Bloomberg: Gundersen says radiation levels will increase from higher temperatures at Fukushima fuel pools

Published: March 18th, 2013 at 10:46 pm ET


Title: Fukushima Power Failure Disrupts Water Flow for Spent Fuel Pools
Source: Bloomberg
Author: Jacob Adelman & Ichiro Suzuki
Date: March 18, 2013 at 9:55p ET

A power failure at Japan’s tsunami- damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant left three of the station’s spent fuel pools without fresh cooling water […]

Higher temperatures will increase radiation levels somewhat, though they won’t get high enough to require immediate evacuations, Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer at Burlington, Vermont-based consultant Fairewinds Associates Inc., said in a telephone interview.

Crews probably have four days to five days to restore power before pools reach levels beyond the controlled state known as cold shutdown, after which fire hoses can be used to continue cooling, Gundersen said. […]

See also: [intlink id=”641p-et-fukushima-daiichi-power-failure-still-underway-tepco-remains-unable-to-fix-problem-residents-anxious” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: March 18th, 2013 at 10:46 pm ET


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31 comments to Bloomberg: Gundersen says radiation levels will increase from higher temperatures at Fukushima fuel pools

  • Finally US coverage, but it appears a small article on my android but it appears to be a buried article and isn't Bloomberg more of a business journal? Interesting, being a Canadian in Canada to see US coverage even sparser despite Arnie's quote. I would have liked to have seen the whole interview.

    • Arizonan Arizonan

      Odd. NHK REPORTING POOL TEMPS STEADY BUT AP REPORTING five degree rise in sfp#4 over last 15 hrs pumps have been off. NHK says TEPCO has policy to bring in fire trucks to spray ifit gets to two days….thats not far from now. CBC reporting it cd take days to repair….

  • ion jean ion jean

    Arnie last year on SFP4: That heat (5%) gradually decays away over 5 years, but for at least 5 years, these pieces, these fission products, have to be cooled. That part of the reaction does not occur in the nuclear reactor, it occurs in the spent fuel pool….There are 4 reactors in jeopardy at Fukushima-Daiichi. But everyone’s attention now has been focused on the fuel pool at Fukushima-Daiichi Unit 4. Why is that? Well, in the Mark I design, there is no containment over the fuel pool. And that means that if there is a problem in the fuel pool, there is nothing to trap the radiation and prevent it from going airborne. At Fukushima-Daiichi, Unit 4 though, an entire nuclear fuel core had just recently been removed from the containment, from the nuclear reactor, and was put into the spent fuel pool. That is what makes Daiichi Unit 4 unique. It has got an entire nuclear core, out of the reactor, out of the containment, and in the fuel pool.

    • ion jean ion jean

      I'm headed to YouTube and Jet Stream forecasts for the next 8 days

      F#&K it's like 3/11 all over again only worse unless they cool those spent fuel pools!?!

      • Yes. Please post what you find in the general discussion forum!

        Jet stream is south at this time of year, although it often dips up through Colorado and moves north into Minn, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin.


        • ion jean ion jean

          Same old sfp4 Shit, different day…flashback to 3/15/11: Yesterday the spent fuel rod pool at Fukushima Daiichi reactor 4 caught fire. About that time instruments at the plant showed an exponential increase in radiation levels. After the fire was quenched, radiation levels fell. In the hour before I sat down to write this, there was an explosion at the same spent fuel rod pool. As I write, another fire is burning there. NHK reports the radiation level – 300 to 400 milliSieverts – is so high that firefighters cannot approach the area.

      • moonshellblue moonshellblue

        Speaking of decay heat wouldn't fissioning or re-criticality be taken into consideration. I have read when this occurs it is like starting at day one of the accident? or am I mistaken.

        • !Moonshellblue, spent fuel is generating heat and the cooling system flushes heat away. The water is doing double duty as it is also sheilding radiation. Recriticalitywould happen if the pumps stop working and heat will rise until water boils away and if exposed to air recriticality will happen. I prefer to call it a nuclear fire.
          Common spent fuel pool has over 6000 fuel assemblys which hold I don't know 20 30 60??? Fuel rods each assembly. That will burn for decades I think.

          God Bless, what more can you say?

    • ion jean ion jean

      If 4 catches fire, 1 and 3 will explode (again) and I did find at the fuku diary that the Common SFPS is heating up as well .1-.3 ^C per hr = roughly 4 days.

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      Even after five years, the temperature of each spent fuel rod is about 400 degrees, so they are still 'hot' in more than one way.

      Plus the radiation from one of these suckers will kill you in a very short time, even after five years of 'cooling'.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    We're all breathing radiation from this mess. The worldwide nuclear industry, all scientists and their employers, must realize it's time to switch careers and get into solar and wind. Please do it, at least as a pay-back for the world-wide contamination from your nuclear contamination (every crop, all water, all dairy, all livestock, every human) try to reverse it. At least try.

  • Its Curtains

    It almost seems as if Gunderson is minimizing this whole fiasco "after which fire hoses can be used to continue cooling, Gundersen said." but I haven't heard the whole interview so maybe I'm wrong.

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      Minimizing this whole fiasco? Would he be more credible to you if he was waving his hands in the air and started shrieking about the imminent end of life on earth?

      It's the middle of winter in Japan. They didn't just have a tsunami that killed tens of thousands. The reactor operators are not being bathed in radiation in darkened, useless control rooms trying to keep three uncooled reactors from exploding. TEPCO/Yakuza management isn't pestering them with questions on the phone or suggesting they sacrifice everyone's life to save TEPCO's investment.

      It's just a power outage. It's not going to last three weeks – TEPCO is a power company for crying' out loud. They should be able to figure *this* one out…

      Oh – never mind. I see your point.

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Pu-239, The Half Life of Timofey Berezin; via A Green Road

    Iodine and Radioactive Iodine Facts; via A Green Road

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Pu-239, The Half Life of Timofey Berezin; via A Green Road

  • Mack Mack

    Was this posted yet?

    Unit 4 spent fuel pool temperature "rising by 0.3-0.4 degrees every hour"

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      They will spray with fire hoses if necessary but I really think this will be resolved very soon. At least I hope it will. The big problem for me is TEPCO as I rarely believe anything they say. I really wish they would speak the truth as we have no idea what is really happening and everything they say has to be taken with a grain of salt. Talk about a world of confusion.

  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    "Crews probably have four days to five days to restore power before pools reach levels beyond the controlled state known as cold shutdown"

    Why Arny Gundersen is a farce; Arent we happy we have Gundersen on "our side"? Of course. In fact there should be hundreds of Gundersens, out of the twenty thousand or so nuclear engineers working in the U.S. alone. How do you think we get to hear Gundersen, the one, lonely, thoughtful Gundersen? Nobody gets on the news without consent. Just try it! Think he is out having coffee and says, think Ill bop over to NBC, or chat with Bloomberg, see whats happenin' maybe have a chat?! Hahaha. And who owns the major news outlets? Well GE has big hands on it.

    ..Five days before losing Code Shutdown, but no problemo, roll out the hoses…. (I admire Arnie, and am glad he gets on the news)

  • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

    Hmm, and yet another version of the event with "no worries"…

  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    If anyone could get on the news, you would think Dan "almost looks like controlled demolition" Rather could get a minute, right? He says they threaten to put a burning tire around your neck if you say the wrong thing….kind of scared him off. But Arnie "its not as bad as it could have been" is a braver man, I guess. A man with time on his hands and a good word between his lips. Someone said they once mistook him for a pressure release valve.

  • Mack Mack

    As of 10 a.m. Tuesday,

    1. Fuel pool for Unit 4 = 30.5 degrees (from 25 degrees)
    2. Common pool storing spent fuel for all reactors was at 28.6 degrees
    3. Unit 1 pool = 17.1 degrees
    4. Unit 3 = 15.9 degrees

    "The plant is now using makeshift systems."

    Hearing the word "makeshift" used with anything nuclear isn't reassuring.

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      "…In a sense, we have put in place measures that leave no room for worry," Suga told reporters in a regular [TEPCO] press briefing…"

      Oh hell… EVACUATE TOKYO NOW!

      • pure water

        Come on, most of the ruling positions are occupied by psychopaths, and it is everywhere…The rest seems to be impotent in their attempts to do something, because they have to carry all the emotional burden of such decisions, so dubious because of the piled up lies. Wake up, people, it is up to you!

  • ftlt

    I still think this is a deflection… Meaning, they want to be seen as doing something heroic… Instead of their normal vapor lock… They are saving money while Japan and the world are being polluted…

    1st… All they have to do is run temporary pumps and power… to the pools – the pools ain't that big….

    2nd… If it is a water source issue… Temp. supplies can easily be had using temp. lines (yes, miles long – a standard military item)

    3rd… The reaction is global…. Made the BBC
    world news last night

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    "Crews probably have four days to five days to restore power before pools reach levels beyond the controlled state known as cold shutdown, after which fire hoses can be used to continue cooling, Gundersen said. […]"

    Beyond the state of cold shutdown?
    Oh..never mind.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    They pour goes through the debris..some is caught and has been reported…the rest escapes..through the various holes and fractures..and eventually out to sea.
    TEPCO of course..not knowing the source.

    But the light show..we have witnessed..since 3/11 shows..that the nuclear material is active.
    Man power v. coruim…(fire hoses?)
    I imagine it to be ..rather like spitting on a forest fire.