AP, Jun 15, 2015 (emphasis added): Four years after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the road ahead remains riddled with unknowns… Experts have yet to pinpoint the exact location of the melted fuel… [T]he hardest part of the decommissioning: Removing the melted fuel from the three wrecked reactors. The biggest questions are where the melted fuel is and in what condition… experts believe the melted fuel has breached the cores and fallen to the bottom of the containment chambers, some possibly seeping into the concrete foundation.
Asahi Shimbun, Jun 15, 2015: The road map also maintains the objective of starting the removal of melted fuel at one of the three reactors in 2021… However, a major problem is the uncertainty about just where that melted fuel is located.
Mainichi, Jun 15, 2015: First of all, no one knows for sure exactly what state the fuel is in or even where it is…
Yomiuri Shimbun, Jun 15, 2015: Constantly emitting deadly radiation, melted nuclear fuel presents the biggest headache… “The world has never seen a case like Fukushima’s, where nuclear fuel melted and fell through,” IRID technology advisory committee member and University of Tokyo School of Engineering Prof. Hajime Asama said.
South China Morning Post, Jun 16, 2015: Scale of Fukushima clean-up revealed as decommissioning ‘road map’ is revised… [it] exposes the severity of challenges faced — Japan’s decision to revise its “road map” for the decommissioning the Fukushima nuclear plant has raised new questions about the scale of the problems that remain to be overcome… Nuclear industry analysts [say they are] trying to solve problems that had never been encountered before… “[They] set as short a schedule as possible to keep public criticism to a minimum… more of a political decision”… Even now, more than four years after the disaster, nuclear engineers can only make educated guesses as to where the molten fuel has pooled and the state it is in.
Asahi Shimbun, Jun 17, 2015: Nobody [knows] the amount or exact location of melted fuel…
Dr. Gordon Edwards, physicist and court certified nuclear expert, Feb 11, 2015 (42:30 in): “The heat from the disintegrating atoms raised the temperature to 7,000°F, and the cores of 3 of those reactors melted right down to the bottom of the reactor, and some of them maybe melted right through into the ground below.”
Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, World Uranium Symposium, April 2015 (21:15 in): “[Chernobyl's] core never hit groundwater, that core stayed in the building and remained dry. We have 3 nuclear cores in contact with groundwater.”
Published: June 23rd, 2015 at 3:08 pm ET