how-to-survive-fukushima

Surviving The Fukushima Nuclear Fuel Pool Collapse

how-to-survive-fukushima

The current TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) plan calls for the nuclear fuel rods of the severely damaged ‘Daiichi’ nuclear power plant fuel-pool #4 to NOT begin removal until possibly 2014. That’s right, 2 more years before they might start the 10-year process of removing fuel rods there according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Tepco says it’s working to remove the fuel rods as fast as it can. If all goes according to its timetable, the utility could start taking the rods out in 2014.

…the schedule allows up to ten years to get all the spent fuel in all the Fukushima reactor pools out.

Fukushima Daiichi suffered meltdowns at three of its reactors last year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out power in the area. Much of the nuclear fuel in those three reactors is thought to be in a melted lump at the bottom of the vessels that surround the core.

Another big earthquake or tsunami could send Fukushima Daiichi’s fragile reactor buildings tumbling down, resulting in “an even greater release of radiation than the initial accident,”

Source: The Wall Street Journal, http://blogs.wsj.com/

The fuel pools are 100 feet above the ground, entirely open to the atmosphere (except for the water constantly being pumped into them) because the nuclear reactor buildings were blown apart by explosions back during 2011. The fuel pool (#4) which holds more than 10,000 nuclear rods could collapse from structural damage, should another strong earthquake occur there, and scatter the rods all over the ground. Emergency worker access to these rods will be impossible (except for suicide missions) as they will be emitting lethal levels of gamma radiation. The fuel rods will quickly heat up and ignite/explode, releasing massive clouds of radiation into the atmosphere.

Quote from a story on April-2, 2012 from the Mainichi Daily News in Japan written by Takao Yamada, Expert Senior Writer, “If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and French nuclear energy company Areva have warned about this risk.”
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20120402p2a00m0na002000c.html

 

The only thing saving the planet from exposure to 85x Chernobyl is the few feet of water covering the rods at this very moment. There is no other containment. Period. In fact, the fuel pool apparently is, and has been, leaking. A constant re-supply of water is required to avert total disaster.

 

Okay, should this event occur (earthquake followed by collapse of fuel-pool #4), how would it affect us here in the U.S. and other countries outside of Japan? What, if anything, can we do to be prepared for such an event?

As the radiation began to spew into the atmosphere, the surface and upper winds would carry the ongoing invisible cloud with it. If it were carried along in the jet-stream, which spins around the globe at say, 100 mph (and higher), it would take about 10 days to circle and cover the globe, predominantly in the northern hemisphere. That said, a few days or even 10 days is not enough time to make any practical preparations for this type of disaster.

In fact, one wonders if there is anything at all that we can do to make a difference such that we could protect ourselves beyond just a short period of time. Let’s face it, if this were to happen, the effects would be long lasting, long term, wide reaching, and almost unimaginable.

What will happen?

In my own estimation, there would not be instant death. There would be immediate tragedy in Japan, as millions of people scramble to evacuate the regions there (imagine evacuating Tokyo?). What would happen is that we would slowly but surely become more and more contaminated with radiation as we potentially breath in particles, get doused with particles (from the rain), and most importantly… we consume them from the foods that we eat (which will have become contaminated) and the water we drink. The cancer rate will skyrocket, and the die-off will begin.

What can or could we do?

The most extreme precaution (meaning – life uprooting) would be to move to the southern hemisphere. The further south the better, as some of the radiation will eventually migrate to the equator regions and spill below.

For the U.S., the radiation ‘fallout’ will be the worst on the west coast, and possibly parts of Alaska, as this is the first landfall of the predominant jet-stream winds from Japan. Rains will scour out some of the radiation from the air and toxify the west and central U.S. a bit more than the East. Unfortunately this is where lots of food is grown. The top several inches of soil will become contaminated. For long term issues, the food supply will be the deadliest aspect of this disaster.

I suppose that food grown in the southern hemisphere and shipped north, will be less contaminated. Those foods would certainly demand a premium and become VERY expensive.

A limited amount of food safety may come from growing food ‘inside’, out of the elements, out of the contaminated air and rain, in greenhouses, in non-contaminated soil. A problem though will be feeding the plants (and yourself!) with non-contaminated water (where will it come from or how to filter it).

As far as I know, one ‘partially’ effective way to separate radioactive particles from water is through water distillation (However some distillers will not rid radioactive iodine). I found this apparent factoid… “One of the problems with distilling is that iodine has a low boiling point – it turns into a gas at 363-degrees F (184 C). The little home distillers use high pressure for efficiency and if they are using over ~140 psi they will be vaporizing the radioactive iodine along with the water. A low pressure distiller like the type used for distilling alcohol won’t boil off the iodine.”

Boiling water will NOT remove radiation (or any other chemicals), but instead will concentrate it. The evaporated steam will also contain ‘some’ radiation. I’ve also heard that a Reverse Osmosis water filter may be effective to remove ‘most’ of the radiation particles. Water from a natural spring, which itself draws water from deep below the ground, may be a good source of safer water than contaminated surface water.

Regarding finding non-contaminated foods, the most assured way is to have it stocked up ahead of time, before the nuclear disaster, in your long term food storage supplies. This of course will only last until you run out, and then you’re in the same radiated boat as the rest of the people.

There will be new food processes popping up that will claim to produce non-contaminated foods, as many will attempt to profit from the disaster. Some may be real while I’ll bet many others will be false claims. The problem is that most of these sources will likely only produce relatively small volumes of food while the majority of the population depend upon mass produced foods. Food will continue to be grown and produced as before because there will be no other choice. People who consume it will simply and horrifically become more and more contaminated themselves over time. The radiation particles accumulating in their bodies will eventually damage surrounding tissue and/or DNA, leading to cancer and premature death. It is a scary thing, for sure.

The only immediate and somewhat effective solution that I see, is to grow your own food, in a greenhouse environment with soil that has been scraped from a depth of at least 4 inches below the topsoil, and fed with water from a natural spring. Obviously, a sufficient amount of food would need to be grown, and a sufficient amount would need to be preserved for the non-growing season. It would be very difficult, at best, to successfully accomplish this unless you are a seasoned gardener with the right knowledge, tools, and resources to do it.

Surviving a Fukushima fuel pool collapse will involve arming yourself with the knowledge, skill, and resources to grow your own food as described, to procure your own water which is safe to drink, and to stay out of the elements when it is storming. The hardest part of all this is to actually have the land to accomplish this, as the majority of the population lives in suburbia or the city. If you believe strongly that the risk is of high potential, then your only course of action, is to take action now, before it is too late.

Oh, one more thing, you will probably want to invest in a Geiger counter…

 

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17 Comments

  1. Every day when I get to work I log on quickly to Enews to see if the spent fuel pool has collapsed yet.

    I just had to say, (trying to keep it short while at work,) that I am paying attention and doing many things you mention Ken, and not enough of others.
    I had a panic moment of buying yesterday and went and got more beans, (mung and garbonzo) and legumes, (lentils) and seeds, (alfalfa, clover, wheat) for sprouting! I think my days of California produce are coming to an end.

    Reverse Osmosis is the best water filter out their right now for radionucluieds (sp). I priced many many distributors and asked lots and lots of questions last fall. One of the sales people thought that I was a corporate spy checking on their customer service because I knew more of exactly what I wanted than he knew about his product!

    Apec systems seem to offer the best system, with the most reasonable filter replacement prices, excellent customer service and quality of product. They give you your second set of filters free the first time you buy and continue to give them with your referrals! For ten dollars you can add a moving kit that easily lets you disconnect and take your system with you. They also have units that come with extra boosting pumps for low water pressure if you are in an upper unit or such.
    These systems DO NOT require any electricity to run, however they ARE NOT gravity feed and do require water pressure to push the water through the filters. Five stages of them! Solid Carbon block not granules! (It sounds like I should sign up to be a sales person for them doesn’t it?) Some people complain that RO systems waste water. It is true that for every four gallons, three are flushed away. I call that waste water, not wasting water, would you really want to drink that any way? Part of the reason these filters last so long is because of the way the water is flushed out of the system.

    And on another note – Greenhouses.

    Once again I became the investigative researcher and found a company called Northern Greenhouse

    This is a poly weave UV protected plastic designed to refract more light, ‘Heal’ itself with the uncommon, unusual tear, and can stand up to cat claws and birds!

    It has been used to build boat house covers and sails for a boat! Mine is sitting in a roll in my bedroom still waiting for the construction of the frame. I rent, and I am still doing this. I will dismantle and take it with me if I move! It is guaranteed for 3-4 years but will probably last 7-10. The record is 14 years. One story from a woman in Florida said that Hurricane Andrew blew their green house down but the plastic did not tear!
    Sprouts, green houses, filtered water…

    Vertical growing can also save space, cukes and strawberries planted in pallets. Vertical potato boxes, etc…square foot gardening, raised beds, container planting. I do it all. And then pickle or jam it.

    My opinion is this – buy all that you can now that you can not grow in bulk and bury that in the back of the storage. Every year will be more and more contaminated and we need to have a reserve of less poisonous things. Especially for the occasional detox that I, and we, ought to consider doing every now and then. Bentonite and zeolite. Bind with the toxins and move them out of the body.
    I tell my family, that I can see myself saying, “Remember how less contaminated the raspberries were in 2012 compared to now?” That goes for storing your firewood under tarp cover also…

    Know that mushrooms and moss are radiation magnets and unless you grow your own mushrooms indoors do not eat them. I am also killing all moss I find growing around me. I cup of bleach in a gallon of water.

    Would love to stay and chat more, but really must get back to work!

    (Hepa filters, for the indoor air,I made some home made ones of those too, more later if interested…)

    PS – a Geiger comes later, after all the soil and greenhouse beds and sprouting seed. Maybe eventually hydoponics?)

    1. Glad to hear someone else has come to the same conclusion regarding food, water. It’s going to be sprouts, and more sprouts as time goes on!
      Here in the Bay Area California, our radiation readings have doubled since last May (looking at both radiationnetwork.com & blackcatsystems.com) going from around 25 cpm to averaging 45cpm now–to 62 cpm in Jan of this year, and on March 24 of this year it reached 82 cpm!!!)

      Wish we could relocate, but having lost my home in a foreclosure, sold my car, it’s kind of tough.

      1. @Lightnbug, sorry to hear about your situation. There’s always a silver lining… you just have to look for it ;) That’s a very good suggestion regarding sprouts. Simple, packed with nutrients, and grown quickly indoors.

    2. Water filters… check out sawyer.com There filter claims to last for 1 million gallons and will work with gravity feed. Not good for radiation but virus, cysts, bacteria, etc. Definitely a valuable stage of any homemade system and they have some versatile ones.

      Greenhouses… lostcreek.net I believe this is the guy that invented the home tube bender. Make your own hoop houses super cheap.

      I wouldn’t kill the mushrooms and moss. I’d let them grow and absorb radiation then “harvest” them and remove them from your property. Maybe even consider using them as a means of remediation.

      I’m not prepared for a fuel pool collapse. I have a young child so I guess I’d have to throw on the bug out bag and head south as fast as possible and hope one day it is safe enough to come back… after I hope I get to somewhere safe in the southern hemisphere.

  2. Some western countries are urging the Japanese authorities to erect a sarcophagus similar to Chernobyl one around the Fukashima plant.
    The Japanese are resisting this idea. Frankly I’m mostly in agreement with this. Earthquake activity would probably make the sarcophagus principle moot.

    If Reactor 4’s fuel pool collapses there will be all out project to get the fuel rods covered up with sand and boron to try and limit the possibility of a fuel rod fire and escalation of radiation output. The tragedy in this is that this effort will be a suicide mission.

    There is a 1950’s novel and film detailing the scenario of a nuclear winter in the Northern hemisphere and subsequent evacuation to the Southern. Novel and Film are called “On the Beach”

    Reactor 2 is so badly damaged that life expectancy is 7 minutes after entering it’s close proximity.

  3. @Beano
    Sad, Sick And True,
    the movie On the beach was also re-made more recently, the old is black and white and I think Fred Astair is in it, the new one is color. The newer one moves a little faster, You know how old movie’s can be…
    I came to the survivalist blogs to ‘pretend’ that there are things I can do to out last certain catastrophes, but in truth, this IS a game changer.

  4. I was just wondering if anyone knew if a 125 ft deep well would be a “safe” water supply during a nuclear fallout? Thanks

    1. In my opinion, deeper water will be safer from surface water. The problem starts though when contaminated surface water (and contaminated rain water) runs off into ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and ground water. This is why I believe a natural spring is a good option, particularly if the water from the spring is bubbling up from deeper ground. In your example, a 125 ft deep well, it sounds pretty good to me. In fact I would venture to say that any typical well may be better off than city municipal water, should an event like this occur. There are caveats of course.

    2. Depends, did you go through the first hard pan, if you found a well below, or below a second, your fine depending on the geology of area, ie clay, limestone, etc, that help filter the ground water absorption

  5. has anyone else noticed that there seem to be a “blackout” of news and info and even commentary on this issue between early may 2012 and september of 2012 (now)?

    explanations? theories?

    1. @songie, In my own opinion, the reason is mostly because the main-stream-media ‘story’ turnover is very fast, and because people have very short attention spans coupled with the media’s marching orders from their bosses and editors for the story-of-the-day. Fukushima is now like a slow ongoing disaster that is ‘invisible’, and therefore of little interest to most of the mainstream. If there was another explosion, they would be all over it like flies on $hit.

  6. I have been trying for over 2 years to get Japan to look at my theory to solve the crisis at Fukushima. There is a answer,but Japan’s hardheadedness prevails in the country. The have so much pride they do not listen. I wrote people in the Nuclear science Division, Arnie Gundersen,and the Japanese prime Minister and the top level people email in Japan. The fuel pool and fire can be controlled with conventional means and have sent a report to how it can be taken care of and even how to make the fuel rod rack holders safe.

    Markww

    1. Once the U.S. along with other superpowers takes control of the de-contamination & de-commissioning work on the plant from Japan, the U.S. will listen to you as well as others such as you.

  7. I think Chernobyl proved that Nature can allow some animals species to adapt. The strong ones survive and have even come back in larger populations in that region. There are documentaries on such things.

    That doesn’t mean that those species are healthy though. I would bet their bodies are riddled with cancer and also including their bones, skin, glands, and so forth.

    Humans are really not that strong. A few are excellent speciments and can withstand hardship, but most postmodern humans cannot. No humans would think to live within the Chernobyl zone. That’s additionally why some animal populations have been able to increase through lack of competition and predation.

    Because of adaptation, some species individuals will survive in the Pacific Ocean, but much of it will be dead eventually. It’s not like the problem of radioactive relase happened and then ceased. It’s ongoing. Perhaps the reason we’re seeing a lot of rare species dead on the shores is partially the result of the Fukushima radiation.

    Kill even a small part of the lower food chain, and all of the species that are eventually reliant upon some portion of those species, will then be affected, even severely so.

    For Americans, the problem is compounded because of the BP Spill on the Atlantic Coast, following by the ridiculous mitigation using Corexit. That also no doubt affected and is affecting the ocean temperature and thus weather patterns globally.

    Radiation concentrates up the food chain. Many will die of it, and it will also adversely affect successive generation by bad mutations. Almost all mutations have a negative effect on survival.

    While one can block some radioactive isotopes from concentrating, other isotopes cannot be so blocked, so there’s that unfortunate information. It’s like lying in a pit of snakes of all varieties, and being able to successfully kill the copperheads, but dying from other poisonous bites.

    Because of the foolish idea of burning irradiated material, that’s spread the econological disaster in Japan. Other radiation is also wind bourne, so all of that will end up in our topsoil. Much of it will end up concentrated in the alveoli of our lungs and forming lung tumors over time.

    The typical response to fight cancer is to eat more foods rich on the ORAC scale to reduce inflammation. The problem might be that eating all food will only add more radioactive isotopes internally.

    While there have been health studies on the effects of Chernobyl, and direct statistics can be seen in Bellorus in the children, that was an event that ceased. This is not ceasing, and we have no political power to make the TEPCO stop, save if the US declares war. I guess we could use economic or diplomatic weapons to boycott the Japanese and make them allow nuclear advisors to help mitigate it.

    Honestly, I haven’t seen anyone with a comprehensive plan that would solve Fukushima.

    Right now, the Yakuza are forcing those who took predatory loans and who can’t pay those loansharks, to work at the Fukushima plant. That’s partially the source of labor there, something few people know about, but one that Ken has discussed.

    Would Americans volunteer to fix it? Even if they did, it would take trained nuclear technicians to do the gruntwork.

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