April 01, 2016
“The Trouble With Nuclear Power” Presentation by Dr. Hiroaki Koide at Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan
On April 25th, 2015, Dr. Hiroaki Koide, a former assistant professor of nuclear science at Kyoto University held a presentation at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan titled, “ The Trouble With Nuclear Power”. Dr. Koide, who retired from Kyoto University in March, 2015, was initially hopeful about the positive potential of nuclear power when he began studying subject at the start of his career. However, as he studied further, he observed that since electric power is generated at power plants located in rural areas, it is the residents of rural areas who bore the risks of accidents despite the fact that residents of urban areas used the most energy. He began to feel that this is a form of discrimination. Moreover, he began to oppose the use of nuclear power outright as the risks associated the power source became more apparent. Obviously being a professor of nuclear science while simultaneously opposing nuclear power has been seen as quite controversial. Due to this, he has been marginalized in the field of nuclear science for a long time. He was continually passed over for advancement throughout his career, remaining an assistant professor until retirement. He watched as colleague after colleague were made full professors. However, after the accident at the Fukushima Number One Nuclear Power Plant, his arguments that were previously dismissed have gained widespread support. There are many who say that the accident proved his theory correct. He often seen as a hero of anti-nuclear advocacy. His book, Lie of Nuclear Power, was the best selling book in 2011 on the subject of nuclear power. However, there are still those who argue that Koide’s theories are wrong even after the accident.
During the presentation, Dr. Koide explained how the accident unfolded, how and how much the radioactive material have spread, solutions, and prospects for the future. He stated that the Fukushima Number One Plant will eventually need to be buried under a sarcophagus like Chernobyl, but it would take a very long time for this process to be carried out. Moreover, he suggested cooling reactors with metals and cold air instead of water, since cooling with water simply ends up producing more and more contaminated water. He suggested to building a concrete dam under the power plant, likening the facilities at the power plant to a huge contaminated swamp.
Ok. Let’s get started. Welcome to the press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. My name is Tetsuo Jinbo. I am a long time member here and the chairman of the professional activities committee. Our speaker today is Mr. Hiroaki Koide, former assistant professor of Kyoto University. Actually, we had been asking Mr. Koide to come to our club to speak for a long time, but he had always been busy, and he had not been able to come. But, finally, I’m very happy to have him with us today. Mr. Koide is a long time nuclear scientist, but he is one of very rare species as you know in Japan, the so-called nuclear village. He says he studies nuclear science not to promote the nuclear technology, but to study, to learn the danger of the nuclear technology. Since Fukushima Daiichi accident four years ago, Mr. Koide has appeared in thousands of lecture events and interviews. But, for some reason, I don’t see him much on TVs and in newspapers. I wonder why that is. But, anyway, he is 65 years old. He has just retired from Kyoto University where he has worked for 41 years. 41 years?
Dr. Hiroaki Koide: Yes.
Jinbo: 41 years. He may be retiring from Kyoto University, but I am very sure that he is not really retiring. I am sure he is not going to tell us what he is going to do after Kyoto. So, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Hiroaki Koide.
Koide: Thank you very much. I am Hiroaki Koide, a former assistant professor of Kyoto University. Thank you gathering for this place. I am sorry. I am bad at English speech. So, I asked Ms.Takamatsu to interpret my speech. Let’s start my speech.
So, as you can see from the title of my presentation, four years have passed since the Fukushima Number One Plant Accident occurred. Since that time, we have received many many announcements from the Japanese government and from TEPCO. But, my impression is that the announcements are very limited in nature and that they are contained many many errors. So, today, I would like to describe for you the actual situation regarding Fukushima.
As you can see this is the aerial photograph of Fukushima Number One Plant. Starting from right hand-side, you see Unit number one. Moving towards left, you see two, three, and four.
I’m sorry. I skipped the slide. I’m going to go back.
As you know, units one, two and three were actually in operation when the earthquake hit on March 11th, 2011.
So, this photograph, as you can see, actually Unit Number One, Two, and Three were operating at that time when the earthquake and then Tsunami hit. It set off series of events where the reactor core actually melted. During the process of this melting, a great deal of hydrogen was emitted into the air, and as a result of hydrogen explosion, and as you can see, the reactor buildings themselves had been severely damaged.
Over on the left hand side, we see unit number four, you can see that the reactor building has been very much destroyed. However, unit number four was not operating on March 11th, 2011. So, there was no nuclear fuel in the reactor core, so the events that I just described for you for units one, two and three, in other words, melting of the reactor core did not occur for Unit Number Four. In spite of this however, for some reason, there was similar hydrogen explosion and as you can see the reactor building was severely damaged.
Because the unit number four was not operating at that time of the earthquake and tsunami, all of the fuel was taken out of reactor core, and put it into what we call spent fuel pool. The spent fuel pool however, as you can see was on the fourth floor, and it’s basically an area, a part of the building where there are no longer any walls, ceiling or roof.
I know that all of you aware of the fact that there are many radioactive materials were emitted by this accident and that there are many things that we must be worried about. However, when nuclear power plants, reactors operate, they produce great number of different types of radioactive materials. Of them, the one that I think is most dangerous to humanity is cesium 137.
I mentioned earlier, the reactor building for Unit Number Four was very much destroyed and the spent fuel pool was exposed to the air, sort of hanging in mid air. In the spent fuel pool for reactor number four which was completely exposed to the air, there was enough cesium 137 equivalent to 14,000 bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima. I’ll say that again, there was enough cesium 137 in the spent fuel pool that was equivalent to 14,000 hydrogen bombs, A-bombs, dropped on Hiroshima.
There was danger at that time that the spent fuel rods in that spent fuel pool might eventually because it was, they were containing too much heat that eventually all the water in that pool would dry up. And if all the water would dry up that would create a situation where the spent fuel rods begins to melt themselves. And that would create a terrible situation where probably people in the Tokyo area would have to evacuate as well. This is not just my personal opinion, but it was actually the opinion expressed in a report by Mr. Kondo who was the head of the nuclear energy commission at that time.
I think many of you who are journalists in this room may remember that there were some days immediately following the accident where we had Self Defense Force’s helicopters fly above the power plant to drop water onto the plant and also we had members of the Tokyo Fire Department bring very very long hoses tried again to put water into the plant. But, actually, what they were focusing on was the Unit Number Four. They had somehow to keep that spent fuel pool filled with water. However, if they didn’t, if they were not successful, they thought Tokyo could be destroyed.
While things have continued, four years have passed since the accident. You may remember that in 2011, the party in power was the Democratic Party of Japan.
You may also recall that in December of 2011, the Prime Minister at that time, Prime Minister Noda made an official declaration that the accident at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Number One have been brought to a close.
My reaction on hearing his words was stop kidding.
The reality is that even though four years have passed, the accident, the situation has not yet been brought to a close at all.
As I said earlier, the biggest danger that everyone involved was aware of was a fact that the unit number four, the spent fuel, although it was not operating at that time of the accident, the greatest danger lay with this unit number four, this spent fuel pool. As I mentioned earlier, it was a great deal of cesium, 14,000 times the amount of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima that cesium was simply sitting in that pool and if that cesium were too be released into the air, then that would be the greatest, gravest danger that could be presented to Tokyo and to Japan. This was the crisis situation and something needed to be done about this and everyone in TEPCO and everyone at the Japanese government knew how serious this situation was and they truly made efforts to try to deal with this situation, but it was not until November of 2013 that finally the process of removing those spent fuel rods from the spent fuel rods pool at unit number four was gradually begun and it took about a year and it was not until 2014 November, a year later that all of spent fuel rods were extracted from the unit number four pool and moved to slightly less dangerous common spent fuel pool nearby.
I was so, so grateful and glad that this work was finally done and finished. I was relieved, because I thought at last, the possibility that Tokyo might have to be abandoned, suddenly has at last been cleared and discard that fear, would been able to discard that fear.
Having said this however, although this terribly great danger was somehow at least overcome for the time being. But, that does not mean that we have a crisis situation at all. As I mentioned so far talking about the Unit Number Four, but there is another great concern which is what is the situation regarding unit number one to three. As I mentioned, there was a meltdown of the core, but exactly what is the situation within the core where, how much has melted and where is the fuel exactly, we do not know.
Why do we not know what the situation is with the Unit Number One, Two and Three? It’s because nobody can go to the site and see with their own eyes, can check there within their own eyes. The radiation level is so high that if a person were to try to go inside, that person would die immediately. Even robots which are now being employed to try to gauge the situation inside, they are very fragile when it comes to very high radiation levels. All of the robots that have been sent in have not been able to return as a result.
I would like to impress upon you that this is an accident of severity that cannot be imagined anywhere else. In other words, an accident and terrible things occur and you are not able to go even though four years have passed to close by to the site to see what is happening.
That kind of situation arises only with nuclear power plant accidents. There is no other similar situation.
So, as you can see, we are facing the very difficult situation where further melting of reactor cores must be prevented. What they have been doing for four years to prevent this is to continually keep pumping in water, so that there is no further overheating.
But, as you know the more water we pump in, the more contaminated water, irradiated water we produce. We cannot avoid this terrible situation.
Even today, every single day, 300 to 400 tons of contaminated water are being produced and as a result of great efforts to keep this contaminated water from entering the more general environment, we have people on the site, workers on the site, working night and day to try to contain this.
When I talk about the workers who are working night and day to try to contain this situation, I’m not talking about TEPCO employees, there are no TEPCO employees doing that kind of dangerous work. It’s not even the subcontractors who are doing this kind of work. It’s the sub-sub-sub-sub contractors, we go there is a level of about 8, 9, maybe 10 layers and it is the people at the very bottom who are actually doing the work and it is said that so many commissions are taken from their salaries that they are not even receiving the minimum wage.
I think you will all recall the terrible situation in Chernobyl in 1986 when they had their nuclear power accident, it is being said that anywhere from 600,000 to 800,000 people were called upon to try to deal with that situation. The 600,000 to 800,000 people included actual military personnel, also retired veterans, just general workers, and also it is said some convicts were recruited to take care of this situation.
In Japan, will we be able to find that many people to deal with the situation? I do not think that it is the possibility at all. In fact, as it is we are already seeing a great, a large number of foreign workers working at Fukushima.
As you know Japan is now led by the administration which is composed of the members of the ruling party, the LDP. Also the Prime Minister is Mr. Abe, a man who has very clearly set out his main priority is economic expansion. As a result he has worked very hard to bring the Olympics to Japan. In order to make the Olympics successful, he gave a speech on the international stage where he declared that Fukushima accident was under control. However, that is not the situation at all. On the daily basis, there are workers on the sight who are struggling to somehow deal with the situation. Everyday, they are being irradiated and this struggle, this daily struggle of workers there will continue for years to come, for decades to come.
I have been explaining how much the workers on site have been struggling in spite of the irradiation they receive to try to contain the radioactive materials, and try to keep the radioactive materials from being introduced into the environment. Having said this, in spite of their great efforts, there has unfortunately already been a lot of great deal of radioactive materials that have been introduced into the environment.
Even as we sit here talking today, every single moment, people in this area beginning to be centered primarily around the Fukushima Prefecture area are receiving radiation, and this being irradiated, being exposed to radiation situation will continue for years to come, for decades to come, possibly for centuries to come.
This is an aerial shot of the Fukushima plant.
So, this is an aerial shot. You can see the units number one to four on the southern part of the slide and up above it, you have number five and number six. The reactors number five and six don’t come into news very much, they were very fortunate because one emergency generator managed to operate that day, so there was no melt down of the core. However, as you can see the reactors number one to four have had all different problems. There were great deal of radioactive materials were therefore, emitted into the air. Not only this, as I mentioned earlier, they constantly have to be kept cool. As a result, contaminated water is being produced in great amounts each day, and they are being put into as you can see in that a little square, these tanks. It is TEPCO’s ideas to somehow to keep these water into these tanks. Already 500,000 tons of contaminated waters are in these tanks.
Although TEPCO was working hard to build tank after tank after tank, there was a limit to how much a physical space there is available in this site for building of tanks. So, I think that not too distant future, TEPCO will have to make a decision and say it will start releasing some of contaminated water into the ocean.
Actually also to point out that although they are making these tanks, these tanks are not really permanent solid tanks, but rather sort of provisional temporary tanks. The reason is that if one were to try to create, build more sturdy, solid, and permanent tanks, it means that during that process, the workers would be irradiated even more, there would be too much exposure to radiation. So,they just have to simply manage with these tanks that are available. However, that means that because they were not designed for such long usage, we are seeing its leaks occur from time to time, and in addition to this, as you can see from the photograph, the reactor buildings, the turbine housing building also was damaged as a result, and there is a great deal of water that goes through these facilities and contaminated water, therefore, is leaking throughout the entire facility, in fact, we can look at all of Fukushima number one power plant and this whole facility and say it’s like a very, highly contaminated swamp.
So, as you can see from the slide, I mentioned that this whole entire facilities were like a swamp, contaminated swamp. TEPCO last year did some research. They took water samples from wells that were in the facility. And from one of the wells, they were able to get this kind of data, this is October of last year, cesium 134, 61,000 becquerels per liter which is a huge huge number record high, and cesium 137 190,000 becquerels per liter and of all what we call the “beta emissions”, 7.8 million becquerels per liter.
So, what I am showing you in red are the actual legally accepted emissions set by Japanese law. As you can see it is cesium 134. It’s only 60 becquerels per liter which means that it is over thousand times of the allowed limit.
So, again with cesium 137’s, the allowed limit is only 90 becquerels per liter, but it is 190,000 becquerels per liter that were discovered in this wells. That’s over 2000 times of the legal limit of emissions allowed into the environment.
In regards to this terminology “total beta,” I believe that what they are referring to is basically strontium 90 radioactive material, and the allowed limit is only 30 becquerels and as you can see it was 7.8 million that was discovered in this well, so it shows you that it’s several tens of thousand of times of the allowable limit that you are seeing on the site from a well.
So, again we are in the very terrible situation that we didn’t call it a crisis situation. In order to ensure that crisis does not get worse, the workers on the site are working every single day and will continue to work every single day for the foreseeable future even as they are exposed for the radiation.
However, although what I have been describing for you is quite grave, we have even more serious issue facing us which is reactor cores have melted in units one to three, what are we going to do about that?
TEPCO and the Japanese government have said, have recognized the problem and they have said that they have put together a plan where they intend in theory to somehow pluck the melted fuel from the reactor cores and move them to a safer place where they will be stored and maintained .
So, I apologize for this slide being Japanese,but it is the actually a slide that was presented by TEPCO. It represents their plans on how to pluck out the melted fuel.
So as was just explained, as he pointed out on the left hand side of the diagram, in the very center you have the pressure vessel and surrounding the pressure vessel you have the containment vessel. What TEPCO is saying that inside the pressure vessel, which is the smaller part at the top in the middle of the diagram, you have at the bottom the melted fuel, and they believed that the melted fuel have gone through the bottom of the pressure vessel and gone all the way down to the floor of the containment vessel and it is sitting there like a big lump.
So, you have that sort of test tube-like round object that he was just pointing out which is the containment vessel. The containment vessel was supposed to be a sort of like the last fortress of defense to protect people from radiation. However, it seems that there has been damage to the containment vessel because no matter how much water you pump in, it keeps not filling up.
So as you can see from how the professor has pointed, at the bottom of the smaller pressure vessel and at the bottom of the larger containment vessel, TEPCO believes that there are lumps of the melted fuel. And they have this idea that they are somehow going to insert something from the top of the pressure vessel and go through all the way down to the containment vessel and pluck out all of these lumps of the melted fuels.
However, if they were simply to try to remove the top of the pressure vessel in a dry state and put something inside, that means that the moment they open it up, there would be huge amounts of radioactive materials that would be emitted into the air, nobody could go even close.
So, how is TEPCO going to deal with this situation, they are saying that the first step that they will take is to somehow plunge the holes in the containment vessel in the larger vessel. Obviously, there must be some damage. So, once they are able to repair the sides of the containment vessel, then they will fill it with water.
After the containment vessel has been flooded with water, then they will insert some equipment from above and go through the pressure vessel and also go all the way to the down to the bottom of the containment vessel and pluck the spent fuel which they insist is all in a lump. The terminology, the description that the professor is using is…it looks like a dumpling. It’s all together in a mass.
But, I believe that this plan that has been presented is simply impossible to realize. The reason for this is that first of all, the containment vessel does have holes. We don’t even have a technology or ability now even first of all to determine where the holes are, and even if we were able to determine where the holes are how can we possibly repair them. We do not have the means to do so, I believe.
I also think that if hypothetically one were able to repair the sides of the containment vessel and successfully fill it with water, then even if you were try to pluck out the melted fuel from above, I think the fundamental assumption of TEPCO and the government that the melted fuel is sitting at the bottom in a nice little lump like a dumpling shape, I think that is impossible, it’s an impossible proposition.
What I’m trying to say is that although this picture looks like a neat little situation where all of the spent fuels is put nicely into two little lumps, I think one considers the severity of the accident that occurred and all of the explosions, shaking and etc, and the damage that occurred, I cannot imagine that all of the every bit of that melted fuel would be sitting in nicely one little lump, but rather, it will have spread all over the place. It’s also possible that not only will they spread horizontally, it could be that some of the spent fuel could actually have gone through the floor of the containment vessel as well.
What I have just described is very very logical for anyone who understands nuclear engineering or nuclear energy. In recent months, it has come to the understanding of the general public. In fact, this is a copy of a local Fukushima newspaper which put in an article about what I have just described. Instead of the government or TEPCO’s previous explanation of the melted fuel being in one dumpling nice shape, rather it shows that probably they are spread all over the place horizontally in the area. In fact, this is the result of some announcements, analysis by even government-sanctioned experts.
In other words, if TEPCO and the Japanese government tried to pluck out the melted fuel from above, they might be able to get some of it, but there is no way that they would be able to get all of it. So, I believe that this is, I think fundamentally the idea of trying to somehow remove the melted fuel from the containment and pressure vessel is simply impossible to realize. And the only possible way that we can eventually deal with this accident is to do what was done in Chernobyl which is to create a concrete coffin or sarcophagus for the facility.
However, as I mentioned earlier, there was a problem with spent fuel pool in Unit Number Four, a similar situation is present force in units number one, two, three. They also have spent fuel pools which are filled with spent fuels. They also have to be plucked out and removed otherwise, we cannot even think about building of sarcophagus or concrete coffin.
So, I mentioned how long it took for this spent fuel rods to be removed to a slightly less dangerous place from Unit Number Four, but in regards to units number one to three how long will this spent fuel rods to be removed to a slightly less dangerous place, we have no idea, I think we have no idea. I think TEPCO and Japanese government really do not know how long will the procedure will take.
It is only after the spent fuel rods have been removed, safely removed to another place with sarcophagus or a concrete coffin can eventually be made. How many years from now will that be done? I cannot even begin to make a prediction. In fact, I probably will not be alive when the project starts.
Even if this kind of a concrete coffin or container is eventually made, as you know with Chernobyl, it’s been 29 years since the accident, and the first sort of concrete coffin that they made surrounding the reactor is now aging and there are cracks and much damage appearing so they are making another secondary one to surround it.
Although the Chernobyl accident was a terrible accident, it only involved one reactor. With Fukushima, the minimum number was one to three. Three reactors that are emitting dangerous radiation. So, the way to deal with this accident, the work involved dealing with this accident will take tens of years, hundreds of years. The radioactive materials must be contained on a century based, centuries based timeline.
So far, I have been talking about the future problems that we will face and how to contain the radioactive materials in the future. But as I mentioned earlier, some radioactive materials have already unfortunately been emitted into the environment. How much? The figures that I’m showing you are actually the figures that was presented by the Japanese government in the report that they presented to the IAEA.
So, what I am going to be showing you is the amount of cesium 137 that was actually released into the atmosphere.
You can see here, I put a little yellow square that shows you the amount of cesium 137 that was released into the atmosphere as the result of dropping the bomb on Hiroshima.
So, the unit of measurement is terabecquerels.
For the Fukushima accident even just with the unit number one, six to seven times is the amount of… just the unit number one released six to seven times the amount of cesium 137 that was emitted by the bomb dropped on Hiroshima..
Again, I repeat this is the data that was provided by the Japanese government. It was unit number two that released the most amount, the largest amount of cesium 137 into the atmosphere.Number three also released some as well.
But, taken together, unit number one, two, and three released 168 times the amount of cesium 137 that was emitted by the Hiroshima bomb.
I would like to again point out to you that this is simply the amount of cesium 137 that was emitted into the atmosphere into the air as a result of this accident. But, as I explained in some detail already, everyday more contaminated water is being produced, more contaminated water is being unfortunately going into the ocean. The final amount of cesium 137 that have been emitted into the atmosphere or into the environment as a result of the Fukushima number one plant accident is several hundred times the equivalent of what was emitted by the Hiroshima bomb. And it is ongoing process. It is not yet finished.
So, when the first explosion occurred, the great deal of radioactive materials were emitted into the air. Where did they go? Obviously wind blew them into certain directions. This data is presented by a French research institution. It shows you where the radioactive materials are flew.
So, as you can see, the red portion is the area surrounding Fukushima and as you can see on the righthand side, there is a color scale shows you the degree of radiation. Red is very bad, and yellow is slightly less worse, and it goes down to blue which is fairly good. But, you can see that Fukushima area is in bright red and surrounding is yellow area which include Tokyo and the greater Kanto plain area, and the rest of area is in lighter blue.
As you can see Tohoku or North Eastern part of Japan, the Kanto Great Plain where Tokyo rests, this area was very much contaminated, but you will also have to take into account more world view. Japan is a nation that is located in the temperate zone of the Northern hemisphere. It is an area where there are very strong winds going from the west. We call them prevailing westerlies.
As you can see the prevailing westerlies blew from the west very strong winds and blew the cesium 137s across the Pacific Ocean and contaminated much of western coast of Northern America.
And I believe also this is an example of why a nuclear power plant accidents are different from any other kinds of accidents or any other kinds of events. It’s not only the site itself that is severely damaged and severely contaminated and severely hurt, but the effects and the negative impacts of the accidents spread throughout the world.
This is again the data that have been presented by the Japanese government. Although the prevailing westerlies might have blown a great deal of cesium 137s towards the Pacific Ocean, more down towards the ground level you have winds blowing in all kinds of directions. Some blow north. Some blow west, east and south. As a result, you can see how much, how large an area has been contaminated.
So, the area in the center which are indicated by the colors red, yellow and green are the most highly contaminated area. As a result over 100,000 people are not able to return to their homes.
You also see some areas indicated in blue,and also some spots that have been scattered that are in dark green. The radiation levels are very very high there. Something on the order of 30,000 becquerels per square meter.
In Japan, there are very very strict rules, many strict laws that govern the use and handling of the radiation. The areas where radiations are issued or there are high radiation levels, they’re indicated as radiation control areas. It is special designation, legal designation.
So, the law that existed was that if you are taking an object regardless of what that object might be, if you are taking an object out of a radiation control area to a place that is outside of that area, then regardless of what that object is if it produces over 40,000 becquerels per square meter, you cannot remove that object from that radiation control area.
The radiation control area has many many strict rules so that average people such as yourselves cannot, are not legally allowed to enter this area. Even for people like such as myself who are experts or somehow working related to this field, even though go into the are allowed inside area, we cannot even take a sip of water.
Until now, there are very strict rules about the radiation control areas. It was said again,to repeat, you could not take anything out of this area that produces over 40…that was contaminated to the point 40,000 becquerels per square meter. In fact, anything with more than that radiation level could not exist outside of the radiation control areas. Having said this however, the areas indicated in blue already have, are the objects that are irradiated to the level of over 60,000 becquerels per square meter, and spots indicated in dark green have from 30,000 to 60,000 becquerels per square meter.
In other words, if one is going to be very strict about the letters of the law, anything over the allowed limit must be kept in an area that is the radiation control area, then Japan must designate 14,000 square kilometers of Japan to be radiation control areas.
However, the Japanese government has issued a declaration that this is an emergency situation. As a result, normal laws do not have to be followed. What they are saying therefore, is that in these very high irradiated radiation exposure level areas they have basically abandoned people to live there. They have actually thrown them away to live there. That’s what the professor has said.
So, I said earlier that the amount of cesium 137 that had been emitted into the atmosphere is equivalent to the amount that was emitted by the Hiroshima bomb. 168 times that amount. This is the data that was announced by the Japanese government. If we put it into becquerels, it’s 15,000 terabecquerels.
Most of that which went up into the atmosphere were pushed by the prevailing westerlies over the Pacific. However, great deal fell on the Tohoku region and landed in the Kanto Plain area as well. That amount is 2400 tera becquerels.
I’m sure a little, some of you may not really be able to imagine what this amount really represents. In other words, I talked about 15,000 terabecquerels or 2400 terabecquerels. If we look at this in terms of actual weight of the radioactive materials, how much do you think that actually will be in weight.
All of the cesium 137s that were emitted by the Fukushima Power Plant accident is equivalent to 4.7 kilograms.
I mentioned earlier that cesium 137s that had fallen onto Japanese territory, Japanese land in the Tohoku and Kanto regions, so much so that this area should all be put into the radiation control area, designation. All that put together that is 750 grams in weight.
It is often said that radioactivity or radiation is something that is very difficult to sense using any of five senses that’s only normal and makes sense. If you were able to actually sense the radiation, radioactive materials, it would be of such an amount that you would immediately die.
So, as I have said, people living in these contaminated areas are being exposed to radiation every single day, every single moment. And it is only natural that human nature would step in and people would try to take some action to try to decrease, diminish that exposure level. Just even a little bit, as a result, people work very very hard to remove the topsoils of around their homes, on school grounds. They can’t remove all of the topsoil, all of the mountain, all of the parks, all of the land, all of the fields. But, at least, around their everyday lives, and they are trying to remove that and the put the contaminated soil to these big bags. There are tens of millions of such bags already.
But these bags are only a temporary solution. As you can see,some of the topsoils which were collected into the bags contained seeds of weeds. And weeds eventually grew and basically broke through the size of the bags. How are we going to be able to manage these bags? This is a topic that is not only pressing for us now, but also ten years from now, twenty years from now, hundreds of years from now.
I do apologize for having gone over time so much, but I really would like to impress upon you that accident effects are still continuing. Thank you very much for your kind attention.
Jinbo: Thank you, Mr. Koide.This event is actually scheduled until four o’clock. If anyone from the working press who is dying to ask a question, then please do. Go ahead.
Ambassador of Bahrain, Dr. Khali Hassan: I am really fascinated by your presentation.
Jimbo: Can you introduce yourself?
Ambassador Hassan: Khali Hassan, ambassador of Bahrain. I am ambassador of Bahrain. If you were the Prime Minister of Japan, what are you going to do with this very complicated situation?
Koide: I think there are many many things that I could do, countermeasures that I could take. The first most pressing problems that we are facing is that somehow try to stop the increase of contaminated water that’ s been produced everyday. We also have to ensure that this contaminated water, does not seep into the environment. In order to achieve this, I think there are two things that are necessary. First of all,the measure that’s been taken by TEPCO and Japanese government is to keep pouring water onto the reactor core so that no more melting will occur. But, I think the decision has to be to give up using water as cooling element. I am thinking of alternatives such as specific metals and by such a circumstances might be use air cooling as well.
The second thing that needs to be done is.. as I said earlier, entire Fukushima nuclear facility is basically radioactive swamp. You must ensure that somehow that water does not seep into the surrounding environment. So, what needs to be done immediately is to create an underwater dam that will completely surround all of the reactor buildings. This is something that I have been saying, espousing since May, 2011.
It seems that in recent months, at last, the government and TEPCO begin to understand that there is this necessity of walls that I have been recommending. However, they have decided to embark on dam. However, it is a very strange dam. It’s a wall. Basically frozen soil.
But, what is going to be necessary is a huge wall that is going to have to be 30 meters deep and it’s going to have to be 1.4 kilometers long. I do not believe that such a frozen soil wall is possible to build.
I believe what is necessary is therefore, to create a truly strong dependendable wall that is made from concrete and steel, reinforced steel. I think that kind of dam, underground dam or wall needs to be made immediately.
So, that was a very technical answer to your question, but I would like to now talk more in general terms about some of the countermeasures that I would take.
First of all, when immediately after the accident occurred, a declaration was issued by the government saying this accident was an emergency situation. When you have an emergency situation legally declared, that means that regular laws are put on hold. What that means is that people can be thrown away into the areas, where normally people should not be.
I think the Japanese government should do everything in its power to be able to create a situation where it can lift this emergency situation declaration. In other words, I believe that they should not be thinking so much about happy events like the Olympics at a time like this.
Your question also said was that if I were Prime Minister Abe, what would be the first thing I would do? The first thing that I would do is, the first thing that I would do as a Prime Minister is to remove, evacuate all of the children who are in the contaminated areas.
Of course, there are many many other things that I would like to do to, but I will stop here and take the next question.
Jinbo: OK. Mr. Fujita.
Hiroyuki Fujita: My name is Hiroyuki Fujita. I am a freelance journalist. There is an organization is called Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information, SARI. It is represented by famous scientists such as Professor Wade Alison at Oxford University who wrote a book titled Radiation and Reason. The general tone of these scientists is that… the conclusion of these scientists is that the low level of radiation 100 millisievert per year, this is not necessarily bad for health, might even be good for one’s health. It is not something that would cause cancer, there is no reason to keep these contaminated water in tanks. It just to be released to the environment. There is no reason to decontaminate the areas. Kids in that area can play outside freely. So, what do you think about it? These scientists are not alone, gaining more and more supporters. What do you think about this?
Koide: It is a foolish way to look at this matter. Radioactive materials, radiation was discovered in 1942. And since then, the great deal of research has been done on the effects of the radioactive activities and radiation on humans.The result is more less the Scientific Community, which is that regardless of how low level of radiation that you are speaking about always negative effects on living beings. That is the basis of many many laws that existed. Almost all countries in the world, limit radiation exposure that is allowed. For example, in Japan, it is only one millisievert per year exposure of radiation that is allowed for average person. Even for some of such as a specialist myself exposed to radiation than average person,were only allowed to have 20 millisievert of radiation exposure each year. So, people who say that it is good for health, that you don’t have to worry about these things, then the first thing that they should do is if they really believe this to work to remove these restrictions and laws in all countries in the world. But so long as these laws exist on books, I believe that it is responsibility of each government to abide by them.
Jimbo: OK. I am sorry. We have to wrap this up, because the club needs to prepare for the evening event. But, Mr. Koide has agreed to stay until 4:30. We have an interview room down the hallway. He will be around to take questions if anyone was still interested in asking him questions. As a customary, I would like to present Mr. Koide the one year honorary membership since he has retired from Kyoto University, I’m sure that we’ll be seeing him around here.
Koide: Thank you very much.
Jimbo: OK. This is it. Thank you for coming to this press conference.
Source: Video News Com