Confirmed: 35-ton machine “sitting on top of the spent fuel rack in the pool” of Reactor No. 3 — Extent of damage not yet known (VIDEOS)

Published: April 17th, 2012 at 6:11 am ET


Title: First image obtained inside fuel pool of Fukushima I unit 3
Source: The Denki Shimbun (The Electric Daily News)
Date: Apr. 17, 2012

Underwater imagery inside the spent fuel pool of unit 3 of the Fukushima I nuclear power station was shot for the first time since the accident […] The unit’s fuel handling machine, which had been positioned above the fuel pool before the accident, has fallen into the pool along with a large amount of steel frames and other debris. 

[…] The camera captured an image of the end portion of the fuel handling machine engaged with the railing, and showed that the machine was sitting on top of the spent fuel rack in the pool. While the fuel handling machine is known to weigh 35 tons, the extent of the damage on the fuel rack has not been confirmed.

[…] (TEPCO), which operates the power plant, intends to “keep surveying the unit to determine the locations and conditions of the debris.”

Read the report here

Published: April 17th, 2012 at 6:11 am ET


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  3. Kyodo: Tepco finds 35-ton machine fallen in No. 3 fuel pool — Appears to have dropped on nuclear fuel racks (VIDEO) April 13, 2012
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16 comments to Confirmed: 35-ton machine “sitting on top of the spent fuel rack in the pool” of Reactor No. 3 — Extent of damage not yet known (VIDEOS)

  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    Does the machine weigh 35 tons or is it able to lift 35 tons?
    I thought I read that in a comment made by someone else to another article on this site.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      It weighs 35 tons. It must have cause a lot of damage to the SF depending on the amount of water and the force of it descent? I don't know but removing it will be an enormous challenge. One of many.

  • kill the hacs kill the hacs

    an overhead cask lifting crane like the one in the pool would have a capacity to lift 35 tons. they are always referred to by their capacity, not weight. That is why the confusion, Tepco is never clear on anything.

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      So the following is just stating the lifts capacity? Hmm. Cooper Nuclear relied completely on an older 197-ton Whiting turbine crane to complete necessary maintenance during refueling outages. The 30 year old crane was becoming a question mark more and more with each passing year. Obsolete technologies paired with declining reliability were the main problems. Breakdowns were rising and components were becoming harder to find.  Crane downtime during an outage was extremely costly for Cooper. Cooper’s critical path time was approximately $50,000 hourly.

    • the yeoman the yeoman

      Thanks for the clarification, should read 35-ton capacity crane.
      I feel much better 😉

      In all fairness to Tepco(parasites), its the scribe's responsiblity to understand nuclear energy nomenclature.

      After all a "journalist" should at least understand what they're parroting…right.

      oh yeah then it would be parroting…strike that

  • These cranes are Rail Trolley cranes for precise handling of loads with complete movement availability, unlike boom cranes that would flex, sway and boob !

    The damage to the handles is unknown to many on video yesterday, appeared that the rods had something on top ( small debris that fell into pool on top of fuel tubes ) of or material had burned out of fuel tubes piling up on tops ?

    • jdotg

      I highly doubt that material had burned out of fuel tubes then relocated itself back on top of the fuel rods. If it got hot enough to melt the fuel, it would have migrated to the bottom of the pool. Just like every other melt scenario. Debris from the entire building above the fuel the fuel pool which vanished is the likely culprit.

  • steve from virginia

    Tepco is a complete waste of time. They don't map anything, just stick cam (that took them a year to buy) in the water and pan it around.

    The junk on the service deck of the reactor March 15 is still there today. How hard is it to rent a magnet, put it on a crane and remove the junk, truck it away and bury it?

    Cranes are measured by capacity, not the weight of the crane itself. There are two cranes in the service are of the Fuku reactors: the fuel service crane that is being discussed and a larger, traveling overhead crane that handles the large parts of the reactor such as shield plugs.

    Tepco pretends that micro-precision is needed to handle the spent fuel but this is another Tepco fraud. They need fuel transfer cannisters that can hold water. An ordinary industrial robot can put the fuel into the cannister inside the spent fuel pool. The large cranes on site right now can move the cannisters into transport vehicles. If the Japanese would get off their lazy butts they would build a railroad spur into the reactor complex. Railcars would transport spent fuel in cannisters to Rakkosho or other reactor site. Cannisters can be what is used now to transfer fuel or metal boxes filled with boronated water.

    Most spent fuel @ Fukushima can be dry-casked anyway. Tepco is too cheap to buy casks @ $1 mil ea.

    US and other countries should lower the boom on Japan, a greater nuclear threat than Iran. "No car sales in US until fuel is removed!"

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      Steve: Agree with you 100%. 🙂 TEPCO is taking too long. Their PLAN takes too long. It's time to put an international crew together who will think big, act quickly, and who is not worrying about the costs. Question: Has TEPCO removed the fuel assemblies from SFP5&6, and put them into dry cask storage? Have the contents of SFP5&6 been shipped off site, as they should have been, so they are no longer in jeapordy should conditions at Fuku force workers off the site again?

    • jdotg

      Perhaps they were waiting for the radiation to diminish to more acceptable levels. Along with that being an issue, all of this said debris is now irradiated. And to a similar manner of that, the entire building itself is irradiated, both would have to be "Dry Casked." It took them 6 years at TMI to begin to remove fuel.

  • chrisk9

    The fuel handling machine (refueling bridge) weighs 35 tons, but could never lift anything close to that weight. It rides on rails between the reactor cavity and the spent fuel pool. Their is a catwalk along the entire length where the operators work. The only hook is very small and can only lift fuel assemblies or other objects that are not very heavy. The hook is connected to something like an upside down periscope with camera that they manipulate to handle the fuel 30 feet under water. This is in no way a heavy object lifting crane, it is built to be very precise in getting fuel bundles out of the reactor cavity and into the correct location in the spent fuel pool.

    It is good news that they can get an operator to the edge of the pool and put a camera into the pool without an excessive dose. At one time no one could get near the pool, and obviously the water level is close to normal.

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      chrisk9: From the motion, this camera may have been lowered by the tall crane outside the building. Probably no one had to stand by the SFP railing to get these videos.

  • Wreedles Wreedles

    OK, the fuel handling machine is in the #3 pool.

    Has anyone stated or figured out what is was that punched the hole in the roof of the Number 3 turbine building?

    It's an awfully big hole, but I've never heard any statement from anyone as to what caused it, besides the obvious and not-helpful description 'debris.'