The operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant revealed that 600 tons of reactor fuel melted during the disaster, and the location of the highly radioactive blobs remains a mystery. Tokyo Electric Power Company’s chief of decommissioning at Fukushima, Naohiro Masuda, told Australia’s ABC TV that the company hoped to pinpoint the position of the fuel and begin removing by 2021.
“The absolutely uncontrollable fission of the melted nuclear fuel assemblies continue somewhere under the remains of the station. It’s important to find it as soon as possible,’ acknowledged Masuda, admitting that Japan does not yet possess the technology to extract the melted uranium fuel.”
So 600 tons is missing and they don’t know where it is and don’t have the technology to remove it even if they discover its location.
The former head of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission doubts the fuel can be retrieved, noting such an operation has never been done before. “Nobody really knows where the fuel is at this point and this fuel is still very radioactive and will be for a long time,” said Gregory Jaczko.”It may be possible that we’re never able to remove the fuel. You may just have to wind up leaving it there and somehow entomb it as it is.”
TEPCO has unsuccessfully attempted to use custom-built robots to access high-dose radiation parts of the reactor buildings where humans cannot go. “All the robots have been disabled, the instrumentation, the camera … have been disabled because of the high radiation fields,” said Jaczko.
Naoto Kan, who was the Japanese prime minister at the time of the Fukushima meltdowns says, “I think 40 years [to decommission the plant] is an optimistic view. It will probably cost more than $240 billion.”
A recent CounterPunch article noted: “Fukushima is three times (3x) Chernobyl, maybe more; however, in Fukushima’s case there’s a distinct possibility that its white-hot sizzling corium has already started burrowing into Earth.”
The former head of the NRC suggests: “You have to now accept that in all nuclear power plants, wherever they are in the world … that you can have this kind of a very catastrophic accident, and you can release a significant amount of radiation and have a decade long cleanup effort on your hands.”
Photographer Keow Wee Loong recently snuck into the town of Fukushima. “Ever wonder what is like in Fukushima exclusion zone now ??? he wrote on Facebook. “everything is exactly where it is after the earthquake struck this town. Well this is the devastating effects of using nuclear energy. resident lives in fukushima will never be the same again… the radiation leak at red zone by the fukushima daichi power plant is damaging the environment and marine life in the pacific ocean , say no to nuclear energy today.”