Tepco’s Cheapskate Tactics Put World at Risk

While “Fifty Year Battle” To Save Japan Rages On

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.
– Henry David Thoreau

The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.
– E.F. Schumacher

Since March 27 the Fukushima region has experienced three medium sized earthquakes not to mention a typhoon to boot.1 This is important because a Japanese engineer recently admitted that the situation at the Fukushima No. 1 power station is still dangerous and the unit four fuel pool is vulnerable to earthquakes.2 Due to unit four’s fragile condition–the building is said to be leaning to one side–Tokyo Power Company (Tepco) is “working to fortify the crumpled outer shell of the building” in order to prevent collapse.3 After the most recent earthquake Tepco announced there was no problem, but the “Fukuichi live camera” which records activity at the site was shifted slightly to the left by the tremor.4

An accident to the fuel pool could set off a chain of events involving “a total of 1760 metric tons of fresh and used nuclear fuel” among the six reactors at the disaster site.5 According to Takao Yamada, Expert Senior Writer at the Mainichi Daily News, Tepco dismissed the idea of injecting extra concrete to reinforce the unit four building just after 3/11.

Former Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Sumio Mabuchi, who was appointed to the post of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s advisor on the nuclear disaster immediately after its outbreak, proposed the injection of concrete from below the No. 4 reactor to the bottom of the storage pool, Chernobyl-style. An inspection of the pool floor, however, led TEPCO to conclude that the pool was strong enough without additional concrete. The plans were scrapped, and antiseismic reinforcements were made to the reactor building instead.

‘Because sea water was being pumped into the reactor, the soundness of the structure (concrete corrosion and deterioration) was questionable. There also were doubts about the calculations made on earthquake resistance as well,’ said one government source familiar with what took place at the time. ‘It’s been suggested that the building would be reinforced, and spent fuel rods would be removed from the pool under those conditions. But fuel rod removal will take three years. Will the structure remain standing for that long? Burying the reactor in a concrete grave is like building a dam, and therefore expensive. I think that it was because TEPCO’s general shareholders’ meeting was coming up (in June 2011) that the company tried to keep expenses low.’6

Let’s get this straight: because of an upcoming share holders meeting Tepco could not be bothered to go the extra five yards and spend necessary money to solidify the building with a stoop from below (excluding the idea of the sarcophagus)? What kind of blunder is this (and it continues), putting the inane greed of money junkies in their boardrooms over the welfare of millions of people and the environment? Life on Earth will be permanently affected or destroyed if the Fukushima power station goes up in a radiological blaze, potentially setting fire to 1760 tons of fuel. This could result in tens of times more radiation than was released in 1986 in the Ukraine.

Thus we have Tepco, the limited liability corporation par excellence– privatize profits and externalize costs. But nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson noted that “the clean up is going to cost around a half a trillion dollars.”7 This will wipe out any savings that came from using nuclear energy in the first place.

This news comes on the heels of learning of revised estimates of the initial Fukushima disaster which put the amount of cesium released into the air and water as high as 90% of Chernobyl releases. This is a far cry from original assessments by the Japanese government that radiation was just 10 or 15% as much.

“Table S2. Estimated 137Cs releases and inventories…. Total air deposition 36 Far field air deposition and air transport model Stohl et al…. Total direct release to ocean 27 by July 18 (22 by April 8) Assessment of ocean 137Cs within 30 km of shore Bailly du Bois et al.”

  • Highest estimates by foreign researchers: Fukushima 63 quadrillion becquerals;
  • Japanese government highest estimate: 40 quadrillion bq;
  • Chernobyl estimate after two decades of study: 70 quadrillion bq8

* (Special thanks to enenews.com for bringing technical literature on the Fukushima disaster to public attention.)

Nuclear Fission Fueled By Political Corruption and Financial Terrorism

Yamada offers this blistering critique of Japan’s profoundly dysfunctional political system:

The government continues to take regressive steps in spite of the torrent of criticism it has received and the lessons that should have been learned since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster.
This is evidenced in the fact that starting this week, which marks the beginning of a new fiscal year, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan (NSC) have no budget. The new nuclear regulatory agency that was supposed to begin operations on April 1 in NISA’s stead is now floundering amid resistance in the Diet from opposition parties. In other words, government agencies overseeing nuclear power now have an even more diminished presence….The situation doesn’t do much for morale, however. Back-scratching relationships between government ministries, the indecision of both the ruling and opposition parties, and the unchanging fact that much of the current crisis is still left in the hands of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) remains the same.9

The stockholders won’t pay, they get bailed out by taxpayers. We will all pay through the sweat of our brows and loss of life and health from the radioactive fallout. The financial terrorists in London, New York, and Tel Aviv don’t care who loses as long as the Global Debt Slavery System (GDSS) keeps filling their bank accounts at the expense of humanity and the environment. As a curious aside, it is worth noting that the infamous Rothschilds dynasty is alleged to be a major player in uranium mining and the promotion of nuclear power, not to mention having their hands in much of the world’s wealth.10

Arnie Gunderson Reports

For the first time our top nuclear expert, the intrepid Arnie Gunderson, has publicly acknowledged that at least some of the destruction at Fukushima was caused by the earthquake, and not the tsunami as is so often reported by the mainstream media. This fact was first enumerated by Jake Adelstein and David McNeil in the Atlantic Wire.11 Gunderson believes the core is still inside the No. 2 reactor and not causing a China Syndrome, and says it will be another five years before the Fukushima reactor cores cool down to the point where they can be dealt with.

The volume and insightfulness of his analysis is worth extensively reviewing. Despite my hearing from someone in the mainstream science community derisively refer to Arnie as an outlier, if I had the chance to buy Gunny a cup of coffee I surely would. While it would be better to have a wider array of experts who can speak in laymen’s terms in order to compare and contrast their views, most scientists are bought and paid for by their employers in the University and Military research world. I have not read of any serious refutation of Gunderson’s Fukushima analysis.

I’ve quoted and paraphrased the following points he made in two recent interviews12:

  • “It’s pretty clear that unit one at Fukushima Daiichi was in trouble before the tsunami hit…. It was the first one to meltdown, the first one to explode, first one to run out of water. So, something happened in unit one before the tsunami hit, I don’t know what it is but obviously its seismically induced. So that throws a monkey wrench into the industry’s seismic analysis. These plants were designed to withstand the earthquake that hit that site… on land a 7.9. The plant was designed to withstand something that severe, and yet unit one failed and that should be a major concern.”
  • “All of the people of the planet have a deep debt to the thousand or two thousand men who risked their lives” to tackle meltdowns at both Fukushima power stations No. 1 and No. 2. These brave men and women were exposed to high levels of radiation in order to prevent the situation from worsening, while Tepco and the government just stood by and downplayed the dangers.
  • There are institutional problems in the nuclear industry to keep reactors that have safety issues running despite the dangers. “Tepco has actually created this problem by trying to minimize the problem” whereas in fact “this is a fifty year battle.” From now until 2062 it is “going to cost a lot of radiation exposure to workers” as well as a half a trillion dollars.
  • The reactors will require five more years of “throwing water on them” until they physically cool down; cost to dismantle will be 15 billion dollars per reactor.
  • In Unit 2 they were expecting to find water in the container at 5 meters but did not find “any water until until they got to 60 centimeters (2 feet)… in the bottom of the containment…. The core is in the bottom of the reactor and containment which definitely indicates a meltdown.” Tepco is pouring 5-10 tons of water per day into unit two but the water is disappearing out of the containment vessel and leaking into the other buildings. This is due to damage in the suppression pool from the explosion that occurred after the earthquake. Without the 5 meters of water for shielding “it will be very difficult to remove any nuclear fuel.” With such high radiation levels, over 70 sieverts per hour, electronic systems that control devices such as robots that could remove the fuel, are destroyed by the radiation.
  • The unit 3 fuel pool is just as bad as unit 4 but because of radiation “no one has ever gotten near it yet…. The biggest problem that I see is the seismic risk because we’ve got fuel pools in Units 4 and 3 and 2 and 1 that are exposed to the atmosphere now and if there is a major seismic event — especially in Units 3 and 4 — if those fuel pools crack, we… risk destroying the nation of Japan.”
  • Gunderson measured noble gases from Fukushima three times greater than Chernobyl; he is unsure of cesium but it is definitely higher than government estimate of 4 petabecquerals and may be up to three times higher than Chernobyl.
  • 78% of the radiation from Fukushima “wound up in the Pacific Ocean” and the rest on Japan; biomagnification of seafood will lead to radioactive salmon and tuna in a few years; 2% of Fukushima radiation went to North America, namely the American and Canadian Cascade Range on the West Coast.
  • 7,000 becquerals per sq kg of soil from Tokyo was measured in five samples by Gunderson. This exceeds 5,000 which is Japan’s limit for agriculture. However, “a lot of the land crops over time will gradually decrease in concentration [of radioactivity].”
  • Japanese are treating radioactive waste by diluting it with clean waste, thereby sweeping the problem under the rug as if the radioactivity is not significant. What would be treated like radioactive waste in the US is being diluted and treated as normal waste in Japan, and being spread all over the country for incineration. This practice may lead to biomagnification in the food supply–wild “rabbits are already radioactive! … The Japanese ‘solution’ is to raise the radioactive standard so high that the standard is effectively meaningless.”

What Goes Around Comes Around

In Japan there is a media blackout on the topic of burning the 25 million tons of radioactive debris from the northeast tsunami zone.13 I’ll bet if you walked around Tokyo and asked people whether they thought the debris should be burned in public facilities, and that the government does not publish data on effluent toxicity, they would not agree to the policy. But since most people “know nothing” it is no problem. People no longer read newspapers and TV news is superficial, not to mention that most people don’t watch the news because it’s considered too “boring.”

However, Japan’s decision to ship radioactive debris around the country in order to share the burden of the disaster has met with some resistance. In Kyoto there have been vocal protests against receiving the debris. Maybe lack of data on effluent contamination explains why the government does not want to tell residents whether they will burn debris or not.14 I put the question to Iori Mochizuki of the Fukushima Diary:

Q: How can we find out about the effluent from chimneys that will occur from burning of radioactive waste?

A: “That’s now everyone’s question. MEXT says they can filter it out 100% but there is no data, even no official [data]. Only insiders of those filter makers [have leaked information that] the filters don’t work at all. Now we are all trying to find out the source.”15

In other words, although the government reassures the public that no radioactive effluents will escape incinerator chimneys, there is no data published to verify this. Rumors that the filters do not block radiation add to doubts. Even if the filters do block most of the radiation, considering the huge tonnage being burned, the amount of radiation will add up. The apparent fact that there is no published data is a logical fallacy that proves either the government is lying or that they deem the citizenry to be little more than troublesome cockroaches.

In the past Junichi Sato of Greenpeace Japan told me that incinerators were 90% more efficient than older models in blocking toxic effluents.16 But even this means there is a ten percent margin of error on effluents that can escape, relative to less efficient incinerators. I assume the government feels this is such a small amount that it is nothing to worry about, but given municipal incinerators were built for household waste and not radioactive debris, it is worrying.

When I called the Greenpeace Japan office they referred me to their website, but I could not find any stories on the incinerator issue. I asked the person over the phone about it, and they said that while they don’t entirely trust the government they have no plans to monitor the incinerators. I sent an email with questions on this matter but have not yet received a response.

  1. Mar 2012 Iwate-ken Oki M6.4; 30 Mar 2012 Fukushima-ken Oki Magnitude 5.0 Intensity: 3; Magnitude 5.8 – EASTERN HONSHU, JAPAN 2012 April 01; Japan Meteorological Agency’s Highly Unusual Storm Warning on TV: “Don’t Go Outside.” []
  2. The Fukushima Lie. []
  3. Fukushima…radiation so high – even robots not safe and Japan Nuclear Plant May Be Worse Off Than Thought. []
  4. Fukushima live camera moved. []
  5. How Much Fuel Is at Risk at Fukushima? []
  6. In light of further nuclear risks, economic growth should not be priority. []
  7. Russia Today: Gundersen: One Year Anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi. []
  8. Fukushima-derived radionuclides in the ocean and biota off Japan; Scientists: Far more cesium released than previously believed; Chernobyl: Assessment of Radiological and Health Impact — 2002 Update of Chernobyl: Ten Years On. []
  9. Chernobyl: Assessment of Radiological and Health Impact — 2002 Update of Chernobyl: Ten Years On. []
  10. Reasons why the Rothschild Controlled Governments and Media Lie about the Japanese Nuke Crisis; Rothschild Bank International, Leading the Push for “New Nuclear”; Rothschild World Domination Plan Via Private Nuclear Weapons; How the Rothschild Dynasty Operates. []
  11. Meltdown: What Really Happened at Fukushima? []
  12. Interview: Arnie Gunderson, Nuclear Engineer and Podcast with Arnie Gunderson []
  13. Tokyo Starts to Burn Onagawa Debris in Earnest at Incineration Plants for Regular Household Garbage in 23 Special Wards and Disaster Debris Is Radioactive, Ministry of the Environment’s Own Data Shows. []
  14. Intense protest against sharing radioactive debris policy in Kyoto and Governor of Kyoto on Disaster Debris: “We May Not Tell Residents.” []
  15. 50,000 tones of radioactive wastes are over 8000 Bq/Kg. []
  16. The Ecology of Hope. []

Richard Wilcox has a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from a social science, holistic perspective. He teaches at a number of universities in the Tokyo, Japan area. His most recent interview with Jeff Rense is available. Many of his environmental articles are archived here. Read other articles by Richard.