UPDATE: Reuters Alert: “Fukushima damage leaves spent fuel at risk” -US Lawmaker — “Far worse than he expected” — Bags of rock only protection from tsunami
Read Senator Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) letters to:
- US Ambassador to Japan Fujisaki
- Secretary of Energy Chu
- Secretary of State Clinton
- NRC Chairman Jaczko
Let Sen. Wyden know how you feel about his position
Title: After Tour of Fukushima Nuclear Power Station, Wyden Says Situation Worse than Reported
Source: Press Release of Senator Wyden
Date: Monday, April 16, 2012
After Tour of Fukushima Nuclear Power Station, Wyden Says Situation Worse than Reported
Urges Japanese Ambassador to Accept International Help to Mitigate Continued Nuclear Risks
Washington, D.C. – After an onsite tour of what remains of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facilities decimated by last year’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, sent a letter to Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki looking for ways to advance and support clean-up and recovery efforts. Wyden’s principal concern is the relocation of spent fuel rods currently being stored in unsound structures immediately adjacent to the ocean. He strongly urged the Ambassador to accept international help to prevent dangerous nuclear material from being released into the environment.
“The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting,” Wyden wrote in the letter. “The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.”
Wyden visited Fukushima on April 6, 2012 while on a Congressional delegation trip to the region. He and a staff member wore radiation suits as they toured the facility and met with workers and managers from the Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO, which is responsible for the clean-up. Wyden found that the facilities designed to house spent nuclear fuel and the reactors themselves were still in a state of disrepair and located in areas that would make them susceptible to further damage from future seismic events. The reactor buildings still contain large amounts of spent fuel – making them a huge safety risk and the only protection from a future tsunami, Wyden observed, is a small, makeshift sea wall erected out of bags of rock.
Wyden is also sending letters today to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jaczko asking them to identify additional resources and assistance that their agencies could provide to Japan to address these risks.
More about Fukushima Daiichi’s Spent Fuel Pools:
- Mainichi Expert Sr. Writer: Gov’t sources say No. 4 pool a grave concern — Storage pool barely intact — We have no time to humor senseless thinking of those who downplay the risks
- Asahi TV: “Unbelievable” — If Unit 4 pool gets a crack from quake and leaks, it would be end for Tokyo -Expert — Doesn’t have to be large tremor, already shaken many times (VIDEO)
- WATCH: Japan lawmakers warned about Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 during testimony of former ambassador (VIDEOS)
- Gundersen: No. 3 fuel pool worse off than No. 4 — Mechanically it’s rubble, the pool is rubble — Nobody has even gotten near it yet (VIDEO)
- NYT on Reactor No. 4: “Risk of another colossal radiation leak” if cooling problems arise, experts say — “Tepco has been racing to fortify crumpled outer shell”
Wyden’s letter to US Ambassador to Japan Ichiro Fujisaki