On The Trail Of Missing Fukushima Fuel

By Richard Wilcox, PhD

The location of the melted fuel (corium) at the Fukushima nuclear power station #1, in reactors 1, 2 and 3, is historic because of the massive radioactivity of the material. Depending on its location it will emit deadly radiation into the environment for a long, long time to come.

A few days ago I commented on the high radiation reading (530 sieverts per hour) inside the unit 2 reactor that was discovered by engineers. This reading was not “new” in the sense that the radiation is increasing, indicating that Godzilla is emerging from underground hibernation, but that the radiation was “discovered” for the first time by engineers.

This is not rocket science folks, but I guess people prefer scary “end of the world” scenarios rather than studying bland engineering procedures.

Just because you don’t know what is in that hotdog or sausage that tastes so good at a summer barbeque (pigs hooves, gristle, rat pellets, etc.,) does not mean it’s not in there, it just means you either don’t, can’t or choose not to know.

In the case of Fukushima it is a step by step process of sending the latest high tech robots on suicide missions down into the radioactive pits of Hell in order to gather forensic evidence that will hopefully lead to an understanding and solution to the missing melted fuel (corium) crisis.

Although the latest procedure involving the Scorpion robot has been called a “failure” or an “aborted mission,” in fact the mission retrieved useful information.

In the latest update from the Simply Info website we now learn that the highest reading found in unit 2 was “210” sieverts per hour — less than half the estimate that was made by less precise measurements a week earlier (1).

It is worth noting that these [radiation] readings are not ‘increasing’ but are the result of venturing into the more deadly areas of the reactor where they have been unable to previously.

Engineers believe “a very thick amount of fuel debris can be seen in the lower right section of the image.” Is this an indication that the corium may be near there, or is it just one chunk of it, with more scattered in different places?

A bizarre and eerie montage of photographs inside the destroyed unit 2 reactor

Nancy Foust of SI reported to me:

That pile of material appears to be some form of corium, with how low the radiation in the pedestal was it may be fairly diluted with other materials. If they can retrieve a sample that would give more information about what that blob is made of. The larger mass of corium is still MIA. Finding that is going to be the next big deal.

Still, this could be a sign that the corium has not spread all the way to Timbuktu, meaning that eventually the mass of deadly materials can be retrieved, or at least dealt with in some protective way, where it lies.

This is one heck of a science project folks. Maybe it’s time for the countries of the world to consider abandoning nuclear power and switch to safer alternatives for energy such as wind and solar power. Just an idea.

Engineers are also readying a robot to enter the unit 1 reactor in order to better determine its status and attempt to locate the corium there (2).

* Richard Wilcox lives in Japan and has followed the Fukushima disaster since it occurred in 2011. He is a periodic contributor to Activist Post.


[1] Scorpion Dies In Fukushima Unit 2, Sends Back Data

[2] Pmorph Robot Prepares For Fukushima Unit 1 Entry

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13 Comments on "On The Trail Of Missing Fukushima Fuel"

  1. Laughable. Nukes do not exist. Fear mongering.

    • Your argument suffers from the fatal fallacy: onus probandi – “I need not prove my claim, you must prove it is false.” Whereas the author of the article seems to have provided some reasonable evidence. Not to mention the usual ad hominem thrown in for good measure, where would the internet be without it?!

    • But garden gnomes do and they’re coming to get you, roddie.

  2. Wind power is an expensive, useless, environmental disaster.

    • Its not perfect, I grant you that. Neither is solar, or any of the other “alternative energies.” I don’t know, maybe there is “free Tesla energy” if we tap into the atmosphere. Not sure why that idea never took off. I do recall some article by Amory Lovins that claimed the world could pretty much run on alternative energy, it is just that they are suppressed. In Germany they have gone whole hog for alternatives with mixed results, they have to build the wind mills in the ocean and then transmit the energy south to the cities.

      California used to have low impact trolley cars but they were torn up and replaced with highways: BEAUTIFUL!!! lol.

      Your pathetic argument fails by not offering any solution, so falls into the catch all “ad hominem” category of insult in place of logic. The implied meaning is that somehow nuclear is not so bad…
      Still nowhere to bury the waste, maybe in your backyard sir?

      • Logic fail. I did not insult the author of the article, so it does not count as ad hominem. Nor do I need to offer a solution in order to make a criticism of a suggested solution. It is perfectly permissible to say “that won’t work”, even if one does not have any idea of what will. (And the German experience is one of the reasons for saying that wind power is expensive and useless. The Germans keep having to fall back on their other power stations.)
        And I did not make an argument, and nothing I said implies that I think nuclear power is “not so bad”.

        • “argumentum ad hominem, is a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.”

          Technically you are right, but the snarky and unhelpful way you posted your comment could be construed as imputing the character of the author. What is the purpose of posing such negative and unhelpful comments? I can’t think of any unless it is paid troll or just someone who spends too much time on the net who has built up frustration with the modern world. Go for a jog!

          • The alleged snarkiness is the product of your imagination, as is the construction you put on my comment, and your guesses at my motives.
            I pointed out the disadvantages of one of the proposed options. That is all.

      • I actually know a couple people who built a model Tesla type generator. Like all other alternative forms of energy its great for low power electronics (which have to be shielded) and lights but you can’t heat your home with it. To get to that scale requires a cost in materials alone the same or more as hooking up to commercial power. Then, you have to have the engineering skill to understand the principles and construction. That leaves out me and about 99+ percent of us. My associates are in that other 1%. They say the only thing holding this back is the ability to go mass scale production and the reduction in cost that makes it competitive and profitable. To get there requires an enormous capital investment to start a new industry. The bankers and oil cartels are not going to finance this.

    • I am a die hard fan of wind power–at the site level. You are absolutely right that commercial, for profit, massive scale, wind-power as practiced now, is expensive and an environmental disaster.

  3. Both solar and wind are stable and to work successfully; as I use both together to power my house.

  4. There is NOTHING wrong with properly planned, sited and engineered Atomic Energy facilities…anyone like the Japanese who even remotely consider putting Nuclear reactors in earthquake prone (and other natural disasters) areas is totally foolish….. There are many well sited and engineered nuclear power facilities around the world that are excellent examples….. At some point the waste plan needs to be addressed at the very beginning, not the end of the development process. They need to be planned in coordination with other fuel sources, and for now, fossil fuels can fill in during maintenance activities that are absolutely needed.

    There maybe a point where some form of wind/solar can have a role…but please trust me on this one, not now and on the scale that they are currently planned. Now, it is all about politics and buddy to buddy economics….

    I agree that local, site specific uses are fine, although, may not be cost effective…may be best source for location….

  5. President Jimmy Carter killed the total ‘loop’ reactor, for cooling and then back to reactor technology.
    Probably don’t want to eat anything that glows.

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