Threat of global nuclear catastrophe :
The worst yet to come :
"...Alvarez warns that if there is another large earthquake or event that causes this pool to drain of water, which keeps the fuel rods from overheating and igniting, it could cause a catastrophic fire releasing 10 times more cesium-137 than was released at Chernobyl.
That scenario alone would cause an unprecedented spread of radioactivity, far greater than what occurred last year, depositing enormous amounts of radioactive materials over thousands of miles and causing the evacuation of Tokyo.
Nuclear experts noted that other lethal radioactive isotopes would also be released in such a fire, but that the focus is on cesium-137 because it easily volatilizes and spreads pervasively, as it did during the Chernobyl accident and again after the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi last year.
With a half-life of 30 years, it gives off penetrating radiation as it decays and can remain dangerous for hundreds of years. Once in the environment, it mimics potassium as it accumulates in the food chain; when it enters the human body, about 75 percent lodges in muscle tissue, including the heart."
The Threat Not Just to Japan But to the U.S. and the World
An even more catastrophic worst-case scenario follows that a fire in the pool at unit 4 could then spread, igniting the irradiated fuel throughout the nuclear site and releasing an amount of cesium-137 equaling a doomsday-like load, roughly 85 times more than the release at Chernobyl.
It's a scenario that would literally threaten Japan's annihilation and civilization at large, with widespread worldwide environmental radioactive contamination.
"Japan would suffer the worst, but it would be a global catastrophe," said Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste expert at the watchdog group Beyond Nuclear. "It already is, it already has been, but it would dwarf what's already happened."
Kamps noted that these pool fires were the beginning of the worst-case analysis envisioned by the Japanese government in the early days of the disaster, as reported by the New York Times in February.
"Not only three reactor meltdowns but seven pool fires at Fukushima Daiichi," Kamps said. "If the site had to be abandoned by all workers, then everything would come loose. The end result of that was the evacuation of Tokyo."
In an interview with AlterNet, Alvarez, who is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, said that the Japanese government, Tepco and the U.S. NRC are reluctant to say anything publicly about the spent fuel threat because "there is a tendency to want to provide reassurance that everything is fine."
He was quick to note, "The cores are still a problem, make no mistake, and there will be some very bad things happening if they don't maintain their temperatures at some sort of stable level and make sure this stuff doesn't eat down through the concrete mats."
But he said that privately "they're probably more scared shitless about the pools than they are about the cores. They know they're really risky and dangerous."
Gundersen, who is chief engineer at the consulting firm Fairewinds Associates, added that the spent fuel pool at unit 4 "remains the single biggest concern since about the second week of the accident. It can still create 'Chernobyl on steroids.'"
"...ongoing seismic activity around northeast Japan, in which 13 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 to 5.7 have occurred off the northeast coast of Honshu between April 14 and April 17."
"A recent study published in the journal Solid Earth, which used data from over 6,000 earthquakes, confirms the expectation of larger quakes in closer proximity to the Fukushima Daiichi site. In part, this conclusion is predicated on the discovery that the earthquake that initiated last year's disaster caused a seismic fault close to the nuclear plant to reactivate.
"...researcher Dapeng Zhao, a geophysics professor at Japan's Tohoku University, said in a press release. "Given that a large earthquake occurred in Iwaki not long ago, we think it is possible for a similarly strong earthquake to happen in Fukushima."
"...Wyden replied, "The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States."
"Gunter is concerned that even a minor earthquake or a subsidence in the earth under unit 4 could cause its collapse. "
"The U.S. government right now is engaged in its own kabuki theatre to protect the U.S. industry from the real costs of the lessons at Fukushima," Gunter said. "The NRC and its champions in the White House and on Capitol Hill are looking to obfuscate the real threats and the necessary policy changes to address the risk."
""The NRC has made this policy decision, which the industry is very violently opposed to changing because it saves them a ton of money. And if they have to go to dry hardened storage onsite, they're going to have to fork over several hundred million dollars per reactor to do this."
Please note : Since mid-March 2011, the Divine Messages recommended to evacuate Tokyo, then advised to leave Japan in order to protect people's health given lack of other solutions with regard to the extent of radioactive contamination.
A noter : Dès mi-mars 2011, les Messages Divins recommandaient d'évacuer Tokyo, puis conseillaient de quitter le Japon pour protéger la santé de la population faute d'autres solutions vu l'importance de la contamination radioactive.