This past week, Doomsday prophecies have spread around the world concerning Spent Fuel Pool #4 at Fukushima Daiichi. Tepco has issued statements contradicting the apocalyptic rumors, but it seems no news media source is listening to them. On Thursday, Asahi Shimbun wrote, “But these days, even politicians may seem more reliable than TEPCO about information concerning nuclear safety.” The Asahi supports their Tepco aversion by referencing international news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Huffington Post, all of which are an ocean away and a world apart. They also cite a lone Japanese source, Mitsuhei Murata, 74, professor emeritus at Tokaigakuen University who served as Japan’s ambassador to Switzerland. He said, “The trust in the central government and TEPCO which allowed the accident to happen has fallen around the world. There is no nation that wholeheartedly believes those releases.” This strongly implies that the professor is willing to believe international scaremongering over hard data! But, he doesn’t stop there. “Since TEPCO is, after all, a for-profit company, it cannot be said to be making every possible effort.”

Where has this suddenly-popular science-fiction fantasy come from? The scenario comes primarily (but not solely) from America’s notorious prophet of nuclear energy doom, Arnie Gundersen.  Gundersen asserts the SPFs at Fukushima have the “power to split the Japanese Archipelago.” He adds that the fuel in SPF # 4 contains radiation equal to the amount released in the atmosphere by all past nuclear weapon experiments. Gundersen also says that the No. 4 reactor building’s structure was critically weakened by the 3/11/11 earthquake, the building is tilted, and he advises friends in Tokyo to immediately evacuate if and when the No. 4 reactor building collapses. None of Gundersen’s assertions fly in the face of Tepco’s analytical data. It seems his statements are based on personal assumption. In other words, “Apocalyptic Arnie” is making it up! Tepco has flatly denied all of his assertions, as well as those by Robert Alvarez which parallel Gundersen. Undaunted, Mr. Murata chimes in, “Since TEPCO is, after all, a for-profit company, it cannot be said to be making every possible effort. There is no time to waste. Knowledge from around the world should be gathered as soon as possible to begin the work of removing the nuclear fuel from the storage pool.”  This shows that the professor is more willing to believe Gundersen’s fiction than serious analytical fact!

As regular readers will attest, I have closely followed the post-accident events in Japan every day since March 11, 2011. I have found that since Naoto Kan stepped down and Tepco was no longer compelled to clear all public information through Kan’s staff before release, Tepco’s communications have stood the test of time. Their level of transparency and honesty has been commendable since Kan’s resignation. Due to many months of Kan’s censuring, Tepco’s reputation for transparency and honesty went down the drain. It is understandable that trust was lost with the public, causing the Press to seek out other sources to counter Tepco claims. But enough is enough. I firmly believe Tepco has long-since turned the informational corner. The era of distrust in Tepco’s information should end, although there presently seems to be no light at the end of trust’s tunnel. Regardless, when the second-largest newspaper in Japan gives serious billing to phantasmagorical offal of unprecedented magnitude, we are taken from the ridiculous to the sublime.

For additional information on the absurd speculations of a possible apocalypse caused by unit #4 SPF, please go to esteemed colleague Rod Adam’s blog of May 11, 2012…