Geoffrey Sea’s Nuclear Bulletin #10 – Spent Nuclear Fuel

16 iii 11, 11:40 PM GMT—The United Nations IAEA, multiple award-winner for its superlative cover-up of Chernobyl health effects, will hold a special session on the Japan nuclear crisis [UN Calls Emergency Meeting as Japan Nuclear Crisis Deepens – Bloomberg].

I’ve seen the first quantification there of the drop in water levels in the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) pools – 2 meters or more than 6 feet.  The SNF vulnerability does change the nature of the crisis since it is not contained within any whizz-zinger pressurized vessel, to borrow a term from Dr. Seuss, as seems appropriate.
I happen to know a thing or two about SNF because, in 2006, as a result of Harry Reid’s intransigence on opening Yucca Mountain in Nevada for disposal, some whizz-bang prodigies with MIT degrees in ethnomusicology, or something, had the bright idea to move all the nation’s or the world’s SNF to one central location at Piketon, Ohio. Again, that would be in my back yard, literally. I take some personal credit in stopping those hijinks. I would call the plot hare-brained but that might offend Algonquian Indians who consider the hare a culture hero.
So imagine now, if you will, that they had succeeded in creating an enormous single repository for spent nuclear fuel in the middle of southern Ohio.  They even talked about how easy and assuredly safe it would be.
Let us also reflect with nostalgia on the Dr. Science puff piece on Japan that appeared last Saturday. (And thanks to Ignacio for following up.) There is a whizz-zinger story behind the story in Japan, and it’s all about how the companies in this industry manipulated governments into licensing massive fraud.
— Geoffrey Sea

Geoffrey Sea holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Science from Harvard. He did graduate work in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and in radiological health physics at San Jose State University. He is co-founder of Southern Ohio Neighbors Group, which successfully defeated plans for the centralized storage of spent nuclear fuel at Piketon, Ohio. He has published in the American Scholar, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and many newspapers. He can be contacted via email at

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