NHK: ‘Particles’ impairing visibility in Fukushima pool — Will try to remove spent fuel Tuesday, said to be “one of most dangerous operations ever attempted in nuclear history” — Tepco concerned about sabotage, warns media about filming http://enenews.com/nhk-particles-impairing-visibility-in-unit-4-pool-attempted-removal-of-spent-fuel-starts-tuesday-described-as-one-of-most-dangerous-operations-ever-attempted-in-nuclear-history-tepco-c
NHK, , Nov. 25, 2013: [TEPCO] says it will begin removing highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel from one of its reactor buildings on Tuesday. [...] TEPCO says [...] sand and fine particles in the storage pool impaired visibility. The utility says it will use a pump to clear the pool of particles for the next round of transfers. [...] The spent fuel assemblies are highly radioactive so the operation will require extra caution. This will be the first removal of spent nuclear fuel [...]
Bangkok Post, Nov. 24, 2013: World community needed at Fukushima [...] Last week workers at Fukushima successfully removed the [unused] nuclear fuel rod assemblies from a cooling pool suspended high above ground at Reactor No 4 in what has been described as one of the most dangerous operations ever attempted in nuclear history. [...] Experts say that if the fuel rods come too close to each other during the operation there is a chance of a nuclear chain reaction that could spread to all the fissile material. [...]
TEPCO, Nov. 21, 2013: [...] we have noticed that some news media released videos, taken from the air, of the on-premise transportation from the Unit 4 Reactor Building to the Common Pool Building [...] Some of those videos contain information (such as the transportation schedule, a route of the transportation, and activities of security guards) the disclosure of which conflicts with “Measures To Be Taken for Physical Protection of Specific Nuclear Fuel Material” stipulated in the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law. The regulatory agency is also aware of this matter, and instructed us to request the media to act with attention to physical protection. As we have already requested the media members on many occasions, in view of physical protection, please refrain from taking pictures and videos of the physical protection facilities such as the building entrances and exits, fences, sensors, and cameras as well as the cask transportation currently conducted. [*Physical protection: To protect nuclear materials and facilities against the theft or unauthorized diversion of nuclear materials and against the sabotage of nuclear facilities]
Scientist back from Japan: Melt-through of Fukushima containment vessels being discussed — They can’t locate any of the 3 molten reactor cores — “It’s bad, it’s definitely not over” http://enenews.com/scientist-back-from-japan-they-cant-locate-any-of-the-molten-reactor-cores-melt-through-of-containment-vessels-being-discussed-its-bad-its-definitely-not-over-yet-at-fukushima
Cape Cod Times,, Nov. 24, 2013: [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Senior Scientist Ken] Buesseler, along with a team from WHOI, made the first of his three visits to the Fukushima area in June 2011 [...] the Japanese are not able to locate three molten reactor cores. There is ongoing discussion of whether the cores have undergone a meltdown or a melt-through of the containment vessels, Buesseler said. “You can’t send humans in there. It takes decades to come up with a plan,” he said. “It’s bad. It’s definitely not over yet.”
Asia Times, Nov. 18, 2013: At least some of the reactor cores are believed to have melted through the containment vessels, and possibly into the ground, contaminating groundwater with unprecedented levels of hot particles.
Kyodo, Nov. 20, 2013: The Nos. 5 and 6 reactors [...] will not actually be dismantled and instead will be used as a research facility to develop technologies for achieving the unprecedented task of removing melted fuel from the Nos. 1 to 3 crippled reactors [...]
The Global Threat of Fukushima, counterpunch A Global Response is Needed WEEKEND EDITION OCTOBER 25-27, 2013 by KEVIN ZEESE AND MARGARET FLOWERS ”………… The Solutions The three major problems at Fukushima are all unprecedented, each unique in their own way and each has the potential for major damage to humans and the environment. There are no clear solutions but there are steps that need to be taken urgently to get the Fukushima clean-up and de-commissioning on track and minimize the risks.
The first thing that is needed is to end the media blackout. The global public needs to be informed about the issues the world faces from Fukushima. The impacts of Fukushima could affect almost everyone on the planet, so we all have a stake in the outcome. If the public is informed about this problem, the political will to resolve it will rapidly develop.
The nuclear industry, which wants to continue to expand, fears Fukushima being widely discussed because it undermines their already weak economic potential. But, the profits of the nuclear industry are of minor concern compared to the risks of the triple Fukushima challenges.
The second thing that must be faced is the incompetence of TEPCO. They are not capable of handling this triple complex crisis. TEPCO “is already Japan’s most distrusted firm” and has been exposed as “dangerously incompetent.” A poll foundthat 91 percent of the Japanese public wants the government to intervene at Fukushima.
Tepco’s management of the stricken power plant has been described as a comedy of errors. The constant stream of mistakes has been made worse by constant false denials and efforts to minimize major problems. Indeed the entire Fukushima catastrophe could have been avoided:
“Tepco at first blamed the accident on ‘an unforeseen massive tsunami’ triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Then it admitted it had in fact foreseen just such a scenario but hadn’t done anything about it.”
The reality is Fukushima was plagued by human error from the outset. An official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster, caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design. On this point, TEPCO is not alone, this is an industry-wide problem. Many US nuclear plants have serious problems, are being operated beyond their life span, have the same design problems and are near earthquake faults. Regulatory officials in both the US and Japan are too corruptly tied to the industry.
Then, the meltdown itself was denied for months, with TEPCO claiming it had not been confirmed. Japan Times reports that “in December 2011, the government announced that the plant had reached ‘a state of cold shutdown.’ Normally, that means radiation releases are under control and the temperature of its nuclear fuel is consistently below boiling point.” Unfortunately, the statement was false – the reactors continue to need water to keep them cool, the fuel rods need to be kept cool – there has been no cold shutdown. http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/25/the-global-threat-of-fukushima/
Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and onEconomic Democracy Media, co-direct It’s Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.
Why TEPCO is Risking the Removal of Fukushima Fuel Rods. The Dangers of Uncontrolled Global Nuclear Radiation, Global Research, 24 Nov 13 By Yoichi Shimatsu After repeated delays since the summer of 2011, the Tokyo Electric Power Company has launched a high-risk operation to empty the spent-fuel pool atop Reactor 4 at the Dai-ichi (No.1) Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
The urgency attached to this particular site, as compared with reactors damaged in meltdowns, arises from several factors:
- over 400 tons of nuclear material in the pool could reignite
- the fire-damaged tank is tilting badly and may topple over sooner than later
- collapse of the structure could trigger a chain reaction and nuclear blast, and
- consequent radioactive releases would heavily contaminate much of the world.
The potential for disaster at the Unit 4 SFP is probably of a higher magnitude than suspected due to the presence of fresh fuel rods, which were delivered during the technical upgrade of Reactor 4 under completion at the time of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The details of that reactor overhaul by GE and Hitachi have yet to be disclosed by TEPCO and the Economy Ministry and continue to be treated as a national-security matter. Here, the few clues from whistleblowers will be pieced together to decipher the nature of the clandestine activity at Fukushima No.1. Continue reading
The Global Threat of Fukushima, counterpunch A Global Response is Needed WEEKEND EDITION OCTOBER 25-27, 2013 by KEVIN ZEESE AND MARGARET FLOWERS ”………….An estimated 300 tons (71,895 gallons/272,152 liters) of contaminated water is flowing into the ocean every day. The first radioactive ocean plume released by the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster will take three years to reach the shores of the United States. This means, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales, the United States will experience the first radioactive water coming to its shores sometime in early 2014.
One month after Fukushima, the FDA announced it was going to stop testing fish in the Pacific Ocean for radiation. But, independent research is showing that every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has been contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Daniel Madigan, the marine ecologist who led the Stanford University study from May of 2012 was quoted in the Wall Street Journalsaying, “The tuna packaged it up (the radiation) and brought it across the world’s largest ocean. We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.” Marine biologist Nicholas Fisher of Stony Brook University in New York State, another member of the study group, said: “We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium 134 and cesium 137.”
In addition, Science reports that fish near Fukushima are being found to have high levels of the radioactive isotope, cesium-134. The levels found in these fish are not decreasing, which indicates that radiation-polluted water continues to leak into the ocean. At least 42 fish species from the area around the plant are considered unsafe. South Korea has banned Japanese fish as a result of the ongoing leaks.
The half-life (time it takes for half of the element to decay) of cesium 134 is 2.0652 years. For cesium 137, the half-life is 30.17 years. Cesium does not sink to the ocean floor, so fish swim through it. What are the human impacts of cesium?……..
There is no end in sight from the leakage of radioactive water into the Pacific from Fukushima. Harvey Wasserman is questioning whether fishing in the Pacific Ocean will be safe after years of leakage from Fukushima. The World Health Organization (WHO) is claiming that this will have limited effect on human health, with concentrations predicted to be below WHO safety levels. However, experts seriously question the WHO’s claims……… http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/25/the-global-threat-of-fukushima/
Tepco prohibited media from releasing aerial photo about fuel removal of reactor4 pool http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/11/tepco-prohibited-media-from-releasing-aerial-photo-about-fuel-removal-of-reactor4-pool/ by Mochizuki on November 24th, 2013 Tepco requested media not to release the aerial photography to disclose the route of the transportation and activities of security guards etc for fuel removal of reactor4 pool.
Tepco states it is for the Physical Protection of Specific Nuclear Fuel Material.
Their press release is below,,
“…Some of those videos contain information (such as the transportation schedule, a route of the transportation, and activities of security guards) the disclosure of which conflicts with “Measures To Be Taken for Physical Protection of Specific Nuclear Fuel Material” stipulated in the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law. The regulatory agency is also aware of this matter, and instructed us to request the media to act with attention to physical protection.
As we have already requested the media members on many occasions, in view of physical protection, please refrain from taking pictures and videos of the physical protection facilities such as the building entrances and exits, fences, sensors, and cameras as well as the cask transportation currently conducted.…”
I reject the international mass media to read this site without taking a contact with me.I know some of the mass media corporations read Fukushima Diary to understand the trend so they know when to report about Fukushima as if they were independently following it for a long time.
In short, they make you individual readers pay for this site while they pay nothing, and when they publish the “authorized news”, you pay for the “secondhand news”, which is nothing new for us.
This site is free for the individual readers, but not for corporations.In the world, this site is nearly the only source about Fukushima. I came here alone without any supporting organizations, background or anything. I’m not pleased to be exploited by the corporations that didn’t even properly report about Fukushima when 311 took place.
I demand them to take a contact with me BEFORE reading this site whatever the purpose is.
Cs-134 : 34,000 Bq/Kg
Cs-137 : 76,000 Bq/Kg
The sampling date was 10/10/2013.
101,000 Bq/kg of Cs-134/137 was also measured from marbled rockfish collected on 10/29/2013. This sample was from the port too.
Radiation level of marine products is still significantly high.http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/fish01_131120-j.pdf
TV: Mentally disabled are working at Fukushima Daiichi, says journalist — Many men forced to go to plant — Homeless treated like ‘disposable people’ (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/tv-journalist-says-theres-mentally-disabled-workers-at-fukushima-many-men-forced-to-work-at-plant-homeless-treated-like-disposable-people-video
Atomic Mafia? Yakuza cleans up Fukushima, neglects basic worker
RT News, , Nov. 20, 2013: Homeless men employed cleaning up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, including those brought in by Japan’s yakuza gangsters, were not aware of the health risks they were taking and say their bosses treated them like “disposable people.” [...] While some workers voluntarily agreed to take jobs on the nuclear clean-up project, many others simply didn’t have a choice [...] many of the workers were brought into the nuclear plant by Japan’s organized crime syndicates, the yakuza. [...] Although a special task force to keep organized crime out of the nuclear clean-up project has been set up, investigators say they need first-hand reports from those forced to work by the yakuza [...]
Anonymous former Fukushima worker: We were given no insurance for health risks, no radiation meters even. We were treated like nothing, like disposable people — promised things, and then kicked us out when we received a large radiation dose.
Tomohiko Suzuki, journalist who worked at Fukushima plant: The government called Tepco to take urgent action, Tepco relayed it to subcontractors — and they, eventually, as they had a shortage of available workers, called the Yakuza for help. [...] They were given very general information about radiation and most were not even given radiation meters. They could have exposed themselves to large doses without even knowing it. Even the so-called Fukushima 50 [...] at least three of them were enrolled by the yakuza.
Aleksey Yaroshevsky, RT: : There are 25% more openings for jobs at Fukushima plant than applicants, according to government data. Gaps filled, says Suzuki, by the homeless, the desperately unemployed and even those with mental disabilities. Watch the broadcast here
First batch of fuel from Fukushima reactor 4 pool now in different storage site, Japan Times, KYODO NOV 22, 2013 Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday that it has finished transferring the first batch of fuel rod assemblies from the Fukushima No. 1 plants reactor 4 spent fuel pool to another building with more stable storage conditions.
“All of the fuel assemblies have been placed in the storage rack (inside the common pool), meaning the first fuel transfer work effectively ended,” Tepco official Noriyuki Imaizumi told a press conference.
Common Pool Fukushima Daiichi Unloading Unit 4 Fuel Unloading
After reviewing the work flow that started Monday, the utility will move on to retrieve the next batch of fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool of the damaged reactor 4 building.
The pool contains over 1,000 fuel assemblies and the process is expected to continue through the end of next year. To get used to the operation, workers commenced with the removal of unused fuel assemblies, but they will also have to take out spent fuel, which is more difficult to handle because it is highly radioactive and emits heat as radioactive elements in the fuel decay.
The process starts with the transfer of fuel assemblies inside the water-filled spent fuel pool one by one into a transport container also placed inside the pool.
Once the container is filled with 22 fuel assemblies, workers lower it by crane from the fifth floor of the building where the pool is located so that it can be taken to the common pool about 100 meters away…… http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/22/national/first-batch-of-fuel-from-fukushima-reactor-4-pool-now-in-different-storage-site/#.UpJtYdJwo7o
Fukushima land grab eyed State wants to purchase 15-sq.-km track around No. 1 plant for waste storage sites JAPAN TIMES, KYODO NOV 23, 2013 The state plans to buy 15 sq. km of land around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to build facilities to store radioactive soil and other waste generated by decontamination operations, government sources said….. (registered readers only) http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/23/national/fukushima-land-grab-eyed/#.UpJz29Jwo7p
AP: Melted Fukushima fuel is 12 inches from entering ground after eating through concrete, says simulation — Study: Molten core suspected of eroding through concrete foundation — Gov’t Expert: We just can’t be sure until actually seeing inside http://enenews.com/study-fukushima-molten-fuel-suspected-of-melting-containment-shell-then-eroding-through-concrete-foundation-ap-fukushima-melted-fuel-12-inches-from-entering-ground-after-eating-through-concrete
Associated Press,, Nov. 19, 2013: [...] the real challenge: removing melted or partially melted fuel from the three reactors that had meltdowns, and figuring out how to treat and store it so it won’t heat up and start a nuclear reaction again. “This is an unprecedented task that nobody in the world has achieved. We still face challenges that must be overcome,” said Hajimu Yamana, a Kyoto University nuclear engineer who heads a government-affiliated agency that is overseeing technological research and development for the cleanup. [...] Computer simulations show the melted fuel in Unit 1, whose core damage was the most extensive, has breached the bottom of the primary containment vessel and even partially eaten into its concrete foundation, coming within about 30 centimeters (one foot) of leaking into the ground. “We just can’t be sure until we actually see the inside of the reactors,” Yamana said.
Atomic Energy‘ Volume 114 Issue 3, July 2013 (Emphasis Added): [If there's no safety system to cool Fukushima melted fuel from Units 1-3], the accident developed rapidly: the second safety barrier (fuel element cladding) failed 2 hours after the initial event, the third one (reactor vessel) at 13 hours, and the fourth one 7 days after the easing of the dry box of the containment shell melted and through erosion of the concrete foundation occurred. These data were transmitted to the operational headquarters of Rosatom and the crisis center at the IBRAE RAN in order to estimate the possibility that the population of our country in the regions bordering with Japan would be exposed to radiation. [...] According to the computed picture. in all power units of the Fukushima-I NPP flooding with water stopped the downward flow of melt, but because energy continued to be released in the melt it was necessary to feed water into the reactors continually.It is known that the operation of the active safety systems, with whose help the core could be cooled reliably in a closed cycle, could not be restored for another several weeks.
See also: ABC Correspondent: Nobody knows where Fukushima’s melted cores are now, expert says — Tepco admitted fuel “is actually eating through the concrete… hopefully it’s not eating through any further” (AUDIO)
Fukushima Reactor Designer: I doubt plant can be decommissioned, perhaps enclose it in cement — Nuclear Professor: Solution is to pour concrete all over, but now it’s too late (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/fukushima-reactor-designer-i-doubt-plant-can-be-decommissioned-perhaps-enclose-it-in-cement-nuclear-professor-solution-is-to-pour-concrete-all-over-but-now-its-too-late-video
Associated Press,, Nov. 19, 2013: “I doubt if Fukushima Dai-ichi’s full decommissioning is possible. Its contamination is so widespread,” said Masashi Goto, a nuclear engineer who designed the Unit 3 reactor and now teaches at Meiji University in Tokyo. “We should not rush the process, because it means more exposure to workers. Instead, we should wait and perhaps even keep it in a cement enclosure.” [...] “If you just put concrete over this, groundwater still will be flowing and things like that, and you have an uncontrolled situation,” [Tepco adviser Lake] Barrett said. “I just don’t see that as a plausible option.”
Arirang’s ‘Prime Talk’,, August 30, 2013 (at 2:30 in): I think they have to be really opening up their minds. If it comes to nuclear disaster, it’s an international one. It never was a national one because nuclear disasters truly going over and beyond and above the borders. Think about the atmosphere, hydrosphere, oceans. But they realized this a little too late. Probably they were the last one on the planet to realize this is situation. [...] The solution again [is] concrete. Just think about Chernobyl, they just poured concrete all over. Sarcophagus, that’s the solution. And they should have done it a couple years ago, they actually lost the opportunity, because by now the soils are all too much contaminated.
TV: Work at Fukushima plant to go on for 10,000 years? Nuclear Expert: “It’s longer than human history” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/tv-work-at-fukushima-plant-could-go-on-for-next-10000-years-nuclear-expert-its-longer-than-human-history-video
Arirang’s ‘Prime Talk’,, August 30, 2013 (at 1:45 in):
Dr. Suh Kune-yull, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Seoul National University: [Freezing the soil around Fukushima reactors] sounds more like a sci-fi story, science fiction. We call this permafrost — frosting the soil — for 50 years and as long as 10,000 years. It’s longer than human history, it’s just unrealistic.
Watch the broadcast here
Arirang’s ‘Prime Talk’, ’, August 30, 2013 (at 1:30 in):
Dr. Suh Kune-yull, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Seoul National University: I call this permafrost which [is] really freezing the soil but to me sounds more like a science fiction because they have to be doing this for work at least 50 years and as long as 10,000 years. So I think they were probably going to give this up one of these months. […]
NHK: Fuel removal at Unit 4 underway — BBC: Concern casks not watertight, rods would contact air — WSJ: Exposure to air can cause sustained nuclear reaction — AFP: Tokyo evacuations if uncontrolled nuclear conflagration? AP: Rods contain plutonium, experts concerned quake to hit during process http://enenews.com/nhk-fuel-removal-at-unit-4-has-begun-bbc-concern-casks-not-watertight-allowing-rods-to-contact-air-wsj-exposure-to-air-could-result-in-sustained-nuclear-reaction-afp-tokyo-evacuations-if
NHK,, Nov. 18, 2013: The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun removing nuclear fuel from a storage pool at a damaged reactor building. Workers placed a special fuel transport container in the storage pool [...] At around 3PM on Monday, the workers started to hoist the unused fuel units into the steel container [...] debris in the pool of the Number 4 reactor building could obstruct the work. [...] The removal work requires extreme caution, as any damage to the units could release high-level radiation.
WSJ, Nov. 18, 2013: “We plan to begin the removal process from around 3 pm today, and work until around 7 pm,” said Tepco spokesman Tsuyoshi Numajiri. [...] The units are kept in a pool of cool water to prevent exposure to air, which can cause the radioactive material to heat up and could trigger a sustained nuclear reaction.
BBC,, Nov. 18, 2013: [It's a critical issue] whether the casks remain watertight so the rods have no contact with air.
AFP,, Nov. 18, 2013: Each rod contains uranium and a small amount of plutonium. If they are exposed to the air [...] they would start to heat up, a process that, left unchecked, could lead to a self-sustaining nuclear reaction – known as “criticality”. [...] Sceptics say with so many unknowables in an operation that has never been attempted under these conditions, there is potential for a catastrophe. Government modelling in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima disaster [...] suggested that an uncontrolled nuclear conflagration at Fukushima could start a chain reaction in other nearby nuclear plants. That worst-case scenario said a huge evacuation area could encompass a large part of greater Tokyo [...]
AP,, Nov.18, 2013: [...] [Experts] raised concern about a major earthquake hitting during the removal work. Japanese nuclear engineers were on Monday preparing to move uranium and plutonium fuel rods at Fukushima [...] Experts have warned that slip-ups could quickly cause the situation to deteriorate. [...]
Kyodo News, , Nov. 18, 2013: Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka has said the work requires “great prudence” because the pools are strewn with small pieces of rubble [...] “The fuel has to be handled very carefully. There is a need to make sure that a fuel assembly is not pulled out (from the fuel rack) by force when it gets stuck because of the rubble,” he said.
IMPENDING FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DISASTER WILL BE ‘WORSE THAN CHERNOBYL’ – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Scriptonite Daily, 13 Nov 13 ”…….,the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant in North East Japan has suffered core meltdowns, leaked thousands of tonnes of radioactive water into the ground water of Japan and the Pacific Ocean, and a series of other calamities. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) responsible for the plant has appeared incompetent, secretive and unfit to manage the most complex clean-up operation in the history of nuclear power. TEPCO are about to engage in the removal of highly radioactive, unstable fuel rods. If they make a mistake, we would witness the worst radiological disaster in history. The advice of Nuclear expert Arnie Gunderson in the case of such a mistake? Evacuate the Northern Hemisphere.
The boiling water nuclear reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant were not designed or planned by TEPCO. The world’s third largest corporation, American firm GE, designed the four main reactors, which stand at the Pacific Ocean side of the site. A legal case in the 70’s revealed thatGE knew these reactor designs were flawed and the reactors prone to explode due to insufficiently robust ‘pressure containment systems’ – meaning that in the case of a build-up of gas or other pressure, the containment system was not strong enough to hold in the radioactive contents. GE continued to sell them across the world anyway. Not only this, but in the case of Fukushima, they designed the cooling pumps and reactors far too close to the Ocean, given the likelihood of seismic events, making the probability and impact of unsustainable pressure build-ups all the higher………
The biggest crisis at Fukushima though are the impacts of three meltdowns in reactors 1-3, and the fate of the fuel pools. After prolonged exposure the fuel rods melt, forming a boiling pool of radioactive fuel at the bottom of the vessel containing the reactor. Reactors 1, 3 and 4 are believed to be at this stage. However, it is clear that reactor 2 suffered a breach of containment at its core. In fact, TEPCO still have no idea where the cores of the four reactors are. In the worst case scenario, the cores will continue to melt through all material below them until they reach the groundwater, where heat and steam will build until an explosion occurs, releasing the entire nuclear payload of the four stations into the atmosphere.
Without a steady coolant supply, the reactor cores boiled off the water around them, exposing the fuel rods – leaving them damaged and unstable. In the case of reactor 4, this was of an increased seriousness as the fuel pools were exposed to the elements, 18m in the air on a buckled and tilting structure. Inside this fuel pool is 400 tonnes of highly radioactive spent fuel. The radioactive fuel rods are inserted into assemblies of 60-70 rods each. TEPCO need to remove more than 1,500assemblies from the pool before it collapses. The company have issued placatory statements on the matter, telling the Guardian:
“Removing spent fuel is done at any ordinary nuclear power plant, and the equipment and methods we’ll be using here are not that different.”
This statement is disingenuous in the extreme. Nuclear and fuel rod expert Arnie Gunderson uses an excellent metaphor to explain the issues.
“Now nuclear fuel is like cigarettes in a pack of cigarettes. If the pack is new, you can pull a cigarette out pretty easily. But if the pack is distorted and you pull too hard, you’ll snap the cigarette. Same thing can happen inside this fuel pool.”
Removing the rods from the pool is a delicate task normally assisted by computers according toToshio Kimura, a former TEPCO technician, who worked at Fukushima Daiichi for 11 years.
“Previously it was a computer-controlled process that memorized the exact locations of the rods down to the millimeter and now they don’t have that. It has to be done manually so there is a high risk that they will drop and break one of the fuel rods,” Kimura said.
These spent fuel rods contain Plutonium, the most toxic material on earth – trace amounts of which can kill a human being.
Krypton 85 is also likely to be released into the air – this radiation is absorbed by the lungs, is fat soluble and damages sperm and eggs resulting in genetic diseases and deformities.
“”Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date,”, releasing three times the radioactive material of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, or 14,000 Hiroshimas.”
This piece of work starts this month.
If TEPCO, who have so far proven vastly incompetent, somehow manage to pull off this unprecedented activity without creating a nuclear holocaust, they still have to perform the same effort with reactors 1 and 2, which will be much more complex due to even greater damage to the buildings.https://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2013/11/13/impending-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-will-be-worse-than-chernobyl-what-you-need-to-know/
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