“This Could Become Chernobyl on Steroids”: Nuclear Engineer Arnie Gundersen on Japan’s Growing Nuclear Crisis

In Breaking News on March 16, 2011 at 8:25 AM


A very critic interview with Arnie Gundersen about the latest events in Fukushima : evacuation of all 800 people on the site but 60, fire in the fourth unit spent pool, and government advice about stay at home out to 30 kilometers.




I think, given that the site has been evacuated—you know, those 800 people were not sitting around playing poker. They were all doing critical, critical things. So, if you’ve let 800 people go and are trying to do the work of 800 with 60 people, clearly critical items are not going to be accomplished.


In order to avoid that, they were manually opening valves into these containments to keep the pressure from building up. And that’s one of the critical activities that these 800 employees were doing, as well as manning fire pumps and pushing water in. But I would suspect that a lot of those efforts have been abandoned because of the high radiation levels right now.


I agree with Arnie Gundersen, what he just said, that evacuations should be a larger area right now. Thirty kilometers is not enough. That’s 18 miles. It’s not sufficient. It should be going on beyond that right now, so that people can be prepared for wider areas of radiation contamination.


You know, these 750 people that are being evacuated were doing critical work. They weren’t sweeping floors and washing windows; they were doing critical work. So, when the staff, basically, is cut—90 percent of the staff is told, “You have to leave the site”—that’s an indication that a lot of critical work isn’t getting done. I really think it’s also—it’s an indication that management at the site has thrown in the towel and is going to let this thing run its course without any more human intervention.


You know, Chernobyl was one reactor. There are three in either partial meltdown or meltdown. And then the other one has a fuel pool fire. And I understand this morning that the temperatures in the other two fuel pools are also increasing. So, you know, I’ve said before that this could easily become Chernobyl on steroids. It’s not there yet, but given that the essential personnel have been evacuated, it could easily get there within 24 hours.


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