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Nuclear Update: Fukushima Unit 4 Is Sinking (Unevenly) … Fracking Now Allowed within 500 FEET of Nuclear Plants

Watch Diablo Canyon on PBS. See more from Need To Know.

Fukushima Update: Unit 4 Is Sinking … Unevenly

… And May Begin Tilting

The spent fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4 is the top short-term threat to humanity, and is a national security issue for America.

As such, it is disturbing news that the ground beneath unit 4 is sinking.

Specifically, Unit 4 sunk 36 inches right after the earthquake, and has sunk another 30 inches since then.

Moreover, Unit 4 is sinking unevenly, and the building may begin tilting.

An international coalition of nuclear scientists and non-profit groups are calling on the U.N. to coordinate a multi-national effort to stabilize the fuel pools. And see this.

Given the precarious situation at Unit 4, it is urgent that the world community pool its scientific resources to come up with a fix.

Earthquake-Causing Fracking to Be Allowed within 500 FEET of Nuclear Plants

The American government has officially stated that fracking can cause earthquakes. Some fracking companies now admit this fact The scientific community agrees. See this, this, this, this and this.

Earthquakes can – of course – damage nuclear power plants. For example, even the operator of Fukushima and the Japanese government now admit that the nuclear cores might have started melting down before the tsuanmi ever hit. More here.

Indeed, the fuel pools and rods at Fukushima appear to have “boiled”, caught fire and/or exploded soon after the earthquake knocked out power systems. See this, this, this, this and this. And fuel pools in the United States store an average of ten times more radioactive fuel than stored at Fukushima, have virtually no safety features, and are vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attacks. And see this.

Indeed, American reactors may be even more vulnerable to earthquakes than Fukushima.

But American nuclear “regulators” have allowed numerous nuclear power plants to be built in earthquake zones (represented by black triangles in the following diagram):

 Earthquake Causing Fracking to Be Allowed within 500 FEET of Nuclear PlantsSome plants are located in very high earthquake risk zones:

No1 Earthquake Causing Fracking to Be Allowed within 500 FEET of Nuclear Plants

(Note: Ignore  the long lines … they represent the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, which present a huge danger of flooding nuclear reactors):

And they have covered up the risks from earthquakes for years … just like the Japanese regulators did. For example:

  • The NRC won’t even begin conducting its earthquake study for Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York until after relicensing is complete in 2013, because the NRC doesn’t consider a big earthquake “a serious risk”
  • Congressman Markey has said there is a cover up. Specifically, Markey alleges that the head of the NRC told everyone not to write down risks they find from an earthquake greater than 6.0 (the plant was only built to survive a 6.0 earthquake)
  • We have 4 reactors in California – 2 at San Onofre 2 at San Luis Obisbo – which are vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis

For example, Diablo Canyon is located on numerous earthquake faults, and a state legislator and seismic expert says it could turn into California’s Fukushima:

On July 26th 2011 the California Energy Commission held hearings concerning the state’s nuclear safety. During those hearings, the Chairman of the Commission asked governments experts whether or not they felt the facilities could withstand the maximum credible quake. The response was that they did not know.

This is similar to what happened at Fukushima: seismologists dire warnings were ignored (and see this.)

Yet the Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t even take earthquake risk into account when deciding whether or not to relicense plants like Diablo Canyon.

Are They Fracking With Us?

American nuclear regulators are allowing earthquake-inducing fracking to be conducted mere feet from nuclear power plants.

As the Herald Standard reports:

Chesapeake Energy has a permit to frack just one mile from the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport. Whether that is cause for alarm, experts can’t say.




“Hydraulic fracturing near a nuclear plant is probably not a concern under normal circumstances,” [Richard Hammack, a scientist at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory] said. “If there is a pre-stress fault that you happen to lubricate there (with fracking solution), that is the only thing that might result in something that is (seismically) measurable.”

That’s not very reassuring, given that “lubrication” of faults is the main mechanism by which fracking causes earthquakes. (Indeed,  the point is illustrated by the analogous fact that leading Japanese seismologists say that the Fukushima earthquake “lubricated” nearby faults, making a giant earthquake more likely than ever.)

And as Akron Beacon Journal notes, fracking is allowed with 500 feet of nuclear plants:

“We’re not aware of any potential impacts and don’t expect any,” said FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young today. “We see no reason to be particularly concerned.”


[But] experts can’t say if the proposed well so close to two nuclear power plants is cause for concern.


DEP spokesperson John Poister told the Shale Reporter that there are no required setbacks specifically relating to a required distance between such shale wells and nuclear facilities, just a blanket regulation requiring a 500-foot setback from any building to a natural gas well.

Brilliant …


Washington’s Blog

10 Comments on "Nuclear Update: Fukushima Unit 4 Is Sinking (Unevenly) … Fracking Now Allowed within 500 FEET of Nuclear Plants"

  1. TIKIMAN on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 12:51 am 

    Can you imagine if reactor 4 fails?



  2. BillT on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 1:35 am 

    I’ve been reading about Fukushima 4 for weeks. Don’t worry about WW3 coming. If #4 goes, it will not matter what is happening in the Middle East. Japan will have returned the Nagasaki/Hiroshima favor to the Us complements of GE.

  3. BillT on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 1:37 am 

    Oh, and the fraking near nuclear plants only shows the level the greedy petroholics in America have reached. It is now in the insanity range. Suicide by fraking Russian Roulette.

  4. Arthur on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 9:32 am 

    TIKIMAN cannot wait until the collapse begins, ignoring that Japan is a disciplined ethnically homogenous society, where solidarity comes naturally. Scenes like in New Orleans after a secondary desaster caused by a huricane, with merely half a city under a meter water or so for a few weeks, causing large scale looting, perpetrated by certain ‘minorities’, these scenes you will not see in Japan. Expect the Mother of all Anarchies to start in the US, France or the UK (like last year, nation wide). But Tikiman cannot probably wait for that to occur either.

  5. TIKIMAN on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 11:42 am 

    @ Arthur

    I do not wish to see a collapse. I think that if #4 completely collapses it won’t matter how disciplined a society is, when your entire country is about to become a wasteland, saying please and thank you just doesn’t make sense anymore.

    I was making the simple prediction that if half the world was faced with death from #4 what are we to do? Keep going to work? Keep making debt payments? The US would SCREWED.

  6. CJ on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 1:14 pm 

    The world is their garbage can, they don’t care about the consequences because they’ll most likely be dead before they take effect.

  7. Kenz300 on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 1:45 pm 

    Quote — ” Given the precarious situation at Unit 4, it is urgent that the world community pool its scientific resources to come up with a fix.”

    Where is the worlds press?

    Where is the public outrage ?

    Why is there not more information coming out from Japan?

    Where are the worlds educational institutions and experts?

    Has Japan and TEPCO restricted access to experts and news media or are they just in denial like they were when the accident first happened?

    It has been over a year and the spent fuel rod pools are still at a huge risk of collapse.

  8. Rick on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 2:31 pm 

    Nukes a bombs waiting to go off. Meaning, if the fuel rods can’t be kept cool, boom! There are plenty of things that could make this happen, earthquakes, the grid goes down, etc.

    Nukes suck!

  9. BillT on Tue, 23rd Oct 2012 3:21 pm 

    Perhaps the news blackout may be due to the FACT that:
    1. The nuclear industry is preventing factual coverage and dissemination.
    2. The Fukushima plants were designed and built by GE. (General Electric)
    3. GE owns or has a major interest in most news outlets in the Us.

    Does that answer your question Kenz300?

    ALWAYS look to see who signs the checks.

  10. Kenz300 on Wed, 24th Oct 2012 9:00 pm 

    Is is time for TEPCO to publish its plans to deal with this ongoing disaster and open them up to public scrutiny. It has been over a year. Plenty of time to consult with other experts and make some progress.

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