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Bay Area Physicist Michio Kaku: Japanese Leaders "Living in a Fantasy Parallel Universe"
by R. Robertson
Friday Mar 18th, 2011 6:31 PM
Speaking on Good Morning America and in an interview on CNN, Michio Kaku said of Japanese attempts in Fukushima: “It’s like using a squirt gun against a raging forest fire.” “They are overwhelmed.” “They are floundering. They just don’t know what to do.” He said that Japanese leaders are deluding themselves and that they "are living in a fantasy parallel universe." Contrasting statements made today by a spokesperson for the office of the Japanese Prime Minister are at the end of this article.
kaku.jpg
kaku.jpg

Michio Kaku was born in San Jose, California to Japanese immigrant parents, and attended and of Cubberly High School in Palo Alto in the early 1960s. He received his Ph.D at University of California, Berkeley in 1972.

Speaking on Good Morning America and today in an interview on CNN, Kaku said of Japanese attempts in Fukushima, “It’s like using a squirt gun against a raging forest fire.” “They are overwhelmed.” “They are floundering. They just don’t know what to do.” [as I write this Japanese are using firetruck hoses on the reactors].

Kaku said that the government officials are also publicly minimizing the enormity of the crisis.

“Hollywood likes to focus on the meltdown – the melted core and the exposed uranium. But old fuel is actually more dangerous than the meltdown because there is more radiation in the unguarded spent fuel pond than in the reactor itself,” he said. 

“We have cracks in the containment vessels of reactors one, two, and three. If those cracks grow, or if there is an explosion, this could be something beyond Chernobyl, because of the fission products stored in the reactor,” Dr. Kaku said. 

“You could have fireworks, like Roman candles, because zirconium will oxidize with air, releasing hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas can ignite, not just in the reactors, but in the containment vessel itself and rip the vessel to pieces.” 

Dr. Kaku believes the crisis is close to the point of no return due to excessive levels of radiation zapping rescue workers on site. “The radiation levels are near lethal right now. At a certain point they will have to abandon ship. There will have to be a suicide mission to go in,” he said. 

“Once you abandon ship it is inevitable you will have meltdowns in all three of the reactors,” he added. 

“The last ace in the hole is the Japanese Air Force. The military may have to take over at some point and bury these reactors in concrete, just like we did at Chernobyl, sandbagging the reactor with 5,000 tons of concrete, boric acid and sand.” 

“The best case scenario is if there is no massive release of fission products because the containment vessels hold. If we have meltdown in all three reactors, but the containment vessels hold, we’re in a stable situation, hanging by our fingernails, but it’s stable. But we now have cracks in all three containment vessels and it’s not certain how stable those vessels are.” 

French officials were the first to categorize the Japanese nuclear crisis as “Level 6,” with Level 7 as the highest level. “Level 7 is Chernobyl: uncontrolled release of fission products,” Dr. Kaku noted. “We’re not at level 7 yet, but we have more cores, more radiation than we did at Chernobyl sitting there.”

On CNN today, Kaku said, "Japanese leaders are living in a Fantasy parallel universe…we have 4 reactors raging out of control…not a 5 it's a six…Level 7 being a Chernobyl like disaster." He said, "If this spirals out of control we could lose a big chunk of northern Japan."

Asked about the future of nuclear energy in the US, Kaku responded:
"Japan has made a Faustian bargain, Faust sold his soul to the devil, but we in the US have a choice…we don't have to sell our souls for unlimited energy."

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the Japanese PM said on CNN: "We have monitored radiation levels in the area, and they are not as serious as we thought... This is a tragic and gigantic disaster... this is a really serious situation, but we are united with TEPCO and the government and are working very closely...30% of our power comes from nuclear power. We will discuss and review situation in the future... We are making every effort to control the situation... we are assisted by experts including from the US and the IAEA. We can control situation by working with them...We are thankful for assistance to Japan."
by DLi
Sunday Mar 20th, 2011 2:59 AM
Michio Kaku's assessment is a lot more believable than the radioactive spin coming out of the Japanese government or the Tokyo Power officials. Without being overly-dramatic, Kaku laid out the possible scenarios of either narrowly escaping total meltdown by luck(best case), or having the containment vessels blown up by further explosions(worst case). His analogy of the squirt gun versus a forest fire is sadly apropos. Japanese authorities claim they dumped 80 tons of water on the reactors today. But 80 tons of water to cool hundreds of thousands of radioactive fuel rods is like sprinkling water droplets on your red-hot frying pan--most of it boils and evaporates almost as soon as it hits the heavy metal...

By the way, nuclear scientists(?) coined the term 'China Syndrome' back in 1979 during the 3Mile Island nuke disaster to describe the possible meltdown of the core, all the way through the Earth into China on the other side. Well, if Fukushima melts down completely, will it become the "United States/Atlantic Syndrome"?