[ RadSafe ] Arnie Gundersen - Another One Who Interviews on Russia Today and Floods the Net

Franz Schönhofer franz.schoenhofer at chello.at
Thu Apr 28 12:33:38 CDT 2011

Dear Tom,

This are just other claims by completely laypeople, neglecting the most
basic principles of nuclear reactions, but gaining attention by the mass
media,  because they satisfy the need of readers and spectators for some

I suppose that with the term "fuel storage" the usual storage pond for used
fuel rods is addressed. I have seen several such in many parts of the world.
There are - contrary to some mass media reports - no fresh and unused fuel
rods stored in such a pond, actually, as I remember, any contact with steam
or water is strictly prohibited for unused fuel rods. The fuel rods cooled
in the storage ponds are used ones, which means that their content of U-235
is heavily depleted. The original unused fuel rods with slightly enriched
uranium cannot trigger a nuclear reaction or explosion. Sophisticated
techniques are necessary to start a chain reaction. Even more this is true
for used fuel rods with considerably lower U-235 concentration - otherwise
they would be still used and their potential would not be disregarded!
People who think of a nuclear reaction from used fuel have obviously read to
much about criticallity accidents with highly enriched or bomb-grade fuel!!!

Therefore I believe that these news are the same bogus as 90% of the
distributed news about the Fukushima accident. It is in the interest of mass
media, "environmentalist" groups and especially groups who employ the horror
stories commercially (Greenpeace). 

I suppose that there are much more competent persons on RADSAFE on that
topic - I am not a mathematician, not a biologist, not a psychologist, but a
very simple chemist, who has worked for more than 30 years with
radiochemistry and radioactivity. I therefore ask you humbly to excuse my
lack of knowledge.........

Best wishes!


Franz Schoenhofer, PhD
MinRat i.R.
Habicherg. 31/7
A-1160 Wien/Vienna

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] Im Auftrag von Tom Simpson
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 28. April 2011 14:43
An: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Betreff: Re: [ RadSafe ] Arnie Gundersen - Another One Who Interviews on
Russia Today and Floods the Net

Arnie Gundersen has been all over the web and the news sharing his 
opinions on just what is going on.

I am not a nuclear engineer, but most of what he says seems plausible 
enough to me.  The actual claim was that a hydrogen gas explosion in 
Unit 3's fuel storage pond banged enough fuel rods into each other to 
initiate a prompt criticality, which resulted in another 
near-simultaneous blast, which made for a much larger event than it 
otherwise would have been.

The question I have of Mr. Gundersens and his assertion is, assuming we 
did have a prompt criticality in part of the fuel stored there, how does 
that result in such a violent explosion? That would get us a lot of heat 
and radiation, for sure, but how does that translate into an explosion 
unless there is some other vector present like water to flash into steam 
(and it does not look much like a steam explosion to me)?


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