AP: Tepco not sure where melted Fukushima fuel has fallen — Radiation levels still too dangerously high

Published: June 12th, 2013 at 5:31 pm ET
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Title: Fukushima plant steps closer to fuel-rod removal
Source: AP
Author: Malcolm Foster
Date: June 12, 2103
h/t Anonymous tip

[...] journalists [were] given a tour of the plant Wednesday [...]

TEPCO showed off a massive, nearly complete steel structure designed to help workers extract more than 1,500 fuel rods from a damaged reactor building — Unit 4 — at the center of international concerns.

[...] The rods will be transferred to a joint cooling pool inside a nearby lower building.

After that project is completed, TEPCO will turn its attention to removing the melted fuel from the reactors of Units 1, 2 and 3. The company still isn’t sure exactly where the fuel has fallen inside the reactors because radiation levels remain dangerously high inside the buildings. [...]

See also: Asahi: Locations and condition of melted Fukushima fuel unknown -- Mainichi: 450 tons of scattered radioactive rods... unknown where holes in reactors are... plans may be delayed

Published: June 12th, 2013 at 5:31 pm ET
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28 comments

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  1. Translated Tepco Testimony: “The moment I entered the reactor building, the soles of my shoes melted” — Very high levels of radiation and temperature November 16, 2011
  2. Asahi: High radiation levels at reactors preventing Tepco from even preparing for start of decommissioning work — ‘Many uncertainties could easily derail timetable’ May 28, 2012
  3. Kyodo: Melted fuel from Fukushima Reactor 3 “is the highly lethal mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (MOX)” — Unit to be last to attempt fuel removal says new plan June 27, 2013
  4. Nuclear Experts: Portion of Fukushima’s molten fuel believed to have “moved into earth” — Melted cores contacting groundwater may be cause of recent spike in radiation levels -CTV August 24, 2013
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28 comments to AP: Tepco not sure where melted Fukushima fuel has fallen — Radiation levels still too dangerously high

  • We Not They Finally

    Why do they think that ANY fuel has fallen INSIDE reactors 1, 2 & 3? That seems unlikely.


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  • We Not They Finally

    Well, assuming the fuel melted down PRIOR to the melt-throughs, likely there would still be enough residue to keep radiation levels astronomically high. And since even ROBOTS get their circuits fried when they've tried, it may be a LONG time before they get in there at all. They don't even have a robot technology to brave this.


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  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    C'mon boys, you cant have it both ways; I say if you cant find the nuclear fuel under your feet, you dont stand a chance to design and run nuclear reactors. Color photo of Martian landscape, or cross section of earths mantle? No problemo. Location of nuclear fuel practically under foot? Sorry, no can do

    http://www.geo-exploration-technologies.com/SPIN_SYSTEM_dt08.htm


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  • ftlt

    This is a slick admission regarding the corium they for a couple years maintained was still in the reactors…

    Are they admitting the corium "may" be on its way to China here???? – I think so… Have they ever done this before???


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  • We Not They Finally

    fttt, The China Syndrome got popularized in the Jane Fonda film back in 1979. But even if that is a "we don't know" as an answer, the effects of this have to leach into THE SEA for sure. I doubt that they have been cooling what they cannot locate, much less encapsulate[!], but it could be as far as a half-mile down, with no way to keep out ground water. We also haven't a clue what happens with massive amounts of fissionable gunk in earthquake zones. It's probably all a great big "Run!"


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    • ftlt

      We: Understood… My point was, Tepco has been pouring out lies for the last 2 years about the fuels being still inside the reactors… It seems that they are finally admitting here, they don't know anything and the corium could be anywhere…

      I have little hope of any remediation at Fukushima… The milk is spilled and never to go back in the bottle again…

      Remediation in Japan would be a bigger job and more impossible job probably than the Bering Sea 200 KM dam to save the arctic and the climate (another insane idea!!)… As are all of the engineered ideas to reverse engineer Man Made Climate Change…Utter "palm out" hubris!!!

      That we change the way we live and govern ourselves is ours and the planet's – as we know it – only hope for the future..


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  • hbjon hbjon

    Let's turn the clock back to before the miners and smiths first began assaying uranium ore. They would work copper and tin, gold, silver, iron, etc. But, when they tried to work with this uranium substance strange phenomena would happen. After it was found that oxygen could help produce a hotter fire for freeing metals from ore, uranium metal was produced. Anyway, tritium and deuterium were present among the elements even before man started monkeying around with uranium. I wonder at what percentage of tritium does the ocean water take on a greenish tint. How much tritium is coming down in the rain? What is the potential production of tritium in the long term? Remember, hydrogen will be transmuted into heavier isotopes more than any other element. It should be separated from light water in the Fukushima harbour. That will keep them busy in their spare time.


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    • pure water

      Code Shutdown, you show it all! Only frightened, or/and prepaid journalists can echo with TEPCO`s lies! (Or they hire the most stupid and docile for the MSM?). And only totally brainwashed or completely unaware can still belive them! Well, we do not!


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  • razzz razzz

    Xe-133/135 detected from gas sample of reactor1,2,3, amount not announced, Tepco “Spontaneous fission"

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/06/xe-133135-detected-from-gas-sample-of-reactor123-amount-not-announced-tepco-spontaneous-fission/

    Water still acting as a moderator, I don't see radiation levels dropping anytime soon. Not sure how 300 tons of radioactive blobs can go missing. KitemanSA will advise TEPCO that radiation can't hurt you so stop whining.


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  • ask questions

    Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato is demanding the scrapping of all nuclear reactors in Fukushima.

    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130612_34.html


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    • m a x l i

      This sentence in your link made my hair rise up:
      "He also says the local government is aiming to make Fukushima a hub for the medical equipment industry and wants the central government to provide substantial financial support to attract related businesses."
      Some people's suffering becomes other people's "business".

      This is interesting, too:
      "Preparations are under way to permanently shut down 4 other reactors at the Daiichi plant [meaning Daiichi 1...4], following the accident there."
      It seems there are many different kinds of shutdown: cold shutdown, permanent shutdown…
      To me, this sentence sounds as if it intends to give the impression that there would be other options than a permanent shutdown: like to fix everything and get the reactors up and running again.


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  • m a x l i

    Well, TEPCO, allow me to give you a few hints for your search:

    Firstly, you need to know that gravity has a tendency to pull things downwards.

    Secondly, I can assure you, that the world doesn't end inside the reactors. There is also a world outside the reactors. You should consider to have a look there, too!

    I hope I could help. Good luck!


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    It's a China Syndrome. And way beyond anyone's abilities, i.e. all nations and all scientists. They can only watch the radiation continue, as we do.

    Unfortunately, this situation will continue for many years, unchanged.


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  • harengus_acidophilus

    A rough guess where the corium is.

    Downstairs!

    Or is it "fly, fly away"?

    h.


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    I want to think about corium lava tubes.
    Suppose 1 to 3 coriums are up to half a mile deep, as many ENEnewsers suggest.
    Mudrock is similar to sandstone. Corium would melt through mudrock, leaving behind what?
    I like to call it a "corium lava tube" because I love the imagery.
    But picture this: Corium at 3,000 to 5,000 degrees C would melt the mudrock, drop down slowly, and leave behind solidifying rock and corium debris. Molten volcanic lava creates lava tubes by melting old lava rock and carrying it along with it, often leaving behind a hollow tube. Lava accomplishes this feat by melting old lava, with a roughly identical composition. Would nuclear corium do the same thing? Perhaps not. The elements in the corium would be heavier than the elements in the molten rock. The heavier molten corium would tend to sink, while the molten rock would tend to float upward. If all this is true, the corium lava tubes should consist of a jumble of debris, mostly consisting of solidified igneous rock formed from the elements in the mudrock.
    Why would the composition of the igneous rock in the corium lava tube matter? Because if the corium pathway is completely blocked by igneous rock, the flow of steam, water, and smoke will not occur. Groundwater could seep through the blocked lava tube if the rock is porous, following the corium. Water in contact with the corium would flash into steam. Steam and vapors from the corium could pass up the lava tube.


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    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      As the steam and smoke vents, the radionuclides would enter the atmosphere, causing high readings indefinitely into the future. This would be very bad, if TEP.gov can't or won't try to stop this from happening.
      Consider the mudrock. We already know that this is a porous rock, which permits groundwater to flow readily through it in the aquifer beneath Fukushima. What happens when mudrock is melted and then solidifies as igneous rock? It loses volume, becoming less porous and denser. If so, the lava tube would only be partially filled with solidified igneous rock following the passage of the corium. The lava tubes would allow groundwater to flow down, and would readily allow steam and smoke to vent. And isn't it this corium venting we are seeing on the webcams on a daily basis?
      If up to 3 coriums have gone China Syndrome, they are no longer contained within the 3 ruined reactor buildings. If up to 3 coriums are in the ground, and are able to vent continuous steam and smoke, wouldn't we expect radiation measurements to rise dramatically once they exited the reactor buildings, and stay high for years? Isn't this what we have seen?
      Yesterday, I did a lighthearted post about Corium1,2,&3 "decommissioning" themselves.
      Today, I have taken a more serious look at the probable state of the corium lava tubes.
      Let's begin to explore the long term implications of hundreds of tons of molten corium submersed continuously in groundwater, venting forever.


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    • hbjon hbjon

      I almost always find myself in agreement with your insight and interperetation of phenomenon PUN. It is a true treasure to all of us here. I'll suggest something to ponder since nobody will ever have eyes down there to witness the violent reactions that are ongoing now and far into the future, yet we must try to understand and think of ways to deal with the gargantuan festering sores that nuclear has given us. When the China Syndrome heats matter below it, dries it, and drops into it, it will fall onto a substance that causes some of the fuel to flash to the side. This flash occurs because it moves to the point of least resistance, and under that much pressure it will flash right through almost anything, including bedrock. The China Syndrome closes the door above it with glass and other material it has encountered. To me it seems that the bigger (corium tubes) can also be thought of as veins and or vingers. Yet from those we have the smaller flash streaks to the sides (especially where the corium comes reaches more solid substances. So, when enough moderating materials have mixed with the corium, perhaps they will dig it up, mill it, and store it in in containers not yet developed.


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  • NoNukes NoNukes

    Mainstream discussion of reactor 4 is often accompanied but unusually high levels of radiation. Is "reactor 4" code for get your kids to Brazil or South Africa? There is nothing new in this article.

    Radiation level spiked from 57.1 μSv/h to 90 μSv/h within 3 months in an elementary school of Fukushima city
    Posted by Mochizuki on June 12th, 2013 ·

    http://fukushima-diary.com/

    This enviroreporter station in NC shows 2-7 times background since 5/20.

    http://www.enviroreporter.com/investigations/fukushima/radiation-station-harrisburg-north-carolina/

    “vital1
    June 9, 2013 at 2:52 am · Reply
    Southern Hemisphere rain water test 2nd June 2013 – May be a detection of Iodine I-129 from the tin roof down pipe polyester filter."
    http://enenews.com/forum-post-radiation-monitoring-data-april-30-2012-presenta

    "Fukushima endgame in progress.
    Posted on June 10, 2013
    From the Japanese “blog of waiting Chan” comes the news that xenon-133 and xenon-135 have been detected at the Fukushima Daiichi gas management facility. Iodine-135 Xenon-135 is generated in a nuclear reactor from the radioactive decay of tellurium-135, a fission product…" http://optimalprediction.com/wp/fukushima-endgame-in-progress/comment-page-1/#comment-14520

    From above article:
    "Concerns have focused on the fuel rods in the cooling pool of Unit 4….


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    • NoNukes NoNukes

      That should be: "Mainstream discussion of reactor 4 is often accompanied by unusually high levels of radiation."

      Strange alert levels yesterday that don’t seem to match jet stream or rain necessarily, today is not too much different…

      List of RADCON-4 and RADCON-5 sites:
      4:505 near Madison, WI, US 109 2013-06-12 08:42:00 G
      4:513 near Cleveland, OH, US 82 2013-06-12 08:39:00 A
      4:517 near Grand Rapids, MI, US 115 2013-06-12 07:49:00 G
      4:301 near Baltimore, MD, US 72 2013-06-12 07:53:00 A
      4:302 near Washington, D. C., DC, US 55 2013-06-12 07:41:00 G
      4:321 near Dover, DE, US 51 2013-06-12 07:44:00 A
      4:801 near Denver, CO, US 214 2013-06-12 07:41:00 U
      4:956 near Phoenix, AZ, US 194 2013-06-12 07:31:00 G
      5:637 near South Valley, NM, US 447 2013-06-11 09:36:00 I
      5:308 near Charlotte, NC, US 229 2013-06-12 07:40:00 G
      5:303 near Wilmington, NC, US 150 2013-06-12 04:42:00 G
      5:705 near El Paso, TX, US 287 2013-06-12 09:04:00 G
      5:522 near Fort Wayne, IN, US 207 2013-06-12 03:12:00 G
      5:401 near Jacksonville, FL, US 163 2013-06-12 07:41:00 G
      5:801 near Denver, CO, US 369 2013-06-12 07:41:00 U
      5:706 near Little Rock, AR, US 445 2013-06-12 07:31:00 U
      5:956 near Phoenix, AZ, US 335 2013-06-12 07:31:00 G

      http://www.netc.com/activealerts.htm


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Yeah, many radiation alerts across the U.S. . . something is out of control.


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    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      TheBigPicture: My first thought concerns the spent fuel problem, reported by Bobby1:
      http://optimalprediction.com/wp/fukushima-endgame-in-progress/
      "Fukushima endgame in progress."
      "Posted on June 10, 2013
      "From the Japanese “blog of waiting Chan” comes the news that xenon-133 and xenon-135 have been detected at the Fukushima Daiichi gas management facility. Iodine-135 Xenon-135 is generated in a nuclear reactor from the radioactive decay of tellurium-135, a fission product. Xe-135 is the most powerful neutron absorber known, and this process extinguishes a nuclear reaction. This is known as the iodine pit.

      "Also, radioactive silver-110m has been found. This comes from melted control rods. Its boiling point is 2162 degrees C, so it is clear that very high temperatures are involved. This isotope Ag-110m bioaccumulates at a rate far above that of cesium, according to Prof. Satoshi Mori. It has an affinity for the Kupffer cells of the liver.

      "Cobalt-60 and manganese-54 have also been detected. These are activation products which result from neutron radiation of building materials."


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    To continue:
    "Clearly, a massive criticality has occurred. And it is NOT coming from the underground coriums, but rather the aboveground sources of radioactivity such as the spent fuel pools. These have FAR more radioactivity in them than the nuclear fuel which has burrowed underground.

    "This is yet another criticality in the latest round of radioactive emissions which commenced in February. It is going in cycles, where the fuel heats up, releases radiation, and then Xe-135 extinguishes it, and it starts all over again. Every stage in the cycle is worse than the last one.

    "The release from the spent fuel pools is what Akio Matsumura, Arnie Gundersen, and others have been warning about, if another large earthquake hit Japan. It would mean the end of the Northern Hemisphere. But it is happening anyway without the earthquake, as radiation degrades the spent fuel pool structures, and other structures, causing metal fatigue, corrosion, and failure. And Tepco’s Three Stooges incompetence is speeding it up.

    "It looks like California is in the crosshairs, rather than the Pacific Northwest, at least to begin with.

    "This is it, folks."

    Based on something more than a WAG. Ready Bobby1 daily. His articles are concise, and his instincts are true. Way to go, Bobby1! You hit this one out of the park, IMO. We miss your comments here. Many thanks for all you do. Philip


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    For further research, go to the Jet Stream site, and run the model for the past 10 days:
    http://squall.sfsu.edu/scripts/nhemjetstream_model.html
    Matches anne's reports and the others reporting the current spike in radiation across the US on the Forum: Post Your Radiation Monitoring Here. We have observed that sometimes the highest radiation readings are adjacent to the jet stream, rather than within the jet stream. It seems as if the radiation sometimes falls to earth at the edges of a concentrated plume, which has been captured by the jet stream, rather than in the middle. This makes sense when you understand that strong winds in the jet stream tend to sweep radiation along with it, while at the edges of the jet stream, contaminants hit slower moving air currents, allowing the contamination to fall to earth.


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