Efforts désespérés à Fukushima – Karl-Ludwig G. Poggemann / flickr creative commons

Christina Consolo -founder and host of Nuked Radio – recently gave an interview on RT concerning the proposed removal of the spent fuel rods at Fukushima reactor number 4, which is near collapse. Her concerns and possible outcomes coincide with that of other nuclear exerts. As is to be expected the major world wide news outlets are playing this down or ignoring it altogether.

RT:How serious is the fuel rod situation compared to the danger of contaminated water build-up which we already know about?

Christina Consolo: Although fuel rod removal happens on a daily basis at the 430+ nuclear sites around the world, it is a very delicate procedure even under the best of circumstances. What makes fuel removal at Fukushima so dangerous and complex is that it will be attempted on a fuel pool whose integrity has been severely compromised. However, it must be attempted as Reactor 4 has the most significant problems structurally, and this pool is on the top floor of the building.

There are numerous other reasons that this will be a dangerous undertaking.

- The racks inside the pool that contain this fuel were damaged by the explosion in the early days of the accident. 

- Zirconium cladding which encased the rods burned when water levels dropped, but to what extent the rods have been damaged is not known, and probably won’t be until removal is attempted. 

- Saltwater cooling has caused corrosion of the pool walls, and probably the fuel rods and racks. 

- The building is sinking. 

- The cranes that normally lift the fuel were destroyed. 

- Computer-guided removal will not be possible; everything will have to be done manually. 

- TEPCO cannot attempt this process without humans, which will manage this enormous task while being bombarded with radiation during the extraction and casking. 

- The process of removing each rod will have to be repeated over 1,300 times without incident. 

- Moving damaged nuclear fuel under such complex conditions could result in a criticality if the rods come into close proximity to one another, which would then set off a chain reaction that cannot be stopped.

What could potentially happen is the contents of the pool could burn and/or explode, and the entire structure sustain further damage or collapse. This chain reaction process could be self-sustaining and go on for a long time. This is the apocalyptic scenario in a nutshell.

Christina goes on to explain how any major failure in the removal could easily trigger cascading failures at the other nearby reactors that are already heavily damaged.  All of which could continue on for decades.

Once the integrity of the pool is compromised that will likely lead to more criticalities, which then can spread to other fuel. The heat from this reaction would weaken the structure further, which could then collapse and the contents of the pool end up in a pile of rubble on the ground. This would release an enormous amount of radioactivity, which Arnie Gundersen has referred to as a “Gamma Shine Event” without precedence, and Dr. Christopher Busby has deemed an “Open-air super reactor spectacular.”

This would preclude anyone from not only being at Reactor 4, but at Reactors 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, the associated pools for each, and the common spent fuel pool. Humans could no longer monitor and continue cooling operations at any of the reactors and pools, thus putting the entire site at risk for a massive radioactive release.

The obvious solution to this would be for all the major powers in the world to work on solving this together. The likelihood of this happening, of course, is nearly zero as far too many are far too vested in nuclear technology and the negative publicity would instantly kill nuclear power.

So would capitalism be willing to risk condemning billions of people to death by radiation exposure for its bottom line? Are they aware that there would be no escape the Hamptons?

This is a terrible answer to have to give, but the worst case scenario could play out in death to billions of people. A true apocalypse. Since we have been discussing Reactor 4, I’ll stick to that problem in particular, but also understand that a weather event, power outage, earthquake, tsunami, cooling system failure, or explosion and fire in any way, shape, or form, at any location on the Fukushima site, could cascade into an event of that magnitude as well.

Yet the media and all governments are playing a dangerous game of head-in-the-sand. After all, it’s on the other side of the world and not our problem…Right ?