You may have noticed recent stories about ex-PM Yukio Hatoyama co-authoring a report in Nature; it may be found here, with an editorial on it here. Note that Mr Hatoyama has a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.
The curious passage is this:
And a hydrogen explosion should not have generated enough heat to melt steel. Initially, TEPCO claimed that the explosion in unit 3 generated white smoke; on re-examination, the smoke was black, and therefore unlikely to have been caused by a pure hydrogen explosion. So a nuclear explosion is a possibility.
The first sentence reminds me of the "airline fuel cannot melt steel!" line beloved of the 9/11ers, along with the smoke colour issue of the thermite conspiracists, and there’s the difficult to refute "unlikely to have been [...] pure hydrogen" as of course they’d be a lot of other stuff floating about to explode along with any hydrogen.
I am not a nuclear scientist, but what would be the characteristics of a sub-critical nuclear explosion be? Wouldn’t there be better evidence than smoke colour, melted steel and isotopes that might be too heavy to be carried by a hydrogen blast alone? I’m also mindful that Hatoyama has previously associated himself with people in the Troofer movement.
I’d be willing to accept that a hydrogen explosion also caused stuff in the spent fuel pool to go boom and release particles of shattered fuel rods, or alternatively there was re-criticality ongoing in the melted-down core and the explosion sucked the characteristic isotopes into the atmosphere, but as I associate nuclear explosions with huge mushroom clouds and intense bursts of gamma radiation, I view saying a nuclear blast was a possibility without enumerating the alternatives is an attempt at headline grabbing, not the measured output of scientific research.
By the way, here’s someone saying on the day of the explosions that the zirconium cladding on the fuel rods would be a good candidate for first producing the hydrogen, then second exploding along with the hydrogen.
There’s a few scientists here – am I barking up the wrong tree or is Hatopopo just barking?