Fukushima “is going to Dwarf Chernobyl”

Below are comments from Dr. Tom Burnett, PhD sent via a series of emails.  Tom is a retired nuclear physicist now living in Hawaii.  He has been following the Fukushima crisis. I was put in touch with Tom by Curtis Narimatsu and talked with Tom by phone.  The bold type below is my emphasis.  Tom said his opinions are his own “and do not reflect anything but my intelligence guided by experience.”  Let me make a personal comment to be clear:  I do not support using nuclear weapons to stop the nuclear reactions at Fukushima.    Jim Albertini

You asked what caused Fukushima.  The containments were not faulty.  Every containment in the world is built to withstand a MAG6.9EQ.  The Japanese chose to ignore the fact that a similar earthquake had hit that same general area.  That story is here:


As I mentioned, Fukushima does not correlate to Chernobyl.   If I had to place odds, I would have bet that the technicians could not have put the reactor into such an unstable condition without all sorts of bells, whistles and automatic safety equipment stopping them.  Even then, if the huge voltage spike had not come down the line, or if it has occurred ten seconds later, Chernobyl could not have happened.

Fukushima was waiting to happen because of the placement of the emergency generators.  If they had not all failed at once by being inundated by a tsunami, Fukushima would not have happened as it did – although it WOULD still have been a nuclear disaster.

MOX is the street name for ‘mixed oxide fuel’ which uses ~9% plutonium along with a uranium compound to fuel reactors.  This is why it can be used:

The problem is that you don’t want to play with this stuff.  A nuclear reactor means bring fissile material to a point at which it is hot enough to boil water (in a light-water reactor) and not not enough to melt and go supercritical (China syndrome or a Chernobyl incident).  You simply cannot let it get away from you because if it does, you can’t stop it.

If reactor 3 is in meltdown, and I believe it is, the concrete under the containment looks like lava. But Fukushima is not far off the water table.  When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won’t simply cool down.  It will explode – not a nuclear explosion, but probably enough to involve the rest of the reactors and fuel rods at the facility. You asked me the solution.  Well, it is a self-sustaining reaction.  Nothing can stop it except stopping the reaction.  And that would require a nuclear weapon.  In fact, it would require one in each containment to merely stop what is going on now.  But it will be messy.

The Japanese are still talking about days or weeks to clean this up.  That’s not true.  They cannot clean it up.  And no one will live in that area again for dozens or maybe hundreds of years.


On Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 12:20, TC Burnett <tcburnett@gmail.com> wrote:



On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 20:49, TC Burnett <tcburnett@gmail.com> wrote:


Those idiots have had a level 7 nuclear disaster going for almost a week but won’t admit it.  It is going to dwarf Chenobyl- the disaster is occurring the opposite way than Chernobyl, which exploded and stopped the reaction.  At Fukushima, the reactions are getting worse.  I suspect three nuclear piles in meltdown and we will probably get some of it.

I am one of the few non-government radiological first-responders in the state and my equipment is ~1 order of magnitude more sensitive than what is issued to the fire department.  I’ll get it and recalibrate it tomorrow or Monday and provide instant information.  I can measure Alpha, Beta and Gamma, not just Gamma – so I can provide a much clearer picture of what we are seeing.

On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 20:15, TC Burnett <tcburnett@gmail.com> wrote:

Pouring concrete on a critical reactor makes no sense – it will simply explode and release more radioactive particulate matter the concrete will melt and the problem will get worse.  Chernobyl was different – a critical reactor exploded and stopped the reaction.  At Fukushima, the reactor cores are still melting down.  The ONLY way to stop that is to detonate a ~10 kiloton Fission device inside each reactor containment and hope to vaporize the cores.  That’s probably a bad solution.

Anyway, here is the information that the US doesn’t seem to want released.


And here is a chart that might help with perspective:

a hui hou