New York Times
By HIROKO TABUCHI and MATTHEW WALD
May 26, 2012
“The No. 4 reactor is visibly damaged and in a fragile state, down to the floor that holds the spent fuel pool,” said Hiroaki Koide, an assistant professor at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute and one of the experts raising concerns. “Any radioactive release could be huge and go directly into the environment.”
Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat whose state, Oregon, could lie in the path of any new radioactive plumes and who has studied nuclear waste issues, is among those pushing for faster action. After his recent visit to the ravaged plant, Senator Wyden said the pool at No. 4 poses “an extraordinary and continuing risk” and the retrieval of spent fuel “should be a priority given the possibility of further earthquakes.”
Tepco has said it will build a separate structure next to Reactor No. 4 to support a new crane. But under the plan, released last month, the fuel removal will begin in late 2013.