Monday, March 14, 2011

Physicist Michio Kaku now blogging on Fukushima; advises PM Kan to take the "Chernobyl Option"

Japanese American physicist Michio Kaku (author of Physics of the Future, expert on string theory, parallel universes) foresaw the meltdowns at the nuclear power facility in Fukushima. Now he is advising PM Kan to take the "Chernobyl Option."
The situation in Japan, as of Tuesday morning, keeps getting worse. We are getting close to the point of no return (the point where we have uncontrolled releases of radiation due to breach of containment).

News and Developments

•3 reactors have suffered partial meltdowns.

•These three reactors also suffered hydrogen gas explosions

•A fourth unit has a nuclear waste storage site on fire (which can in principle release more radiation than in a standard reactor core).

•Almost all workers, except for 50, have been evacuated. Once all the workers are evacuated, full scale melting is inevitable.

•Unit 2 actually had 100% of its core fully exposed, for about 2 hours. Worse, cracks seem to have formed in the containment vessel, which may be the source of the very high radiation levels.

•Unit 3 uses MOX fuel, which contains some deadly plutonium, one of the most dangerous substances on earth.The utility keeps saying that things are stable, only to see things worsen. This "stability" is the stability of hanging by your fingernails.

If I had the ear of the Prime Minister, I would recommend the "Chernobyl Option."

•Put the Japanese Air Force on alert

•Assemble a huge fleet of helicopters. Put shielding underneath them.

•Accumulate enough sand, boric acid, and concrete to smother these reactors, to entomb them forever. This is what the Soviets did in 1986, calling out the Red Air Force and sandbagging the reactor with over 5,000 tons of concrete and sand.

We have not yet hit the point of no return. But when we do, I think the only option left is this one.


Sandy Rothman said...

Dr. Kaku's idea is exactly what occurred to me, a layperson with no background in physics. My question: How can this advice be reliably transmitted to world leaders?

Charlie Wilson said...

Yes, but Chernobyl wasn't a waterfront property. If this reactor melts down and we cover it from above, the radioactive contents can still melt their way through the bottom and into the earth 100 feet or more, coming into contact with subterranean aquifers and circulating sea water, and dispersing radioactive isotopes into the ocean for the next thousand years.


Th. van Trier said...

You always find there's no more electricity, so nothing works and they have to bring in helicopters and/or use seawater to cool the rods.
Which than is contaminated, of course.
I think every nuclear power station ( if we must have them) should be build so there's a lake on a level above it and a empty containment lake below. The first big enough to provide all water needed, the latter big enough to contain all that water after the event.
Just so there is enough water that can be used with only gravity and be treated safely afterwards.

lee shepherd said...

If this situation goes the way you are indicating, just what does this mean to the system as a whole? How many of these accidents can we sustain before something critical happens to this closed envelope of life? Leaving the spent rods onsite seems to be part of this disaster. Is this going on all over the world now because we aren't putting this waste in a safer place?

TenThousandThings said...

Thank you for the dialogue.

We posted this, not as an endorsement of Dr. Kaku's view, but because he grasped the severity of the situation early on. With only 50 workers in the plant, it is virtually abandoned.

Dr. Kaku may have changed his opinion as he did not follow up after this post.

Now the planned new nuclear plants at other Japan's sea coast seem more ominous than ever.

Experts are pointing to the spent rods, especially the MOX-fuel waste; there is an issue with nuclear waste worldwide. There's been a ongoing citizen movement protesting the proposed use of Yucca Mountain in Nevada, USA, as a waste depository:

The biggest concern for French and Japanese activists has been the use of MOX (plutonium) fuel.
More info at Citizen's Nuclear Info Center (Tokyo):

If any of you are in Japan, we hope you are and stay safe.