Yoichi Shimatsu: Is Japan's Elite Hiding a Weapons Program Inside Nuclear Plants?

Confused and often cnflicting reports out of the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant CANNOT be solely the result of tsunami-caused breakdowns, bungling or mis-communication. Inexplicable delays and half-baked explanations from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) seem to be driven by some unspoken factor. The smoke and mirrors at Fukushima 1 seem to be obscure, reflecting an iron will and a grim task unknown to outsiders. The most logical explanation is that Fukushima is scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan's civilian nuclear power plants. A secret nuclear weapons program is detectable only when Japan's information control momentarily lapses or breaks down. Here is a close look at the gap between the official account and unexpected events: TEPCO initially reported three reactors were operating at the earthquake and tsunami. Then, a hydrogen explosion ripped Unit 3, operating with plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (or MOX). Unit 6 immediately disappeared from the list of operational reactors, as highly lethal particles of plutonium billowed out of Unit 3. (Plutonium is the stuff of smaller, more easily delivered warheads.) A fire ignited inside the damaged housing of the Unit 4 reactor, reportedly due to overheating of spent uranium fuel rods in a dry cooling pool, but the size of the fire indicates that this reactor was running hot for some other purpose than electricity generation. Its omission from the list of electricity-generating operations raises the question of whether Unit 4 was being used to enrich uranium, the first step of the process leading to extraction of weapons-grade fissionable material. The bloom of irradiated seawater across the Pacific comprises another piece of the puzzle, because its underground source is untraceable. The flooded labyrinth of pipes, where the bodies of two missing nuclear workers were found, could well contain the answer to the mystery: A lab that none dare name!

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