TheRealNews on Mar 15, 2011
Harvey Wasserman: In Japan and around the world problem of storing spent nuclear fuel still not solved; Could be another Chernobyl
WYSHAM: So, Harvey, let’s start with the latest information that we have coming out of Fukushima. How many reactors exactly are in a state of crisis?
WASSERMAN: Well, we know at least four are, maybe more. The problem is we can’t be really 100 percent certain that we’re getting the full story from the Japanese government and the industry, and we’re not even 100 percent certain that they know what’s going on. So it’s a really serious situation. We know at least two reactors have had explosions and at least two have had seawater poured into them, which is really a desperate measure of last resort–it’s not a good sign that they’re pouring in seawater. We think they’re going to do it to a third. And who knows what else? I think it’s also important to remember that there could be another earthquake. Very often when you have a big earthquake like this, others follow. And we can see what kind of disaster that will be.
WYSHAM: Now, one of the situations that people are keeping a close eye on is the spent fuel that is sitting outside of these reactor vessels. And in some cases we’re seeing steam possibly rising from the spent fuel rods. Do you know what exactly–why is that such dangerous situation, Harvey?
WASSERMAN: Well, I’ve got to tell you, Daphne, I was in Japan in 1975, ’76, and ’78. These things were discussed. This is not exactly a surprise here. We were told by the Japanese government that these things could not happen. The opposition to these plants did raise these issues. Now you have spent fuel at these plants. Under some designs, the spent fuel is actually on top, in the top of the containment. There are some people believe some of the spent fuel may have actually broken and fell into the core. We don’t know about that. There also may be spent fuel outside, and of course this could have been hit by the tsunami. It’s very poorly managed, this spent fuel, at all reactors all over the world, since there’s no solution to the nuclear waste problem. If steam is coming off these spent fuel poles, then we have a serious problem, because the spent fuel has enough energy in it to actually cause an explosion on its own with huge radiation releases. So not only are we concerned about the cores in these reactors; we’re also concerned about the spent fuel rods.
Spent Nuclear Fuel – The Real Danger?