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Worry Over Underground Explosions at Fukushima Expressed by Nuclear Investigator

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Excerpts from a column by Robert Cringely (Cringely is a best-selling author and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, and Forbes. He wrote in 2009 that “there is a place for nuclear power in our energy future”.), Feb 17, 2017 (emphasis added):

  • Here’s why I am writing about this subject and why you should take me seriously. Back in 1979 I was hired by the White House to help investigate the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. My friend Robert Bishop, whom I consulted for this column, was the only American at Chernobyl.
  • I wrote… that the [Fukushima] accident was far worse than the public was being told and that it would take many decades — if ever — for the site to recover.
  • Well it’s six years later and, if anything, the Fukushima situation is even worse. Far from being over, the nuclear meltdown is continuing, the public health nightmare increasing. Why aren’t we reading about this everywhere?
  • The most recent evidence… means is there’s a puddle of molten uranium that has melted its way through the steel pressure vessel, through the reinforced concrete containment, through the reinforced concrete foundation of the nuclear facility, and is now working its way through whatever rock or soil lies underneath the foundation, dropping lower each day… If the molten uranium hits an underground aquifer, such a spread could get even worse.
  • There is no solution… but there are a few things that can be done to mitigate this crisis, with the main one being what’s being called an ice wall… The point of the ice wall is to contain the poison while also minimizing incursion of water. Starve the puddle of water, the idea goes, and just let the uranium do its thing… water is bad because the uranium’s heat will turn it into hydrogen and oxygen which will then explode. Why worry about such subterranean explosions? Think of it as fracking. Just as fracking uses explosions to release trapped natural gas, Fukushima-style fracking will fill the fractured rocks and their entrapped water with radioactivity. Here’s the important bit: These new radiation numbers show the uranium puddle is on the move, downward — ever downward. To be even minimally effective the ice wall has to go preferably deeper than the puddle. While the ice wall technique has been well publicized, its required depth hasn’t been. I’ll guarantee you right here that the ice wall doesn’t go deeper — not even close — because that would cost more than the Japanese utility and government are willing to pay. I’ll also guarantee you that 99.9 percent of the Japanese population doesn’t understand this danger.

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