I'm posting this here because Dr. Ian Fairlie represents himself as a serious scientist. There are numerous wrong statements below.
- What kind of scientist calls the rest of the scientific community: IAEA, WHO and UNSCEAR - denialists?
- After reactor shutdown, there were no criticalities
- A criticality is not the same as a explosion
- Zirconium alloy cladding in fuel ponds did not catch fire
Chernobyl Congress (IPPNW conference) Berlin. 9 April 2011, Ian Fairlie speech
I'm going to deviate a little bit from my talk this morning, partly because I've just been told I've got 10 minutes and partly because I don't want to over-egg the cake. I think most of you have got the message that Chernobyl was far more serious and ... ... ...
I come from Britain. I would like to pay tribute to Germany. I feel glad to be back in a same country, in many ways. I noticed, in the last few weeks, that you have had some lander elections in Rheinland-Pfalz and Baden-Württemberg, where the reigning pro-nuclear party were kicked out and the greens and SDP were put in. Congratulations [makes clenched-fist salute, followed by audience cheers]
What's actually happening is that we have a nuclear government in Britain, who are nuclear diehards, who are denying what's going on at Fukushima. Interestingly, they put up a chief scientist who has said: "nuclear melt downs - don't worry, don't worry", he said. At the same time, the British government were sending 20 charter jets to Tokyo to take out all British nationals. Well, I have a phrase about that and it's this: "don't believe a word what the government says, believe what it does", always, always. What's happening right now in Britain is that the government is planning full steam ahead to build nuclear power stations, to be built by your wonderful German companies RWE and EON. And I say to the government, no no, no no, don't send us your nuclear power companies send us you green politicians instead. Because we could do with them in Britain, we really could. Anyway that's the politics of it over with, a wee bit.
I know I'm moving away from this, what I'm supposed to talk about. But, to me, Fukushima is more important. Basically we've been overtaken by events. And when this [conference] was organized, Fukushima hadn't happened. So I'm going to spend my remaining 5 minutes talking about a little bit about what I know about Fukushima. I've cleared this with the chair, she said fine. I get about 100 emails a day concerning Fukushima. It's almost information overload. But I'm going to give you the basic bits of information that I see gleaning, coming from this.
I think that Fukushima is already more serious than Chernobyl, already. And it's going to last for a long time. Already IAEA and Japanese Tepco officials are saying that we have to look to the long term on this they said. 3 to 4 years that the accident is going to continue. Their words not mine. 3 to 4 years. [feigned laughter] That's crazy. Chernobyl was over and done with in 10 days in terms of emissions from the reactor. 10 days. Well here we are and we're all of 35 days in and counting.
What I see in there, in 4 of the reactors and their fuels ponds. That's reactors 1, 2, 3, and 4. Fukushima Daiichi. There are meltdowns in at least 2 of the reactors. And by meltdowns that means that the fuel has already gone through the reactor vessel, and has probably gone through the containment vessel too, and into the building floor and it's only a matter of time before it goes into the soil. We have already seen fuel cladding fires in the fuel ponds. In other words, each of the 4 stricken reactors. I'm not talking about reactors 5 and 6. We'll leave them to one side. They are clad in zirconium and what's happening is that the fuel ponds have, in at least, 2 cases 3 and 4, the fuel ponds, the water has drained out, exposing the fuel and the cladding has caught on fire. The cladding is made of zirconium and it reacts with air spontaneously. And you have fires. When the fuel starts burning you have direct ejection of fission products and activation products straight into the atmosphere, and that's what has been happening there. That's why the radioactivity contaminates the surrounding area.
In addition to that it's even worse. There have been a number of scientists looking at the official data reckon that there have been criticality ...
Criticality means that when the configuration of the fissile material comes together enough for a sudden flash or explosion and release of vast numbers of neutrons which is the reason why there have been sudden huge increases in radiation exposing nuclear workers. The poor nuclear workers there. Criticality, we don't think that happened at Chernobyl. We're not sure but we don't think it did whereas it seems to be happening at Fukushima. In addition that there's been thousands of gallons (liters) of radioactive water discharged into the sea. There's been huge amounts of air emissions to the point whereby, in children's playgrounds and schools about 60 to 70 kilometres away we seeing annual doses - hourly doses (which if you worked it up to an annual dose) would be 250 mSv per year. That's ghastly. This is in children's playgrounds. The situation in Japan is, I think, is probably as worse if not worse than Chernobyl right now, but it's going to get worse, I think. Many people have said that it's going to get worse than better.
Already in Tokyo, the population of 30 million, in the greater population area, the situation is very dire. Most young women of child-bearing age have gone. Have fled to the south, and south-west of the country. The car manufacturing companies cannot continue to work because their workers, who are following their wives, have moved to the south west of the country. It's not admitted, apparently, but according to anecdotal ... the big car companies have all closed down. This is serious. We're coming to a situation of societal breakdown, in many ways. I feel very, very vexed and sorry for the Japanese society. They deserve better than this.
Yet what do we see in our countries around the world. Our British government is venal. It refuses to learn about what's going on here. It has announced an enquiry into the matter but it still says that does not matter. Not matter what the enquiry says we are still going to go ahead with the nuclear power program in Britain. Well, as the previous speaker said, do these people think that we are crazy. Who are stupid here. Is it the politicians who are stupid rather than our electorates? I'm very angry about this. And all I can say to you is that I hope that in Britain, we have some local elections coming up and national elections in Wales and Scotland coming up. I hope the government get their comeuppance as they are sadly due it. I'll just finish off by saying that I have hope for the future. I hope that we will learn from the sad, sad, events at Chernobyl, and now that they have been reinforced by the even worse events in Fukushima, politicians will actually wake up and realize that the nuclear technology is a failed technology and that we should abandon it. Not just in Germany but throughout the world. There is one green-lining, or shall I say silver-lining to this and that is that despite what the IAEA and the WHO and UNSCEAR have said in their denials of the effects of Chernobyl and Fukushima there is a silver-lining and it's this that tens of thousands, seventy or eighty thousand people throughout the world in about 1000 organizations have organized themselves into Chernobyl children's projects. CCPs. And what they do is, they organize holidays and healthcare for the children in the affected areas. My heart goes out to them. I help them free of charge. I think that what they are doing is wonderful. I think their actions are a silent rebuke to the official pro-nuclear organizations in this world.