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Friday, 21 September 2012

Dr Helen Caldicott interview with Arnie Gunderson about 18 months after Fukushima

"Arnie Gundersen joins Helen Caldicott on If You Love This Planet to discuss the ongoing release of radiation at Fukushima Daichi and what methods are being used to contain the damage. The water being used to cool the reactor is highly radioactive and is still being released into the Pacific. They deal with the dilemma of workers endangerment and ongoing radiation leakage. Information about health effects on children in the first 18 months since the accident is discussed."

[link to]

Must read or listen!!!

Helen Caldicott: I needed to get you back because you have been saying some new things about Fukushima. And I have got quite a lot of questions too. So I think as usual, you need to give us a complete update of Units I, II, III and IV, where they stand, what your thinking is now, and the like, please, Arnie. So the floor is yours.

AG: O.K. Thank you. Well, let's go IV, III, II, I, for a change. On Unit IV, the walls have been knocked down and that is a good thing. The plan is . . .

HC: What do you mean the walls have been knocked down? I do not know what you mean by that.

AG: The explosion kind of devastated everything _(within?)__ the last 2 floors of the reactor. So they ripped out the remaining structures and they are down at what we would call the operating floor.

HC: Well you mean the building still stands but they have taken out the 2 upper floors, is that right?

AG: Yes. If the building was 100 feet tall, now it is 60 feet tall. They have taken out all of the superstructure above the nuclear reactor and that was a very high bay area where the massive cranes moved and where the refueling bridges moved. So all of that has been removed and there is going to be shortly, essentially a flat area where Tokyo Electric plans to work......

AG: Well each bundle will have to get lifted and put into a shielded container underwater.

HC: Yes.

AG: As soon as those things come out of the water they are so highly radioactive, they would kill the people on the operating floor. So all of this has to be done with the fuel pool full of water. So they will lift out one bundle at a time and of course the question is, are the bundles distorted because of the heat or have they been damaged because of all the rubble that fell into the pool. But in theory anyway, they will be able to go down and grab the bundle, pull it out still underwater, carry it to the side of the pool, and underwater still there will be a huge canister. They will lift the fuel into that huge canister, put a lid on it. That huge canister weighs something like a hundred tons. ....

HC: Well now, how long is it going to take to reinforce the building? You say they have got to build a new wall on the far side from the ocean, on the land side.

AG: Yes.

HC: To make it strong enough to be able to put this incredibly heavy crane on top of the building. How long will it take, a) to build the building, per se, before they

AG: They claim it will take a year.

HC: A year. So you have got a year to build the building. Then they have got to put the crane on top of the building. That probably will not take so long, right?

AG: Right. Something on the order of 18 months from now, they will be able to move fuel.

HC: 18 months before they move the fuel and then it is going to take another year to totally remove the fuel from the pool. So we are talking about 2 1/2 years.

AG: We are talking 2015 or 2016 before that gets done....

AG: Now the beauty of Unit IV is that there is nothing in the nuclear reactor. As they go up, to I, II, and III, of course, you have got to empty the fuel pool and that is not clear, especially Unit III, how much damage is in the fuel pool. I think the damage in Unit III's pool is extensive. But then you have got to get in the nuclear reactors on I, II, and III. Of course, the fuel is melted down there, so it is not as simple as grabbing the bundles and lifting them out. The fuel is actually melted and is a blob on the bottom of the reactor if you are lucky and in fact, more likely has leaked through the reactor and is a blob on the concrete. So they are going to be much more difficult than Unit IV.

HC: Oh, so they are still pouring water over the molten fuel?

AG: Yes.

HC: Seawater?

AG: It is probably not molten, Helen. It is probably a solid lump that is very hot. But yes, they are still pouring water over it, to the tune of tens of tons a day for each reactor. And that water is coming back out incredibly radioactive and rather than pump it right back in, they are cleaning it with the mineralizer system that is very sophisticated, and very expensive. But in the process now, they are creating hundreds of demineralizer residues. Think of like a Brita filter, hundreds of those, but of course those are the size of a car, that are highly radioactive with cesium that has got a 300 year lifetime, that they are putting out on a field behind the plant. And still the concentration of radioactivity in the water is not going down because it is in direct contact with nuclear fuel....

HC: So that indicates if in the turbine buildings which is 3 buildings distant from the reactor itself, therefore you would extrapolate back and say that if the radiation is as high as that in the turbine buildings, it will be higher in each of the other buildings to the reactor itself, right? So you extrapolate.

AG: That is exactly right. And if they dismantle this building, they still have the same radioactive material. Now they have got to move it some place where it is clean. That does not make a lot of sense. So it very well may be that the Japanese will say, OK, we made a huge mistake. But we are going to use the Fukushima site as the ultimate waste repository for everything we are finding on the site, rather than contaminate another location.....

HC: OK. Now how much radiation would you estimate is still escaping every day from Units I, II, and III which are leaking like sieves to quote you.

AG: It would not surprise me if it was a billion becquerels a day from both water and gaseous . . . A billion disintegrations per second of radiation in a day. And of course once that billion leaks out, it is going to continue to decay, but just not in the reactor. As it moves around the world, it will continue to decay. Now a billion is a big number but the initial accident had about 12 more zeros behind it. So compared to the first day or week of the initial accident, it is small. But compared to an operating nuclear plant where everything is just fine, it is huge....

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doom... thankyou... nicely under the carpet.....

and then there is the children and the suposition that fuku is compared to the atomic weapons of WWII:
AG: Yes. Then of course after that comes the iodine. Now that only has an 8 day half life, but it is selectively absorbed by thyroid. There is a good study out I think last week, that shows in Hiroshima victims, the kids continued to have thyroid problems up into their 50's, 60's and 70's. So it used to be thought that if you got through the first couple of years, you are out of the woods, but for the children, whose thyroid's are growing, apparently that is not true and that they are seeing continual thyroid problems essentially for life for the kids who were attached, who passed that . . . the iodine.

HC: Yes, the children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were affected mostly by external gamma radiation, there was not a lot of internal radiation from radioactive iodine. Even now, so many years later, how many years is it? It is 45, it is . . . 60 years later are still developing thyroid cancers. And one third of thyroid cancers metastasize and kill the patients. But we are now seeing within the first 18 months after Fukushima, they have examined 18,000 children under the age of 15 or 18 in Fukushima Prefecture, sorry 38,000 or so and 36% of them are showing thyroid cysts and/or nodules by ultrasound examination. They are not being biopsied to see if the cells are malignant. That is really gross medical irresponsibility. And they are downplaying it and they are not really informing the parents what it means.

AG: The number I heard in comparison is that a normal population of children of that age have 1%. So clearly this is . . .

HC: This is 36%. That is off the chart. But it is early, see, and you do not expect to see in Chernobyl, they did not see thyroid tumors until 3 to 4 years post accident. This is in the first 18 months. So therefore you would assume that these children got a whopping dose of radioactive iodine into their thyroid glands by inhalation and ingestion of contaminated food. And that is the tip of the iceberg. That indicates that lots of other cancers are going to start developing too, from internal emitters that get into their livers, their heart, their brain, their muscles, their bones and the like.

AG: Yes. So we talked about noble gasses, we talked about iodine and all of the other ones which everybody seems to lump into cesium. But it is cesium 134, cesium 137, it is strontium and rubidium and on and on and on.

HC: Well you are a nuclear engineer. Give us some of the others, just name them Arnie. So people have an idea.

AG: I am most concerned about uranium. We are finding uranium in samples which indicates fuel melt and stuff like that and as a heavy element, we are surprised to be able to pick it up a couple of hundred miles away. One of the samples I took in Tokyo had uranium in it. So that is just an indication of a gross core breech and things like that. So we are finding some data out of Europe that talks about dust in homes and the homes are 100 miles away. And we are looking at per kilogram so for 2.2 pounds, 100,000 disintegrations per second in a kilogram of dust. Now that is a lot of dust. But the Japanese sleep on the floor.
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Last Edited by citizenperth on 09/22/2012 12:58 PM

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