCO controlling the information…



    Japan – Freelance journalists face discrimination on Fukushima plant visit
    Wed, 23 May 2012 15:41 GMT

    Reporters Without Borders denounces the discriminatory measures taken by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese government against freelance journalists.

    Only two Japanese freelances will be included among 40 accredited to the third media visit on 26 May to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, badly damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

    Although some photographers and camera operators will be present, neither of the two freelances will be allowed to use still cameras or video equipment.

    One of them, Hatakeyama Michiyoshi, told Reporters Without Borders that a quota of four video journalists and four photographers had been set for the visit but the two who were not affiliated to news organizations would not be allowed to take any equipment.

    “Such overt discrimination is a hidden form of censorship and is unacceptable,” Reporters Without Borders said.

    “A year after the nuclear accident, the authorities and TEPCO are still maintaining excessive control over information about the plant and the human and environmental impact of the meltdown of its reactors.

    “None of the arguments presented by government officials is valid. The right of access to information, which is meant to be guaranteed by clause 21 of the constitution, applies to all those who work in the media and to citizen journalists, not a select few.

    “It is understandable that, for logistical reasons, restrictions should apply to visits but they should not be biased against freelance or foreign journalists. We urge the government to halt such discriminatory restrictions and to allow more freelance journalists to take part in the visit on 26 May.

    “For their part, the two freelances who have been accredited should be allowed to take photo equipment.”

    Further Excerpt….

    It was not the first time TEPCO and the Japanese government had taken discriminatory action against the media. During the second media visit to the site in February this year, for foreign journalists not included in the first visit, the organizers insisted on checking video images before they were broadcast.

    End excerpts.

    So, we oughta just take TEPCO’s word for things, right? Gee, I wonder, does Yakuza supply the spokespeople too?

  27. PissedOffAmerican

    Tepco, a reliable and credible company…..



    In the first arrest in relation to the yakuza’s role in Japan’s nuclear industry since last March’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, police in Fukushima charged a senior yakuza leader for illegally dispatching workers to the reconstruction at the TEPCO-run Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant. According to reports by Sankei Shinbun and other sources, the Organized Crime Control Division has arrested a senior boss of the Sumiyoshi-kai (住吉会) who dispatched men, including yakuza members to a construction subcontractor in Tochigi Prefecture, and these men were sent into the nuclear plant area where they allegedly participated in containment work for the damaged facilities.

    The charges pertain to labor dispatches from May to the end of July last year. The labor dispatch laws forbid dispatching workers to construction sites. Japan’s nuclear industry has long been fraught with yakuza connections which we first wrote about last June


    “The firm’s legacy of cronyism, incompetence, cover-ups, and organized crime connections were a large part of the decision to remove TEPCO from private hands”

    End excerpts.

    So, is it any great mystery that we should be looking for outside collaboration of TEPCO claims, PARTTICULARLY in regards to the status of repairs? And, simply stating that this “outside collaboration” exists is hardly verification of fact. I have seen NO evidence presented here on this thread that is convincing that TEPCO does not continue to be the primary source of information about the status of the plant and the ongoing repairs.

    “Because I said so” is hardly a basis to establish fact. But, uh, you can always resort to ad hominem. After all, some of you are just so good at it!

  28. PissedOffAmerican

    ” So using news reports dated during the crisis, that quote anonymous Japanese officials….”

    Minoru Ogoda is not an “anonymous Japanese official”.

  29. PissedOffAmerican

    “Sane people don’t post four raving comments in a row. I’m just glad that this person doesn’t know where I live”

    Amazing. You’re really doing this website proud, aren’t you?

  30. Brian Mays

    DV82XL – Looking at the sheer volume of his posts and the majority of their content, it appears that POA is mostly talking to himself, which is rather disturbing psychologically.

    Sane people don’t post four raving comments in a row. I’m just glad that this person doesn’t know where I live.

  31. Bill Rodgers


    Several quick points,

    I asked for IAEA documentation since that was the basis of your comment NOT news reports from the time of the accident. News reports are notoriously incorrect in a fluid situation such as the Fukushima accident especially considering the damage the tsunami caused to the basic infrastructure. Additionally most reporters were back in Tokyo at the time not at the Fukushima site. Physical location of the reporters compared to the location of the crisis will dictate the quality and accuracy of their news reports.

    That is why the IAEA timeline supported by information from TEPCO are considered a good document of record now, not news reports from that time usually written by reporters who have little background in nuclear energy. IAEA has had time to go back and review the records, the data, and interview people to determine what events transpired in what order. That is why every industry that suffers a major accident does a root cause analysis once the initial crisis has been contained: To determine the sequence of events in order to determine what went wrong and when, to train current and future operators, engineers, etc. and to correct equipment or operational deficiencies.

    Also it was widely reported there was internal fighting within the Japanese government about who was in control of the situation and who was in control of flow of information. One of the root causes of the lack of accurate information was due to the centralized control Naoto Kan’s government tried to impose on the situation which was flat out wrong, dangerous and quite possibly made the situation worse. So using news reports dated during the crisis, that quote anonymous Japanese officials, do not carry much weight now that we have more accurate timelines from IAEA and other organizations.

    Yes there was an explosion but that was due to the hydrogen buildup as the ANS report linked below discusses. The report also discusses the fact that many observers thought the fuel pool was uncovered but that later to be proven an incorrect assumption. However the accident team responded as if the fuel pool was slowly losing water which still appears to be the correct decision in the face of inadequate monitoring equipment. In other words, in the moment of the crisis it appears the accident response team made the conservative choice and kept putting water into the fuel pool.

    However as later data proved, the fuel pool was never in danger of being uncovered. It was strictly the hydrogen explosion which was caused by backflow from Unit 3 that made it appear as if the water from Unit 4 fuel pool was evaporating. See pages 12-13.

    ( NOTE: the link below will download a pdf from the ANS website)


    Finally this entire discussion about whether or not Unit 4 fuel pool caught fire or not during the first days of the accident is not germane to the current discussion raised by Alvarez and Gundersen. The entire point of this article was to discuss not what happened when, but to discuss why Alvarez’s analysis about how Unit 4 fuel pool MIGHT fail in the future is incorrect. So while this has been an interesting discussion allowing me to bring additional information into the public realm, I see little within your running commentary that disproves the basic points of Will Davis’ article.

  32. PissedOffAmerican

    For so call;ed experts, you guys ain’t too sharp. Isn’t it kinda obvious I’m looking for assurances that come from sopurces other than and outside of TEPCO?

    Egads man, I haven’t made that plain? What the heck is a matter with you people?

  33. DV82XL

    You desperately wish. The thing is most reading this thread see straight through you and realize that you are no threat to nuclear energy. Anyone else can clearly see that your pathetic attempts to try and control the frame of the debate, your refusal to state your position clearly, your attempts to sweep away whole classes of arguments, and your bursts of childish anger underline the fact you have nothing of worth to contribute, and you are nobody of note in the antinuclear debate.

  34. PissedOffAmerican

    David, I was not referring to your input as “worthless”. Reread the last few posts, and it is obvious who I was referring to.

  35. PissedOffAmerican

    Bill Rodgers…..these are hardly “anti-nuke” sites….

    From Fox News on March 16……


    “Japanese officials told the IAEA that the reactor fire was in a storage pond and that “radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere.” Long after the fire was extinguished, a Japanese official said the pool, where used nuclear fuel is kept cool, might be boiling”

    From the Guardian on March 15, 2001…..

    12.55pm: The Kyodo news agency has a very useful update on the status, as of Tuesday evening in Japan, of each of the six reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and the four reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 plant:

    Fukushima No. 1

    Reactor No. 1 – Cooling failure, partial melting of core, vapor vented, hydrogen explosion, seawater pumped in.

    Reactor No. 2 – Cooling failure, seawater pumped in, fuel rods fully exposed temporarily, damage to containment system, potential meltdown feared.

    Reactor No. 3 – Cooling failure, partial melting of core feared, vapor vented, seawater pumped in, hydrogen explosion, high-level radiation measured nearby.

    Reactor No. 4 – Under maintenance when quake struck, fire caused possibly by hydrogen explosion at pool holding spent fuel rods, pool water levels feared receding.

    From the BBC on March 16, 2011…..


    2327Minoru Ogoda, a spokesman for the Japanese nuclear safety agency, tells AFP: “We have received information from [the Tokyo Electric Power Company] that the fire and smoke is now invisible and it appears to have gone out of its own accord.” An explosion on Tuesday morning damaged reactor 4’s building and sparked a fire in its spent fuel storage pond. The reactor had been shut down before Friday’s earthquake for maintenance, but its spent nuclear fuel rods were stored on the site.


    And theres plenty more where that came from, Bill. They can hide some of them, but not all of them.

  36. PissedOffAmerican

    If I was Will Davis, I’d be embarrassed over this thread. These people aren’t doing you, (or the nuclear energy sector), any favors, Will.

  37. Bill Rodgers

    @Mr. Lumma,
    I realize it is late into this discussion but as one of the collaborators of the original article I wanted to discuss some of the issues you bring to the table. There are two main themes to discuss about your post. The first is the communications angle and the second response will deal with the technical issues you discuss.

    I agree a response to articles such as those published by Mr. Alvarez and Mr. Gundersen are always a challenge. Will the response be seen as a knee jerk reaction or is it a measured response to charges that are technically incorrect? That was a primary question asked by all who participated with this article.

    First on the issue of the intended audience: This is not the first article I have assisted with over the past few months dealing with technically incorrect information about nuclear plant issues and probably will not be the last. That being said, the comments I supply while the articles are in development are more along the lines of how to reach those who are on the fence about nuclear power in addition to supplying technical information from my own nuclear background. The people on the fence are ones who lack quality information to assess the situation due to the 30+ years of fear, uncertainty and doubt the core anti-nuclear group have been constantly publishing.

    My opinion is that people who follow Mr. Alvarez and Mr. Gundersen with an almost religious like devotion will never be convinced and any attempt to do so directly is an ineffective effort as indicated by the poster, Richard, below. He, like others, apparently believe that anyone who supports nuclear power are committing crimes against humanity. They are convinced the world will end because we are trying to harness the power of the atom which is a situation beyond their realm of experience and is analogous, in their view, to trying to play God with forces within the universe that we mere mortals have no business doing. So any attempts to convince that specific, relatively small audience nuclear power is relatively safe compared to other power generation technologies will always be a herculean effort.

    However there are still the facts of the technically incorrect charges presented by Alvarez and the greater number of people in the middle who are not religiously devoted to an anti-nuclear position that are hearing those charges over and over. So, back the question of how to respond to technically incorrect articles that raise the fear level of the general public unnecessarily?

    Engineers working in the nuclear field have learned several communications lessons from the Chernobyl and TMI incidents. The first lesson is that plant management and the politicians will more likely mangle the technical message due to incomplete information, broken communications channels due to the crisis itself, or even worse; the message is mangled for their own short term agendas as has been shown to be the case time and time again in many industries not just nuclear. This subject of technical communications problems during a crisis situation is not strictly a nuclear issue as the communications and PR surrounding the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico proved.

    The second lesson engineers learned or should be learning is that silence in the face of factually incorrect charges from the anti-nuclear crowd will allow those charges to grow and take a life of their own.

    For example the charge leveled by Dr. Caldicott that a million people supposedly have died or will die due to Chernobyl. That is figure is ludicrous, based on disproven research, and even resulted in the NYAS pulling their support of the original report. However due to silence at the time from people directly working on those issues, that charge from Calidcott now affects the public debate about nuclear power even after George Monbiot, a former non-nuclear supporter, called her claims into question. Her disproven claims have now become part of the urban myths and legends surrounding nuclear power that will take years to straighten out.

    Trust is the central issue. Trust has always been and always will be the central issue. Who will the public trust at times like this? Not much trust can be built up if the one group who should be supplying clear explanations are either unable or not willing. In the past, many engineers who could have helped provide answers and increase the public’s education level were specifically told not to talk to the press. Additionally engineers and technical managers are not known for their ability to discuss technical issues with non-technically trained people. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has made a living from this very fact.

    Blogs and other new forms of media allow not only anti-nuclear groups but also pro-nuclear groups access to forums that were never available in the past. This article was written as a direct response to technically incorrect spent fuel pool failure mechanisms laid out by the core anti-nuclear group of Alvarez, Gundersen and Caldicott. The goal of this article, and the recent articles on the SCE steam generator issues, was to put information into the public realm that previously has not been available to the general public.

    Are engineers and technologists that support nuclear power going to fail getting a clear message out to the public every now and then? The answer is yes of course. We have 30 years of FUD to overcome in addition to a culturally induced mindset of not speaking to the public about nuclear power and nuclear power issues. But is better to try to communicate using the new forms of media in my opinion then to sit back and let silence rule the day.

    Silence during a communications challenge such as that presented by the Fukushima issues is similar to a vacuum. The vacuum will get filled by something and it is better if those of us who support nuclear power and are willing to use new media forums work to get a technically correct message out. We will learn what works and what doesn’t over time but we won’t learn those lessons if we keep trying to have a perfect pitched message before publishing an article.

  38. Bill Rodgers


    Coming late to this discussion but there are some issues with the link you provided and the statement you believe came from that link.

    In everything I have seen about the events of Fukushima not once have I ever seen the Japanese make an official announcement that the fuel pools burned. In fact this very issue may be a contributing factor to Chairman Jaczko’s resignation since he has never formally retracted his statements concerning Unit 4 spent fuel pool even though he has been proven spectacularly wrong. So I was intrigued to see an official statement was made from the Japanese to the IAEA concerning the burning of Unit 4 spent fuel pond but curious that the entry you provided did not state a date even though it provided a time.

    So my curiosity was raised to see the source document from where you pulled that quote.

    However both Internet Explorer and Google locked up when I clicked the link. That usually means something is not quite right with the link itself. In fact Google came back with an error message stating there were too many redirects which indicates the link is not directly from IAEA. Oops … something really wasn’t right with the link.

    But in the interest of research, I went one step further and googled the sentence you provided. Imagine my compete lack of surprise when I found out my google search did not direct me to any official IAEA documents but instead to several blogs where anti-nuclear commentary was prominently displayed. I was surprised to see though that this very blog entry was high on that list. So my search indicates to me that Google search engine could not find anything on the public IAEA site.

    However still in the interest of really digging into the source of any possible confusion about the issue of Unit 4 burning, I went to the IAEA site itself and searched the Fukushima running log which is linked below to see what was actually said.

    Here is the official statement published by IAEA about burning at Unit 4 (emphasis added is my own):
    Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update (16 March 2011, 03:55 UTC)

    Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that a fire in the reactor building of Unit 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was visually observed at 20:45 UTC of 15 March. As of 21:15 UTC of the same day, the fire could no longer be observed.


    Now I can see how the phrase spent fuel pond at Unit 4 can be confused with the phrase reactor building of Unit 4 but the two statements are different. There are various things that could start on fire in the reactor building under the right conditions but there is little that can start on fire in an Olympic sized swimming pool.

    So to conclude, several observations can be made from my research activity. The first is that there is another public document I did not see in my google search which if that is the case then please provide a more direct link to the IAEA document in question. This document should back up your original claim that the Japanese stated that Unit 4 spent fuel pool was indeed on fire and they formally notified the IAEA of that fact.

    The second explanation is that a simple misunderstanding of physical layout of Unit 4 building occurred by others who are reporting this in their blogs. In which case those that do not understand how this style of nuclear power plant is laid out need to spend some time on studying the layout before making decisions about what is really going on inside or relying on individuals with a known anti-nuclear agenda.

    The third possibility is that IAEA information from their running log as shown in the link above was knowingly twisted to suit an agenda and then passed along by others unknowingly around the internet. I hope this is not the case since that would indicate a core group of anti-nuclear people who believe twisting facts to raise public fear is an acceptable way to debate the issues of nuclear power.

  39. James Greenidge

    Anti Rumor :
    I just found out that Mr. Gundersen now says it’s Unit 3 that’s fatally flawed and in danger. Again with no evidence, no calculation, no nothing … How can a so-called expert say these and get away with it without any repercussion to his professional career?”

    This is why it is ESSENTIAL that the Nuclear Assembly in Chicago at least squeeze in a chorus of de-FUDing the likes of Arnie and Helen and their ilk while everyone in the industry is one place and before the press!! Anyone at the Assembly, please bring this UP!! Don’t let Arnie slide and do more damage! We’ve long ignored his likes at our peril!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  40. Will Smith

    The other Will says he never heard of Unit 4 burning. I think these Fuku1live show smoke from Unit 4 and usually where there is smoke…there is fire.
    The Day the Buildings Disappeared (see the first and last 30 seconds):  http://www.youtube.com/fuku1live#p/search/9/dxzBKBKPLRg the afternoon of June 10, 2011 in America (Japanese time was 3 to 4 AM June 11, 2011).

    Then the next hour:  http://www.youtube.com/user/fuku1live#p/search/0/C0ZyT9FBkLw  (Buildings still obscured)

    Then the next hour: http://www.youtube.com/user/fuku1live#p/search/0/Ocusmf40rqY  (finally in the last 5 seconds you can see the Reactor 4 spent fuel rod plume visible as it begins to let up)

  41. Richard

    Nukers are morally vacant. There is no way to justify leaving toxic poison for future generations to deal with. You can’t negotiate with someone who isn’t even born. You can’t ask then about theirs wishes and dreams. You can’t ask them about their liberty and being free from a previous generations’ sins.

    It doesn’t add up. It’s criminal to the maximum, beyond murder.


  42. Richard

    I’ve just done another read of this blog. You nukers are so far up your own dates you can’t see the damage you’re doing. You’re not worth the air you breath. Disgusting and not worthy of being called human. Trash, that’s what is is, full blown trash.

    Give me a world free from nuke idiots!

  43. Anti Rumor

    I just found out that Mr. Gundersen now says it’s Unit 3 that’s fatally flawed and in danger. Again with no evidence, no calculation, no nothing. So I guess it will be Unit 1 after this? Or 5? 6? (Alvarez once mentioned Unit 7, and there is no such a thing.)


    He also said he “believes” plutonium from Fukushima went into the Pacific Ocean. How can a so-called expert say these and get away with it without any repercussion to his professional career?

  44. DV82XL

    POA – We don’t take you seriously because it is clear that you are not interested in doing anything but vent, and because you have nothing of value to bring to the table. You can even elucidate your own position in any coherent way. In the end you are nothing more than what your name describes you as: pissed off and American.

  45. David

    So glad to be of service.

    The key point here is – is radiation uniquely dangerous. It is NOT. It is not even vary dangerous compared to other forms of energy production. It is kept scary by the news media. Why? they sell more spots when they use the term radiation. Their major advertisers sell more fuel when Nuclear is shut down. Hum, a large portion of the cost of Fukushima is the replacement cost of the fuel used to generate electricity.

  46. David

    Yes, you are exactly correct. That the slightly higher capital cost for Nuclear – why are you quoting 2007 and 2008 numbers for coal plants, I quoted a cost in Indiana last year? The plant in Indiana is nearly 5000 dollars a MW. I was working on quoting a small bio-fuels plant and we estimated that the simple small plant would be 3500 MW. The cost of coal plants is rapidly rising.

    Your contention that the cost of Fukushima is rising is mainly based on the constantly assumption – the real point of contention – that Nuclear is somehow much more dangerous than other forms of energy production. If the standard for radiation protection was as high as reasonably safe, the people in the land surrounding Fukushima would already be back home. Excuse me but radiation is NOT that dangerous. The safety standards are at least 100 times but in many ways 1000 times lower than would have any real / measurable effect on human health. Reasonable standards that would keep people healthy, would lower the construction costs and lower the cost of any future accident.

  47. PissedOffAmerican

    Two worthless posts in a row.

    Congrats, you guys, you have really done your compatriots proud here. You’re real assets to the site.

  48. DV82XL

    You are right James, POA is nothing but hot air and sophistry, transparent to anyone that sees how he twists and prevaricates to avoid real engagement.

  49. PissedOffAmerican

    “Sigh, again, POA is just a super-troll getting his jollies off yanking strings”

    Another brilliant post offered by one of the “experts”.

  50. James Greenidge

    POA: “And, after all, we were assured by the industry that a disaster on this scale was highly unlikely, if not impossible.”

    Er, the media also said it’d take years to douse the Iraq War oil field fire eco-disaster, just like ANY meltdown IS Doomsday! I know — I remember the media’s TMI rant!

    Sigh, again, POA is just a super-troll getting his jollies off yanking strings. He and anti-nukes are next going to try to block nukes by requiring them to be so asteroid-proof that SOMEBODY must get hurt…

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  51. PissedOffAmerican

    Heres a 2008 article I found with a quick search. I looked at other articles, and they seemed to lean towards advocacy, or demonization. This particular article seemed pretty straightforward and matter of fact….



    Fuel costs for nuclear plants are a minor proportion of total generating costs, though capital costs are greater than those for coal-fired plants and much greater than those for gas-fired plants.

    Additional Excerpt…

    In May 2008 South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. and Santee Cooper locked in the price and schedule of new reactors for their Summer plant in South Carolina at $9.8 billion. (The budgeted cost earlier in the process was $10.8 billion, but some construction and material costs ended up less than projected.) The EPC contract for completing two 1,117-MW AP1000s is with Westinghouse and the Shaw Group. Beyond the cost of the actual plants, the figure includes forecast inflation and owners’ costs for site preparation, contingencies and project financing. The units are expected to be in commercial operation in 2016 and 2019.

    In November 2008 Duke Energy Carolinas raised the cost estimate for its Lee plant (2 x 1117 MWe AP1000) to $11 billion, excluding finance and inflation, but apparently including other owners costs.

    In November 2008 TVA updated its estimates for Bellefonte units 3 & 4 for which it had submitted a COL application for twin AP1000 reactors, total 2234 MWe. It said that overnight capital cost estimates ranged from $2516 to $4649/kW for a combined construction cost of $5.6 to 10.4 billion. Total cost to the owners would be $9.9 to $17.5 billion.

    Regarding bare plant costs, some recent figures apparently for overnight capital cost (or Engineering, Procurement and Construction – EPC – cost) quoted from reputable sources but not necessarily comparable are:

    EdF Flamanville EPR: EUR 4 billion/$5.6 billion, so EUR 2434/kW or $3400/kW
    Bruce Power Alberta 2×1100 MWe ACR, $6.2 billion, so $2800/kW
    CGNPC Hongyanhe 4×1080 CPR-1000 $6.6 billion, so $1530/kW
    AEO Novovronezh 6&7 2136 MWe net for $5 billion, so $2340/kW
    AEP Volgodonsk 3 & 4, 2 x 1200 MWe VVER $4.8 billion, so $2000/kW
    KHNP Shin Kori 3&4 1350 MWe APR-1400 for $5 billion, so $1850/kW
    FPL Turkey Point 2 x 1100 MWe AP1000 $2444 to $3582/kW
    Progress Energy Levy county 2 x 1105 MWe AP1000 $3462/kW
    NRG South Texas 2 x 1350 MWe ABWR $8 billion, so $2900/kW
    ENEC for UAE from Kepco, 4 x 1400 MWe APR-1400 $20.4 billion, so $3643/kW

    End Excerpt.

    And heres a NYTs article, vintage 2007, that addresses the cost of coal fired plants..,.



    Soaring prices for materials like this nickel mined in Norilsk, Russia, have helped drive up construction costs for energy plants.

    General Electric called in reporters yesterday for a briefing on a nuclear plant it is trying to sell in partnership with Hitachi, a plant it said can be built faster than before, operated reliably and have a vanishingly small chance of an accident.

    Skip to next paragraph

    But what will it cost? After some hemming and hawing, company executives gave figures by the standard industry metric, dollars per kilowatt of capacity, but in a huge range: $2,000 to $3,000.

    “There’s massive inflation in copper and nickel and stainless steel and concrete,” said John Krenecki, president and chief executive of GE Energy. The uncertainty is not just in nuclear plants, he said; coal plant prices are now similarly unstable.

    As talk of building new power plants rises sharply, so does the cost. A new fleet of coal-fired power plants and a revival of nuclear construction after three decades are both looking tougher lately.

    For example, in late 2004, Duke Energy, one of the country’s largest utilities and most experienced builders, started planning a pair of coal-fired power plants to replace several built around the middle of the last century, at Cliffside, in western North Carolina. In May 2005, the company told regulators it wanted to spend $2 billion to build twin 800-megawatt units. But 18 months later, in November 2006, Duke said it would cost $3 billion. Then the state utility commission said to build only one of the plants, and in May of this year Duke said that would cost $1.83 billion, an increase of more than 80 percent from the original estimate.

    End excerpt.

    Well, granted this was a quick search, and there is a huge volume of essays, reports, and opinions to draw from. But there seems to be a huge difference between the start up costs of an NPP and a coal fired plant.

    If one could be convinced that an NPP would be safe, the higher price of construction would certainly be OK with me, as I am no fan of coal fired power generation. But the assurances of safety, so far, from the nuclear industry have proven to be empty. Despite the contention some here offer that the disaster at Fukushima “hasn’t killed anyone”, the actual costs of this disaster are astronomical, and compounding. It is not unreasonable to expect this disaster to cost far more than the actual costs of constructing an NPP, many times over. And, after all, we were assured by the industry that a disaster on this scale was highly unlikely, if not impossible.

  52. PissedOffAmerican

    “The construction of NPPs compares very well with the construction of any other type of new power plant. A 650 MW coal plant in Indian will cost Duke energy 3.2 billion dollars. This is without any type of clean coal / carbon capture equipment”

    Thank you for your civil response.

    I am a bit confused by the above paragraph. I see no projected cost for an NPP, from which to draw a comparison. I do wonder what the comparative costs here would be, considering that any coal plant would of course have to have clean coal / carbon capture equipment that the Indian government may not require. I find it difficult to imagine that an NPP with more than one or two reactors could be built for 3.2 billion, here or in India. But I have never researched the alleged costs of constructing a domestic NPP, so I am simply punting.

  53. David

    “And require huge government subsidies to cover the costs of construction. And, when failures and accidents occur, (such as at Fukushima), require expenditures far exceeding their potential for profitability.”

    If the argument is changing from safety to economics, I would be glad to take that up. Government Loan guarantees are not subsidies – they are repaid. They are needed because the largest financial risk is the potential for a government agency or entity at some level to simply cancel the project after billions have been invested. Loan guarantees reduce that risk. There is really no other risk to this investment.

    The construction of NPPs compares very well with the construction of any other type of new power plant. A 650 MW coal plant in Indian will cost Duke energy 3.2 billion dollars. This is without any type of clean coal / carbon capture equipment.

  54. PissedOffAmerican

    By the way, do you really think your elitist, pompous, and condescending spit has earned you the right to make demands of me?

    I have provided plenty of links and commentary on this thread to buttress my arguments and assertions. Yet, when queried, you and Wayne have provided next to nothing, except spittle and drool. And when reasonable requests were made for you or he to provide collaboration for your assertions, or basic poll protocols for a highly suspect poll, you have been unable to do so.

    You’d have to be an idiot to cheerlead for a poll that does not reference the methodology used in reaching its conclusions. Apparently, this simple premise has managed to elude capture by your self-proffessed intellectual superiority.

    Keep braying. I’m pretty sure, by now, that many here recognize who the burro is.

  55. PissedOffAmerican

    “Nuclear power plants are extremely competitive in nearly all market conditions as they have very low sensitivity to fuel costs”

    And require huge government subsidies to cover the costs of construction. And, when failures and accidents occur, (such as at Fukushima), require expenditures far exceeding their potential for profitability.

    My “position” is clear, despite your incessant braying to the contrary. braying.

  56. DV82XL

    See it’s easy, I’ll state mine:

    I support nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is one of the great scientific discoveries of the past century and represents a valuable piece of intellectual capital to be passed on to future generations. Nuclear energy is a nearly carbon-free electricity generation source and benefits from a large and diversified fuel resource base. Nuclear power plants are extremely competitive in nearly all market conditions as they have very low sensitivity to fuel costs.

    In my opinion the nuclear case is sound. Long-term resources exist; current technology is mature and enjoys excellent records in terms of safety and environmental protection; future technologies focusing on efficient use of fuel resources and minimization of waste production are under development; and competitiveness with fossil fuel for base-load electricity generation is real. Such strengths support the idea that nuclear energy should make the most significant contribution to a sustainable energy future and the security of energy supplies and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective manner.

    Now you try.

  57. PissedOffAmerican

    You must buy straw by the truck load. And you’re almost out. Better buy another load, DV.

  58. David

    Are you saying that it did not survive? Are you saying that the amount of materials released has hurt, harmed or killed anyone? Are you saying that the extent of the effect of the earthquake on the Nuclear power plants was greater than the effect of the earthquake on other areas?

    I.e. how many people have died from water and how many from radiation? I will answer my own question – about 20,000 from water, about 0 from radiation. Which do I fear more? What in the world does any failure moral or technical on the part of TEPCO have to do with that simple fact?

  59. David

    You have evidence that it has NOT been reviewed?

    The plain statement is that the pools which survived have been shored up. You are questioning what exactly? That they have been shored up? Or that this shoring is adequate? What authority would you trust to tell you that this has been done correctly?

  60. PissedOffAmerican

    “The fact that POA cannot make a clear statement of his position…..”

    Mr. Lumma and Mr. Walters don’t seem to have trouble ascertaining my “position”. Perhaps you’re drowning in your own spit, and it’s affecting your powers of concentration.

    Try providing me a link to any record of IAEA inspections of the repairs to SFP #4, or to the methodology used in the poll you were intitially cheerleading for. Perhaps this will clear your head a bit.

  61. David


    I have to agree with you. I hear constantly from my friends who live in Asia Pacific how concerned they are. Fukushima “50” has become a byword for disaster and people “know” what has happen. In other words, the PR battle is far lost and POA is raising fair questions about how we are responding. You have rightly pointed out that we need to emphasize the actual effects of exposure and QUIT using the word “magnitude.” Sorry folks – that word does NOT communicate! please use hundreds or thousands of times rather than “magnitude.” Comparisons with real life dangers – going to a tanning solon or falling asleep on the beach at noon are greatly needed. The engineer who was worried that the dangers were being minimized missed the whole point!

    I am a lay person who has studied the background science enough to know that radiation is just NOT that dangerous. Rather than fighting over LNT we need to keep giving reasonable comparisons. Like how many hours of Sunlight are the same damage as the levels of radiation currently found outside the bounds of the Fukushima plants.

  62. PissedOffAmerican

    “Look at the way he dismissively rejects the results from just about every major polling firm in the U.S. by insisting that the methodology has not been given”

    That is a lie, as anyone who has conscientiously read this thread can surely ascertain. I have singled out ONE poll as having no apparent avenue through which to check the methodology. If you are so sure of the credibility of this poll, your recourse would be to simply link us to the poll data and the methodology used to compile the data. You are, I assume, unable to do so, so you start weaving straw.

    Point of fact, I linked to a poll that even you cited, which did, in fact, provide us with the methodology through which it compiled its data. These strawmen points of contention you keep drooling forth with are ridiculous as a result of their transparency. You are, in fact, opening a distinct and clear window into your own level of credibility with these kinds of disingenuous assertions.

  63. PissedOffAmerican

    I see the discourse has degenerated to base ad hominem.

    Telling, seeing as how when prodded for collaboration of their assertions about the condition of SFP #4, this kind of trash talk is all they can come up with.

    Apparently the common sense exhibited by Mr. Lumma and Mr. Walters has made no impression on these “experts”. Experts, I might add, that expect us to accept polls with no apparent avenue through which to check methodology, conducted by “researchers” enjoying the patronage of nuclear energy firms such as TEPCO.

    Read this thread carefully, folks. Then, ask yourself who has conducted themselves in a manner warranting respect.

  64. DV82XL

    @ Brian – Yes he/she is definitely one of the most amusing we have seen in a long time.

    @ All – As for the general complaint that I am not arguing with POA on the facts, but attacking him personally, the reason for this is that POA reacts to any attempt at reasoned debate by trying to sweep whole classes of arguments away without dealing with them. Try a technical argument, and he dismisses out of hand as being outside his understanding, try to introduce expert opinion that doesn’t agree with him, and he will reject it as biased, make any unassailable point and he simple pretends it was never tabled. Look at the way he dismissively rejects the results from just about every major polling firm in the U.S. by insisting that the methodology has not been given. This from a person that claims not to understand science, one wonders if he would be able to judge the methodology if it was given, or would he retreat to his ‘I don’t understand it, therefore I can’t accept it’ defense to sweep them out of the way.

    When every avenue of rational discourse has been closed by this sort of sophistry on is left with few options other than to question the sincerity of the individual, and question what is motivating them. The fact that POA cannot make a clear statement of his position other than having a general distrust of any information that he doesn’t like is telling and speaks to the fact that venting seems to be more important to this person than discussion.

    The polls that I linked to (and there are others, like the Eurobarometer surveys) consistently show that public support for nuclear energy is far from being totally rejected by an overwhelming majority. Clearly and regardless of the methodology used, support hovers around 50% on average and that is a far cry from the assertions made by the antinuclear side to the contrary, and this is post Fukushima Daiichi. Therefore I reject the idea that people like POA are representative of any majority. (other than the unmedicated mentally disturbed)

    Most people that do not support nuclear energy do not because of less hysterical objections, or because they are misinformed. In general this large group is amenable to listening to reasoned argument and they should not be ignored while we fight the likes of POA.

  65. David

    Hi Steve,

    You can choose to be suspicious if you like. No one has claimed there was no effect, or that the safety system would lead to no effect at all in the case of a magnitude 9 earthquake and a 40 foot tsunami. Was was claimed was that the public would not be harmed.

    That assertion is true. Your statement that pollution was spread over a wide area is a way of exaggerating the effect of that pollution. The only concern the public has is if they will receive a dangerous exposure to radiation. That concern is well met. They will NOT receive a dangerous exposure. I use the word dangerous in this sense – a measurable effect that actually causes measurable harm.

    The reason that the two sides of the “argument” have not gotten together is that one of the sides is lying. That side avoids venues where their statements can be challenged by people who know the facts. One of the most pertinent facts is that the levels of radiation outside the plant fall within the range of normal background radiation around the world. There is simply not enough material to do any harm.

  66. Brian Mays

    Apparently, I underestimated the amount of popcorn needed for this show. This guy (or gal) is like the Energizer Bunny with a shovel — he keeps on digging and digging and digging himself deeper and deeper.

    I guess some people just have too much time on their hands. It’s a shame: so much time, so few straightjackets. Oh well.

    POA – Just so that you know that your efforts are not in vain, rest assured that your comments here will be one of the first things that I will point fence-sitters to so that they can get a good idea of the tone on either side of the ongoing conversation about nuclear power.

    Your hysterical rants provide a perfect example of the uninformed, emotional, irrational raving that is so often encountered from the anti-nuclear side. Your entire argument here seems to be one big appeal to ignorance, which some of us find hilarious.

    It’s rare to have so much quality, incoherent nonsense in one place. Most “pissedoff” anti-nuclear zealots usually storm off with a fuss, or at least retire, once they realize that they are dealing with someone who is knowledgeable about the subject.

    Please let me be the first to say thank you, and please keep going.

  67. Atomic Truths

    I remember the wording because it was so nasty and I had never seen such behavior before on that blog. I saw the post before it was deleted. So, there are other ways to be aware of the wording of deleted posts. Having a memory is one. No, I am not Rod Adams. You see dishonesty in my screen name only because of the dishonesty in yourself. It has perverted your worldview and filled you with prejudice. Again, perhaps pity is the best response.

  68. PissedOffAmerican

    BTW, the only way you’d be privy to the wording of deleted posts would be if….

    Well, howdy, Rod. There a reason you don’t wanna out yourself in this phase of the debate?

  69. PissedOffAmerican

    “I read through those posts and the reason the whole thing went as far as it did was because you provoked the one poster (“DV8″) with your adversarial and confrontational approach”

    Well, the readers here can draw their own conclusions, if it interests them….


    As for DV8, one wonders at your choice to ignore the treatment he dished out to a woman that had neither attacked nor criticized him. As I said above, your indignation is an example of gross hypocricy. I care not what you have to say. Your posts, quite frankly, have been as worthless as DV8’s.

    And good God man, whats with your monicker? Are you too dense to understand how such a handle immediately sows distrust? It like a used car salesman calling himself “Mr. Honestguy”.

  70. Atomic Truths

    I had ONE post deleted, because I called DV8 an industry sl*t, and a jack*ss. And it is the commentors such as DV8 that introduced the extremely adversarial tone of the commentary and instituted the ad hominem.

    You really shouldn’t lie like this. The internet makes it easy to call out. You had a SECOND post deleted because it was basically an anti-nuclear screed that ended with the general curse “Go to hell.” Now, any way you slice it, no matter what you might think of TEPCO, the nuclear industry here, the Fukushima Daiichi plant, whatever, that is one mean, nasty, provocative, hateful way to end a post on a technical blog. It is a mean, nasty, personal thing to say that indicates some desire for harm to come to another individual, and that is pretty despicable. I have been reading Atomic Insights for a long time and Rod Adams is generally a very patient and tolerant host, and having posts deleted by him really takes some doing.

    I read through those posts and the reason the whole thing went as far as it did was because you provoked the one poster (“DV8″) with your adversarial and confrontational approach. As I noted above, if you’d take a more reasoned and less adversarial tack, it’s doubtful the whole thing would have happened.

    It really is too bad, Mr. POA, because some time ago you made a note in one of your posts to the effect that “I never said anything about atomic energy being too unsafe to use”, or words to that effect (apologies if I got the words a little off, but that is my best recollection). I was going to grasp at that thread and attempt to find some common ground, but I think that ship has sailed. Unfortunate, really. You coulda been a contender, but all you’ve got is a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

  71. PissedOffAmerican

    “We have no evidence to support that the No. 4 reactor building is neither as sound or more dangerous structurally, compared to the other buildings”

    One wonders at the wording here.

  72. PissedOffAmerican

    “Looks like you lit up an exploding cigar on that one, “eh”?”

    Did I? Considering that he is so laudibly credentialed, it is quite interesting that he refused to declare the repairts complete, or to vouch for the “absolute safety” of the building, as Rod advocates.

    I just don’t get where this “exploding cigar” BS applies. I asked if he was credentialed in structural engineering, and you answered the question. Thank you. It saved me the effort of researching the man’s credentials.

    Now, I’m sure you will direct me to the reports of these IAEA inspections you claim to be privy to, and base your assertions upon. I’d love to see them.

  73. PissedOffAmerican

    “When TEPCO says that the danger to SFP 4 is now almost completely gone, from *any* angle, how is this at all suspect?”

    Here is a May 21st statement from Mr. Nakatsuka…..

    “What we can only promise right now is that the plant workers are still working to reinforce the reactor’s anti-quake capacity and will continue to do so”

    So, it seems these “repairs” that have been instituted, according to the resident “experts” here, are in fact being implemented as we speak, and are incomplete. Still, with extensive searching, I can find no references to outside inspections being conducted by agencies other than TEPCO, with the exception of Mr. Nakatsuka’s April tour. OK, I’m not saying such inspections, by outside entities, have not been conducted. What I am saying is that “Atomic truths” and Wayne, as well as Mr. Walters, seem to be basing their assertions on the results of these alleged inspections. OK, well, show me the meat, because I certainly am unable to locate it with extensive web searching. And, if it doesn’t exist, you are simply parroting the assurances offered by TEPCO.

  74. Wayne SW

    Legislator Ikko Nakatsuka is credentialed, I assume, in structural engineering? Or, if not, will Wayne attack his lack of expertise, as he did Wyden’s?

    Ikko Nakatuka has an engineering degree from Kyoto University, one of the finest engineering schools in Japan. He is listed as “faculty” there. IMO those are reasonably strong credentials, certainly moreso than a US politician with a law degree playing for publicity to his political base. Looks like you lit up an exploding cigar on that one, “eh”?

  75. PissedOffAmerican

    Heres an interesting twist. It seems SFP #4 has been in fact been inspected by someone other than TEPCO, according to the Japanese arm of the Wall Street Journal.


    An excerpt…

    “Questions have been bubbling recently over how safe Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant—in particular the pool atop Unit 4, where some 1,535 fuel rods are stored—would be if another big earthquake hit.

    Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been taking steps recently to address that issue, and last month it invited legislator Ikko Nakatsuka, Japan’s senior vice-minister for reconstruction, to check its work.

    The bottom line: The steps Tepco has taken look fine, Mr. Nakatsuka said—as far as they go. Speaking to reporters Monday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Mr. Nakatsuka stayed determinedly away from making big-picture conclusions. And in the wake of last year’s accident, he said, the government has learned there’s no such thing as absolutely safe”

    End excerpt.

    Interesting that these outside organizations that Wayne and “Atomic Truths” allege have inspected these repairs are not mentioned in the article, is it not? Legislator Ikko Nakatsuka is credentialed, I assume, in structural engineering? Or, if not, will Wayne attack his lack of expertise, as he did Wyden’s?

  76. PissedOffAmerican

    “You had several posts deleted because you responded to another poster with an outburst of profanity and what seemed like simple hatred”

    I had ONE post deleted, because I called DV8 an industry sl*t, and a jack*ss. And it is the commentors such as DV8 that introduced the extremely adversarial tone of the commentary and instituted the ad hominem. Your opinion doesn’t really interest me, because the selective indignation you direct towards the tone of the debate is an open expression of gross hypocricy. How do you expect people to react to the obnoxious spew offered up by those such as DV8?

  77. PissedOffAmerican

    “However, its’ not true that ALL of IEAE’s sources come from TEPCO”

    Nor do I state that it does. I simply request that, when assertions are made based on information provided by sources other than TEPCO, we are shown some collaboration for that assertion, and are directed to that collaboration. Wayne makes a blanket statement about IAEA information being part and parcel of his “knowledge” of the condition of SFP #4, and he implies that that “knowledge” is founded in IAEA inspections of the reinforcements. I simply would like to see for myself the reports of these inspections, because I can find no evidence, on the IAEA website, that they ever took place.

  78. Atomic Truths

    Because it is so.

    You know, this is another example. I have read your posts here and on the Rod Adams website and while I don’t really have a problem with your asking questions and making occasional valid points, you do so in a manner that is hostile, confrontational, belligerent, mean, nasty, insulting, and simply uncalled for. You had several posts deleted because you responded to another poster with an outburst of profanity and what seemed like simple hatred. Behaving in this manner often results in retaliation, sometimes using similar tactics. And then you play the victim card and complain about others attacking you, when your entire posting style is nothing more than attacks on persons and their chosen profession.

    I don’t know the reason for this but generally it falls into one of three categories. The first is that you simply like hurting others and attacking them personally. I know that happens often on the internet and there are many websites where this is the coin of the realm. But this and the others you have recently posted on are not those. If this is the case then most of us don’t have the time or inclination to engage such an individual. You’ll likely be allowed to continue to spew, at the discretion of the site owner, but otherwise will be ignored.

    The second possibility is that it is simply the way you are, perhaps the manner in which you were raised, or your life experiences have molded you into the kind of person who does such things. In that case, perhaps pity is the best response, because there is nothing anyone here can do to change that. In any case, most of us don’t have the time to deal with a hopeless cause.

    Third, and perhaps this is the more likely explanation, is that it is simply your “style”. In that case, you can do something. And that is, exercise your free will and simply choose not to be that way. If you really want to contribute to a discussion here in a meaningful way, make your points in a more receptive manner, and perhaps learn and educate in the process, then adopt a less hostile and controntational style. It’s not hard. Simply look at an issue with a less emotional viewpoint. Make rational arguments in a manner that lends itself to calm discussion. Most of all, lose that huge chip on your shoulder. Keep in mind who the majority of your audience is here. This is not an anti-nuclear blog. It is not a public news comment thread. There are educated people here who have dealt with misinformation and falsehoods spread among the public for a large part of their working lives. We are not going to allow just one side of the story to be told, as it so often is in the mainstream press. We are going to call out liars and charlatans in a way the media never would. Given that, posters who come in with a nasty, hostile, sardonic attitude will likely encounter some pushback.

  79. PissedOffAmerican

    Ah, a commentor that recognizes the difference between good science and bad PR. It doesn’t matter what the scientific facts are, if you present them in an adversarial manner, you are going to run into stiff opposition. And when you refuse to recognize the known past deceptions and corruptions of the industry, both here and abroad, you become a co-conspirator of sorts. The lay community isn’t stupid, or comprised of idiots and ignoramuses. DV8’s tactics and antics are far more “idiotic” than those of a lay person questioning the integrity of an industry entity that has been caught lying in far too many instances.

  80. David Walters

    On TEPCO. I’ve written about why TEPCO is not a solid source here, and other places. Wayne strongly objected to Mondy morning quarterbacking. However, the issue of trust remains. However, its’ not true that ALL of IEAE’s sources come from TEPCO. They have had a *permanent* presence on the ground at Fukushima since after the first week. They’ve had their own inspectors, as has the US Dept. of Energy and various university departments as well. Not all data comes from TEPCO.

    Now that TEPCO is under global industry/technology/public scrutiny, its very hard for them to actually lie about what they are doing. Very difficult.

    When TEPCO says that the danger to SFP 4 is now almost completely gone, from *any* angle, how is this at all suspect? When TEPCO echos well know temperature limits inside the pool, is this a lie? While it’s important to “go after” TEPCO when they lie, they also have to be, perhaps not applauded, but not doubted when they state the truth. You look at what they state, see if it makes sense, compare it to any other sources, and draw a conclusion.

  81. PissedOffAmerican

    “Your link does not work. I get an error message when I try to access it”

    I double checked all the links I have provided and all of them are operational.

  82. David Walters

    I don’t think I have to establish my pro-nuclear credentials here…

    I think the problem DV82XL is being back into here is the same thing I’ve personally backed the likes of Harvey Wasserman into many times (DV82XL being smart and science oriented, Wasserman being quite the anti-nuclear kook but, ‘sincere’ in his hatred of nuclear), in that the issue in large part we are debating is public perception. In this case, I think DV82XL is wrong and Carl, POA, etc are closer to the truth. The public is very nervous and weary of nuclear energy *even where they support it*.

    It’s true that most Americans *passively* accept nuclear power. Or if not a majority, then a very large minority. The “1000 to 1″ comment however, really is applicable to the *active*, not passive opponents of nuclear energy. I would say it’s about 1000 to 1 in terms of “activists”, people who get out there and spend time opposing nuclear energy. The aggressive “anti” crowd is far, far bigger than the aggressive “pro” crowd (of which I include myself).

    It’s important to understand you ‘enemy’. To know them, to talk with them, to other wise get a complete picture. I tell this to Wasserman everytime he shows up: “no, the nuclear industry is not dying, Harvey, in fact it’s growing, here, here and over there. Get your head out of the US sand and look around.”

    The problem with pro-nuclear bloggers and activists is that they preach to the choir as much if not more so than anti-nuclear fundies. This is why I go to the Huffington Post and to the DailyKos where, in the latter, I run a pro-nuclear blog, to engage with those that have a lot of questions and/or are opposed to nuclear and the *thousands* who don’t say anything but read them.

    I would take Carl’s *initial* comments as good coin that dovetails with my own advice and, experience. The point is to break through that FUD peddled by the Alverez’s of the world and make people passively opposed to nuclear to at least passively pro.

    Conspriacy: it’s not a question of proving a conspiracy, it’s acknowledging that the coal and gas industry do in fact oppose nuclear and it’s our job to expose this, and explain it, as a reason to SUPPORT nuclear as a ‘threat to fossil fuel’, which, of course, it is.

  83. PissedOffAmerican

    “I think I see the pathology at work here. You demand information when you want it and if you don’t get it you interpret that as others are wrong or liars, or there is some kind of conspiracy on the part of some evil corporation to keep things secret”

    Its kinda surreal being on a science blog that expects a poll to be taken seriously when the methodology of that poll seems to be unable to be located. And its laughable seeing you mention “conspiracy theory” when your compatriots here are screaming from the rooftops about some fossil fuel sector conspiracy against the nuclear industry, launched in collusion with the media complex. There is actual plentiful evidence of TEPCO corruption, falsification of records, lying, and skirting regulatory protocol. They were also warned that their seawall heights were inadequate to protect against a predictable tsunami height. It really doesn’t lend credibility to your comments when you, and others here, seem to ignore TEPCO’s history.

    “It survived a tsunami larger than any
    seen in that location. It has survived several aftershocks that were larger than any recorded relatively recently”

    Actually, there is historical evidence of like events, both in quake magnitude as well as tsunami height. And three reactors in a state of meldown hardly defines a common sensical interpretation of the term “survived”. Anyone of moderate intelligence, examining the photos, would have to question your assertion of plant “survival”.

  84. PissedOffAmerican

    “All of this has been reviewed and approved by appropriate regulatory agencies”

    Because you say so?

  85. Atomic Truths

    Your link does not work. I get an error message when I try to access it.

    I think I see the pathology at work here. You demand information when you want it and if you don’t get it you interpret that as others are wrong or liars, or there is some kind of conspiracy on the part of some evil corporation to keep things secret. Basically a combination of paranoia and conspiracy theorist.

    More plausible is that there is a logical and reasonable remediation plan in place and the people onsite, company employees, contractors, and observers from external agencies (regulators, IAEA) are going about their work in a manner that is reasonable and does not require a minute by minute public report. On-site visual inspection shows the SFP4 is intact and the fuel assemblies are covered and undamaged. This has been confirmed by isotopic analysis of the pool water. Measurements of depth indicates the pool is level. It is not “tilting” or leaking. They have added structural supports. Water circulation systems and reflood have added redundant redundant redundancies. Even if those systems are lost there have been added external reflood capabilities. All of this has been reviewed and approved by appropriate regulatory agencies (i.e., outside of TEPCO).

    SFP4 has already survived a seismic event that was more intense than any ever recorded in the history of Japan. It survived a tsunami larger than any
    seen in that location. It has survived several aftershocks that were larger than any recorded relatively recently. It survived a hydrogen detonation (the source of the hydrogen was the nearby unit that experienced core damage). And even if the very worst happened the decay heat of even the freshest fuel elements would not be sufficient to cause damage to the fuel cladding. There would be a very localized radiation hazard which would complicate management of the material, but a little shielding goes a long way in dealing with that possibility.

    You have admitted you don’t understand the science or math, so perhaps it is not worth mentioning, but the reduction in decay heat is not a result of any kind of engineering. It is a result of the laws of physics. Every day that passes means less heat load. The time that has passed since those fuel assemblies were used (November of 2010) is enough to reduce the heat load to the point below which the surface temperature of the fuel pins would be lower than that required to damage the fuel, even if they were totally uncovered. If you’re interested, you can look those equations up. Just do a search on “Way-Wigner formula” and you’ll find it.

  86. DV82XL

    @ Carl Lumma – They are not the best, but they do show that things are better than being outnumbered 1,000 to 1, as you suggested upthread which was the only point I wanted to make. Yes there is work to do. but it is far from hopeless.

    @ POA – Of course your not going to clearly state your position. I knew you probably couldn’t and in not doing so you have finished your own destruction and exposed yourself for the nothing that you are.

    Rant on all you want little man, without a clear statement of just what you are ranting about it’s just noise now.

  87. PissedOffAmerican

    “Those poll results are abysmal!”

    Careful, Carl, they might bring out the big guns, and accuse you of being an anti nuke ignoramus, (AKA “nukeranus”) sent here as part of the great fossil fuel/media conspiracy to destroy the nuclear energy sector.

  88. Carl Lumma

    Those poll results are abysmal! I’m glad you brought it up… I’ve been meaning to write something about how utterly embarrassing they are. 1/3 of people think NPPs are unsafe — a FAR worse response than the 1/2 who choose “safe”. How many people who think they’re “safe” do you think will show up at a rally to announce this fact?

    At the end they make passing mention of what happens when you include substitutes on the survey, like any real survey would do. People prefer solar 10:1. Which is why there are currently several dozen utility-scale solar projects being built in the U.S. today, and only one nuclear project.

    It’s not going to get better until we stop denying it, folks.


  89. PissedOffAmerican

    “I want to see you state your basic premises…blablah…spit…..drool”

    BTW, TEPCO is a client of Bisconti research as well.


    And, frankly, I couldn’t care less what you want me to do. Your attitude, and your approach, is loathsome and pathetic. I owe you exactly nothing in the way of explanation. For the most part your posts have been worthless ad hominem to the extreme, and even commenters that approached you in a civil and respectful manner were insulted for their efforts.

    I don’t have to prove anything to you, nor do I feel the need to. Your elitist “you don’t matter” bullsh*t disgusts me, and exposes you as a world class donkey of no pedigree. Not to overstate the obvious, but those that are truly involved in the honest marketing of safe nuclear technology would be well served by telling you to shut up.

  90. DV82XL

    And yes it’s a dodge, just like your refusal to entertain any science based arguments as being outside your understanding. And I repeat, I don’t care if you accept them or not – everyone else here will.

  91. DV82XL

    I want to see you state your basic premises, the position that you are arguing, That shouldn’t be so hard, unless of course you don’t have one, or you know that once you do state it I’ll beat you to death with it.

    Frankly I don’t think you have one at all, but do prove me wrong.

  92. PissedOffAmerican

    “The dodge over not being able to reference the methodology rings a bit hollow given the the firms that were responsible for them”

    So now its a “dodge” when one wants to examine the methodology used in a poll? Gee, thats a real “science based” premise. You’re a real warrior for the truth, arencha?

    Hey, why not precede all your comments with “Heee haw, heeee haw, he haw, he haw”? Come on, admit it. You’re a bilingual nuclear expert.

  93. PissedOffAmerican

    “Still doing everything you can to avoid stating your position in simple terms I see”

    You can’t determine my “position”, yet you can do nothing but spit?

    And I’m the idiot?

    If you don’t know my “position” by now, than whats all the drool about?
    Gee, reading your vindictive spew, its pretty obvious the “position” you attribute to me is all too clear. I’m very sorry you’re so confused by it.

  94. DV82XL

    The dodge over not being able to reference the methodology rings a bit hollow given the the firms that were responsible for them.

    It doesn’t matter anyway what you think, I suspect that just about everyone else will take the results from those firms at face value as opposed to rantings of someone that won’t state his basic position.

  95. PissedOffAmerican

    “Oh and try trashing these polls”

    I might, if I can’t reference the methodology.

    But, back to the original poll. You gonna show us the methodology used in the Bisconti Research poll? Or didn’t you bother to check it before you started waving your pompoms??

  96. PissedOffAmerican

    ” So POA is sending in fresh troops to fight his battles for him now I see”

    You’re making a jacka….uh…burro out of yourself. I have no idea who Jack is, nor have I “sent” anyone anywhere. May I suggest you stop digging, as the hole you’ve put yourself in requires no further depth.

  97. DV82XL

    Oh and try trashing these polls. Polls Show Continued Support for Nuclear Energy

    Unless you think none of these: CNN/Public Opinion, Gallup, Luntz Global, Bisconti, Harris and Pew can do valid public opinion polls.

  98. PissedOffAmerican



    Support for Nuclear Energy as 26% of New Opponents Say Fukushima Drove Their Decision

    24 Country Survey in Wake of Japan’s Power Plant Disaster Shows Nuclear Energy Now Less Supported than Coal

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Paris, France —In the wake of new nuclear power plant build rebukes in both Germany and Italy, a new poll conducted by international research company Ipsos for Reuters News finds that global support for Nuclear Energy has dropped quickly to 38% (down 16 points from 54%) to now become lower than support for coal (48%)—fuelled by a 26% jump in new opponents to nuclear power (above 50% in India, China, Japan and South Korea) who indicate that the recent crisis in Japan caused their decision.

    End Excerpt.

    Note too that the article includes…..

    “The survey was conducted in the aftermath of the accident and during crisis management in mid-April 2011. The findings are from a survey conducted in 24 countries among 18,787 adults (see methodology below).”

    However, while researching the poll cited by DV8 I was unable to find any reference to the methodology used in the poll conducted by “Bisconti Research”. However, I was able to ascertain that “Bisconti Research” was contracted by the NEI to conduct the poll, and that “Bisconti Research” has clients within the Japanese nuclear industry. Not to beat a dead horse, but wouldn’t you think that one would be able to locate the methodology of a poll reasonably easy??? I mean, surely, you science types can’t possibly advocate accepting the neutrality of a poll without first examining its methodology??? Wouldn’t a knowledge of the clientelle of Bisconti Research, and the identity of the organization that contracted the poll, demand close scrutiny of the methodology used in the poll?

    Perhaps DV8 will supply us with a link to the methodology used in the poll. iI mean, after all, he’s vouching for the credibility of the poll, is he not? Surely he examined the methodology before he offered the poll as credible, eh? I mean, golly, isn’t that what someone with respect for the truth would do??

  99. Jack


    Yes I’m new here and I have no connection with POA. But safe to say that anyone with any critical thinking skills can see through your arguments as purely regurgitating platitudes and stopping at “I’m right, you’re wrong” and “anyone who doesn’t agree with me is an idiot”. Your statements seem to all conclude with simple immature chastising.

    You make so many emotional and blanket statements that it’s a wonder anyone would bother to address your amateur statements. I won’t make that mistake twice. Enjoy echoing in the dustbin of the internet rubbish bin.

  100. DV82XL

    POA – I asked a simple question, do you have a direct answer? Or are you going to flail about kicking up dust to to obscure the fact that you have no solid position that you are defending?

    Oh and BTW do link to the comment where you got the quote “Go away you’re just an ignorant dog” you are trying to attribute to me. (you can’t, because I did not ever write that)

    But please, please state your basic premise, if you have one because I would very much like to know what it is.

  101. DV82XL

    @ “Jack” – So POA is sending in fresh troops to fight his battles for him now I see. I knew the coward would dodge a direct request to post his global thesis. Unstated he can adjust it to avoid any situation where he can’t avoid admitting he was wrong.

    Since appear to be coming late to the discussion, I suggest that you look to some of the posts on other pronuclear blogs on the issue of fossil-fuels and nuclear. The subject has been well covered in several places, and there have been some naked admissions of it from several quarters inside the fossil-fuel industry. This is old news that didn’t start with me, nor is it a unique viewpoint in the pronuclear community.

    Frankly if you think that the politicians and business are not the people making decisions you are a bigger idiot than he is. Yes mass action can move mountains, but it takes more than just a large majority of people wanting something to be – there must be a viable alternative. This is why despite most everyone wanting to see an end to nuclear weapons, we will never see the USA unilaterally disarm.

    Oh and don’t use terms like “appeal to authority fallacy” until you understand what they mean and don’t try and play games with lines like, “I don’t deny that it’s a very small minority that calls the shot, but they will never be the ‘people that count.’ Transparent sophistry won’t win you any points with this crowd, especially when it is so crudely done.

    I have written elsewhere on several occasions about the comparison between the fears of nuclear energy and other historic fears, like that of flying, most recently in the first comment on the post: Nuclear Fear: Is It Inevitable?. I won’t repeat it here. I have yet to see any attempt to argue that it is invalid.

    “The bottom line is we don’t have nearly enough understanding of nuclear energy to make any definitive statements. Please prove me otherwise that we have comparable knowledge to handling nuclear waste and power as we do flying an airplane. Everyone and their opinion is heading to the dustbin at the rate we’re going.”

    Rubbish. Compared to certain flight regimes, (which is why they are actively avoided) nuclear fission occurring under the conditions inside any current working reactor is one of the most well understood phenomena in all of physics. The reason for this is that the process is very direct and very uncomplicated. There is almost nothing of congruence that is unknown in this area, compare to aviation where there are still surprises hidden in the envelope.

    Nuclear waste is apolitical issue in the United States almost exclusively. Just about every other country that operates nuclear reactors deals with it, and without fanfare. You need to do some research before making assertions like this, as it only shows just how ignorant you are on the subject.

    It is beyond comprehension to me that anyone has the gall to think their opinions should carry any weight when they haven’t bothered to familiarize themselves with the plurality of opinions and the facts on the topic already out there. Do your homework, or at the very least come with a willingness to learn, otherwise expect a rough ride.

  102. PissedOffAmerican

    “A telephone survey of 1000 US citizens was carried out between 22 and 24 September by Bisconti Research in conjunction with GfK Roper on behalf of the Nuclear Energy Institute”

    Ah yes. The article fails to link to the ACTUAL POLL, which would give us an idea of the polling method used, how were the phone numbers selected, what area did the respondents hail from, etc.. So really, the poll should mean nothing to us until the actual poll methodology is determined, should it? Using the “correct” methodology one could get any result, particularly using a selective manner of choosing the targets of your polling. Show us the ACTUAL polling data, and it might mean something. Short that, its meaningless.

  103. PissedOffAmerican

    “……contention that the industry is corrupt, all knowledgeable commenters are biased, and nuclear energy is too dangerous to use”

    Who is the liar???? Where do I state that “nuclear energy is too dangerous to use”???

    Or that “all knowledgeable commenters are biased”?

    You misrepresent my argument in order to justify your own. It is really quite despicable, and a direct window into your own credibility, or, should I say, lack of credibility.

    There you have it, Carl. Thats the “Go away you’re just an ignorant dog” argument that DV8 thinks is credible debate. He’s really quite good at it, is he not? Seems thats all he can come up with, so I guess he has made an art of it.

  104. PissedOffAmerican

    The real irony of the kind of vicious self serving ad hominem that some dish out here is the misrepresentation of my argument through the use of strawmen.

    At no time, on this website, or on Rod’s website, have I questioned the actual science of either the antis, or the pros. My entire argument has been one against the trustworthyness of the industry and the media in accurately describing the severity, or lack of severity, of this event. I can’t argue the science, nor do I attempt to do so. I do, however, state a tremendous distrust of the willingness of industry insiders to offer an unbiased representation of what has occurred at Fukushima, and the safety of the other outdated and aged reactors that are allegedly of the same make and vintage of those melted down at Fukushima.

    Most of us (the “ignoramuses” that make up the majority of the lay population) believe that we have been told that an event such as occurred at Fukushima would never happen. ONE reactor, much less three, would never be forced to a state of meltdown by a predictable natural calamity. Those were the assurances, marketed by the industry and “experts” such as Rod and Will. And now that three reactors have melted down as the result of a predictable event, resulting in the displacement of a huge contingent of Japanese citizens, the assurances we recieve are ….

    “Yeah, ok, it happened, but it ain’t no big thing”.

    Or “Gee, we never figured we’d get a wave THAT big!”

    Or “Go away, you’re just an ignorant dog”.

    And the assumptions that fuel the animous that these people spit out are astounding. I mentioned, in passing, (on Rod”s website) that I live near a major windfarm, and that I was reasonably sure that the citizens of this burg (Tehachapi) would far rather share real estate with a windfarm than a nuclear power plant. So, one of the commenters at Rod’s website calls me “pro-wind”, when really, I expressed no opinion one way or the other about my personal feelings about wind power. I question the trustworthyness of the industry, and Rod calls me an “anti-nuclear activist”. Well, if my “activism” consists of going to Rod and Will’s websites, and expressing my distrust of the industry, than I guess he’s right. But really, I haven’t expressed an opinion, one way or the other, whether I am for or against SAFE nuclear energy production. Nor have I stated a doubt that nuclear energy can in fact be produced safely, or not. I merely question the wisdom of accepting the word of industry insiders that clearly have a vested interest in marketing the safety of nuclear power plants, considering that their assurances seem to be disproven by events such as that that occurred at Fukushima.

    So yeah, all this ad hominem and spittle, dripping off the keyboards of those such as DV82XL, has the distinct odor of three day old horse bedding, straw saturated with a hefty dose of digested alfalfa.

    DV82XL exposed himself candidly on Rod’s website. A woman posted a civil comment questioning the narrative of BOTH sides of the debate, and followed up by commenting that she was once a proponent of nuclear energy, but had acquired some reservations since Fukushima. How did DV82XL respond to her civil and non-confrontive questioning?? By calling her a liar, merely because she proffessed to have once been a proponent. Needless to say, she took her civility elsewhere.

    If this kind of PR from the pro-nuclear advocates is the rule rather than the exception, than your industry is in deep sh*t indeed. Lumma “gets it”. You might wanna ponder the wisdom of adopting his approach, rather than the bile a few of you figure you gotta burp up everytime someone expresses a concern for the veracity of the “information” an outfit like TEPCO molds to its own best interests.

    And BTW, Wayne, a perusal of the IAEA website pretty much establishes that the majority of the content of the IAEA status reports are based on information supplied by TEPCO. I will not hold my breath waiting for you to supply us with evidence that the IAEA has inspected the repairs to SPF #4, and issued a report. Even idiots like myself aren’t stupid enough to accept “because I said so” as a convincing argument.

  105. DV82XL

    @Carl Lumma – You need to step back and see the forest for the trees. Nuclear energy is under attack by those that see it as completion: fossil- fuel interests. They are the ones that buy the media and make sure that antinuclear view points get center stage. Nevertheless nuclear energy still is very solid. Six months after the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, two-thirds of those questioned in a US public opinion poll continue to support the use of nuclear energy. (ref: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/np-us_support_for_nuclear_power_remains_high-0410114.html) Don’t buy into the propaganda that the numbers on the antinuclear side are overwhelming because it is just not so.

    Specifically though in the case of POA, he has done everything he can across two blogs to control the debate’s frame by rejecting all scientific/engineering arguments as beyond his understanding, and is selective about any other source he’ll consider seemingly on the bases of whether it supports is unstated contention that the industry is corrupt, all knowledgeable commenters are biased, and nuclear energy is too dangerous to use. He is not interested in debate or developing an understanding, ether presume an open enough mind to admit to being wrong. He only interested in venting and looking for evidence that his prejudices are justified. Thus he, himself doesn’t count.

    Like I wrote, he has deeper issues that have manifested themselves elsewhere on the web. Nuclear is just a passing fancy for him. He really only is just what he calls himself a pissed-off American.

  106. Jack

    Given the nature of this website, it’s not unexpected that the comments are quite subjective, but is there at least any comments that are based on credible information or logic? In particular DV82XL,

    “Nuclear energy is not being blocked by the likes of you, or any antinuclear activist regardless of their conceit. Nuclear energy is being fought by fossil fuel interests who naturally see it as a challenger to its supremacy. It is their machinations that is keeping nuclear from moving forward and nothing else.”

    A blanket statement based on what? How is nuclear energy being blocked compared to alternative energy sources that really have been blocked like electric cars, solar, etc….there are over 400 nuclear power plants built in the span of about 70 years, that doesn’t sound like blocked to me.

    “If you need any proof look to the Ban-the-Bomb movements of the past. They threw themselves against the wall for decades to no avail – nuclear weapons are still very much a factor in geopolitics in spite of being almost universally loathed. The perceived need for those weapons among those that count overrides public opinion.”

    For me, there’s a fundamental flaw here. “Among those that count” – this appeal to authority fallacy suggests that for you the people that count are the politicians and business people making decisions. Fortunately the non sheeple recognize that they don’t speak for the majority. It is precisely this slave mentality that causes the mess of things like nuclear weapons, like unnecessary wars. Your “those that count” are the ones who send your children or your neighbor’s children to war while they and their children never need to serve a single day. I don’t deny that it’s a very small minority that calls the shot, but they will never be the “people that count” and meaningful change has always been a long and tough endeavor. Doesn’t make a wrong right just because those in power support it. History has shown power to be corrupt.

    “The public will overcome their fear of nuclear the way they overcame their fear of falling off the end of the Earth, electricity, flying, and several other technical innovations they did not initially understand, and they did so in spite of the bellicose naysayers that tried to whip up their fears and distrust. Like those, you and your ilk are headed for the dustbin of history. I’ll no longer waste my time pandering to any of you. You do not speak for anyone.”

    It’s just comical that you make yourself out to be the authoritative voice of the public. Your straw man examples are clearly not comparable to the issue of nuclear energy. Surely you are able to understand that right?

    The bottom line is we don’t have nearly enough understanding of nuclear energy to make any definitive statements. Please prove me otherwise that we have comparable knowledge to handling nuclear waste and power as we do flying an airplane. Everyone and their opinion is heading to the dustbin at the rate we’re going.

  107. Carl Lumma

    DV82XL wrote:
    “POA – I’ll tell you again here: people like you don’t count, you really don’t. There will always be a small contingent…”

    With due respect, if you think you’re up against a small contingent of anything, you’re dangerously deluded. The antis outnumber us 1,000 to 1, and their audiences easily outnumber ours 10,000 to 1. How many pro-nukes were interviewed on the news during the Fukushima accident? I didn’t sleep pretty much at all that March and I can remember two: Barry Brook (on a daytime TV show in Oz), and a panel of two nuclear engineering profs (on an Atlanta station… again, daytime). While we had a neverending stream of Kakus and UCS “experts” on every major news outlet. The situation isn’t much better since. The reason I stayed up that whole time, by the way, is because I could feel my investment in fission advocacy up to that point going down the toilet.

    Who here can remember what it was like to advocate for nuclear in 2010? It seems like a dream. Climate change had become a powerful issue… articles were coming out about how long it’d been since Chernobyl… enrollments in nuclear eng. programs were up for the first time in a generation. Sorensen was even taking time out from his thorium rotation to defend LWRs and ridicule antinukes — very effectively, I might add… Mr Davis would do well to study EfT blog posts from that era. But Kirk isn’t doing that any more.

    And in those golden days, we were only outnumbered 1000:1.

    In fact, popular culture is so polarized against nuclear fission, some pro-nukes have resorted to explaining the phenomenon as a petroleum industry conspiracy!

    Somebody recently did a piece in the vein of my comment above… “I hate engineers”. Here: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/commentary/2012/apr/15/tdcomm04-uranium-unedifying-report-meets-inept-que-ar-1841579/


  108. PissedOffAmerican

    A quick perusal of all the IAEA “status reports” issued between Oct 2011 and April 2012 (on their website) reveals no references to IAEA inspections of the facilities, particularly in reference to the reinforcements to building #4.

    As this perusal was cursury scanning , I may have missed a reference, if any such reference exists.

    I would be extremely interested in seeing whatever “information” Wayne is referencing in regards to the integrity and status of the repairs made to building #4, provided by a source other than TEPCO.

    Or, of course, he can just call me an “ignoramus” or an “idiot” to establish the credibility of his assertions.

  109. PissedOffAmerican

    The March 2011 IAEA “Status Report” states that TEPCO is taking the following action.,…

    “An investigation into the current conditions of the Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool is on-going. This is part of the preparatory work before the Spent Fuel removal process takes place”


    I don’t know why they are bothering. Heck, they could just contact you or Rod, and I’m sure either one of you would be more than happy to tell them what the “current conditions” are.

  110. Brian Mays

    Heh … DV82XL sure has this guy’s number.

    Speaking of “meltdowns,” I think that I’m going to need some popcorn for this one.

  111. DV82XL

    You do understand that ad hominem is justified when the motives of the person involved is in question. As you admit to ignorance, and refuse to consider arguments that fall outside your understanding it does bring into question just what you are arguing about here other than being irritated that you do not understand and others do.

    You have questioned others as to what their agendas are. If you are not interested in understanding the details of the issue at hand I am certainly justified in wondering just what you are trying to accomplish. Obviously you cannot hope to be contributing anything of note, and as a consequence it is your posts that have little to add to the debate.

    It is clear all you are looking for is conformation of your own belief that those with expertise in the field cannot be trusted rather than any desire to develop an understanding of the event and its aftermath in any detail.

    So yes, until you demonstrate some willingness to approach this with an open mind, ad hominem attacks are both justified and relevant.

  112. PissedOffAmerican

    As far as the IAEA ” status reports” go, the IAEA claims that these reports are….

    “….compiled from official Japanese sources, including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) through the Japanese Permanent Mission in Vienna and the Cabinet’s Office of the Prime Minister. Information is also provided by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant”


    I see no assertion that these reports are compiled by actual IAEA inspections.

  113. PissedOffAmerican

    BTW, if you are going to engage in actually trying to find evidence that the IAEA has inspected this “shoring”, and issued statements as to the adequacy of the “shoring”, I suggest you limit your search to the time period prior to June 2nd 2011, because thats when the IAEA stopped its updated statements on its website.


    Now gee, you musta got them IAEA assertions of building integrity before that date, eh?

  114. DV82XL

    POA – Each time you answer me, you confirm every thing I write about you. Each time you rise to the bait you demonstrate that your only real issue is your hatred of those who know more than you do. It just happens that this time it is nuclear energy. What you are really lashing out at is your own self loathing and realization that you are a powerless little nobody.

    Keep in mind that you yourself admitted you do not understand what is going on, and that is the real root of your frustration. Desperate to be seen as relevant, you are attacking those who make you feel small where you think you see weakness. Because by now it has sunk in that the facts do not support the existence of any serious threat, your targets are now those that you see as your tormentors.

    It is you that has destroyed any last vestige of credibility you might have enjoyed and you certainly do not represent anyone in the broader antinuclear movement. But please continue, I haven’t had a live one like you to provoke for months, and I so do enjoy watching you loose it.

    Public fears like those from your quoted link are the easiest to deal with in the long run, because in the end most want to understand and know the truth; that’s how all the other irrational fears I mentioned before were made to go away. Blowhards however have a different agenda, and I bet once this subject has gotten stale, you will move on to try and beard other experts in other fields as you have in the past. Transparently this is about salving your pathetic ego and nothing else.

  115. PissedOffAmerican

    Here is the ONLY official IAEA statement I can find about the shoring on SFP #4.

    “To protect against potential damage as a result of future earthquakes, TEPCO started work on 9 May to install a supporting structure for the floor of the spent fuel pool of Unit 4.”


    If you can find a subsequent statement from the IAEA, based on inspections conducted by IAEA personnel, regarding the adequacy of the reinforcements, I’d sure like to see it.

  116. PissedOffAmerican

    BTW, would this be the same IAEA that had the following statement in one of its reports???

    “Japanese authorities also today informed the IAEA at 03:50 UTC that the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on fire and radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere.”


  117. PissedOffAmerican

    “The IAEA has had trained personnel on site at various times throughout the recovery efforts”

    Excellent. Then I’m sure you can link us to an official IAEA statement regarding the repairs and integrity of the building as a result of their inspections. After all, aren’t you now claiming that your knowledge of the condition of this building is based on assertions other than those made by TEPCO personnel? Great. Lets see those assertions.

  118. PissedOffAmerican

    Here is an excellent example of how, as experts, you can alleviate the fears of the lay community, without attacking scientists or “experts” that may have a differing opinion.


    Note the paragraph that states….

    “Our impression from talking to our colleagues in Japan during our visit is that people have a palpable fear of radioactivity above and beyond the real risks, and this is bound to influence the authorities in the long term”

    Obviously, Steven Judge and Hiroyuki Kuwahara are cognizant that the lay community, and the citizens directly affected by these disasters, do “matter”. They recognize that “the authorities” are in fact “influenced” by the fears of the community in general. These authors delivered the kind of analysis and opinion that resonates with those of us less than schooled in the actual science. Of course, they could have attacked those “experts” that claim more severe health effects attributable to the levels they measured, but they wisely stayed away from such tactics to present their findings.

    The character asassination being directed towards Gunderson and Alvarez isn’t science, nor is it a component of credible debate, opinion, or analysis. When one reads the slurs and vindictiveness of the attacks against these two, one cannot help but attach motives to their detractors, and prejudge the veracity of any actual scientific analysis, opinion, or conclusions that these detractors subsequently offer. Openly disclosing that you’ve got a vicious ax to grind doesn’t exactly instill faith in your opinions or assertions, considering that you’ve already admitted a bias by launching your opinions from a launch pad of animosity.

    You could learn much from Lumma, Judge, and Kuwahara. Somehow, I doubt you’ll make the effort.

  119. Wayne SW

    And considering that it is TEPCO’s assertion that they have addressed the structural weaknesses of the building, you are simply parroting the assertions of a company that has shown itself as being less than trustworthy.

    You know nothing about what is going on there. I trust the words of the experts (not American politicians) who have been on-site and made the measurements and have designed and installed the additional supports. And those include personnel other than TEPCO. The IAEA has had trained personnel on site at various times throughout the recovery efforts. I trust them a lot more than any US Senator or anti-nuclear wise guy smart-ass posting on a website.

    I note you ignored that portion of my comment. So tell us, Wayne, why should we trust your lack of structural engineering expertise anymore than we should trust Wyden’s? After all, YOUR agenda is quite obviously well served by downplaying the damage Fukushima recieved as a result of this predictable quake and tsunami. Wyden’s motives would seem to be, if nefarious, far less transparent and expectable. I wonder, what motives will you attribute to him, (invent), in your quest to establish the existence of some sort of ongoing “conspiracy” designed to overplay the scale of the disaster at Fukushima?

    Buzz off, wise guy. I’ve had it with your snide, sneering, mocking attitude. You know nothing of me or my motives or my “agenda”. You come on these websites with a chip on your should a mile wide and do nothing but mock those who you have admitted have superior knowledge in the field. Anyone who knows anything about US politics knows exactly what Wyden’s goal is in making that trip and putting out these inflammatory, unfounded press releases. The guy is from Oregon, for chrissakes, he knows what is going to play well with his political base.

  120. PissedOffAmerican

    “Nuclear energy is not being blocked by the likes of you, or any antinuclear activist regardless of their conceit”

    Thats laughable!


    Deriding someone else’s “conceit”??? Your conceit and elevated opinion of yourself oozes out of every word that leaves your keyboard.

  121. PissedOffAmerican

    “Nuclear energy is not being blocked by the likes of you, or any antinuclear activist regardless of their conceit”

    You musta missed the protests in Japan, posat 3/11, eh?

    Oh, gee, perhaps it was all staged by the fossil fuel companies??

  122. PissedOffAmerican

    “(3) Decisions based on consequences alone is poor regulation and, yet, economic losses due to contaminated land may even be covered by Price-Anderson”

    Ahhhh, so, everything is just peachy keen. After all, Price Anderson will ride to the rescue! A shame ’bout the 150,000 displaced citizens, though.

    But hey, sh*t happens, right?

    Read today that the clean-up costs at Fukushima may well rival the costs of building twenty nuclear power plants. I don’t know. True or not, is anybody’s guess. Really, as a lay person, the true cost I see to the nuclear industry is the cavalier manner in which so many of the so-called “experts” dismiss the fears and trepidations the lay community develops as a result of events such as TMI, Chernobyl, Fukushima. Whether the direct aassertion was made or not by your industry spokespeople, the common concensus amongst the lay community is that these plants will withstand natural disasters on a scale that Japan recently experienced. Despite Rod’s glowing evaluation of the situation, you still have three reactors in a state of meltdown, you have over 150 thousand displaced Japanese citizens, and you have a firestorm of negative PR just by virtue of the disaster itself, and, as Rod points out, the machinations of those that seek to exploit this disaster to their own benefit. While you begrudge the so called “conspiracy” by the media to malign the nuclear industry, (by their silence about Fukushima??? Huh???), you attack anyone that seeks you out with very real concerns. So, who is the concerned lay person going to gravitate towards?

    The attitude that Rod and his minions, (Compatriots??? Disciples???) exhibit here, that the concerns of the lay community are of no consequence, is self defeating. Whether fueled by inflated hype, or actual dangers, the concerns are real, and exacerbated by events such as Fukushima.

    Whether true or not, we now face decades of opinion and so-called scientific “evidence”that Fukushima is causing cancers, damage to the marine environment, plant and fauna mutations, etc.. To make matters worse, TEPCO and its industry comrads, have shown themselves, in many instances, to be less than trustworthy, and willing to skirt or ignore regulations in order to maintain or increase their bottom line. Like it or not, the disaster at Fukushima will be blamed for many local and global ills, imagined or not.

    So, I’d sure think twice about taking the tact that many of you seem to be taking. Basically, you’re telling those of us with real concerns and trepidations to go screw ourselves. On top of it you are attaching assertions of credibility to entities that have irrefutably been demonstrated as being less than credible. How does that establish trust in the industry, or your assertions as to the safety of these plants?

    We matter more than you give us credit for, DV82XL. And you have succeeded, with your attitude, ad hominem, and pathetic elevated opinion of yourself, to show yourself as having a less than trustworthy or laudible character. Most political or industrial entities learned loooong ago that such an individual makes a very poor spokesperson. Obviously, Carl Lumma understands that simple concept. I doubt you ever will.

  123. DV82XL

    POA – I am part of the lay community. My background is in chemistry and metallurgy and I spent my whole career in aviation. I came to the subject of nuclear energy very late but, because I have a foundation in the sciences I taught myself the basics of this subject and now I understand it enough to sort the truth from the B.S. I have no financial interest in nuclear energy, however I do see that it is the only hope for a clean energy future.

    I hold you in contempt because you refuse to learn and I have found that most people see straight through idiots like you. As a result you will never make a difference or influence others. Ultimately you will be seen for what you are which is a general malcontent striking out at imagined demons; not the sort that makes a difference.

    Nuclear energy is not being blocked by the likes of you, or any antinuclear activist regardless of their conceit. Nuclear energy is being fought by fossil fuel interests who naturally see it as a challenger to its supremacy. It is their machinations that is keeping nuclear from moving forward and nothing else. If they suddenly had a change of heart on the matter and decided to support nuclear, your ravings would have no effect on the outcome.

    If you need any proof look to the Ban-the-Bomb movements of the past. They threw themselves against the wall for decades to no avail – nuclear weapons are still very much a factor in geopolitics in spite of being almost universally loathed. The perceived need for those weapons among those that count overrides public opinion.

    The public will overcome their fear of nuclear the way they overcame their fear of falling off the end of the Earth, electricity, flying, and several other technical innovations they did not initially understand, and they did so in spite of the bellicose naysayers that tried to whip up their fears and distrust. Like those, you and your ilk are headed for the dustbin of history. I’ll no longer waste my time pandering to any of you. You do not speak for anyone.

  124. PissedOffAmerican

    “What is “heating up”? ”

    I was referring to the seismic activity of the last twenty four hours. Of course, you know that if you followed the link I provided.

    “The stored fuel?”

    I made NO assertion as to the condition of the spent fuel, as it stands now, or in the future. If you have to resort to creating strawmen to argue against, what does that say about your overall integrity or trustworthyness?

    In addition, as my comment clearly indicates, I have as little faith in YOUR structural engineering background as you have in Wyden’s. And considering that it is TEPCO’s assertion that they have addressed the structural weaknesses of the building, you are simply parroting the assertions of a company that has shown itself as being less than trustworthy. I note you ignored that portion of my comment. So tell us, Wayne, why should we trust your lack of structural engineering expertise anymore than we should trust Wyden’s? After all, YOUR agenda is quite obviously well served by downplaying the damage Fukushima recieved as a result of this predictable quake and tsunami. Wyden’s motives would seem to be, if nefarious, far less transparent and expectable. I wonder, what motives will you attribute to him, (invent), in your quest to establish the existence of some sort of ongoing “conspiracy” designed to overplay the scale of the disaster at Fukushima? Or will you simply try the “he’s an ignorant dog” strategy that has worked so well at Adam’s site in alleviating the fears the lay community has developed as a result of the Fukushima disaster???

    “Take your boogeymen elsewhere, they don’t scare the grown-ups here”

    How’s that attitude working for you narcissists??? Winning fans?

    And I’m the “ignoramus”????

  125. PissedOffAmerican

    “I’ll tell you again here: people like you don’t count, you really don’t”

    That sentence pretty well underscores the self destructive attitude and approach that has earned you the loathing and distrust of the lay community. Keep it up, you’re doing faaaar more, with that kind of self-aggrandizing garbage, to harm your industry than any nuclear doomsayer could ever hope to accomplish.

  126. Wayne SW

    A 5.9 struck last night on the east coast of Honshu. Getting a little hairy for you guys isn’t it? We might well find out who is zooming who in this debate, eh?

    You are, eh?. Not “hairy” at all. The structures have already withstood significantly larger aftershocks, even before the added structural supports.

    In fact, if I was you guys I’d be crossing my fingers ’cause things are heating up over there.

    “Heating up”, eh? What, a relatively minor (for that area) earthquake? What is “heating up”? The stored fuel? You mean stuff that has been decyaing for going on a year and a half, with decay heat dropping with every day that passes? That kind of “heating up”? Take your boogeymen elsewhere, they don’t scare the grown-ups here.

  127. Herschel Specter

    I think a post-Fukushima constructive task for all of us is to re-examine the old question ” What is an acceptable level of risk from nuclear power?” Earlier AEC/NRC efforts at answering this question came up with the health safety goals where nuclear power plants were not to exceed one part in a thousand of normal (non-nuclear) early and latent health risks. Well, every analysis that I have seen show that calcualted risks from nuclear plants are orders of magnitude smaller than this. Nuclear power plant health risks are exceedingly low both as calculated and as measured post TMI, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Ironically, some respond to this huge margin below the health safety goals as if there were something wrong with the goals. If one wanted to be more precise, large , rare natural phenomena can cause health and economic damages far in excess of any nuclear meltdown that these phenomena might cause. That being the case, background risks are proportionately larger and the ratio of nuclear risks to background risks becomes even smaller.

    Since it is appropriate to declare that nuclear power does not present a significant public health risk, what then is the basis for today’s nuclear regulation? How should the NRC regulate nuclear power if on one hand you can have a Fukushima type accident, yet it is of little health consequence? Some want to redefine acceptablity in terms of the size of the land area that becomes contaminated and can not feasibly be decontaminated.This would be an NRC that regulates on the basis of economic, not radiological, risk. This may not be as onerous as some fear if economic risk is treated the way insurance companies do, by taking into account both the magnitude of the damage and its likelihood. When frequency weighted, economic risk is not large. As a simple approximation, consider an event that has a frequency of one in a million per year and a hundred billion dollar ‘s worth of damage. The premium here on such an insurance policy should be $1oo,o00/year + insurance company profit. Not too large in today’s world.
    Others may want to define economic risks without accounting for the frequency. In other words, decision making would be based on consequences only. This would be a great step backwards and might badly affect many industries. For example, the consequences from a severe airplance crash could greatly exceed those from a car crash. Yet the fatality rate per mile from flying is much smaller than the fatality rate from cars. If regulatory decisions were made strictly on the magnitude of possible consequences, it might promote more travel by cars and therefore more travel related fatalities.
    Even if some form of consequence limit were imposed, one has to compare that to the economic coverage available through the Price-Anderson Act. Today, almost 12 billion dollars in coverage can be obtained via Price-Anderson. While it still has to be looked into, it appears that with realistic source terms, the amount of cesium 137 that would lead to land contamination might be compensated for within Price-Anderson coverage.
    So let’s sum this up:
    (1) Nuclear power is not a significant health risk.
    (2) Nuclear power does not represent a large off site economic risk if event frequencies are accounted for.
    (3) Decisions based on consequences alone is poor regulation and, yet, economic losses due to contaminated land may even be covered by Price-Anderson
    If 1,2, and 3 above still does not satisfy some people, then it may be that the issue is no longer a technical one for this group. However, it still may be possible to appeal to some of these folks if they are worried about climate change and rising sea levels. New York City, particularly Manhattan, is mostly at sea level. A small rise in sea level and modest wind storms (not even hurricanes) will flood out the subways system which has its ventilation system air intakes at street level. A failing subway system would produce severe economic hardships on many, especially the poor. Cesium 137 contamination would decrease by a factor of at least 16 in about 120 years. Higher sea levels could persist for tens of thousands of years.
    Nuclear power does not contribute ot greenhouse gases as burning fossil fuels do. For some, acceptability of nuclear power may not be because of any technical argument such as safety goals, economic risk, coverage by Price-Anderson, but because, on balance, nuclear power has far less of an impact on the environment than other energy sources.

    Herschel Specter

  128. DV82XL

    POA – I’ll tell you again here: people like you don’t count, you really don’t. There will always be a small contingent of arrogant loudmouths that presume that their ignorance is equal to other’s knowledge, not because they give a damn about the issues, but because finding fault with those that do know more than you is an anodyne for the shame they feel for not being able to understand the world they live in.

    The fact is that there probably isn’t a subject of note that you do understand in any detail, and it enrages you that you must depend on the judgment of others in domains like national economics and finance, and your health on matters that will impact you deeply. So isn’t it grand when you find a topic in which you think the experts got it wrong, and you can try and rub their noses in it, regardless if it is really as bad as you think it is?

    In the end though you will still be dependent on your betters to run the infrastructure you depend on for your very life, and in the end they know it too, and your baying and barking will not have any effect on the decisions that will be made, because you can’t table a rational argument from a position of entrenched and admitted ignorance that anyone will take seriously.

    The most damaging ad hominem attack on your credibility is the one you have made yourself.

  129. PissedOffAmerican

    In fact, if I was you guys I’d be crossing my fingers ’cause things are heating up over there. Those “ain’t gonna happen” assurances of yours might just get put to the test. And, uh, to tell the truth, you guys aren’t exactly battin’ a thousand with your “ain’t gonnna happen” averages….


  130. PissedOffAmerican

    “And, as far as I know, other than people like Rod Adams, nobody in the media has challenged the credentials of people like Alvarez, Gundersen, and Wyden when they make claims about things like structural integrity or accidental criticality”

    And you or Rod, or Will, have expertise in building engineering??? Yet you are more than willing to attack Wyden for his contention that the building housing SFP #4 is precariously near collapse. What makes his inexpertise in structural engineering any less credible than your own? He’s seen it with his own eyes. Have you?

    I would suggest you take Carl Lumma’s advice to heart, because, so far, he’s the only one of you that seems to have a clue about how to counter the fear mongering in a manner that that doesn’t increase the well earned distrust your industry has bestowed upon itself.

    A 5.9 struck last night on the east coast of Honshu. Getting a little hairy for you guys isn’t it? We might well find out who is zooming who in this debate, eh?

  131. PissedOffAmerican

    “There should be at the very least a framework in place for a more measured response in cases like this to avoid the need to back-pedal:”

    ROFLMAO!!! Like the vindictive and condescending ad hominem you dish out at Adams’ site?

  132. PissedOffAmerican

    “How the two sides of this argument can come together with a degree of trust to enable the correct decisions about energy policy is not clear. There are clearly risks with nuclear power, but the alternatives aren’t pain free either”

    Go look at Rod Adams’ website, and the concept of a “degree of trust” becomes laughable. Calling us (with little knowledge of nuclear science, and great trepidations about the safety of these old plants, and the honesty of the industry itself), “ignoramuses”, “dogs”, “liars” and “idiots” is hardly a mechanism for instilling trust.

    And when one examines TEPCO’s actions before and after this disaster, it is laughable seeing Will and Rod hold TEPCO up as trustworthy. TEPCO was warned that the seawalls were inadequate, but ignored the warnings.

  133. Wayne SW

    Some good points made above by poster Carl Lumma, especially on the need to make windbag critics like Alvarez put up the goods in quantifying what they claim are risks and dangers. It is one thing to make wild, inflammatory claims (as we’ve seen on these blogs in recent weeks), another to place it in proper context and in a way that lends itself to rational evaluation. Unfortunately, the critics know that hysterical, sensational (even when incredibly wrong) claims is what commands media attention, which is what they seek. Just look how the Alvarez-Gundersen claims have gone viral on the internet. I’ve had interactions with any number of people who have about gone bananas because they’ve heard these wild, unsupported claims, doing things like getting their familes ready to move to Australia, or making trips to Washington DC to confront their Congressman and Senators with a demand to DO SOMETHING. The media will either ignore a rational, quantitative analysis, or interpret silence as an admission of “guilt”, and assume that what the critics claim is true. And when the dire predictions don’t come true, nobody holds the critics to account for their errors (other than people like us). They either go on to the next wildly inaccurate and hysterical claim, or mumble something about how “we were lucky THIS TIME”. And, as far as I know, other than people like Rod Adams, nobody in the media has challenged the credentials of people like Alvarez, Gundersen, and Wyden when they make claims about things like structural integrity or accidental criticality. Professional background is fair game when someone makes a wild, unsubstantiated claim about a subject far outside of their area of expertise.

  134. EL

    The correct response is to *call out* Alvarez to give a quantitative assessment of the risk to civilization (assuming the pool *does* collapse).

    This concern was documented in a Brookhaven National Labs Study: “A Safety and Regulatory Assessment of Generic BWR and PWR Permanently Shutdown Nuclear Power Plants” (1997).

    They examine four timing scenarios for an accident in spent fuel pools, and the first (“Hot Fuel in the Spent Fuel Pool”) concerns fuel recently offloaded and hot enough to cause a “cladding failure” (i.e., gap releases) with water drained from the pool. The Brookhaven study concludes “critical decay times of about 17 months” (3.2) for this period, but it is highly dependent on reactor type, assembly burn-up, and racking geometry. UCS reports 548 assemblies were offloaded into the Unit # 4 SFP at Fukushima 16 months ago.

    Frontier summarizes the environmental and health impacts of an extreme “case 1H” accident scenario as detailed by Brookhaven (Table 4.1 documents range of ‘mean” impacts for all scenarios):

    – Contaminate up to 2,790 square miles of land, making it unfit for human habitation,
    – Cause as many as 143,000 cancer fatalities over time, in a radius of 500 miles from the accident site, and
    – Cause property damage up to $780 billion (in 2011 dollars).

    An online video shows Zirc-2 tube being heated with a blow torch (probably over 2000 ºC) and not catching fire.

    I think it is unfortunate that ANS is linking to an non-verified and non-scientific source on social media (a YouTube video of a grad student with a blow torch) to make some fairly substantive and consequential claim about “heat” and zirconium “ignition.” What we’re talking about here is not a “fire,” per se, but an exothermic reaction that releases hydrogen, and results in cladding becoming brittle and cracked. Case 3 in Brookhaven study looks at pool drainage after one year of offloading: “The lowered decay heat does not cause rapid oxidation, however the assemblies reach high temperatures and 50 percent of the fuel rods in the pool fail, resulting in a gap release” (3.7). ANC obviously needs to bolster it’s findings with more substantive research and documentation from credible sources in this area.

  135. DV82XL

    There is a good deal of truth in what Carl is saying: the P.R. at all levels to the Fukushima was poor and not thought out, at least at the start. There should be at the very least a framework in place for a more measured response in cases like this to avoid the need to back-pedal.

  136. Brian Mays

    Finally Rod Adams declared he needed a break to practice some humility. A year later none of that humility can be found.

    Rod was obviously under some stress at the time trying to keep up with events of what was an unprecedented accident. I can understand why he temporarily lost his wind and became disparaged.

    If his “humility” has now decided that it needs a break, perhaps that’s because, over a year later, with plenty of hindsight, we can see that many of the claims that he was making at the time turned out to be correct. It wasn’t obvious then, but it’s obvious now.

  137. Carl Lumma

    This is a grade-A example of a response from the nuclear industry that does more harm than good. Fortunately there’s little chance much of Alvarez’s audience will read it. But we should learn from it — learn what not to do.

    It’s known that denials can have unintended consequences. This has been studied by psychologists, but the famous phrases “any press is good press” and “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” should be enough to convince us to 1. be very careful before responding to people like Alvarez at all and 2. write responses that aren’t denials when we do.

    We tend to get caught up in the details of what people like Alvarez say. For example, I’d really like to point out that the UC Berkeley blowtorch test Davis mentions is completely misleading — and that he even seems to know it (“chemistry of rapid oxidation … is complex”)! — since the most common clad failure involves an oxidation reaction with water, which, in fact, occurred in 3 out of 6 reactors at the FD1 site only a year ago, and which, in fact, produced the H2 that damaged the spent fuel pool we’re talking about!

    But those are details. Why should the public trust our details more than Alvarez’s? They don’t generally. And in the case of Fukushima, they trust Alvarez more. Because before the accident, Alvarez et al said,

    “LWRs are unsafe in case of earthquake.”

    and we said,

    “LWRs are safe in case of earthquakes.”

    And it turns out that gen-II LWRs have a really bad failure mode around SBO, which can be caused by an earthquake. And none of the people claiming LWRs were safe knew anything about the particular robustness of the electrical service to FD1 units 1-3. And reactors of this type will all fail the exact same way under this condition, like clockwork.

    Even during the accident, we asserted that an explosion was unlikely, and then that a second explosion was unlikely (Barry Brook called it “almost impossible”), while Alvarez et al shouted imminent danger. Finally Rod Adams declared he needed a break to practice some humility. A year later none of that humility can be found. Adams opined that the present piece should be titled “…Are Safe” rather than “..Safer Than Asserted”. (“Safe”, of course, should be banned entirely from pro-fission discourse since it is quantitatively meaningless.)

    So in this case, we have LESS credibility than Alvarez. But that doesn’t even matter — I’m still getting distracted with details. This is what Alvarez is really saying:

    **IF** the spent fuel pool collapses, there will be dire consequences for human civilization.

    Will Davis replies (once meaningless details are stripped away):

    “The spent fuel pools will not collapse.”

    Well, if he’s saying that, then the latter part of Alvarez’s claim must be true. The consequences for human civilization MUST be dire, or Will Davis wouldn’t bother to say they’re unlikely (which of course, we don’t believe, and don’t have the quantitative training to scale the likelihood even if we did).

    *That* is how Alvarez’s audience would interpret this piece, if they were by some accident to visit the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

    The correct response is to *call out* Alvarez to give a quantitative assessment of the risk to civilization (assuming the pool *does* collapse). Then to confirm or refute that quantity, and compare it, or the correct quantity, with risks the public are familiar with.

    Then and only then do you offer to weight that risk by the likelihood of the pool collapsing.

    It’s very important to understand that the **IF** is the strongest part of Alvarez’s statement. Because people react much worse to uncertainty than to certainty. A few social psychologists have even studied this in the context of nuclear accidents. It’s the ongoing uncertainty during the accident sequence, and the powerlessness of governments to stop it, that causes the dread. The news story about a natgas explosion in San Bruno is retrospective: “Family and loved ones are dealing with the tragedy”.

    We would have done better to get on the news and say, “Look, we’re 12 hours into a LOCA with three early-model BWRs. 10,000 people have been washed out to sea, so there’s a real chance the Japanese won’t have the capability to restore power in time to prevent fuel melts at these units. Radioactive pollution has already been vented from the reactors and more will probably escape before the fuel solidifies. Molten fuel usually produces hydrogen gas, which can be explosive if it is trapped in a confined space. The hydrogen is not radioactive. The radioactive pollution released will be mostly in the form of iodine and cesium, which can escape from the reactors as vapor. The iodine disappears by itself in about a month. The Japanese will likely quarantine local dairy products for this period. Half of the cesium disappears every 30 years. It’s easy to detect, and after the accident is over, studies will be done to determine the precise amount that was released and the danger, if any, it represents.”

    Instead, the nuclear industry was silent, and the public could only hear the ravings of Chairman Wacko.

    Probably no response to Alvarez was warranted. If it was, it should be done in the places he frequents, in front of his audience, and it should call him out to demonstrate his supposed expertise. The benchmark for the response must be to *reduce uncertainty in his audience* (as opposed to proving that there is some sort of debate about the likelihood of the pool collapsing).


  138. Wayne SW

    David, I have no problem with a “lessons learned” approach. The industry has always done that and I think it has been fruitful. I just don’t want to fall into the “blame game” routine that the anti-nuke kooks normally play. Its easy to criticize people after the fact, the shoulda-woulda nonsense. I don’t know of any credible source who could have predicted this particular event happening as it did. There are many who say they did, or could, but I’m not going to pretend that they have any more ability or credibility than someone who second-guesses the coach of a team on some particular play that affected the outcome of a game.

  139. David Walters

    Wayne, I was pointing out that TEPCO itself is an issue. The Japanese have to deal with them directly, we don’t. I don’t think *ignoring* the problems with their regulatory system and the way they function is paricularly helpful either.

    Monday morning quaterbacking is what we’ve all been doing. It’s important, especially from something you raise, the way other countries, regulatory authorities and utilities have responded to Fukushima. The Korean nuclear utility KEPCO did a far ranging study of their three sea side plants and made *extensive* engineering changes, hardening, etc. This is a *good thing*. It’s an *example* of what of needs to be done. They also have some issues that were reported at WNN over failure to report a station black out. I wrote about this in the context of their amazing expansion to Gen III APR1400 fleet they are engaged with.

    The Chinese held up all approvals and reviewed, to the best of our knowledge, their own safety issues with regards to quakes and tsunamis.

    There, I’ve heard, some issues here with industry fighting some of the recommendation of the NRC but I haven’t seen this parsed out. On the other hand the utilities have done some extensive reviews vis-a-vis quakes and station black outs. All good.


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  141. Wayne SW

    Well, if you want to engage in TEPCO-bashing, you’ll have to talk to someone else. I don’t think bashing someone after the fact is productive. It is armchair quarterbacking and I have no interest in leading from behind. It’s easy to bash someone who has endured a natural disaster of epic proportions when you’re sitting 12,000 miles away and picking through the debris after the fact. I have no interest or time for that.

    Companies in this country have responded appropriately. They have taken a fresh look at their sites regarding flooding issues and the possibility of common mode failure in losing both offsite power and emergency diesels. They have added redundant systems where indicated. If you want to talk about those issues then I have a great interest in that. But bashing TEPCO seems to be the easy way out, and I don’t want to do that.

  142. David Walters

    Folks, I want to say that after I posted (with permission) this blog to the Daily Kos there were over 240 comments. Most anti-nuclear polemics. But the blog is read by hundreds more who do not comment. It’s important to go to where there are large numbers of *passively* anti-nuclear folks who don’t comment to engage with them by engaging on the issue.

    Now…to Wayne…I think you are falling into something that can be dangerous. It is true, absolutely, about how Fukushima was site and built. The *problem* is that TEPCO itself has a HUGE credibility issue not addressed by our side. They lie and have done so repeatedly through out their corp. history. As such, fitting in with much of Japanese higher end corporation, everything they do is somewhat questionable. I think they don’t mostly lie, but on occasions they do and it is sort of a ‘regular’ thing. Many corporations do this but TEPCO operates nukes so it’s more serious.

    I said that to say this: TEPCO is not a company that goes out of it’s way to increase safety. Period. Unlike my experience with PG&E where operators in the plants were constantly encouraged to find newer and safer ways to run the plants, TEPCO’s culture was just the opposite: don’t make waves. This played out in terms of how TEPCO responded to public criticism outside the regular, and unfortunately almost incestuous relationship with the regulator authorities.

    For them the issue of addressing future safety concerns as the were raised were blatantly *ignored*. For over the last 20 years, various studies from university level institutes to the US NRC evaluations raised every issue we are raising today from seismic events to massive sea incursions in the event of tsunamis. None of what happened at Fukushima was ‘new’, it was all suggested including a questions raised by the Japan Communist Party in the Japanese Diet when a study released in 2006 predicted a higher than 14 meter tsunami coming from…the north east…would *likely* occur during the oparating life of the plant.

    TEPCO answers: we built the seawall to original regulatory requirements. Effectively: shut the hell up. TEPCO built RIGHT to the Requirement. That sucks. Really. In this is true throughout their board-room decision making even when every issue was raised prior to March 2011 including by out own NRC. They ignored the suggestions.

    It’s one thing to defend the immediate actions of TEPCO on how they handled this crisis (their operators, personal, engineers and other TEPCO employees) and even what they are doing now; it’s another to imply TEPCO simply didn’t do anything wrong throughout it’s history of running Fukushima. They did, and our side has to be upfront about this. Our side needs to address those engineering failures (sea wall, fuel tank siting, etc) and point to ways to prevent this from ever happening again ANYWHERE.

    David Walters
    IBEW 1245 (Ret).

  143. DV82XL

    The antinuclear side has been doing its utmost to keep the hysteria over this incident whipped up in the face of evaporating public interest. The novelty of nuclear meltdowns has passed, and John Q. Public has realized that the doomsday scenarios that they had been fed where simply untrue. Hardened now, as they have been in several other domains where ‘experts’ told them the sky was about to fall, they are no longer concerned over Fukushima Daiichi, and the antinuclear side has been desperate to keep the story alive.

    Naturally there will always be a small contingent that will feed their paranoia on any information that looks like it’s being suppressed by ‘them’ that will buy into any story no matter how wildly exaggerated or improbable and react with self-righteous outrage, and there will always be those that will try to make a buck pandering to them.

    But the real lesson here is that the critics of nuclear power are loosing the battle for the hearts and minds of the public, and the apparent victories that they have had in Germany and Japan only came by selling out to natural gas interests, rather than due to any meaningful and long-term shift in world opinion.

  144. Justin

    As a commercial nuclear PRA guy, I think this is a great point. While I (obviously) read the alarmist stuff with eyes rolled, I do cringe a little bit when I see overly “optimistic” probabilistic factors being used (such as the 1E-10 figure). Especially, as you note, with the incredible uncertainty that is associated with seismic risk, even as we undertake seismic margin studies and the beginnings of seismic PRA on our own reactor fleet in the US. Then again, maybe I’m just overly sensitive to phrases like “impossible”, “CAN not happen”, etc, after answering so many NRC RAIs over the last few years!

    That said, this blog post is many, many orders of magnitude more accurate and informative than just about anything that can be found in “mainstream” media outlets… Nicely done Mr. Davis.

  145. Wayne SW

    The claim that fuel rods spilled on the ground would not be major problem is a bit unrealistic.

    First, you have to postulate a credible mechanism for the material being “spilled on the ground”. Fuel asemblies don’t simply take it upon themselves to spontaneously levitate out of the SFP and drop onto the ground. The SFP has already survived intact the original seismic event, which was larger than any ever recorded in the history of Japan, as well as several major aftershocks. Pictures taken of SFP 4 show it to be intact and undamaged, filled with water, neutron absorbing baffles in place, fuel assemblies where they should be. If the original seismic event didn’t “spill” any on the ground, it is doubtful that anything else of the same size or smaller will.

    But, playing the “what if” FUD game, what if fuel assemblies were unshielded laying on the ground? What would happen? The fuel assemblies would not overheat to the point of melting or being damaged. Too much decay time has passed, even for the freshest (most recently irradiated) fuel assemblies. Therefore contamination would not be an issue. They would not form a critical assembly because of the lack of a moderator. The fuel assemblies would be unshielded from a radiation protection viewpoint. That would result in high exposure rates if you got close enough. The goal then would be to re-establish shielding, either by moving the fuel assemblies into a shielded environment, or by placing shielding materials near the exposed assemblies. There is technology available fairly readily that can remotely move individual fuel assemblies either into a shielding cask or some kind of transfer pool. Eventually you would have to return the “spilled” assemblies to a spent fuel pool, but it’s not like we haven’t built those before.

  146. Joffan

    Lilly, you are confused. It is the anti-nuclear case that is base on specious interpretation of cherry-picked photographs. Tepco’s assessment of unit 4’s stability is based on direct measurements – for example, the mesurement of the water level at the four corners of the spent fuel pool that found agreement to within a millimetre. They have made a great deal of information public; the fact that much of it is in Japanese is entirely reasonable, even if tantalizing to non-Japanese speakers like myself. Example: http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_120516_07-j.pdf (see pp9-10 for pictorial indications of the level measurements I mention)

  147. Wayne SW

    Had we asked about the safety of Fukushima prior to the accident, we would likely have been told it was safe, that tsunami protection was adequate and safety systems were in place.

    Thoise plants operated safely for decades and harmed no one. Even when they were damaged by a natural disaster of unprecented scale (the magnitude of the March 2011 earthquake was larger than any in the recorded history of Japan), they still have harmed no one. Yes, people have been displaced from their homes. But that is a fraction of the number that have been displaced by the overall event. Placed in context, the direct harm caused by the damage to Fukushima Daiichi is not comparable to the wider damage/suffering/death caused by the overall event.

    The tsunami protection was based on what was required, which was based on historical records for that particular area. The Sanriku event of about a century earlier is not comprabale because it was in an area with a different shoreline topography, which greatly influences the effects of the tsunami. There was a comparable earthquake (not as strong) in 869 in Japan but there is no regulatory requirement to check back 1200 years in history as a design basis. It is absurb to require a company to adhere to non-existent regulatory requirements.

    Even at the time it was obvious to many outsiders that it was not a great idea to build plants in such an active area. Now meltdowns have occurred and pollution has been released across large portions of Japan.

    This is nothing more than armchair quarterbacking, leading from behind, criticizing after the fact. The only dangerous “pollution” is inside the damaged reactor buildings, and also the various oil refineries that burned for weeks after the earthquake but nobody mentions them.

  148. Steve S

    I appreciate the article and its debunking of FUD. I have worked in the industry for 30 years so am familiar with the basics. One thing I would recommend when debunking FUD is to NOT use values that minimize the potential. Use realistic values or provide the proper range. The quoted values from NUREG/CR-4982 are correct as stated, but the potential range for significant seismic damage to a spent fuel pool is 2.6E-4 to <<10E-10. Additionally these values were developed for two reactors in the US and are not applicable elsewhere. The authors noted that there is a high degree of uncertainty in the seismic damage potential and therefore a large range of probability. I believe that the fuel and cladding damage temperatures quoted would be valid for the Japanese plants. We should only use numbers that show the potential ranges and those that are valid for the condition we are discussing. Otherwise we are no better than those using FUD to scare the uninformed. That said, I am not concerned about the situation in the Unit 4 fuel pool. It won't fall down and the fuel won't burn.

  149. Rod Adams

    @Anti rumor

    First of all, I counter the assertions of Gundersen and Alvarez by exposing them for what they are – opportunists who are feeding the Fukushima fuel fable frenzy for selfish reasons. In the case of Alvarez, I have explained to people why they have no reason to trust him.


    In the case of Gundersen, who once earned a couple of legitimate nuclear engineering degrees, I have shown how he has repeatedly inflated his resume by claiming to have been a licensed reactor operator when the only nuclear facility that he was ever licensed to operate was a 100 WATT critical assembly at RPI.

    That license had to have been issued by the US Atomic Energy Commission because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which replaced the AEC as the nuclear energy regulator in 1974, has no record in its database of Arnold Gundersen ever having been licensed in any of the facilities that it regulates.

    The other reason that I have no fear of any listing is that the spent fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi unit four is accessible. It has been inspected carefully, including measuring its current position. It is level to within fractions of an inch from one side to the other.

  150. Rod Adams

    @Mel Serrano

    The people who contributed to this blog post beg to differ with your assertion that the danger to the public cannot be overstated.

    Fictitious dangers can and often are overstated for a variety of ideological and financial reasons. Those overstatements produce a very real negative health impact in the form of inducing stress from worrying, unnecessary relocation, and financial hardship.

    As Joffan pointed out, the 25 years that scientists have spent studying the effects of the Chernobyl accident have lead to the undeniable conclusion that the health effects resulting from irrational, externally induced FEAR of radiation at levels associated with either Chernobyl or the even lower levels at Fukushima is far worse than the health effects of the radiation itself.

    You and your friends, therefore, are directly adding to the negative health effects of the Fukushima tragedy by insisting that people need to be kept trembling, even when their fears have been exposed as being without any basis by the work of people like Will.

  151. Rod Adams


    Apparently you stopped reading Will’s excellent summary before you reached the following subtitle:

    Assertion 3: The spent fuel in these plants’ spent fuel pools could ignite, leading to a massive radiological release

    Please read that section and then come back if your question is not fully answered.

    Quick summary of the material in that section – as long as the fuel has not been inside an operating reactor for 180 days, there is NO WAY for the cladding to burst and release any radioactive material.

    Just getting a little hotter would not cause that issue; remember, the fuel rods do not burst due to overheating even when they are operating at full power and producing millions of kilowatts of heat.

  152. James Greenidge

    Great de-panicking and de-bunking on “Beautiful Truth,” Will! How ironic that nuclear energy is being hung to dry for death and destruction that never happened! I guess people feel easier with fuel sources that cause millions of cases of respiratory aliments and pollution and greenhouse gases and horrific lethal accidents on a regular basis! (that people think that way IS scary!) Next up at bat — Rod Adams please! :) I only regret that they didn’t set you up toe-to-toe with Arnie or Helen!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  153. Wayne SW

    … of 4 buildings that they can’t even go inside of are bulletproof.

    Did you even read the article? Unit 4 is completely accessible. Since the reactor was defueled there is no damage to the reacrtor core. Debris from the earthquake/tsunami/hdrogen detonations has been cleared to the point of allowing access. They have been able to get in there and take video of the SFP and it shows everything is in place and undamaged. There is no thermal (burning) damage to the pool. The pool did not go dry. The fuel assemblies did not “burn”. They were able to do a structural evaluation and place very substantial additional supports and strengthen all of the support members. The SPF has withstood sizable aftershocks that hit the area with no damage.

    As if Brookhaven National Laboratory, in 2009, somehow simulated a 9.0 earthquake destroying a reactor building that had ALL of its active AND spent fuel rods in the cooling pond which was also blown up and their assessment of the ‘risk of seismically induced spent fuel pool failure’

    Pictures were taken of SFP4 and they show the pool to be intact and undamaged. It did not “catch fire”. It did not “blow up”. It did not “dry out”. All of the fuel assemblies are in place as they should be and show no damage.

  154. Will Davis

    @Devon: “Fissioning of water?” And the spent fuel in No. 4 “already caught fire once?” And an earthquake already happened that toppled the buildings? When did I miss that one – they’re still standing. Sir, you need to do some more research, using better sources who have better information and knowledge of what they’re talking about.

  155. Tom Keiser

    The lack of rhetorical rigor, contravening citations, etc. in the opposing comments provide notable examples of how alarmist pseudoscience–and raw assertion–fill the public vacuum of understanding with regard to highly-complex, technical topics. This presentation of factual, peer-reviewed evidence, soundly debunking these absurdly improbable, unfounded claims, is a commendable public service.

    Truly, the danger to the public caused by surreptitiously-biased, fear-mongering editorial–masquerading as objective reporting–vastly outweighs any danger hypothesized by legitimate and rigorous risk assessments of future earthquakes at the 1F site. The way forward is to continually enlighten the public (with articles such as this): cite the facts, debunk the myths, teach the merits of objective risk evaluation, and, gradually, the impalpability of nuclear technology will fade–along with the credibility of the alarmist propaganda of its detractors.

  156. Lilly

    I don’t know what is worse. The hysterical fantasy some corners claiming unit 4’s fuel is going to explode and make the northern hemisphere uninhabitable (among other strange scenarios) are bad. So is grossly understating the situation. TEPCO made some huge multiple assumptions in their seismic analysis and admit it is largely based on photos taken not actual inspections. This is the extent of what they have made public. Unit 4 isn’t completely out of the woods. It also isn’t falling down any second. The claim that fuel rods spilled on the ground would not be major problem is a bit unrealistic. Are you volunteering to head in there and set up watering or other remediation? How long are you going to pour water on the mess making even more contaminated water there is no room for. Or dump sand on it. Then what? But all of this is based on what TEPCO will publicly admit. Seriously. TEPCO. This is as bad as the hysterical conspiracies. A pox on both your houses.

  157. Joffan

    The lesson from Chernobyl was that the danger to the public can indeed be overstated, to the point where it becomes the major cause of suffering. Anybondy who has read the WHO report understands that very clearly. It is tragic to see some of the same mistakes of wild overconservatism being repeated after Fukushima – for example, long-term and indiscriminate evacuation – without regard for the very real consequences that such drastic measures carry.

  158. Devon

    Your entire justification of why things can’t worse is based around a sizable seismic event being ‘impossible.’

    …the same kind of event which occurred just last year.

    You also seem to think that TEPCO’s (who has had a very solid history of covering their own ass over the last year) seismic surveys of 4 buildings that they can’t even go inside of are bulletproof.

    Tepco themselves have little to no idea what is happening under their own melted through reactors. How they could perform a comprehensive seismic survey of their damaged buildings I have no idea.

    Then you reference “NUREG /CR-4982, “Severe Accidents in Spent Fuel Pools in support of Generic Safety Issue 82,” to say “Brookhaven National Laboratory, indicates that the likelihood of seismically induced spent fuel pool failure may be as low as 1 X 10-10 occurrences per reactor year, which is a statistically insignificant rate of occurrence.”

    As if Brookhaven National Laboratory, in 2009, somehow simulated a 9.0 earthquake destroying a reactor building that had ALL of its active AND spent fuel rods in the cooling pond which was also blown up and their assessment of the ‘risk of seismically induced spent fuel pool failure’

    ….that report has no relevance to the situation whatsoever.
    Assertion 1: Still exists

    Assertion 2: Was the same as assertion 1

    Assertion 3 is based upon on assertion 1 being bulletproof, which has already been shown to be silly.

    Of course the rods aren’t going to spontaneously catch fire. As you yourself say, they’ll only catch fire if they stop getting watered. No shit.

    This one had me laughing… “Further, even under the wild assumption that the buildings somehow collapsed, all of the other resources on site, and remotely off site, are still available to move in and provide cooling for the fuel.”

    As if the resources on site would be able to get close enough to the collapsed radioactive mess that they’d be effective. And that’s when the fire would start.

    On the cladding comment… the fuel has already completley melted the cladding in at least a couple of the reactors. Melt-through has been acknowledged by TEPCO (after months of lying about it.)

    “In addition, in order for a “cataclysmic” spread of the radionuclides contained in this spent fuel to occur, we can see that a massive fire is needed to both release the material and provide a driving head (or “loft”) to spread it to the winds. It’s clear that no such fire is possible, given the above information. The assertions simply fall apart. Assertion 3: False”

    It could be a fire. It could be an explosion produced by the fissioning of water due to fuel that wasn’t being cooled due to a seismic event. The fuel in spent pool 4 already caught fire once, on March 17, 2011.

    Basically, your entire argument rests on the fact that such an earthquake that would destabilize these buildings is ‘impossible.’ (Already happened.) and that the things wouldn’t catch fire even if they collapsed because the cooling systems are bulletproof. (Already failed, when they were not cobbled together like so many legos in the dark.)

  159. Anti Rumor

    Thank you for the article. How would you counter their (Alvarez, Gundersen, Koide, etc.) declaration without solid evidence that Unit 4 is “listing”, “tilting like the Tower of Pisa”, and that when the unit collapses in even a minor earthquake it’s the end of the world?

    It seems all they have is blurry photos, “Japanese experts’ words” (they are not known inside Japan), and “TEPCO lies”. It doesn’t even look like a scientific argument, but that’s the bad meme circling the globe, constantly reinforced by the likes of Gundersen.

  160. Geoff Russell

    Jim, do you eat meat? Do you feed it to your children? The World Cancer Research Fund’s 2007 report by 150+ experts was crystal clear … red and processed meats cause bowel cancer. Before the Japanese increase the red and processed meat in their diet they had about 20,000 new bowel cancers every year. Now they are running at 110,000 new cases annually … and you are worried about radiation? Compared to red and processed meat (or alcohol or tobacco), radiation is a cancer wimp.

  161. Steve

    Thanks for the article that gives a bit of balance to some of the more extreme statements that are out there. Unfortunately, I think the problem you will face is a lack of trust.

    Had we asked about the safety of Fukushima prior to the accident, we would likely have been told it was safe, that tsunami protection was adequate and safety systems were in place. Even at the time it was obvious to many outsiders that it was not a great idea to build plants in such an active area. Now meltdowns have occurred and pollution has been released across large portions of Japan.

    Given this history, many people are incredibly suspicious of any statement from the nuclear industry. Quoting Tepco safety checks saying the building is safe will not reassure; it will come across to many like standing in a titanic life raft and saying it is unsinkable!

    How the two sides of this argument can come together with a degree of trust to enable the correct decisions about energy policy is not clear. There are clearly risks with nuclear power, but the alternatives aren’t pain free either.

  162. Will Davis

    @Mel: You have seen in the report above the result of responsible reporting. It has been presented to counter irresponsible, inaccurate reports that have led to wide-spread unjustified fear. The public risk from the spent fuel at Fukushima Daiichi has been widely overblown; the report clearly indicates what the facts are. If you follow the links you will see what TEPCO has done, and is doing, on site, and perhaps have a bit more faith.

  163. Twominds

    @ Mel Serrano

    Danger to the public can be overstated very easily, not only in this subject, but in any subject of public matter. It usually means regulations that are not useful and money spent where it has no effect. When danger is neither overstated nor understated the measures that work best can be taken. Otherwise the assessment in itself becomes a barrier to taking the best measures in a given situation.

    About lessons learned, that’s not the subject of this article, so that’s a false argument here.

  164. Mel Serrano

    The danger to the public cannot be overstated. By stating that the risks of a collapse of containment pools is virtually non-existent, is very irresponsible. The builders of the plant, and regulatory agencies must have been very confident that the chances of a large earthquake offshore, and a devastating tsunami were remote. But, look what happened. Were no lessons learned here? From the tone of the article, I would have to say no.

  165. Bruce Behrhorst

    TEPCO and its workers perform well during and after Tsunami incident.
    Some reactors with installed water chillers and robotic debris removal may need to be decommissioned gradually replaced with maybe new reactors (SMRs). So there’s no need for Japan to do energy seppuku.

  166. Geoff

    I’m with you Atomikrabbit regarding Mr. Alvarez. No axe to grind? What’s he been smokin….oh yes….tokin’ some home grown. Consider the source when listening or ready much of this jibberish. It’s easy to throw out wild accusations. Do a little homework first.

  167. Twominds

    Thank you Will, for this clear, point by point article. The premise seemed to me to be absurd from the beginning, and your article and many others’ too confirmed my thoughts about it.

    What I’m curious about, and I can’t find info about it, is what would happen if the pool would be drained (by whatever cause). I found the usual scary-fairy-tales, and some more good articles. But no info about it. I’d like to know: could, after more than a year of cooling, the cladding still burst when dry, or not, and what radioactive material, if any, could disperse? Can you tell me more about it, or give me some pointers to articles about it? Thank you!

  168. Cal Abel

    Excellent research and well formulated argument. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. Too bad it is not getting to a wider audience.

  169. Atomikrabbit

    It’s easy to sit around and dream up hypothetical paranoid scenarios – the Japanese writers of the Godzilla series made a small fortune with their fantastical apocalyptic nuclear musings. Too bad Jim (above), unlike Gundersen, hasn’t figured out a way to monetize his own.

    Given Mr. Alvarez’s history, I can’t help but think some of his paranoia may be induced by psychoactive herbs. Just sayin…

  170. Will Davis

    Jim, there have been tens of thousands of US Navy personnel who have served on board US Navy nuclear powered vessels, and there are no complaints about cancer or mutations among veterans due to nuclear power used on Navy ships and submarines. Further, when polled, people around nuclear plants in the USA don’t object to them because they see their husbands, wives or friends who work at them come home every day with no ill effects from radiation, to homes and families just like their own. The whole picture is just not as you paint it.

  171. James Greenidge

    One excellent socially responsible de-panicking feature. IMHO for the mainstream media to not quote, much less pick up, articles as this on the basis of balance and accuracy when mentioned of it, speaks volumes about their stance in the nuclear plant issue.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  172. Jim

    Tell me Radiation is safe? Nucular Waste ? Reactors are safe? Dry Cask. Then why Three mile island, Fukushima, Chernobly…..When your family gets cancer or your daughter has a mutated child don’t ask yourself why………

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