It is beyond tragic that people resettling near Fukushima have to figure out how bad the contamination there is, with Japan’s government allowing it to happen, Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste specialist from the Beyond Nuclear organization, told RT.
RT: According to experts, Reactor #4 was so damaged in the 2011 catastrophe that any major earthquake could now result in its collapse. How real is that risk – and what could the consequences be if they don't get these rods out?
Kevin Kamps: Yes, it’s been a strange race against time, that’s taken 2 1/2 years now, because they had to rebuild the infrastructure of the unit 4 building which was so badly destroyed by the explosion. Now they are ready to go with infrastructure and a crane to lift these hundred ton loads of radiated nuclear fuel assemblies out of the pool down to the ground and try to get them into a ground level pool. It’s a very risky operation, as your reporter reported, because the fuel itself could be bent, it could be damaged, it could be corroded. They used salt water at one point to cool the nuclear waste in this pool, which could have corroded the assemblies. They could break apart; they could crumble when they go to try to remove them. Even the director of the nuclear regulation authority of Japan has warned that this process should not be rushed; they should not try to force these assemblies out of their storage channels. But they have to get them out before a bigger earthquake takes the building down, the cooling water would drain away, and the waste with them will catch on fire. There is no radiological containment around the pool and if this waste would catch fire it could be 10 times worse than Chernobyl. That’s how much radioactivity is stored in that pool. Just in terms of the radioactive cesium content.
RT: People are ready resettling near Fukushima. How safe is it for them?
KK: Well, that’s a great tragedy that the Japanese
government is allowing this to happen. To within the closest 12.4
miles of the devastated nuclear power plant obviously the
landscape is contaminated, the food supplies are contaminated. As
your reporter said, it’s up to individual private citizens to try
to figure out how bad the contamination is. The environmental
groups are trying to help them. So, it’s beyond tragic, it’s a
crime what’s happening at Fukushima Daiichi.
RT: The chief of the Fukushima power plant has called the process of removing fuel rods the official start of the decommissioning. Does that mean that Tepco is now in control of the situation?
KK: There were petitions delivered [Friday] signed by
1,500 people from around the world to the United Nations, calling
on the UN to send the best scientists and engineers of the
world to Fukushima Daiichi. It’s absurd that Tokyo Electric is in
charge of this globally significant extracting of the fuel from
the pool. If something goes wrong, this could be a global
catastrophe that dwarfs what has happened on Fukushima Daiichi
thus far. Tokyo Electric has shown its true colors time and time
again, its incompetence and its dishonesty, so it’s very
frightening that Tokyo Electric is in charge of this.