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Nuclear Perceptions Fight Reality

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   By William Boardman  Email address removed  


An early morning flurry of internet reports carried scary -- but false -- headlines about Fukushima nuclear power plant's fuel pools exploding and burning, and releasing massive amounts of radiation on October 22.  Many readers expressed skepticism, as the reports seemed to come from a single, unconfirmed source and by later the same afternoon more responsible websites were labeling the story a hoax


The Fukushima accident in Japan continues nonetheless, at a slower pace for now, even though one of the more dangerous damaged units has cracks in its walls and is sinking into the ground, as affirmed by nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson in his October 21 podcast


Unit 4 at Fukushima is perhaps the most threatening part of the damaged plant because the unit's fuel rods are outside the containment where further mishap could lead to the release massive amounts of radiation directly into the environment. 


At the time of the earthquake in March 2011, about 100 miles of Japan's coastline, including the area around Fukushima, dropped about three feet, increasing the impact of the tsunami that destroyed the nuclear  power plant, which continues to deteriorate. 


In recent weeks it's become increasingly clear that Fukushima Unit 4, with its unprotected fuel rods is continuing to sink into the ground, and is sinking asymmetrically, creating the possibility that the building will begin to tilt.   The unit sank about 36 inches in March 2011 and has sunk another 30 inches since then, as confirmed by Gunderson.


  How Safe Is a Buckled, Sinking Building?


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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
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