Rising Tritium Could Trigger Huge Fukushima Blasts
By Yoichi Shimatsu
YOTSUKURA, FUKUSHIMA The rising level of tritium measured in kelp samples south of the Fukushima 1 nuclear site is an indicator of intensifying nuclear reactions deep in the soil below the cracked reactors. Following the meltdowns in spring 2011, superheated fuel rods in up to three reactors have penetrated multiple barriers including the core shrouds, containment chambers and concrete foundations, escaping into the porous ground. Now inaccessible and scattered underground, the remnant fuel is getting hot enough to create huge flows of deuterium and radioactive tritium, which are commonly known as heavy water.
Two serious threats are emerging during this tritium build-up:
- medical effects of exposure to beta particles on top of gamma radiation from the Fukushima releases;
- and more ominous, the possibility of a tritium-deuterium fusion reaction that triggers a plutonium blast more powerful than the 2011 explosion at Reactor 3.