No. 4 spent fuel pool only 8 degrees below boiling point

Published: June 23rd, 2011 at 12:19 pm ET


No. 4 nuclear power plant in Fukushima,, June 22, 2011:

Pool Temperature: ninety-two ° C.

h/t Whoopie

Published: June 23rd, 2011 at 12:19 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Fukushima Report: Fire created “8 square meter hole in the wall” at Unit No. 4 — Fuel pool only 15 degrees from boiling point by March 14, explosion next day March 16, 2012
  2. Boiling Point: Reactor No. 4 spent fuel pool at 212 Fahrenheit March 24, 2011
  3. Japan Gov’t Papers After 3/11: Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 at boiling point — It is empty — Heat caused fire May 16, 2012
  4. Nuclear Expert: I believe entire No. 4 fuel pool had drained to point where boiling occurred — Footage shows top of fuel racks were exposed to air (VIDEO) May 13, 2012
  5. Japan TV: Temperature in spent fuel pool at No. 4 “much higher than the normal level” — “May be boiling” (VIDEO) April 13, 2011

114 comments to No. 4 spent fuel pool only 8 degrees below boiling point

  • Stacy

    What will happen when #4 boils?

    • Cindy

      As it Boils, more radioactivity will be released from the water as radioactive steam. If it continues to boil, the water level will go down as it evaporates, and the fuel rods could be exposed to the air. They then would heat up and begin a meltdown.

      • fromtokyo

        plus, as stated in the march 15 NYTimes article,
        it could catch fire →explosion

        • ocifferdave

          I know most of us here assumed it was boiling off all the time. So, if it wasn’t boiling off water, then perhaps it was leaking water to the ground and evaporating.

      • farawayfan farawayfan

        Well, according to TEPCO, “equipment” would become exposed, releasing additional radiation.

        Fortunately, the sheer joy and happiness of the people of the world will easily contain any radiation issues.

      • CaliMom

        Great. Just great.

        • farawayfan farawayfan

          There ya go, that’s the attitude! You are now protected 🙂

          • Cindy

            Oh, I agree a fire and more nuclear reactions could occur .. Ongoing ‘Nuclear Criticalities’.

            With the amount of spent rods in there it could get very bad.. worse releases than what has already occured could be possible ‘IF’ they lose control of the thing ….

      • Stacy

        Thanks for the explanation…that’s rather what I thought to be true, but you confirmed it. What a mess…

        • Misitu

          Depends on how the rods end up. As they are, in little cages, likely to heat up, burn up tne Zr releasing H, the ZrO2 becomes brittle and the pellets fall out. Then what?

          If there’s any water left at the bottom of the pond, fuel could go critical again – if there’s enough water to slow down the neutrons – and a heap of decay products would be generated some of them, as we know, gaseous or volatile.

          The hydrogen could ignite in the right circumstances, BANG.

          If there isn’t any water left the fuel pellets can continue heating up until they melt. Or until something catches fire – releasing decay products into the air.

          Not sure if I covered it all or got everything correct, look on the bright side as the honourable prof advises.

    • Then it will do as it has befoe as early on:
      Radioactivity is being “released directly into the atmosphere” – IAEA at 12:15 am EST
      March 15th, 2011
      Japanese authorities also today informed the IAEA at 04:50 CET that the spent fuel storage pond at the Unit 4reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on fire and radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere.

    • I found this article written on March 15 that cites what happens when the water drops in the pools

      Yesterday the Institute for Energy and Enviromental Research‘s Arjun Makhijani wrote a very detailed report that answers this question. In his report he quoted extensively from the 2006 study perfomed by the National Research Council of the National Academies. Their report tells us:

      “The ability to remove decay heat from the spent fuel also would be reduced as the water level drops, especially when it drops below the tops of the fuel assemblies. This would cause temperatures in the fuel assemblies to rise, accelerating the oxidation of the zirconium alloy (zircaloy) cladding that encases the uranium oxide pellets. This oxidation reaction can occur in the presence of both air and steam and is strongly exothermic—that is, the reaction releases large quantities of heat, which can further raise cladding temperatures. The steam reaction also generates large quantities of hydrogen….

      These oxidation reactions [with a loss of coolant] can become locally self-sustaining … at high temperatures (i.e., about a factor of 10 higher than the boiling point of water) if a supply of oxygen and/or steam is available to sustain the reactions…. The result could be a runaway oxidation reaction — referred to in this report as a zirconium cladding fire — that proceeds as a burn front (e.g., as seen in a forest fire or a fireworks sparkler) along the axis of the fuel rod toward the source of oxidant (i.e., air or steam)….

      As fuel rod temperatures increase, the gas pressure inside the fuel rod increases and eventually can cause the cladding to balloon out and rupture. At higher temperatures (around 1800°C [approximately 3300°F]), zirconium cladding reacts with the uranium oxide fuel to form a complex molten phase containing zirconium-uranium oxide.

      Beginning with the cladding rupture, these events would result in the release of radioactive fission gases and some of the fuel’s radioactive material in the form of aerosols into the building that houses the spent fuel pool and possibly into the environment. If the heat from one burning assembly is not dissipated, the fire could spread to other spent fuel assemblies in the pool, producing a propagating zirconium cladding fire.

      The high-temperature reaction of zirconium and steam has been described quantitatively since at least the early 1960s….”

  • Cindy

    someone is trying to sue Japanese gov. on the accident at Fukushima ..

  • fromtokyo

    the recent data is 87〜89°C

    still concerning though
    they cannot use so much water for cooling anymore since it’s flooding over. but then temperature rises.
    a vicious circle.

  • charlie3

    hello, fromTokyo. My understanding is that they cannot add more water because of how weak the reactor four building is; it cannot hold the weight of more water on the spent fuel rods.
    Is this correct?

    • fromtokyo

      yes, that’s right, too.
      but they also started to decrease the cooling water (also for the other reactors)

  • BetaFlare

    How do u discern a j€§uit? he is your beloved programmer, mic in hand, xplainin in front of the cameras the benefits of nuclear heavenly energy and how we must get more an more and more … behind is seen the smokin fucuabyss, “yes, actually this is your health fountain, your future”…

    Afterwards you walk home convinced, thinkin “man … this man really knows what he is speaking about!”.

    But. 2:00 am u woke up … NO. This man is a Liar!

    …Most ppl never wake up – they love too much their Own home-god-speakin-head Liar.

    Hey. The linky. Annoying. Dont want to read. Too disturbing. Again. Here: (repost)

  • Zirconium is the metal used in the outer cladding to spent nuclear fuel rods;

    This material (Zirconium) reacts violently with oxygen when cooling is not moderating a nuclear reaction… when the outer cladding is exposed to oxygen the reaction creates “hydrogen”;

    Fyi: Hydrogen is a flamable and explosive gas.

    When a spent nuclear fuel rods heat up, the process is known as fission. Fission can lead the nuclear fuel to temperatures past boiling point: “100c.”

    Steam is released into the enviroment, as the water / coolant becomes a vapor…

    Once the vapor is released, the water level receedes. Eventually exposing more of the fuel cells…

    The fact the bottom of the fuel pool hasnt collapsed in on its self, is a miracle at this point. If the fuel was adequatly moderated by the presence of water, there would be no chain reactions taking place,(i.e. fission)… So the temp would remain under boiling point.

    • BetaFlare

      Some comments:

      – Here, zirconium cladded fuel assembly handling pic

      …sooo? No problim with oxygen/zirconium I guess?

      When smtg heats up, its called heating.

      – Zirconium tubes ignite/melt when no cooling and uranium fuel pellet temp inside rises over +2000C.
      – No cooling with no water. Simple.
      – Fission starts when fuel pellets start melting after afore mentioned issues.

      Note: First reactor melted already after first 2 hours – after earthquake.

      I wish u would at last take a looki looki (repost)

    • DuckNCover

      “When a spent nuclear fuel rods heat up, the process is known as fission.” -NO..NO…NO…-

      When a nuclear reactor has been shut down and the nuclear fission chain reaction has ceased, a significant amout of heat will still be produced in the fuel pins/rods due to the beta decay of fission products.
      It is the heat from decay not fission.

      • yes in cold shutdown I couldn’t agree more.

        and yes reactor 4 was in cold shut down…

        Will you now explain why the fuel is heating up, when it was previously 44c ? aside from fission…

        Why did the fuel at 44c. heat up?
        mind you it not only heated up but heated up 5 tons of water/hr, for 110 days running…

        • DuckNCover

          Lack of cool water circulation, without this circulation the water in the pool continues to heat up. Example: if put a tea kettle on a high burner the water heats…but if you would run a hose to the kettle and continously circulate cold water what would happen?

          • right…

            what process created the heat?

          • DuckNCover

            the beta decay of fission products … all those radioactive products created when the rod was in the reactor.

          • So…

            The rods heated up from a process, of what>?

            Did you just say… the f word?

          • DuckNCover

            the rods are not heating up…the water in the pool is heating up….nice try though

          • DuckNCover

            The rods are hot because of the decay heat from the radioactive elements in those rods. That heat is still much higher than the boiling point of water.

          • Wait wait wait…

            water does not heat up on its own…

            Whats heating up the water? I mean not the beta decay, and not the fission…

            But what is in the water making the temp rise…?

            Oh right, I remember…
            …spent heated nuclear fuel…
            The fuel heats up silly…

            Because the fuel heats up the water…
            From a process called fission…

            Where was I wrong again… Im pretty sure thats what I wrote…?

          • DuckNCover

            Ok, fine…I see you do not read the posts. Fission is a nuclear reaction via splitting of atoms…beta decay is the radioactive decay in which a beta particle is emitted (electron or a positron). These beta particles have a energy as they are given off (the heat).

          • BetaFlare

            Where. Read above:

            1.a zirconium… does it react violently with oxygen, yes or no?
            – waiting

            1.b Why.

            2. Hydrogen. Where does if come from? Not zirconium but from water … hot uranium/water process devides H2O to H, H, O.
            – waiting

            Nuke science is a nice trampoline, imagination has no limits where to jump.

        • BetaFlare

          There is no such thing as shutdown. Its a fucufact, created for us the sheep to be slaughtered…

          Uranium is such material that even in transportation of new rods, there are strict limits how much and how tight they are packed. Or they will start the process just by emselves.

          This is why in the 2002 report (see my linky) they say that if one fuel wastepool dries, all and everything will eventually blow up in one nuke plant… ALL AND EVERYTHING WILL BLOW.

          Why did they heed the warning? Why nothing was ever done? … because they planned this. Goal: 90% depop

        • Tacomagroove
          $ had already been on fire so fission was taking place at that point !
          If covered in water after the reaction still took place and as rods that have had controlled fission reaction to heat water in reactor, when taken out for maintenance or exhausted still need to be placed in a used fuel cooling pool for time lengths of 5 to 8 years to cool before they can be case sealed and set aside as safe(?)
          So this would account for why water is heating, and do we know the number of spent fuel rods in # 4 cool pool ? that are also cooling.

        • lokay5 lokay5

          I thought that iodine production was an indicator of fission. I believe they are detecting iodine at the #4 SFP, am I right? That’d be an indicator of fission, no?

        • When refueling after cold shut down, I have heard that 1/3rd of the fuel is removed at a time leaving the other 2/3rds, and 1/3 is changed at a time. If this is so would there still be 2/3rds fuel in the reactor ?

          : o

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            yes is my understanding.

          • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

            Doc Fox, there’s this thing about geometry
            of the packing order they taught us about
            back in my chemistry half-ass student days.
            The “critical mass” can be regulated by looser
            or denser packing. of the fuel rods. which are
            really like pixy stix full of radiative nuggets.
            Whatta trip that they use such terminology
            to make the listener assume that a shut-down
            means no possible issue, no hot stuff, etc.

      • sandman

        DuckNCover – a heroic effort, but she doesn’t have the education or the ability to understand. I suspect a junior high school girl with very limited math and no physics. (English not a strong point either.) It does no good to reason with her. Hard to resist though, isn’t it, given the level of ignorance in her ramblings.

        • I actually have obligations…
          In the 5 minutes I am here, I typically try to respond to everyones questions I can answer; while asking the questions I can not answer…

          I felt I did a pretty good job explaining a nuclear cataclysm on my ten minute break.

          I am also mature in both age, and demeanor.

          Btw: I acknowledge my english is poor. Thats likely because I am not a national citizen of america:) I just live here…

        • DuckNCover

          Thanks…I understand….just hate to see the screaming “FIRE” in such a good site. Sometimes is hard to hold one’s tongue.

    • Tacomagroove & BetaFlare

      Do you have an idea as to what color this zirconium may turn if high temperature and mixed with water ??

      Could it be possible to turn water a red rust color ?

      • BetaFlare

        Keine anung – no idea. I am just unwilling instant expert: the papal EUmedia 100% clampdown forced me to dig this filth I would not like to know one bit … My main job is (why!?) to translate for my funny idiot Finn-bros. And try to wake em up. So far three person dig this – from 5 million..…success rate is rili poor. Luckily I am not responsible of the results.

        My guess is: yes it could

        While zirconium isnt food, the real threat is the plutonium … in the mox every reactor has today. Also this issue speaks of detailed holocaust planning. Adolph would be happy.

  • moonkai

    So, tell it to me straight, doc’. How long do I have ?

    • tony wilson

      Doc,how long do I have ?

      that is a deep profound question that has stumped the greatest minds of all the ages.
      scientifically speaking with fukishima we are dealing with unbending fixed basic primal law principles.
      physhics,chemistry high mathmatics.
      the atomic genie or jinn has been released into the environment.
      it cannot be stopped,it cannot be solved.
      no way out.
      tepco have a series of plates that have or are not spinning anymore.
      this is japan,this is tepco.

  • tony wilson

    do you get the feeling that daddy kaku, uncle arnie and cousin busby have either been got at.
    are on mental vacation or are just human control release valves, for the big control machine.

    • charlie3

      Arnie Gunderson knows how many people want reliable info from him, and he isn’t providing it in a timely manner.
      I want him to be more communicative, even if that is just an explanation of what is constraining him from updating the situation more frequently.

      • BetaFlare

        Dont be so critical, Arnie the je§uit is deaf. Allow him to proceed with the mute button…

        Here, I turned the volume full, Arnie put hands on his ears. Why a deaf man would do… (repost)

      • Could be Arnie has said everything that needs to be said.

        Something like:

        “There’s nothing they can do.”
        (I think he actually did say something to that effect—Michio Kaku too).

        • Arnie did suggest that any American’s wealthy enough should consider relocating to the southern hemisphere:


          That’s a pretty serious warning, really. I mean, what more serious warning could there be except for maybe “take refuge in your underground bunker now” or “move to another planet?”

          He may have been “gotten to” by the nuke mafia or some such, but in any case, he does seem to have done his best at giving very real and serious warnings about the developing situation.

          • The truth came and went in the middle of the night for most folks, as a theif in the night came, they will wake shortly and find the reality of what is missing, what is gone, what can not be replaced !

        • So, agreeing that he has said everything that needs to be said.

    • chrisk9

      I also wonder what is going on with these people. Early on Arnie stated that Unit #4’s fuel pool was his biggest concern. But signs there have gotten worse and yet silence.

      The pool can not go critical with the fuel in the pool racks, and only could do so if the fuel melts and collects in the bottom of the pool. But why is the temperature rising? Why is it so hard to keep the temperature at the desired temperature of about 40 degrees?

      The fuel pool must be leaking, and the structure must be unstable or you could add all the water you wanted. TEPCO has not been honest with the status of this pool since day one. If the pool goes to boiling or the structure falls apart there is no containment whatsoever and the prior problems will look minuscule.

      • “The pool at reactor No. 4 has the hottest spent fuel and is thought to have either holes in the walls of the pool or some other type of leak that is allowing water to run out. It is thus imperative to cool those heat sources first.”,0,6212176.story

        • Last video of # 4 pool I saw showed air bubbles coming to the surface, that may be because of cracks in the bottom, bad enough it is leaning and not full because of angle of pool !

      • “Worse than a meltdown” says expert — “Spent nuclear fuel pool catches fire”: Japan Power Company
        March 15th, 2011
        “High heat would loft the radiation in clouds that would spread the radioactivity” – New York Times

      • Wreedles Wreedles

        But why is the temperature rising? Why is it so hard to keep the temperature at the desired temperature of about 40 degrees?

        Well, the main problem is that whatever water is in the spent fuel pool is only circulating through convection.

        In order for water to remove the decay heat of the ‘spent’ fuel, (remember, the heat comes from the decay of radionucliotides within the fuel rods. Different radioisotopes have different half-lives, ranging from seconds to years; this is why the fuel rods take soooo long to cool down, and why they must be continually cooled) the water must be moving. During normal operations, pumps would send water to an area where it could release its heat, and then once cooled, would return it to the SFP to pick up more heat. Now the pumps aren’t running, so the only circulation going on is through convection, where the how water rises to the top of the pool, cools a bit, and sinks back down. Convection cooling is not efficient enough to overcome the heat generated by the decay of radioisotopes within the fuel rods, hence the pool is getting hotter and hotter. Two horrible things to keep in mind; 1) Boiling water moves. A lot. Having the pool reach boiling may be enough to literally tip it over. 2) There are only around 380ish fuel rods in the core of each reactor iirc. The SPF contains an order of magnitude greater number of rods, over 3,000, once again, iirc.

        • Wreedles Wreedles

          “Each “reactor top” pool holds up to 3450 fuel rod assemblies. The common pool holds up to 6291 fuel rod assemblies. [The common pool has windows on one wall which were almost certainly destroyed by the tsunami.] Each assembly holds sixty-three fuel rods. This means the Fukushima Daiichi plant may contain over 600,000 spent fuel rods.”


        • go back up the thread, your question was answered before you asked it !
          June 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm · Reply Report comment Report comment
          @ Tacomagroove
          # 4 had already been on fire so fission was taking place at that point !
          If covered in water after the reaction still took place and as rods that have had controlled fission reaction to heat water in reactor, when taken out for maintenance or exhausted still need to be placed in a used fuel cooling pool for time lengths of 5 to 8 years to cool before they can be case sealed and set aside as safe(?)
          So this would account for why water is heating, and do we know the number of spent fuel rods in # 4 cool pool ? that are also cooling.

    • sandman

      Arnie Gundersen seems to be the closest thing to truth and real perspective that we have. He is retired. He volunteers his time and expertise. I’m thankful for the amount of information he has posted already. It’s not like any more information will help us to prepare or react, the current damage to the planet is not fixable, and the ongoing and future damage is unpreventable. There’s nothing I can do to sheild myself, clean it up, or prevent further worsening. Keeping up with events is interesting, but in my mind, not of any use. Dr. Gundersen’s updates are a gift, not a right. He has no obligation to us or anyone else to make videos available and free, and certainly not to do so on your schedule.

      • Since his first video and posted here, and many want him in news interviews ! A thin line to walk !

        March 22nd, 2011

      • Anthony Anthony

        Well said sandman.

      • DrNature

        Sandman,Thank you for that. Professionals understand how much energy, time, money and research goes into the type of work Mr Gundersen has put forth.
        He deserves our Thanks and support.
        I detest it when people shoot the lifeboat pilot.

      • WhatNow

        My speculations on potential reasons for Mr. Gunderson’s silence:

        – He’s tired of being attacked for being reasonable by both sides of the nuclear power debate. On the one side I’m sure there are members of his profession, nuclear engineering, who probably consider him to be a traitor to the business. On the other side there are the nuclear opponents who attack him for not being more hysterical in his warnings and approach. On the first group, I had a friend who was a whistle blower in his industry. In the course of events he started getting death threats about the issue. People get real mean when they think you might cost them their job. Eventually, he was vindicated in his claims. Seeing how Mr.Gunderson was treated during his telecon, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s only the mildest reproach that he’s received from the industry.

        -Alternatively, Mr. Gunderson’s understanding of the current situation is that it’s so far gone that there’s nothing left to say that will change the outcome.

        Mr. Gunderson’s not in the medical profession, or a biologist, so I wouldn’t expect him to say much more than he’s already said about the consequences of all this radiation being released.

        -Last, perhaps he’s just taking a break. This disaster is going to last for months to years. There will be plenty of time to talk about it.

  • notactive

    What i believe imho is that sp4 has a (partial) meltdown. By holding the pool at high temps they need less water to cool. However the water that’s evaporating could be highly radioactive.

    They have to choose between worse and …..

    • Cindy

      As I posted above, They’d have to lose control of the spent fuel pool first, and because the top is open there would probably not be a hydrogen explosion, the gasses would dissipate …

    • farawayfan farawayfan

      Quite likely. Even their own reports say “No severe damage suspected”, which implies damage of some sort suspected. I can only guess, but any fuel rod integrity damage is going to result in radioactive material release into the water evaporating or boiling off. How much? Who knows.

      Think happy thoughts, gargle and wear a hat.

  • alasanon

    This sounds extremely FUBAR…but, weirder things have been averted with extreme efforts, commitment, and persistence.

  • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

    Go Big Red!

  • catweazel

    1. the cores are empty as of now. they had meltthrough, all intestines flushed in direction of gravity. noone knows what and where they measure. other readings missing like ist there water left in the reactors.
    2. said so there is the question: what is tepco cooling? they say how much they pour in, but they are not able to measure how much comes out (and where)
    3. as seen in released photos the reactors basements are flooded with slurry, so whereever the corium may be, noone knows for sure. Noone knows if it is hot, if it is dissolved in water, if it is 500meters molten in the rock, noone knows. what we know for sure: radiation has been distributed and still
    more radiation may be distributed as all the nicely build architecture holding the place together has been devastated.

  • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff


    “uranium/water process devides H2O to H, H, O.”

    Actually, it is 2H20–> H2, H2, O2

    Oxygen wants to covalent bond twice so it will share with another oxygen.

    Hydrogen wants a single bond so it will attach to a hydrogen (lacking anything else that it can bond to).

    So for the accounting to work out properly we need to break up two water molecules to make sure we get 2 pairs of hydrogen and one pair of oxygen.

    Just a clarification.

    Also, note that the hydrogen explosions at Fuku have been the result of the oxygen molecules reacting with the available hydrogen molecules. This is just the reverse of how they got separated. However, the joining of the oxygen and hydrogen is the most basic example of the process called oxidation.

    Oxidation is exothermic….it releases energy during the recombination…aka…kabooom
    when there is as much oxygen and hydrogen as were present in the vicinity of the reactors at Fuku.

    • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

      you would prob’ly love to get the chance
      to get a little chemistry. I know, you got kids,
      sincere good wishes to you and yours.
      it is useful to visualize water molecules
      as a sort of Kite tripod. Not two-dimensional.
      Another interesting point to add to the
      nice oxidation lesson, in atmospheric settings,
      you see a lot of 6H2O flying about, on the way
      to wonderful endless recombinations. tra la.

  • Prof. Neutron

    The spent fuel pool at #4 has been a big concern from the beginning. All the fuel had been removed from the reactor and placed at the bottom of the pool along with older spent fuel and fresh fuel that was slated for refueling. As of the accident, there were about 1500 fuel assemblies (not rods, assemblies of rods!) totlalling about a thousand tons of fuel. It was all covered with water to a depth of about 10 meters.

    Fuel in the spent fuel pools cannot undergo fission if the rods remain intact. The assemblies are in stored in borated steel pigeonholes which prevent criticality. A single fuel assembly is subcritical.

    The fuel rods which have been in the reactor contain all the many various fission products, many of which are radioactive and well known at this site: Cs-137, Cs-134, Sr-90 and many others. This radioactivity releases energy, and that energy becomes heat. The total heat produced by radioactivity (beta decay) is about 1.5 megawatts for SFP 4. That’s 1.5 million joules of energy per second that needs to go somewhere.

    Since about Mar 22, TEPCO has been putting upward of 100 tons per water per day into SFP 4. The hot rods heat up the water, all the way to boiling, and then the water does indeed boil. Bubbles rise to the surface and we see the vapor come out all the time.

    If they say the temperature is 95 degrees or whatever, that does not mean that the water in contact with the hot rods is not boiling – it is. That is the only way right now to get the heat out.

  • Prof. Neutron

    Now the most curious and dangerous thing about SFP $ is that early on it was reported that the pool had gone dry, and that there may have been damage to the fuel rods.

    When the rods are exposed there is no where for the beta decay heat to go other than into heating up the fuel and the cladding. Above a certain temperature the zircalloy can start pulling oxygen from the water on the outside and the fuel oxide on the inside. This chemical reaction releases even more heat, and the rod cladding falls apart and the multen fuel pellets fall out, down into the water.

    If that happens there is a possibility of “recriticality” in which the damaged fuel, which is in a water moderator, can undergo fission. But that will be a little explosion, and stop itself fairly rapidly.

    I believe this happened at SFP 4 before Mar 22, and this explains why they detected I-131 in the water in the pool in April.

    Of course TEPCO is telling us none of this, nor did the IAEA report mention it. The US NRC has stopped talking about it.

    Also well documented is the leak in SFP 4. If they stopped pumping water in there, it would drain out and the fuel rods would overheat and damage themselves again. It would be like a million sparklers going off with a huge release of radioactive crap into the air. A bad earthquake aftershock could do this, if it worsened the leak to the point that they could not keep water in the pool.

    In fact I think SFP 4 is the biggest remaining risk at the site, based on the limited information available out there.

    • DuckNCover

      Wonderful posts…thanks.

    • petfish

      thank you.

      have any suggestions?

    • petfish

      thank you enenews.

      i am troubled by the state of fukushima reactors/water seeping into the ground water spilling into the ocean. we are a heart beat away from a second larger than present release of radionuclides.
      no end in site.
      lets think of a way to capture the ions in solution other than zeolite. it could be the zeolite the french gave them? may not be suitable. or ions so hot that gum up filter.
      heres an idea: why not dope the zeolite with boron??
      heres is another idea: Make an boron-nitrogen polymer so as to chelate metal ions. how about a borate/hydrazine binary spray that will combine with metals and harden or precipitate.
      except it would add to the overflow water
      any ideas?

    • WhatNow

      You mention that a bad earthquake could make the SFP #4 leak worse. I was thinking that the simple ongoing settling and listing of the building could gradually make it worse, too. No big earthquake required.

    • petfish

      how about “silting in” the leaks with a type of filter/absorbant material so the water escaping into the ground has less contamination?

  • Prof. Neutron

    (At the beginning of the last post it should be “SFP 4”, not $.)

  • catweazel

    but, one would think that after 3 full month of the given situation they must have been able to coll the stuff more efficiently. thats the real wonder of Fuku. everyone working there seems to be a chilling guy from jamaica and the orders seem to be : we have all time we need, nothing serious happening, go on … will be fixed soon. and really nothing is happening. TEPCO is dreamning of repairing all that stuff till january. and after 3 month they just had a 10 minutes visit inside one building to measure radiation. with 6000 guys running around there 7 have been sent in for 10 minutes in 1 reactor to “check the situation”

  • bleep_hits_blades

    Check out the interviews with Leuren Moret — very very much worth your while.

    There are several interviews with her at this website.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    Huge crane lifting something near reactor #1, TBS/JNN live cam:
    I didn’t see it on the TEPCO live cam.

  • milk and cheese milk and cheese

    What more do you want Arnold Gundersen to say that he hasn’t already said? I think he’s given us enough information to conclude for ourselves that there really isn’t anything anyone can do at this late date.
    I don’t know if the merde hit the fan in the first few days (My personal opinion is that the jig was up the minute the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier changed direction to avoid the radiation) or whether the delays from Tepco made things worse. The second possibility is the more horrific of the two. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “We could have saved the world but we were too damn cheap.”

  • nomade

    What’s all the fuss about? It’s cooled down 1C since yesterday! (And the day before.

    Tepco have obviously got #4 under control control.

    *cough cough* can someone turn off the smoke please.

  • nomade

    Sorry about the garbled message above, have been at the uncontaminated bordeaux wine a bit tonight. 🙂

    “What more do you want Arnold Gundersen to say that he hasn’t already said?”

    Actually I’d like someone to explain exactly what will happen when Tepco throws in the towel and abandons the site. (Assuming that this hasn’t happened already)

    Tepco giving up seems like a the most probable scenario to me.

    Why do governments and Arnie base absolutely worst possible scenarios on a 10-20% release of radioactive material or whatever.

    What is there to stop the whole lot getting released into the environment if there’s nobody around to prevent it happening?

    Radiation estimates and cloud trajectory for the WORST WORST possible case scenario please Arnie….then anything less that that will seem like good news.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    Still a crane at reactor #1 on the TBS/JNN live cam. Can’t see it on TEPCO live cam. Clouds don’t seem to be moving on the TEPCO live cam.

  • petfish

    thank you enenews.

    i am troubled by the state of fukushima reactors/water seeping into the ground water spilling into the ocean. we are a heart beat away from a second larger than present release of radionuclides.
    no end in site.
    lets think of a way to capture the ions in solution other than zeolite. it could be the zeolite the french gave them? may not be suitable. or ions so hot that gum up filter.
    heres an idea: why not dope the zeolite with boron??
    heres is another idea: Make an boron-nitrogen polymer so as to chelate metal ions. how about a borate/hydrazine binary spray that will combine with metals and harden or precipitate.

    any ideas?

  • sickputer2 sickputer2

    June 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm Log in to Reply
    Is that JNN link up to date and accurate?…it shows May 20th and also says 783 fuel rods…I think I figured a few more:

    How many assemblies in the spent fuel rod ponds and how many rods are in those assemblies? From the Tepco PDF presentation November 16, 2010:

    Spent Fuel Pond Fuel assemblies 3,450 at each of the six Units; Dry Cask 408 assemblies; 6291 assemblies at Common Spent Fuel Pond. Total: 10,149 Page 9

    Sickputer: TEPCOs math was wrong for the totals of fuel assemblies on Page 9 in the PowerPoint! They only added ONE of the units for the Spent Fuel Ponds! The single unit value 3,450 times 6 units = 20,700!

    Add to that the dry cask and common pool numbers and you get the true total: 27,399 Spent Fuel Assemblies!

    27,399 times 63 rods= 1,726,137 individual fuel rods just in the storage ponds and dry cask!

    Add the 176,904 fissile fuel rods in the Nuclear Reactor Vessels and you get the grand total:

    1,903,041 fuel rods at Fukushima. That’s a lot of 12 foot nuclear rods any way you count them.

    Also from the PDF… 1,600 tons of uranium fuel (the little bullets inside the zirconium rods).

    I think at 600,000 rods in the CSFR pond it makes me a little more nervous than the Unit 4 SFR amount (about half of CSFR).

    And i do think they are bulldozing and crane lifting assemblies and debris in the ocean.