NRC audio files reveal details on Reactor 4 fires and radioactive plume that traveled northwest of Fukushima Daiichi

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JOHN MONNINGER: But what’s the latest AMS data that you guys have? I think what I got handed when I got in here was the last thing that we had on Friday morning and it (audio interference) after yesterday’s wind shift.

LARRY CAMPER: Yeah, we got that would have been about 3:45 pm our time. You know, it shows the serpentine pattern and then need due north, due south. You know, you’re still seeing that deposition of material that traveled north, north-northwest from the site. The last values, measured values, do not exceed 30 MR per hour.

DAN DORMAN: Yeah, that’s okay. I’ve seen that. I, I asked Jim Trapp to work back with the PMT and see if we can correlate back Tuesday, Wednesday time frame — my recollection is that the low-pressure system came through; the wind rotated all the way around the compass — and see if we can correlate that to one of the signal events, like on Unit 3 or Unit 4 and see if —

LARRY CAMPER: You got it. You’re on it.

We’re starting to think the same thing. If you go back to the — the event you’re referring to is, occurred between 3/14, midnight 3/14 and 1:22 on 3/15. That’s when you had a spike that occurred with 30 R per hour. And frankly, we’re, we’re reasonably beginning to believe that the so-called — how didthey characterize it? —

MALE PARTICIPANT: Lube oil fire.

LARRY CAMPER: — yeah, the lube oil fire may very well have been, you know, something far more significant coming out of uniform because what we’re now beginning to think, at least Don Cool and I, talking with the PMTs, you know, it may well be that that was a seminal event in which the volatiles were deposited out there on soil to the north-northwest of the site. And if that’s the case, the good news is that the volatiles are already out there.

The bad news is, the thing we’re all trying to chew on, is what’s going on in Unit 4 now in terms of any future consequences from interaction of melted spent fuel material with concrete and so forth.

DAN DORMAN: It’s, it’s interesting to me you’re focusing on that lube oil fire because Jim, Jim and I when we were talking this morning were focusing on the Unit 4 explosion, but I’m fuzzy in my recollection of which came first.

LARRY CAMPER: Well, I, I think we’re saying we’re skeptical that it was a lube oil fire.

DAN DORMAN: Yeah, I’m — we —

LARRY CAMPER: We know it wasn’t a lube oil fire. We know that. They can take that off the table.

DAN DORMAN: Yeah. I guess, I guess if — yeah, I’ll be interested to see an analysis that lines up the time sequence of events compared to that wind shift because I think that, obviously, that wind shift, to me, is the only — the only, you know, Jim kind of said, well, maybe the explosion drove this big plume out there or it was a directional explosion out to the northwest.

Well, I could understand that even out to a mile or two. But if, if you had an explosion that with, the wind was still blowing up fee, you get a little bit of wind from the explosion it back, but not 30 kilometers. So, so I’m thinking that that, whatever, whatever was happening during that wind shift is what put that deposition out there.

LARRY CAMPER: Yeah, we’re thinking the exact same thing. We’re all in the same place. We’re ruling out lube oil fire. I don’t think any of us are buying that.

MARTY VIRGILIO: Relative to the protective action guidelines type of guidance coming from Japan is, people, the other thing to keep in mind is they have hundreds of thousands of people who displaced who need food, water, and shelter, and food is food, so they might have to have different priorities than what we consider normal.


DAN DORMAN: I think that’s a fair conclusion.

LARRY CAMPER: Yeah, that’s a great point, and the problem is we just don’t know what their action levels are at all.

MARTY VIRGILIO: I understand that.

LARRY CAMPER: I mean, we certainly — just don’t know, you know. That’s just my personal observation, not any professional position, but it’s one thing —

MARTY VIRGILIO: But, as we consider what we would do, they certainly have an overarching set of concerns.

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