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U.S. expert appalled by Tepco’s attitude over ‘sleeping dragon’ risk via The Japan Times

Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer and former executive in the nuclear power industry who is now one of its foremost critics in the United States, has been monitoring the No. 1 plant since the March 2011 triple meltdowns through his Vermont-based Fairewinds Energy Education nonprofit organization.

During a trip to Japan in late August and early September, Gundersen met with Diet members, lawyers and citizens’ groups to discuss conditions at the wrecked power station and told an audience in Kyoto on Monday that fears over the spent-fuel pool in reactor 4 remain high.
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“Last week, I showed slides of the Sandia lab experiments to some Diet members. Afterward, Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials presented their plan to empty the nuclear fuel from the reactor pool,” Gundersen said.

“I told Tepco that while I realized they hoped and believed that there will always be water in the nuclear fuel pool, I had to ask whether or not they had (already prepared and stationed) any chemicals to put out a nuclear fuel pool fire in the event they were wrong.

“Tepco’s response was that there was nothing in the fuel pool that could burn, a statement I find appalling.”
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“Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and Tepco claim they are getting outside expertise from the International Atomic Energy Agency, but Article II of the IAEA’s charter states its mission is to promote nuclear power. There is a real need for experts who think outside the box,” Gundersen said.

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  1. norma field says

    How can we understand Tepco’s response that “there was nothing in the fuel pool that would burn”? Surely it can’t be genuine, rather than willful, ignorance? Or is it a genuine AND willful continuation of the safety myth that accidents should not, therefore would not, happen? And what produces such a state of mind? How much of it is a policy in fact governed by the desire to be an instant nuclear (weapons) power that has so penetrated the industry that many have even forgotten it?



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