On April 16th – just over two weeks ago – Oregon Senator Ron Widen sent a letter to Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki seeking ways to quickly address the increasingly precarious condition of the many tons of fresh and spent fuel in the leaking, tilting and badly destabilized spent fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi’s #4 plant. Wyden visited the facility on April 6 with a Congressional delegation to the region…
Wyden wrote in the letter.
“The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting,”
“The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.”
Geophysicists with the European Geosciences Union issued a warning back in mid-February that a big quake is building right beneath Fukushima, and could go at any time. Given that strong warning, the actual state of the Daiichi facilities had to have been frightening.
Yesterday [May 1] more than 70 Japanese civil organizations banded together to draft and send an Urgent Request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the UN to organize a “Nuclear Security Summit” aimed at brainstorming on the “crucial problem” of the unit 4 spent fuel pool.
The organizations also requested the UN to establish an independent assessment team on the unit 4 SFP issue which could coordinate international assistance “in order to stabilize the unit’s spent nuclear fuel and prevent radiological consequences with potentially catastrophic consequences.”
And while officials and experts worldwide are becoming aware of the great danger Fukushima Daiichi still presents to Japan and to the world (just the spent fuel contains 85 times the cesium-137 released by Chernobyl), this was probably not the best timing as far as demanding the world to act. Seems TEPCO has taken the week off for the “Golden Week” holidays through May 5.
Sure, there’s some stuff leaking here and there all over the facility, but TEPCO wasn’t planning to do anything about any of that anyway. Their press spokesperson said,
“…between the GW does not have much work on the premises.”
Which, best I can figure, means they’ve left the reservation and do not plan to return until May 6th at least. If they actually plan on returning at all. We shall see.
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