Closing Ranks: The NRC, the Nuclear Industry, and TEPCO are Limiting the Flow of Information


Arnie Gundersen discusses inconsistencies between what the NRC, TEPCO, and the Nuclear Industry are saying privately and publicly. Documents from the french nuclear firm, Areva, and the NRC reveal what the industry knows about the Fukushima disaster.


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Arnie Gundersen: Hi, I’m Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, and it’s Wednesday, April 6th.

In my previous update I talked about the possibility of an inadvertent criticality occurring at Fukushima [Unit] 1.  That was based on four things.  It was based on a neutron beam being detected thirteen times; it was based on the presence of chlorine-38; it was based on tellurium-129 being detected; and it was based on iodine-131 and [iodine]-132 being detected.  Since I made that update to you, TEPCO, Tokyo Electric, has pulled the report upon which I based it.  They, uh, the tellurium data, they say, is no longer accurate.  When you’re in a mode like Tokyo Electric is in, you would hope that the information you’re using is accurate.  That’s a serious concern:  that inaccurate information is being used in decision making at TEPCO.  This isn’t the only time; there’s a couple of these instances.  When the neutron beam came out, TEPCO denied that despite the fact that the quote was from their own spokesman.  There was a report of incredibly high radiation in the ocean, and TEPCO denied that and lowered the report [to an amount that was] still incredibly high, but a hundred times lower.  And Dr. Richard Lahey, a General Electric scientist of great renown, was quoted [as saying] that Unit 2 had had a meltdown.  Again, TEPCO denied that.  So I guess I’m concerned about, one, the reliability of information coming out of TEPCO, but also that the information that’s happening in private at TEPCO is not being relayed to the public.

It’s not just TEPCO that this is occurring with.  Today the New York Times ran a story about a report circulated within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC] dating back to March 26 where the NRC staff has identified significant problems and dangers at Fukushima; basically, we’re not out of the woods yet.  The problems that the staff is aware of, but not really sharing with Congress or the general public, include the fact that there’s an awful lot of mud inside this nuclear reactor.  Now, we’ve been talking about that for a week or more because of the seawater that’s been injected into the reactor.  It’s not coming out, and it’s building up inside.  The NRC is concerned about that too, they just didn’t tell you and I.  They’re concerned that the weight of the building, with all this water in it, might make it unstable in the case of an earthquake.  They’re concerned that a re-criticality like we talked about last time might occur.  They’re also concerned about hydrogen being recreated and another explosion occurring.  And finally, they’re also concerned about plutonium which likely was ejected from the fuel pools during the explosions.  The NRC believes that this plutonium was ejected several miles away from the reactor, and is also onsite and may have been bulldozed into the soil.  Well, all of this is happening inside the NRC; they’re telling Congress, and you and I, that the situation is difficult, but under control.

It’s not just the NRC that’s saying this, it’s [also] large nuclear corporations, including one called Areva, which is a French nuclear conglomerate, probably one of the largest in the industry.  As reported in the New York Times on March 23rd:  there was an invitation-only meeting at Stanford University on the 21st of March, this is ten days after the accident, where Areva presented some pretty significant problems that the public was not being made aware of.  We’ve been able to get a hold of the Areva report that was presented there.  Now, the Areva report is pretty damning, but in fact there’s information in it that’s wrong.  I will, next time, be discussing [the] problems with the Areva report that actually make the situation worse.  The Areva report talks about the fact that it’s known that the nuclear fuel in all three reactors reached five thousand degrees [5,000 degrees Celsius].  That’s beyond the melting point of stainless steel, and beyond the melting point of zircalloy which means that a disintegration of the core is pretty obvious.  The Areva report talks about Unit 2 in particular and identifies that the core, [correction] that the containment was breached by a hydrogen explosion.  We look at Units 1, 3 and 4 and see the roofs blown off, and [Unit] 2 looks pretty good.  What happened at Unit 2, though, was that the hydrogen built up inside then somehow ignited.  It’s unknown why.  Sort of like a sneeze with your nose closed, you’re going to pop your eardrums.  Well, that’s what happened at Unit 2, but it likely breached the containment.  Areva and the nuclear industry know that, and really haven’t been sharing it with us.

The other thing that the Areva report talks about is that they recommend control of crops and dairy products out to fifty kilometers (50 km).  That’s about thirty miles (30 mi.) away from the plant.  That means that they believe that radiation has exceeded well beyond what the emergency evacuation zone is, and that both crops and dairy products may be contaminated.

Areva also spends a lot of time talking about Unit 4.  That’s the one that has no fuel in the reactor, but exploded anyway.  They basically said that this was a core melt in fresh air.  The reason the core melted on Unit 4, Areva believes, is that the fuel pool cracked from the earthquake.  So the water didn’t boil out of Unit 4 like we’ve been led to believe.  There was a crack in the fuel pool from the earthquake and now, with no water, a zircalloy-hydrogen reaction was inevitable.

The last thing that the Areva report notices is that, this was, probably the largest release is coming from Unit 4 because there’s no containment.  And, they basically say that all of the fission products can be volatilized.

Finally, industry insiders who are aware of the Areva presentation have told me that the person who presented the presentation said this, it’s almost an exact quote:  “Clearly, we are witnessing one of the greatest disasters in modern time.”  Well, in the private meetings Areva is saying that this is a serious issue, but in public the nuclear renaissance continues to move forward both within the nuclear industry and within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

I will update you on this Areva report and identify the problems within it in my next presentation, but I wanted to let you know that I will be trying to filter out, from all of these sources, reliable information to pass on to you in the future.

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フェアウインヅ・アソシエイツのアーニー・ガ ンダーセンです。今日は4月6日水曜日です。

以前、私は福島1号機で想定外の再臨海が起こっている可能性について語りました。それは、中性子線が13回にわたって検出されたこと、塩素38の存 在、テルル129が検出されたこと、ヨウ素の131と132が検出されたこと、この4つの事柄に基づいてこの結論に達しました。この新情報を皆様にお知らせしてほどなく東京電力は、私が参照していた報告書を削除してしまいました。



そして、GEの有名な 科学者であるリチャード・ラヘイ博士が2号機はすでにメルトダウンを起こしていると言ったときも、東電は否認しました。私が懸念しているのは、東電が発表する情報の信憑性、そして東電の内部情報がきちんと公に伝えられていないのではないかということです。





3月23日のニューヨークタイムズの記事によると、事故から10日後の3月21日にスタンフォード大学で招待者のみの会合がありました。そこでアレヴァはいくつかの非常に深刻な問題を提議しました。それらは一般人の知るところではありま せん。






アレヴァは報告書の中で4号機についてかなり述べています。4号機は、原子炉に燃料がないにもかかわらず爆発した号機です。彼らは、これは使用済み燃料が大気中に溶けて起きた現象と言っております。4号機の使用済み燃料が溶けた理由として、アレヴァは、燃料プール が地震で破損したためと考えています。我々が説明を受けたような水の沸騰はなかったわけです。つまり、地震で燃料プールにひび入り、プール内の水が漏れて無くなり、結果ジルカロイと水素の反応が必然的に起こったわけです。