Ex-Fukushima Worker: High risk they’ll break fuel rods in Unit 4 pool — Gundersen: Moving fuel risks nuclear chain reaction; You can’t stop it, no control rods to control it

Published: August 14th, 2013 at 1:40 pm ET
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Title: Insight: After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan’s nuclear clean-up
Source: Reuters
Author: Aaron Sheldrick and Antoni Slodkowski
Date: Aug 14, 2013

[...] The operation, beginning this November at the plant’s Reactor No. 4, is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle, said [Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies] and other nuclear experts.

[...] independent consultants Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt said recently in their World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013: “Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date.” [...]

“There is a risk of an inadvertent criticality if the bundles are distorted and get too close to each other,” Gundersen said. He was referring to an atomic chain reaction [...]

“The problem with a fuel pool criticality is that you can’t stop it. There are no control rods to control it,” Gundersen said. [...]

“Previously it was a computer-controlled process [...] It has to be done manually so there is a high risk that they will drop and break one of the fuel rods,” [Toshio Kimura, a former Tepco technician, who worked at Fukushima Daiichi for 11 years] said. [...]

See also: Reuters: Corrosion is weakening Fukushima Unit No. 4 -- Concern quake to 'topple' bulging structure -- Holds 14,000 Hiroshima bombs worth of cesium-137

Published: August 14th, 2013 at 1:40 pm ET
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47 comments

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