Senior Japan Nuclear Scientist Says Fukushima Reactors 1, 2 And 3 All Had Complete Meltdown
Senior Japan nuclear scientist Michio Ishikawa, the former head of the Japan Nuclear Technology Institute and the current “most senior” advisor to the Institute, says Fukushima reactors 1, 2 And 3 all had a complete meltdown.
EX-SKF gives a Japanese to English translation of an Asashi TV program with Michio Ishikawa discussing the current state of the Fukushima nuclear reactors. The coverage is provided two posts with the first being a brief overview of the press conference and the second giving more detailed translation of part 2 of the 11 videos of the interview.
Post 1 – Excerpt from EX-SKF’s overview of the interview.
#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Japan Nuclear Technology Institute Senior Advisor Says “Reactors 1, 2, 3 All Had Complete Meltdown”
(UPDATED with the video in question at the end. He says not only the fuels have melted down completely but some of them may already be outside the Pressure Vessels.
(He also talks about potentially extremely high concentration of radioactive materials (“like we’ve never seen before”) in the water inside the Pressure Vessel, as the result of core meltdown and continuous water injection.
(More on his very frank assessment of the reactor core and the situation at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, please do go to my latest post.)
Michio Ishikawa, the former head of the Japan Nuclear Technology Institute and the current “most senior” advisor to the Institute, appeared on an Asahi TV program on April 29 and shared his candid assessment of Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident.
He is known as one of the most ardent proponents of nuclear power generation. The Japan Nuclear Technology Institute was set up in 2005 by Ishikawa in order to represent the interest of the nuclear industry in Japan and promote nuclear energy.
People who watched this Asahi TV program were surprised to hear him contradict the official government “narrative” (I hate that word, but in this case it is exactly what it is, a “narrative” as opposed to reality) about the plant accident, even as he continues to insist nuclear power plants are safe and 100 milli-sieverts cumulative radiation is perfectly safe not just for the plant workers but for everyone.
Here are some of the comments he made during the program, jotted down by a viewer as he watched the program, and supplemented later with tweets by others. He weaves his own narratives like “no one anticipated such an accident” (oh yes many people did). Original in Japanese, my English translation, [my comment in italic in square bracket]:
Right now, it’s the war with radiation. TEPCO’s response is horrendous.
[And where is the government? The response from your own industry, other than trying to win a contract for cleanup jobs? And what do you expect from a utility company?]
Fukushima I Nuke Plant is at war, it’s a war zone.
[That I agree. But the US NRC has now joined the Japanese government and says it’s under control. Hahaha.]
The government announcement is wrong. I think all the fuel rods have been melted down.
Don’t bother with water entombment. Focus on cooling the core as soon as possible.
(Responding to the idea of introducing trailer houses in the earthquake/tsunami affected area, with a smirk on this face) Another tsunami will come.
[So he’s expecting another big earthquake that will cause big tsunami?]
Post 2 — Excerpt of EX-SKF’s more detailed translation of Part 2 of the interview:
More on 77-year-old Michio Ishikawa of the Japan Nuclear Technology Institute on the situation at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, as he appeared on Asahi TV on April 29.
As I watched the video, I started to like Mr. Ishikawa, who continues to believe in the safety of nuclear power generation. He didn’t mince his words, and said what they are doing at Fukushima I Nuke Plant is not working. That surprised some, including the host of the show, as Ishikawa is known as a strong proponent for the nuclear power generation and the nuclear industry.
I watched the segment (video No.2 out of 11) where he discussed the situation at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, particularly about the condition of the reactor core.
Here’s what I’d add to the snippets on my previous post. (My summary translation of what Mr. Ishikawa said, not literal; my comment in square bracket):
About TEPCO’s “roadmap:
“I believe what they are trying to achieve after 9 months is to cool the reactor cores and solidify them so that no radioactive materials can escape. But they are just doing peripheral tricks like water entombment and nitrogen gas injection. Nitrogen gas, it’s dangerous, by the way.
“What they must do is to cool the reactor cores, and there’s no way around it. It has to be done somehow.”
About the condition of the reactor cores:
“I believe the fuel rods are completely melted. They may already have escaped the pressure vessel. Yes, they say 55% or 30%, but I believe they are all melted down. When the fuel rods melt, they melt from the middle part on down.
(Showing the diagram) “I think the temperature inside the melted core is 2000 degrees to 2000 and several hundred degrees Celsius. A crust has formed on the surface where the water hits. Decay heat is 2000 to 3000 kilowatts, and through the cracks on the crust the radioactive materials (mostly noble gas and iodine) are escaping into the air.
“Volatile gas has almost all escaped from the reactor by now.
“The water [inside the pressure vessel] is highly contaminated with uranium, plutonium, cesium, cobalt, in the concentration we’ve never seen before.
“My old colleague contacted me and shared his calculation with me. At the decay heat of 2000 kilowatt… There’s a substance called cobalt 60. Highly radioactive, needs 1 to 1.5 meter thick shields. It kills people at 1000 curies. He calculated that there are 10 million curies of cobalt-60 in the reactor core. If 10% of cobalt-60 in the core dissolve into water, it’s 1 million curies.”
[He’s an old-timer so he’s used to curie instead of becquerel as a unit. 1 curie equals 3.7 x 10^10 becquerels (37,000,000,000 becquerels or 37 gigabecquerels).
10 million curies equals 370,000 terabecquerels, and 1 million curies equals 37,000 terabecquerels. I used this conversion table. Tell me I’m wrong! Cobalt-60 alone would make a Level 7 disaster…]
“They (TEPCO) want to circulate this highly contaminated water to cool the reactor core. Even if they are able to set up the circulation system, it will be a very difficult task to shield the radiation. It will be a very difficult work to build the system, but it has to be done.
“It is imperative to know the current condition of the reactor cores. It is my assumption [that the cores have melted], but wait one day, and we have water more contaminated with radioactive materials. This is a war, and we need to build a “bridgehead” at the reactor itself instead of fooling around with the turbine buildings or transporting contaminated water.”
[As Ishikawa explains, a notable opponent of nuclear power, Tetsunari Iida (executive director of the Institute of Sustainable Energy Policy and Kyoto University graduate majoring in nuclear science) nods in deep agreement.]