Analysis: Reactor No. 3 well cap appears to be fractured — Explosion and falling crane examined as possible causes (VIDEO)

Published: March 6th, 2012 at 5:05 am ET


Title: Fukushima Unit 3 Reactor-Well Cap Fractured?
Source: GoddardsJournal
Date: Mar 5, 2012

Transcript Excerpts

  • Evidence that the reactor well cap of Fukushima Unit 3 appears to have been fractured […]
  • Steam rising from well cap hotspot […]
  • Either the cranes impact, the explosion, or both may have played a role in any well cap fractures that may exist
  • Data appears to suggest that the unit 3 reactor well cap is fractured

Published: March 6th, 2012 at 5:05 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Goddard’s Journal analysis indicates steam explosion at Reactor No. 3 — NRC discussed steam explosion ejecting entire core (VIDEOS) April 10, 2012
  2. Video: “Purple cloud” seen by engineer after Fukushima explosion… “I took a photo” — Former Prime Minister: Smoke from reactor blast had different color than officials claim; Steel appears to have melted on top of Unit 3; Suggests possible nuclear explosion October 30, 2014
  3. Reactor Specialist on Unit 3: “I can’t tell you if it’s a hydrogen explosion or a nuclear explosion” (VIDEO) August 24, 2012
  4. NRC’s possible worst case scenario: Examined MOX at No. 3 — Also speculated steam explosion would “reject an entire core” from reactor March 6, 2012
  5. New pics of Reactor No. 3 show crane has collapsed onto leaking containment vessel (VIDEO) October 20, 2011

57 comments to Analysis: Reactor No. 3 well cap appears to be fractured — Explosion and falling crane examined as possible causes (VIDEO)

  • lokay5 lokay5

    "well cap"? Okay. Just exactly what the hell is a "well cap"


    • Misitu

      It's the lid of the reactor pressure vessel, I think.

      • lokay5 lokay5

        If it is indeed the reactor "lid" why did they use the term "well cap"? The reactor lid has never been called that before. My guess would be that they used "well cap" to make it sound much less serious than it actually is.

        • Maxxforce

          The well cap is the lid that creates a flush fitting floor across the top of the PCV (primary containment vessel). It fits on top of the PCV after the cap is installed. The actual "cap" for the PCV can be seen in pictures of R4. It's the yellow dome in the corner. You can see an undamaged (sort of) well cap in the latest videos and images from Quince 2.

          The RPV lid is smaller and can be seen in photos of refueling and construction.

        • aigeezer aigeezer

          lokay5, I tried to test your speculation by Google searching "reactor well cap". I figured that there either would or would not be references going back before the Fukushima crisis – that the term either would or would not be commonly used.

          The earliest use I could find was in May 2011, and it happened to be in Goddard's Journal, so perhaps he coined the phrase. I wouldn't think he would be minimising significance though, so perhaps it's just happenstance.

          I couldn't find a regular industry name for the lid/cap/thingie. Maybe someone who knows more about reactor-world can settle all this.

          Personally, I don't find much difference in the spin value between "lid" and "cap". If they called it "gentle fragrant portal to paradise" I'd really be worried and if they called it "gateway to hell" I'd welcome their candor.

    • gottagetoffthegrid

      They are probably referring to the cap on the "dry well" or primary containment vessel. It's not the cap on the RPV. The dry well cap is 6 inchs think of stainless steel, it's hard to see it cracking from a crane falling on it

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Reactor well cap thus it is the cap to the PVC or primary containment vessel.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        It appears they are discussing the Reactor Vessel Head. If you go to this link and magnify the drawing in sepia color (tan) you can get pretty detailed information.

        Same thing as had broken bolts and had been knocked off the top of one of the reactors (can't recall which one), in photos from Tepco. The bolts alone look like they are several inches thick. The RPV head looks like it probably weighs a couple of tons.

          • jdotg

            Heart of rose, the piece you are referring to is the containment cap, or dry well head, in the link I posted.. HoTaters is referring to the RPV head, which is bolted to the top of the RPV.

            The image at 2:36 is the yellow containment cap, it caps the containment bulb. And covers what HoTaters referenced. A concrete slab is then placed over the containment bulb, sealing and completing the Primary containment vessel.


            In this image, the concrete slab labeled "concrete shield plug," is what goddard is referring too.

            • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

              @jdotg…thank you…

            • HoTaters HoTaters

              What are we seeing at 2:15 in this video?

              Yes, at 2:31, containment dome. Concrete slab over the top is gone.

              You can see most of the bolts are sheared off. There are some closeups giving the sense of scale better. The bolts are probably several inches thick, and are placed very close together, all the way around the cap. Those darker looking things sticking up around the rim are loose bolts that partly dislodged.

              Thought I'd seen another video somewhere showing the cap had shifted sideways, uncovering part of the inside of the reactor. Will have to look for that. Enformable or Enenews had a link to that one (if I remember right).

              My impression? What's left of the SPF has fallen and is sitting down in the building at the level where the reactor is. The entire floor where the SPF was is gone. It appears that's what is smoking. Can be clearly seen at 3:25 – 3:31.

              Here's what the cap is supposed to look like (see 1:34):


              And in this one, what do we see at 1:02? Collapsed roof and two stories of building gone? So is this building obliterated down to the level of the SPF? #4? At 2:50 -3:00 if it's the SPF, then the SPF had no wall left, and one side of the bulding is gone.

              Sorry, I haven't been watching enough of these to know what I'm seeing at times. Assuming the 3 videos in this series show 1, 3, and 4 (in that order). Am not trying to make assertions here re: anything after the first video here because am not sure of design and layout of insides of the buildings.

              Pretty clear, though, the SPF of 3 and 4 are badly compromised and/or gone (3), and the cap on #3 doesn't appear to be intact/in place. Not much holding on to the reactor vessel. Problem is the video doesn't show what is beneath the reactor dome, so you can't see whether or not it has shifted off the top of the reactor.

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Am interested in looking at more videos/still shots others can find. This is an interesting video where the person who posted the video describes what he thinks is missing from #3.

          Has the fallen crane in this one obscured the top of the yellow reactor dome?

          At 2:13 zoomed in, it looks like you can barely see the top of the reactor dome. Did it sit right next to the SPF, or kitty corner in the building? Somewhere else along the same wall? If the melted down looking stuff in the upper right corner is the remains of the SPF, then it's in really, really bad shape. Looking at the picture, i'd say Fraser has left the bulding.

    • Wreedles Wreedles

      If you look at the recent videos of Quince 2 at Reactor 2, the video where the 'double image' shows up and the radiation is around 220 mSv/hr is shot overlooking the reactor well. The 'well cap' can be be seen in this video as the round demarcated area just to the right of the line of rubber boots. A good stiil can be found here

  • Bleifrei Bleifrei

    it steams and beams for a year
    and it will also shine in 10,000 years ..
    No one can expect that. or measure the amount of emitted
    every day where there is smoke, is the zone of death is greater

  • Machomaker Machomaker

    China is the world's largest exporter of ginger. I love ginger!

    Better to buy in Nigeria in the future.

  • Machomaker Machomaker

    Health Food Store. The seller of my confidence. She talk with me.
    The supermarket bananas come from central america (chiquita)?
    The east brazilian bananas are in a good territory.

  • Machomaker Machomaker

    I need every day a lot of bananas. You understand.

  • ion jean ion jean

    4400 PCi/kg of Potassium 40 in those bananas and the average human body, just sayin'…

    6500 in Brazil nuts, 3000 in a potato

    Yes, we have evolved as a species alongside this radioisotope, but it does add to the ionizing rad burden we must carry in light of global contamination….

    This is my plan for wrestling with the Cesium…

    Grow sunflowers throughout my vegetable garden…turn the seeds in at end of season as radioactive waste

    Cesium and Strontium will tend towards the above ground portion of plants and also their reproductive organs: fruit, seeds

    Far as I know, its animals more than plants that might uptake Plutonium

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi ion jean, I think I remember I read on EX-SKF recently about the Japanese sunflower experiments. It turned out that concentration of nasties was highest in the roots. The contamination of the soil had basically stayed the same.

      but bumblebees & the like will love you for growing them anyway!!

      • ion jean ion jean

        Wow, B and B, do you have a link to that? Cause I got that from some early 60s government/UN sponsored study (a large one)…sorry I don't have a link handy, my devices are an ocean of faves on this subject…it was a pdf I found searching effects of ionizing radiation on plants or in soils…it said ruthenium and zirconium went to the roots, but more of C and S were above ground…

      • Sickputer

        The Japanese scientists are liiars in my opinion about the efficacy of root crops like hemp and sunflowers to reduce radiation in soil.

        Maybe a hidden agenda owing to the Yakuza waste burners or waste haulers. In my research the plants have done well in the areas studied in Europe at reducing radiation from the soil. Yes it does create another issue with disposal of the plants so it's not conducive for society to let the idiot incinerator junkies get hold of highly concentrated cesium in harvested hemp or sunflower stalks. Those would need to be buried in a lined landfill.

        • Sickputer

          I am sorry I continued offtopic thread remarks… Mea culpa…. Tunnel vision on a smart phone is indusive to such behavior.

          Ontopic: yes the overhead pictures of heat signatures have been around a long time, but we rarely get any new updates from all the units. Of course that data exists, but is a big Tepco secret lest it alarm people (for our own good lest we become agitated and do things Big Brother deems inappropriate.

          So to the Goddard clip of Unit 3…. Of big interest to me when I first saw these heat photos long ago is the big mass to the left. If anyone has any theories that the core at Unit 3 is still partially intact… Then that is evidence. I long held the belief that 30-40 percent of the core at 3 remained after the March explosion. Some of that has burned away. But not all. It is still a major threat and will remain so for a very long time.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Yes, I find this confusing too. Had read seed prob. accumulate less. Maybe discuss further at remediation & protection area in forum so not OT?

    • Cindy

      The sunflowers actually hold most of the cesium in their roots ..

    • Atomfritz Atomfritz

      no matter what you plant, the roots take care that the radioactive stuff always gets pulled up.
      No use to turn the soil.

    • A note on bioremediation – no matter what crop you choose (should readily uptake cesium/strontium and heavy metals), the point is to get the isotopes out of your soil and into the plants. Plowing the plants back into the ground to decompose just releases those same isotopes into the soil again. All crops planted to bioremediate should be dug out (roots and all) and either buried somewhere outside the cropland or composted in pits that can be covered with dirt. Mark the pits/burial places because the soil there will be high in contamination. Don't burn the waste either, just releases the isotopes to air (as they're doing in Japan).

      A particularly good choice of bioremediation crop is horseradish, by the way. Alas, northern Japan grows lots of wasabi, a variety of horseradish. I don't think they're destroying it any more than the rice…

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Ion Jean, O/T, so will keep it short. Plants from the family of Chinese mustard also pull Cesium up & out of the soil with their roots. Grows wild all over California, blooms yellow and shades of purple, white, in the spring. Arugula is one of the species.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Think I posted this info. & a link to the study at "protection" area of forum. Also see: Maybe worth subscribing to? Or can get free e-newsletter. Lots of peer reviewed articles there on means of self-protection.


  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    We need BILLIONs to be spent in research on how to neutralize radioactive contamination in soil and water..

    Who is doing this research? I bet it is not the nuclear industry or the utilities with nuclear plants, who are responsible for making tens of thousands of square miles toxic waste zones for millions of years, doing this.

  • InfoPest InfoPest

    The video above is absolute proof that the explosion at Unit-3 was not the reactor. The edge of the "Well Cap" can be seen still in place over the reactor. We all know it wasn't a hydrogen explosion. The explosion had to be a prompt criticality occuring in the bottom of the fuel pool just like Arnie Gundersen said.

  • InfoPest InfoPest

    This link claimed the Unit-3 explosion was a steam exposion in the reactor, which at the time seemed plausable, but now I KNOW Arnie was right.

  • InfoPest InfoPest

    The stange thing is both the video above and the Steam Explosion Theory came from Ian Goddard. If he knew the "well cap" was still on top the reactor why would he claim a steam explosion occured.

  • For the sake of accuracy, hydrogen implodes rather than explodes. Several times I have ignited Brown's Gas in a common party balloon as an demonstration. (Brown's Gas is a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen produced from water by electrolysis). The balloon was held in my hand and ignited with a butane cigarette lighter. It produces a loud noise, and a very brief orange flash. In every case, the balloon (and my hand) is unharmed, but is slightly warm to the touch.

    I find any talk of damage to the containment vessel by hydrogen "explosion" nonsense. Flash steam or a nuke explosion is a far more likely scenario.

    The argument that the cap should not be harmed because it is 6" stainless steel is difficult to swallow. We know how these people operate. It would not surprise me if to cut costs, they made the cap from adobe.

  • InfoPest InfoPest

    I wrote to Ian Goddard and he replied with his thoughts.

    Hi (InfoPest), in my theory the well cap lifts for a moment.

    It's kinda hard to notice but that's what happens in my illustration:

    The fact that steam has been coming from around the containment lid (that nobody disputes as it's extensively visible) after the explosion certainly does not imply that steam couldn't escape during the explosion, as your comment implies.

    At first I was going with the fuel-pool explosion theory (which would also manifest by triggering a steam explosion in the pool), but several counterfactuals weighed in on changing my mind, such as

    1) Fire also erupts from the NW side of Unit 3. Previously the appearance of fire on the south side seemed to be a case for fire originating from the pool since it's also on the south side. So this implies the pool wasn't the source.

    2) I can't find any precedent in the peer-reviewed literature, even theoretic, for spent fuel to trigger an explosion. The possibility of zirconium fires are well researched, yet even burning fuel isn't expected to trigger an explosion or go critical. This means the fuel-pool theory is a second-order theory, ie, a theory that rests on another theory, and the other theory is that it could even happen anywhere. OTOH, a steam explosion in BWRs during a meltdown is a well-recognized risk.

    3) If the whole building was blown outward by forces from the pool, tons of debris should not have fallen into the pool, but they did.

    4) The theorized explosion in the pool was strong enough to demolish the entire upper deck and weak enough to leave the pool intact including contents always in it, a contradiction.

    • InfoPest InfoPest

      5) The complex multi-phase strucutre of the explosion and delayed emergence of the mushroom cap is not consistent with a blast from the fuel pool, which should hurl forward immediately from the pool like a gunshot (the mushroom cap is many frames delayed after the upper deck was already demolished). OTOH, the water in the containment had a good distance to travel and would also eject the gasses above it first, fitting the complex explosive sequence.

      Several of my earlier videos exploded and then promoted the fuel-pool theory. But having since vetted the data, I'm left only with reason to believe it didn't explode and no reason to believe it did.

      Thanks for your thoughts. ~Ian

      For point 1, I meant NE side.

      It was watching the blast frame-by-frame here

      that made the fire on the opposing NE side noticed, just visible through the stack.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Please see NRC transcript linked to at the other article posted today at enenews re: Reactor 3 and SPF. NRC basically saying the entire #3 SPF was gone, as of 3/16/11.

  • chrisk9

    The heat imagery is quite interesting on several levels. The unit was in operation at the time so the drywell head and reactor pressure vessel head were both in place, as were shielding plugs on top of those. There had to be a very powerful explosion to go through those and leak steam, and seeing the damage (and of course the video from afar) it would be quite logical to think it was more than a hydrogen explosion. Seeing the other hot spots in the general floor area is strange since there should be no sources of heat from anything else, so there must be small fuel fragments laying on the floor.

    And the spent fuel pool should have uniform heat indications, and yet there are hot spots throughout the pool. Obviously there has been major damage inside the spent fuel pool, and this indicates that a good deal of damage was caused inside the pool from lack of cooling.

    Like the rest of the site there were so many major malfunctions it will take decades to find out what went wrong, and only if there is much more transparency. And this is a huge deal. If we do not know what went wrong, and what happened we can never learn what needs to be changed or improved. We need to know this or this disaster will happen again. The nuclear mafia is not going to close shop amazingly even after this tragedy.

    I spoke to a compliance officer from an east coast utility company and asked him if Fukushima was going to affect their operations. His answer was that there would be no affect at all since his utility used different types of reactors (PWR vs BWR) than Fukushima. SCARY

    • Your compliance officer is an idiot. PWRs melt too, as TMI-2 illustrated so very well. It didn't melt through (and dump the corium into the 10+ feet of water flooding the containment), but there were hydrogen 'burns' there as well. One raising the entire containment atmosphere to 32+ psig. And they were only able to prevent melt-through because they still had makeup and HPI flow (the electricity wasn't out).

      These things melt and explode. No matter what plant design. TMI-2 managed to release ~40% of core inventory of volatile fission products (and some fuel), even though its containment wasn't breached. This technology is too dangerous to justify.

  • W8R W8R

    The little hot spots around the cap are not nearly as ominous as the HUGE hotspot in whats left of the SFP, cooking in open air.. A little steam leak from the reactor cannot compare..
    We need a lot more current thermal images..
    Bet we dont get them…

  • razzz razzz

    These lids have flanges that are bolted down/through and have 'seals' (gaskets) between the flanges that are first to leak. Seals can melt, blow out or flanges can warp or bolts can stretch and lose their memory, all due to exposure of high heat and pressure exceeding designs.

    The whole design is flawed no matter how many bolts or welds you use as will a great quake find the weak areas and thus ends your nuclear reactor and begins a dirty bomb.

  • iso-tope iso-tope

    Basically, the reactor "well cap" where the reactor sits underneath in a pressureized containment vessel. The cap is a the containment cap on top the pressure vessel (cap to the reactor). It's made to be removable (bolts hold it in place) and allows for spent fuel rods to be taken out, put into a spent fuel pool at the top of the reactor, and new fuel put in via a crane that sits on top near this cap…

    With all the debree still left there on site, It's hard to say how badly damaged things REALLY are. But I think this is probably more than likely.. They are lucky it still has any sort of cap on it at all with a how many ton crane falling on it… TEPCO isnt not honest at all or forthright about how bad the damage is, and we probably won't know for a long time… 2nd they are moving at a snails pace at trying to clean up and contain these collapsed buildings with the radioactive material. They are in severe danger of having another earthquake and this going worse than it is… They need to remove everything, contain and encapsulate for 1000 years. Digging out the site, removing the materials, filling with boron, sand, boric acid, concrete, everthing you've got and isolating this from the sea… but they are just still sucking their thumb while it gets worse… Moving a crane around for 3 hours a day isn't helping too much, it's a show for the cameras.

  • iso-tope iso-tope

    Here's a good song from the 80's you might remember… seems rather appropriate.. sing along..

    "One day in a nuclear age
    They may understand our rage
    They build machines that they can't control
    And bury the waste in a great big hole
    Power was to become cheap and clean
    Grimy faces were never seen
    But deadly for twelve thousand years is carbon fourteen
    We work the black seam together"

  • darrch

    Viewing the heat imagery, I can only conclude there is spent fuel rubble to one side of the pool, not across the entire pool. Doesn't this imply that the denotation of SFP #3 literally blew out perhaps half the spent fuel skywards, as shown by what appears to be heavy masses of materials thrust into the air, and then falling back onto the site — with perhaps smaller pieces ejected into the surrounding area up to 1.5-2 miles away? The SFP focused the explosive forces straight up into the atmosphere as we clearly saw. Will TEPCO come clean and inform how much spent fuel still remains in SFP #3? They seem to be pretending is all still in the pool.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    A pretty good ..look about.. via MsMilkytheClown
    April 9 2011