Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fukushima is still a BIG problem

This video is perhaps the most powerful I have ever seen.  It is an interview with an engineer who is trying to keep the reactors at Fukushima from collapsing into a large pile of disaster.  This is a highly educated man who trained to have a comfortable life managing one of Japan's most important power sources.  Just remember, there were SIX reactors at Fukushima.  His life is being shortened by nuclear exposure and he knows it.  And yet he still goes to work to solve highly complex problems—problems he did not cause—when moving to Australia would seem a better choice.

(And there are people who actually say there is no "instinct of workmanship" and that Producers, by their very nature, cannot be heroic.  Idiots!)

A note:  This embedded video is mostly in German because it was originally made by ZDF.  Maybe your browser plays the subtitles in the embed but if it does not, click on the YouTube logo in the lower right corner and it will open in YouTube.  Then look for the red CC button on the bottom.  Click that and you see the subtitles.  It is pretty solid video—it CAN be watched full-screen.

German TV: Armageddon if Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 collapses and melts down — Could change the world — Most likely consequence is that reactors 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 get out of control — Interview with nuclear engineer (VIDEO)

Published: March 26th, 2012 at 5:11 am ET
By ENENews
Title: The Fukushima Lie Source: ZDF (German TV)
Author: Documentary by Johannes Hano, camera Heiko Käberich, Toby Marshall
Upload Date: Mar 22, 2012
Uploaded by: StevenMorello
Translation by: Steven Muschalik
Subtitles by: Jerry Sa
Original Link:,1872,8235273_idDispatch:11369630,00.html

At 1:09 in

Narrator: Yukitero Naka and his people know what is really happening in the nuclear ruins. [...] Even if they were able to create enough qualified engineers and staff for the next 40 years, one problem remains that could change Japan and the world.

Question: Is the nuclear power plant safe now?

Yukitero Naka, Nuclear Engineer: Well, that’s what TEPCO and the government says, but the people in there don’t believe it.

There is still a great danger.

My personal concern is the fourth reactor block.

The building has been strongly damaged by the earthquake.

There are approximately 1300 spent fuel rods in the cooling pond on level four. In the level above newer rods are stored as well as a lot of heavy machinery. This is all very, very heavy.

If another earthquake occurs then the building could collapse and another chain reaction could very likely occur.

Narrator: So, a meltdown under the free sky which would be the end of Japan as we know it today.

The radiation would be direct deadly.

The work on the ground would be totally impossible.

The most likely consequence is that reactors 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 get out of control.



  1. Thanks for posting this Jonathan.

    At the end I spotted a 29 min version of this investigation--
    --of which the 9 min video was the last 9 min. It has a bit more information and a couple other damning corporate decisions over safety or engineering -
    15:40 - The Daichii site was specifically selected due to proximity to sea; still it's original elevation was 35m above sea level, but was excavated down to 10m...why, for more efficient (cheaper) pumping of sea water (coolant). So the 6m sea wall that was built to reduce exposure to a tsunami was even more of a joke.

    Somewhere in there, I forgot to check where, there was mention of an offsite control center 7km away, that because of the scale of the damage in the area, wasn't able to provide even 1 minute of assistance, it might as well been built by artists of origami.

    Speaking of nuclear engineering safety issues--Greg Palast has written that the diesel generators built for power backups routinely fail because they have inherent design flaws that when started cold and revved up to operating speed quickly (you know, like you would in an emergency), the torque snaps the drive unit as soon as the load is added.

    And the list of nuclear safety fails literally fills books, but instead we are supposed to worry about birds killed by wind turbines and horned toads disturbed by solar.

  2. Thanks for the addendum. I WILL look at the longer version very soon. This short version was serious enough for me last night. The humanity of the folks trying to keep this disaster from becoming worse is highly inspiring and just crazy sad. And the German crew who made this doc know a LOT about the problems of nuclear power generation and seemed determined to keep those reactors in German closed permanently.