Points worth reviewing...
...If Fukushima Unit 4 falls, hazardous radioactive Cesium-137 release could be eight times worse than Chernobyl, warned Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear.
Fuel pool number 4 is, indeed, the top short-term threat facing humanity, according to some experts.
“There’s more cesium in that [Unit 4] fuel pool than in all 800 nuclear bombs exploded above ground…But of course it would happen all at once. It would certainly destroy Japan as a functioning country...."
... Tepco’s current plans are to hold the majority of this spent fuel on-site for years in the same elevated, un-contained storage pools, only transferring some of the fuel into more secure, hardened dry casks when the common pool reaches capacity.
Why are American nuclear authorities ignoring this threat? “Nuclear waste experts … charge that the NRC is letting this threat [of the Fukushima fuel pools] fester because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants around the U.S., which contain exceedingly higher volumes of spent fuel in similar elevated pools outside of reinforced containment,” according to AlterNet, and American nuclear power plants are storing much more nuclear fuel rods in highly-vulnerable pools than even Fukushima.
The NRC and Japanese claim that fuel pool 4 has been stabilized, but nuclear experts ..... strongly disagreed with this assessment.
“It is true that in May and June the floor of the U4 SFP [spent fuel pool] was ‘reinforced,’ but not as strong as it was originally,” ..... “The entire building however has not been reinforced and is damaged by the explosion in both 4 and 3. So structurally U4 is not as strong as its original design required.”
Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert and a former special assistant to the United States Secretary of Energy, said that even if the unit 4 structure has been tentatively stabilized, it doesn’t change the fact “it sits in a structurally damaged building, is about 100 feet above the ground and is exposed to the atmosphere, in a high-consequence earthquake zone.”
As The Nation pointed out, “Short of closing plants, there is a fairly reliable solution to the problem of spent fuel rods. It is called “dry cask storage.” But there is a problem with dry cask storage: it costs money….
“Experts say the only near-term answer to better protect our nation’s existing spent nuclear fuel is dry cask storage,” says AlterNet. “But there’s one catch: the nuclear industry doesn’t want to incur the expense, which is about $1 million per cask.”
Ultimately.. there you have it... it would cut into the billions of dollars of profit for the global energy cartel... so... we'll just have to risk it... after all TEPCO is a sovereign corporation....
www.kurzweilai.net (visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 7-5-2012 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)