Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ace Hoffman Postings on Fukushima

We're not out of the wood, by any means Ace Hoffman

Dear Readers,

The explosion at the Fukushima MOX plant (unit 3) looks far worse than the explosion yesterday at Fukushima Unit 1.

They are assuming it was a hydrogen gas explosion, but what happened to the spent fuel pool there? This explosion appears to be larger than the one yesterday, which destroyed the top part of Fukushima 1. These buildings are huge, these are huge explosions. This is awful.

White clouds were coming up from Unit 1 again today, which shouldn't be happening if it's under control. So it's not under control. Unit 2 apparently isn't under control, either. Having huge explosions on either side can't make things easier. Other reactors in Japan are also in trouble.

And the New York Times is saying that radioactive releases could continue for MONTHS.

May I respectfully take this moment to ask San Onofre and Diablo Canyon to shut down forever? What kind of warning do those guys want, anyway? Acts of God aren't good enough? Man's folly exposed says nothing?

The nuclear industry has been telling us for nearly 25 years that nothing as bad as Chernobyl (ONE MILLION DEAD) could EVER happen again. By the time it's over, THIS could be MUCH, MUCH WORSE.

In 2010, according to TEPCO, the operator of the site, there were already more than 10,000 spent fuel assemblies located at the Fukushima-Daiichi complex, mostly in spent fuel pools.

After Chernobyl the nuclear industry ignored cancer clusters, deformities, heart problems, and thus, undercounted the death toll a thousand different ways. But a compendium of thousands of studies, published by the New York Academy of Sciences, put the number at close to a million.

After Hiroshima / Nagasaki and all the atomic bomb testing, health effects were carefully and deliberately downplayed, too. Determining which new cancers have been caused by Fukushima won't be easy EVEN IF a million people die in and around Japan, and another million die around the rest of the planet. The winds and waters move these poisons around very quickly.

There is no way to know how much radiation is being released, or how much will reach the United States. It should be noted, however, that the Japanese military used free-floating balloons to try to bomb America during World War Two. Nearly ten thousand were launched and over a thousand bomb-balloons reportedly got through.

That's the way the winds go.

There's spent fuel in numerous locations around these reactors, including huge pools with four-foot thick concrete walls -- located ABOVE the reactors in these models. These pools need nearly constant water supplies.

Fuel in dry casks, also located at the site, have a few feet of concrete and a few inches of steel protecting them. That's not nearly good enough. In an accident, the dry casks can't simply be doused in water even if you could get near enough to throw the water on them.

The United States wants to build Yucca Mountain because dry casks aren't really a very safe or practical solution. But Yucca Mountain, planned for a seismically active area, isn't a good solution, either. So they just endlessly debate the matter and keep the plants running (and try to build new ones).

Right now, the entire core of any of these stricken reactors in Japan could be turned to rubble in an instant -- pulverized or "rubbleized". This is not a "nuclear explosion," which is not possible, but it would be very, very bad. The resulting reactor vessel steam explosion could, for example, blow the 20,000 pound top of the reactor pressure vessel half a mile high. All four reactors at Fukushima could explode in sequence: Bing bing bing bing, one after another. But that wouldn't even be the worst of it. All that spent fuel is in danger, too.

We're not out of the wood, by any means. We're not even out of the demolition derby.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA
Radioactive Releases in Japan Could Last Months, Experts Say:
Fukushima III explosion on You Tube:
1945 Japanese Balloon Bombs to North America:


Meltdowns and false assurances...
Ace Hoffman

Dear Readers,

If you think things are getting better in Japan, find another news source...

"We're still expecting to see another 7 to 8 earthquake..." -- expert interviewed by the BBC just now. He stated that at least one aftershock is usually within a digit of the main quake, although this main quake was the fifth largest ever recorded, so historic data are rare. Anything could happen.

So every nuclear reactor in Japan that isn't in dire trouble already, might be at any moment. A least three nuclear reactors in Japan have been ruined permanently, two of which have had "partial" fuel melts, many are releasing unmeasured volumes of radiation into the air and water, and the nuclear industry just watches and assures us they are "clean and green" and -- oh look, those highly skilled workers (who don't know when to call in the bucket brigade) may have managed to prevent a catastrophic explosion / meltdown!

(Note: That explosion yesterday at Fukushima 1 was NOT the reactor pressure vessel exploding, which may yet happen and if it does, that could start spent fuel pool fires and additional meltdowns of nearby reactors.)

There have been more than 200 earthquakes of 5.0 or greater in the area recently, and more than 20 above 6.0. "NO one can predict earthquakes" added the expert.

Below are some recent communications from the BBC, followed by a comment in the New York Times by former NRC commissioner Nils Diaz, an apologist for the nuclear industry. Nils Diaz is wrong to think that if this had happened here, the meltdowns that have apparently occurred would not have occurred. He claims that American power plant operators would have acted more quickly. Dumping sea water or boric acid into a reactor ruins the reactor, and there is no reason to think we wouldn't have also waited too long. In fact, the evidence suggests otherwise. For example, here in America, the Monticello nuclear reactor was found to have an inoperable Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) after operating for 30 years. Shipping bolts had been left on the baffles, and no one noticed. Had it been needed (as the ECCS was at multiple reactors in Japan), it wouldn't have been available.

So what did AMERICAN reactor operators do? Remove the bolts? Yep. Shut the reactor down until the bolts were removed? Nope.

They waited 12 hours before shutting down the reactor, because regulations said they COULD wait that long if they wanted to. The operators might have thought they could fix the ECCS in that amount of time, though it's unlikely. By the 11th hour they surely knew they weren't going to complete the task in time, BUT THEY KEPT THE REACTOR GOING.

Because an operating reactor makes money for its owners. And the regulators said they could. It's a good thing they didn't have an earthquake during those 12 hours, or a tornado or other natural disaster. Good thing nobody flipped the wrong switch and they actually needed the ECCS.

Subsequent investigations of the Fukushima ongoing disaster -- perhaps after the involved personnel have died of their radiation exposures -- might blame faulty equipment, confusing signals, or any number of things that would trip up a U.S. operator too. Nils Diaz's comments are nearly racist, actually.

And just plain wrong. It can happen here today too, tomorrow, or any time. And American nuclear operators are just as bull-headed about keeping the plants online "come hell or high water" as everyone else. These were, after all, American nuclear reactors, built by American firms. Undoubtedly American "experts" were immediately called upon to assist or advise the Japanese operators.

What's happening in Japan can happen here, too.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

NIRS fact sheet on the situation in Japan:

Belona fact sheet:

From the BBC:

1721: More on the Tokai nuclear power plant: A report submitted to the Ibaraki prefectural government by the Japan Atomic Power Company said that one of the two pumps being used to cool the water of a suppression pool for the plant's nuclear reactor had stopped working, according to the Kyodo news agency. However, the other pump was still working and there was no problem with cooling the reactor, the prefectural government said. All control rods were set in completely at the reactor, it added.

1710: The crisis has renewed concern in other countries about the safety of atomic power. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said it represented a turning point for the world. She said that safety standards at her own country's nuclear power stations would now be reviewed. In the United States, Senator Joe Lieberman said Washington needed to put the brakes on the development of nuclear power plants until lessons were learned from what had happened in Japan.

1706: The news about Tokai comes as the authorities battle to prevent a meltdown at the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi complex. Sea water is being pumped into three overheating reactors there. The plant was rocked by an explosion on Saturday, which blew off the roof of one reactor building. Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared at a second nuclear site. The International Atomic Energy Agency said increased levels of radiation had been detected at Onagawa, close to the area worst hit by the tsunami.

From the New York Times:


“They would rather wait and do things in a perfect manner instead of doing it as good as it needs to be now,” Mr. Diaz said. “And this search for perfection has often led to people sometimes hiding things or waiting too long to do things.”
In the case of Saturday’s blast, experts said that problem was avoidable.

Mr. Diaz said that a comprehensive nuclear power plant safety program developed in the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks would have prevented a similar accident at any of the nation’s nuclear facilities.


Quotes collected by Ace Hoffman:
"Nuclear war must be the most carefully avoided topic of general significance in the contemporary world. People are not curious about the details." -- Paul Brians (author; quote is from: Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction)
“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” -- Sinclair Lewis (first American Nobel Prize winner in Literature, 2.7.1885 - 1.10.1951)
"There is no such thing as a pro-nuclear environmentalist." -- Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa, 1992)
"Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories." -- Sun Tzu (Chinese general b.500 BC)
"The most intolerable reactor of all may be one which comes successfully to the end of its planned life having produced mountains of radioactive waste for which there is no disposal safe from earthquake damage or sabotage." -- A. Stanley Thompson (a pioneer nuclear physicist who later realized the whole situation)
"Any dose is an overdose." -- Dr. John W. Gofman (another pioneer nuclear physicist who saw the light (9.21.1918 - 8.15.2007))
"Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery." -- Octavia Butler (science fiction writer, 7.22.1947 - 2.24.2006)
"If you want real welfare reform, you focus on a good education, good health care, and a good job.

If you want to reduce poverty, you focus on a good education, good healthcare, and a good job.

If you want a stable middle class, you focus on a good education, good health care, and a good job.

If you want to have citizens who can participate in democracy, you focus on a good education, good health care, and a good job.

And if you want to end the violence, you could build a million new prisons and you could fill them up, but you never end this cycle of violence unless you invest in the health and the skill and the intellect and the character of our children. You focus on a good education, good health care and a good job.

And other than that, I don't feel strongly about anything."

-- Paul Wellstone (US Senator, D-Minnesota, 7.21.1944 - 10.25.2002)
"There are no warlike peoples - just warlike leaders." -- Ralph Bunche (8.7.1903 - 12.9.1971)
"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." -- Thomas Jefferson
"Officials from the San Onofre nuclear reactor said the warning siren that went off yesterday was just a malfunction and no one should worry. Hey, I worry, if they can't even get the siren to work right, what the hell are they doing with the reactor??" Jay Leno 1/20/10
"Please send this to everyone you know!" -- Ace Hoffman (original collector of the above quotes, January, 2008)


Things are really bad, folks...
Ace Hoffman

Dear Readers,

I'm aghast. Frightened. Shaking. This is the worst day of my life.

Helen Caldicott said on the radio earlier tonight: "This could be much worse than Chernobyl."

Chernobyl killed about a million people.

And this could be worse?!?

This figure, a million people, is denied by the nuclear industry, but was the conclusion after researchers assessed over five thousand individual studies. The final report was translated into English last year, and published in the United States by the New York Academy of Sciences.

That's fifty times greater than the common figure for the next-worst industrial disaster in history -- Bhopal, India. And four times worse than the worst "natural" disaster in history, the Indonesia tsunami of 2004.

Which, thankfully, didn't severely damage any nuclear power plants, although one reactor site thousands of miles from the epicenter was closed for many months afterwards.

Not one thing that is happening in Japan right now comes as a surprise to knowledgeable so-called "anti-nuclear activists" around the world. We saw it coming decades ago. We really did. No one should deny us that.

Not one step in the horror that is unfolding went unpredicted.

We even presented decades-old historic documents proving our case, such as CARTOONS showing the worries about airplane impacts. And worries about earthquakes. And tsunamis. We kept saying something like this was inevitable. Containments would be breached. Radiation would be released. Deaths will occur globally forever.

THIS WAS UNTHINKABLE. But we thought it out.

It will happen again. That's the really unthinkable part.

Even as this horror unfurls, the bravado of the employees at America's nuclear power plants is unimaginable. Moments ago, a reporter in a live broadcast said the nuclear industry would have lot of new data to figure out what to do next, to keep things safe!

But instead, they'll deny that even a 7.1 earthquake can happen here. And only a "tiny" tsunami...

San Onofre, in Southern California (and downwind from Fukushima-Daiichi) is only built to a 7.0 earthquake standard. It is right near the Pacific Ocean, only "protected" by a 25-foot sea wall. That wouldn't have resisted these waves, or the Indonesian waves of 2004.

ACTUAL tsunami waves washing over San Onofre (and Diablo Canyon) might be HUNDREDS of feet high because nearby underwater canyons can create skyscraper-high waves of water.

Scare tactics? I'm so tired of being accused of scare tactics! The public has a right to know that their participation in opposing nuclear power is required to get these awful nuclear power plants shut down forever -- which HAS to happen, or else THIS will keep happening.

The media also needs to have a better understanding of what's happening. But how can anyone be asked to understand what is going on, when even the experts don't know what is happening inside the containment buildings, let alone inside the reactors pressure vessels themselves? They know that pumping more water into them helps. But even that is very hard to do. And isn't good for the water.

Telling the truth about what's happening right now isn't a scare tactic. Even more than a hundred miles from the site of the accident, the U.S. Navy was getting so irradiated (the equivalent of an entire month's "normal" radiation exposure per hour, we're told) that they lumbered out of the area as fast as their TWO NUCLEAR REACTORS ON BOARD COULD CARRY THEM.

Lucky they didn't blow a gasket in their rush to save themselves.

Three -- now I hear four -- nuclear reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi have suffered explosions. This is unprecedented. And workers are being pulled away... it will get even worse if no one mans the pumps! (See below).

The nuclear industry calls this a great surprise, unpredictable. We'll just build to higher standards, they say, as they continue to run there old reactors despite the dangers.

But we predicted it! We even predicted cascading nuclear accidents!

Harvey Wasserman, like Helen Caldicott a distinguished critic of nuclear power, whose comments have fallen on deaf ears for years ... sounded like he was crying, as I have been, on the interview today. Things are really, really bad.

This is a silent genocide. The deaths will occur for decades, centuries, and millennia to come.

If the winds blow the poisons here, as they typically do, our children will be the first to suffer. Our infants, our fetuses... our pregnant young mothers. No racial or religious group did this to us, industrial arrogance brings these ill winds. We are in for a dousing. A black rain. Parts of Japan may be getting radioactive soot rain-outs, called fallout, right now. And Korea, China, etc... And this isn't even as bad as it can get.

The spent fuel pools: One of them is draining itself. They can't seem to prevent it. Several reactor pressure vessels might suffer a steam explosion at any moment. If the pools empty, then inevitably the fuel will soon catch fire and burn.

This is awful. Thanks, Toshiba. Thanks, Hitachi. Thanks, General Electric. Thanks, nuclear industry.

THIS event, as bad as it is and as bad as it might become, is fair warning for what might happen at every other nuclear site around the world. NO NEW NUKES! is not nearly enough. NO NUKES! Scrap the old ones.

It's now well past too late. We don't need to wait 20 years for a new set of studies of the health effects.

Everywhere along the coast where the tsunami struck, people will be moving back and rebuilding their homes. But around Fukushima-Daiichi, they won't be moving back in our lifetime. And the exclusion zone was just expanded again, and probably will be again. Or should be.

Actions have always spoken louder than words. Acts of God, acts of Mother Nature, have always trumped arrogance. Acts of arrogance should be followed by acts of contrition. But if you expect the nuclear industry to fold, don't hold your breath.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA
Hoping San Onofre is spared until we can shut it down forever and get the waste stored properly! (Catch-22: There is no proper storage of the waste.)

One-minute tutorial on wind patterns:


Fukushima News 3-14-11
Ace Hoffman

Dear Readers,

Today's news is worse than yesterday's, which was worse than the day before. Now THREE reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Facility (or perhaps I should say, former nuclear power facility) are permanently disabled -- damaged by the introduction of boric acid and sea water in a desperate measure to prevent a full-scale disaster. It might work yet... it might not. This "hail mary" approach has to work perfectly three times... seaweed clogging the pipes could spell doom...

The reactor cores are apparently already in some state of partial meltdown. The exact conditions inside the reactor pressure vessels are unknown. The three reactors that are in trouble are, not coincidentally, the three that were operating at the time the earthquake struck. They automatically shut down, but all the backup generators failed when the tsunami struck an hour later

Unpredictable? Not at all!

Read my own blogs, or read any of a thousand other activists who have been warning about these sorts of problems for YEARS!

Yet, even recently, at San Onofre in California, the backup generators have failed to start in scheduled TESTS because required maintenance had not been not performed. How will they perform in an emergency?

California's four operating nuclear reactors are Pressurized Water Reactors. The reactors at Fukushima are all Boiling Water Reactors. The differences are not particularly important at the moment: Both types are dangerous. Both need to be eliminated from the earth. There is no type of reactor which is safe from catastrophic fuel melting, burning, vaporizing, or otherwise escaping into the environment.

If you didn't believe it before, remember that THIS basic reactor design is more than 50 years old. Tried and true? So they said. For half a century we've been told that nothing like this could possibly happen anywhere: A cascade of nuclear reactor accidents.

Now we're being told that we're in "uncharted territory" and nobody knows what to do... the nuclear industry admits there are lessons to be learned from this. Yes, there is one lesson. It's this: SHUT 'EM DOWN NOW. All of them forever.

Below are the four main points from today's British Mail Online, about fallout coming to America. These headlines are terrifying.


'Worst-case scenario' could send nuclear cloud across Pacific
30,000ft winds would carry radioactive material across the ocean
U.S.S. Ronald Reagan hit by month's radiation in just one hour
Japanese reactors are very similar to 23 in America

Let's hope this doesn't get any worse. Don't think it can't.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

I've released another version of the Chernobyl winds video, this time centered over Fukushima. Here's the URL:

Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers:
An Expose of the Nuclear Industry
Free download: acehoffman.org
Blog: acehoffman.blogspot.com
YouTube: youtube.com/user/AceHoffman
Phone: (760) 720-7261
Address: PO Box 1936, Carlsbad, CA 92018
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Email: ace@acehoffman.org

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