'Trust Us': World's Most Perilous Nuclear Operation Set To Begin

With effort to remove fuel rods from Fukushima's Reactor 4 expected any day, few trust TEPCO's assurances

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Nuclear fuel rods are seen in the spent fuel pool inside the No.4 reactor building at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture. (Credit: REUTERS/Tomohiro Ohsumi)

Published on CommonDreams.org - Jon Queally, staff writer

"No one here trusts Tokyo Electric."

That's how Reuters, quoting former local resident Ichiro Kazawa, concludes their latest reporting on the pending and enormously dangerous operation scheduled to begin inside the crippled Reactor 4 building at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

As Common Dreams has previously reported, the operation to remove the fuel rods from Reactor 4 has nuclear experts sounding every alarm bell they can find in order to draw attention to the potentially devastating results if something goes wrong with the effort.

And as Kazawa's comments make clear, very few find trust in the promises coming from the plant's owner, the Tokyo Electric Company (or TEPCO).

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Fuel removal of Reactor4 pool to start next week – No quake should occur for 13 months


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We're trying our best to obtain the true facts around the Fukushima disaster and the next steps about the removal of the fuel rods from the elevated pool in Reactor4. This article is relayed from the Fukushima Diary, one source of news we trust on that matter. The article source is here and the translation is as good as it gets, considered that the brave activist is from Japan.

Tepco is going to start removing the fuel assemblies from reactor4 pool next week. They will take 13 months to remove over 1500 fuel assemblies one after one, which is over 5,000 times much as Hiroshima bomb (based on Cs-137). They built 6 teams specially trained for this task. One team consists of 6 members. 1 member is from Tepco, but 5 members are from some other company, which Tepco conceals the name of and the reason of the concealment is also concealed.

The removed fuel is to be carried to the common usage pool. It’s not clear what to do with the fuel assemblies after transferring to the common pool. Reactor4 spent fuel pool is covered with the crane building, so we cannot see the crane picking up the assemblies from live camera.

What makes it more dangerous than the daily fuel removal is the fact that the pool is full of debris. They vacuum the small pieces of the debris over the assemblies but still it’s likely that the crane accidentally picks up a piece of debris when it grabs an assembly. In that case, it’s possible that the assembly is dropped.

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No To Restarts: Suits Join Japan Nuclear Power Protests

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By Abby Zimet, CommonDreams.org

With a governmental task force reportedly urging that the grossly inept, widely criticized TEPCO be stripped of the responsibility for shutting down and cleaning up the crippled Fukushima plant - with "a clear and realistic organization" created in its place - business workers in Tokyo have joined the growing nuclear power protests in Japan. Hundreds in business suits marched last night in Tokyo, deliberately passing by TEPCO offices with signs reading "No to Restarts" and "Stop Contaminated Water."

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Atomic Energy—Unnecessary, Uneconomic, Uninsurable, Unevacuable and Unsafe

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March 11, 2011, from the fourth floor of the radioactive waste disposal building, shows water rising from Tsunami waves at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan (Tokyo Electric Power Co / HO / Reuters)

appeared on CommonDreams.org: by Ralph Nader

It has been over two years since the earthquake and tsunami that brought about the nuclear reactor crisis in Fukushima—the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The situation at the six plants is still grim. Four of the reactors are damaged. Hundreds of tons of contaminated groundwater are reportedly seeping into the ocean every day. Nearly 83,000 people were displaced from their homes in the approximately 310 square mile exclusion zones. On Wednesday October 9th, an accident resulted in six workers being doused in radioactive water. Accidents and mishaps at the Fukushima site are regular occurrences. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now asked the world community for help in containing the ongoing Fukushima disaster, as it continues to spiral out of control.

Earlier this week, I participated in a panel discussion in New York City called "The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident: Ongoing Lessons." The event featured notable long-time experts on nuclear technology discussing the crisis in Fukushima and the current state of the heavily subsidized nuclear industry in the United States. The panel participants were former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner and later Chairman Peter Bradford, former NRC Chairman Dr. Gregory Jaczko, former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, and nuclear engineer, Arnie Gundersen.

Mr. Bradford presented a detailed power point that showed how competing forms of energy already are leading to the decline of the nuclear industry.

The panel discussed safety concerns regarding the Indian Point nuclear power plant located about 30 miles from New York City. Indian Point has long been rife with safety problems and its location near an earthquake fault is a source of great concern for many New York residents. You can view Tuesday’s event, in its entirety, here:http://new.livestream.com/FukushimaLessons/newyork

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