June 29, 2011
If you have been following the events surrounding the unfolding Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe here on NaturalNews over the past several months, you are already likely aware that it is now considered by some to be the worst industrial disaster the world has ever seen, and one that will continue to worsen in the coming months and years ahread. However, according to a recent New York Times (NYT) article, another severely damaged nuclear plant 300 miles from Fukushima could supersede it, should current efforts there to fix a major accident fail.
The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, located directly over an earthquake fault line near Tsuruga, Japan, lies on the opposite coast of Japan’s crippled Fukushima plant. Last August, a 3.3-ton fuel relay device broke and fell off into the reactor’s inner core, which severed access to its plutonium and uranium fuel rods. Experts have repeatedly tried to remove the device and fix the damage, but all efforts thus far have failed.
The Monju plant had also been shut down for 14 years following a massive fire in 1995, a nuclear accident that was considered to be the worst one Japan had ever seen, that is until the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Fukushima back in March. Monju has basically been plagued with problems since it was first built, and because it is “fast-breeder” design, it has the potential to become far worse than Fukushima in the event of another major disaster.
According to Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC), a Japanese nuclear public interest group, the Monju reactor uses highly deadly plutonium fuel, and even if officials do even up effectively removing the lodged fuel device and fixing the damage, restarting the plant could be catastrophic.
“Let’s say they make this fix, which is very complicated,” said Ban to the NYT. “The rest of the reactor remains highly dangerous. And an accident at Monju would have catastrophic consequences beyond what we are seeing at Fukushima.” The plant is also located right on a major fault line, which makes the situation even more precarious.
Back in the US, at least two nuclear reactors in Nebraska are now threatened by rising Missouri River flood waters. As of Monday, June 20, 2011, both reactors are in a state of “Notification of Unusual Event”
Sources for this story include:
This article was posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 3:23 am