World Uranium Symposium 2015 Fukushima Workshop

In April of 2015, Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen and the Fairewinds crew headed to Quebec City for the World Uranium Symposium. Attended by more than 300 delegates from 20 countries that produce uranium for nuclear power and weapons, the symposium brought together experts who are calling on governments throughout the world to end all uranium mining. In this speech about the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster, Arnie introduces new scientific evidence to prove high radiation exposures in Japan.




FAIREWINDS ENERGY EDUCATION – World Uranium Symposium 2015 : Fukushima Workshop

AG: Before we put the official Power Point up, I wanted to talk about the role of luck at Fukushima. And it’s something the nuclear industry really doesn’t want to admit. When the earthquake hit, the plant shut down, but the problem with nuclear power is that only 93 percent of the power comes from when a uranium atom splits. And this radioactive rubble that’s left behind – we call it fission products – still continue to give off 7 or 8 percent of the heat. So stopping the nuclear reactor – the reaction – doesn’t stop the heat. There’s still 8 percent left. So when the tsunami hit about 45 minutes later, there still was an enormous amount of heat, not from the chain reaction but from this radioactive rubble. The tsunami wiped out the cooling – well, you’ll hear the tsunami wiped out the diesels and without electricity, they couldn’t cool the plant. That’s really not what happened and that is what the nuclear industry wants you to know, but it’s not true. The tsunami wiped out the cooling pumps along the ocean. And just like your car has a water pump, those pumps are needed to keep your car engine cool. So even if the diesels hadn’t failed, they wouldn’t have been able to be cooled because the cooling pumps at the ocean were destroyed. And it didn’t just happen at Fukushima Daiichi. It happened at Fukushima Daini – a little further to the south. There’s four units there. It happened at Onagawa, which is a little further north, and it happened at Tokai, which is a little further south. In fact, 14 nuclear plants had their cooling pumps destroyed. And of the diesels that relied on those cooling pumps, there were 37 – 24 of them failed. We almost were at a point where we didn’t have three meltdowns at Fukushima but the world could have easily faced 14 meltdowns. And it was because the earthquake occurred at 2 o’clock in the afternoon – here’s where luck comes in – 2 o’clock in the afternoon, that there was enough people on site to save the day. There were 1,000 people at Fukushima Daiichi site, 1000 down at Daini, hundreds at Onagawa and at Tokai. And the net effect was there were people who could bravely try to mitigate the accident. If that tsunami had hit at 2 in the morning, there would have been 100 people there and we would have had the Daini site with four nuclear reactors in meltdown and we would have had faster meltdowns at Fukushima. So role of luck is critical. The other piece of luck is that the nuclear – imagine my hand is a nuclear reactor and over here is a spent fuel pool and over here is an equipment pool. At Fukushima Daiichi unit 4, the fuel pool started to boil and was very rapidly getting to the point where there wasn’t enough water. Well, in this pool on this side, there was water. It had been scheduled to be drained on March 10th, and Tokyo Electric was behind schedule, so this pool had water and this pool needed water. There is a gate between them. The gate failed. And the water from the one flowed into the other side and saved the day. It’s divine intervention, if you will, that saved the day on Daiichi unit 4 because Tokyo Electric was behind schedule and hadn’t drained the equipment pool. Luck, not high technology, saved the day. Okay. I wanted to talk about cost, time, leaks and exposure at Fukushima Daiichi four years out. Point number one is the cost. The costs to clean up Fukushima Daiichi are astronomical and are still being underestimated by Tokyo Electric and the Japanese government. I said when I was at Japanese Press Club 11 months after the accident that this was a half a trillion-dollar problem. And Tokyo Electric is finally admitting that it might be $100 billion. So we now have the same number of zeroes at least in our estimates. But they are not coming out and making an estimate of the total cost. And I think it’s because they want to start up all the other reactors. And if people really thought that there was a half a trillion-dollar liability that would cause the average Japanese to say why are we trying to do this again. So costs are skyrocketing. And related to that is, nobody really knows how long it’s going to take to clean this up. I did decommissioning as a business when I was in the nuclear industry and the problems at Fukushima Daiichi are – not even worse, they’re unimaginably worse than at Three Mile Island. At Three Mile Island, we had pictures of what the nuclear core looked like in less than two years after the accident. But at Daiichi, we can’t even get near the nuclear core. And water is continuing to enter the building and this is a problem that no one has any idea how to stop yet. So until you come up with a theory on how to stop the accident, the time is unknown. And I’ll use Chernobyl as an example. Chernobyl is out there at about a half a trillion dollars and that core never hit groundwater. That core stayed in the building and remained dry. So we have three nuclear cores in contact with groundwater. So neither the time nor the costs are known. And the Japanese and TEPCO, hand in glove, want to assure the world that the situation is under control. It is not. We have a half a trillion-dollar problem that may take 200 years to solve. And if the Japanese knew that, they would not want to start up the remaining reactors. The next point is that Fukushima continues to bleed into the Pacific. And this was known – I was saying it in April 2011; some key Japanese were also saying it in April 2011. This should not be a surprise to anyone. Until the bleeding stops, the healing can’t begin. Now just last week, Woods Hole announced a study that showed that about as much as 7 Becquerel – and a Becquerel is disintegration in a cubic meter. So think of a cubic meter – about that – and there would be 7 atoms disintegrating every second. Think of 7 flashes of light every second for hundreds of years to come – are in the Pacific Ocean right now. Now this was the press release. They called it trace amounts. I don’t call 7 Becquerel in a cubic meter a trace amount. It could be a lot worse but that’s significant and measurable, and it’s just the beginning of the onslaught. This is the most fascinating slide. This comes from Ian Goddard. There was a study in 2012 that predicted how much radiation was going to get to the west coast of British Columbia. And at this point in time, the study in 2012 was 29 times lower than what they actually measured. So scientists have no clue how to measure what’s transporting through the ocean. And that studies two years ago area already wrong by essentially a factor of 30. So if we believe the scientists in 2012, whose real goal was to downplay the significance of the damage to the Pacific Ocean, it’s in fact 29 times worse than predicted. So the last piece of this is a critical study that just came out, and Dr. Kaltofen (?8:53) has agreed that I can be the person to announce it to the world. I believe that the exposures in Japan are grossly underestimated. You see everybody walking around with their radiation detector and measuring atmospheric gamma rays. But that’s not where the problem lies. Dr. Kaltofen wrote this peer-reviewed report and down at the bottom – you can get it on line – it’s 170 pages long, on the Worcester Polytechnic website. And what Dr. Kaltofen did was he analyzed dust – common house dust – at 85 locations in Japan. And here’s what he found. He found that 27 percent of the house dust in Japan was not contaminated. That means that 73 percent of the house dusts that he measured in the 85 samples was contaminated. So this is Becquerel per gram – a gram is a phenomenally small piece – if you multiply that by 1,000, you’ll end up with Becquerel’s per kilogram. So somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 Becquerel per kilogram are in the house dust in 41 percent of the samples Kaltofen tested. And I have no reason to believe that it’s not worse than that. Actually, we were able to get 85 samples but in fact if we had a larger base, I think these numbers would go up. The Kaltofen data shows 41 percent of the houses have house dust at less than 10 Becquerel per gram. And it is Fukushima related because it’s not just cesium 137. Cesium 134. And Kaltofen got there early enough that he also captured iodine. And moving down, 25 percent have significant –

F: Are these samples in Japan or in Fukushima itself?

AG: This is in Japan. I’ll show you the locations of where those samples are in the next slide. But the last number – way down at the bottom there, the 1 percent – is essentially nuclear fuel. Kaltofen found nuclear fuel in a dust sample 300 miles away from Fukushima at Nagoya. So this is the top 11 dust samples that Kaltofen found, of the 85 that he analyzed. Now look where they’re from. Start at the bottom. Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo. Skip one. Tokyo. Tatae – and at the top is Nagoya. So these samples are from far away from Fukushima. The only one that’s reasonably close is Fukushima City, which is a taxicab air filter. That was about 20 miles away. So what that tells me is that the Japanese are breathing in contaminated house dust in their own homes 24/7, 365. We also analyzed kids’ shoes. And these are American shoes on the right and the samples from the Fukushima Prefecture on the left. What do kids do? They tie their shoelaces; they put their hands in their mouth. And one can expect incredible internal contamination from what they’re breathing and what they’re touching. And yet the IAEA walks around with radiation detectors and says everything’s fine, don’t worry, be happy. Last slide. This is the Nagoya dust sample. There’s one other piece of the Nagoya dust sample and it’s a perfect sphere. Now what does that mean? That means it was so hot when it left the nuclear reactor that it condensed, some say like a drop of rain. And that shows that it was essentially hot nuclear fuel that we captured in Nagoya. So my bottom line is that I have said for the last four years that I think somewhere between 100,000 and a million Japanese are eventually going to get cancer from this accident, and this data confirms that to me. And frankly, I think the IAEA and the Japanese government is in a massive cover-up so that they can start those nukes up without looking at this data. Thank you.

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