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
By

47 comments


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
By

47 comments

Related Posts

  1. Gundersen: They’ve admitted that all the boron has disintegrated in between spent fuel at Fukushima — It can cause a nuclear chain reaction if rods get too close together in pool (AUDIO) September 17, 2013
  2. Gundersen: 200 brand new fuel bundles in Fukushima Unit 4 pool are most at risk to start nuclear chain reaction — If too close together during removal, there will be a criticality — “They have to be very, very cautious” (AUDIO) September 27, 2013
  3. Gundersen: Unit 4 pool can turn into a nuclear reactor as they pull rods up — Bloomberg: Like a “self-sustained chain reaction similar to meltdowns” — NHK: Fuel is 1% plutonium (VIDEO) November 19, 2013
  4. Gundersen: Spent fuel likely to break when pulled from Fukushima Unit 4 pool — Racks have been distorted; Fuel rods overheated — Suspects some will be stuck there for long, long time (AUDIO) September 9, 2013
  5. Warning from Japan’s Top Nuclear Official: I am “much more worried” about fuel in Fukushima Unit 4 — Rods may break open and release highly radioactive material — Beware risks from debris, a disaster if damaged — Removal may start Nov. 8 October 30, 2013

47 comments to 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

  • davidh7426 davidh7426

    I truly never thought I'd be saying this, but…

    I envy the 'sheeple' their ignorance, they have no idea what's truly happening, so they have no reason to fear. But those of us who know even a little of events, we know fear, fear for the future, fear for those who are yet to be born.


    Report comment

    • davidh7426 davidh7426

      Please ignore my previous comment, I'm in a 'dark place' at the moment…

      I haven't drunk alcohol in 23 years, but with Fukushima getting worse by the day, I feel like getting 'rat-arsed' tonight :(


      Report comment

      • moonshellblue moonshellblue

        No worries davidh, this is where to vent as we do KNOW and as the saying goes…'ignorance is bliss tis folly to be wise."


        Report comment

      • Discordian

        And don't worry about that drinking, either. You're not alone, and the rest of us feel the same. :) Can't say Cheers, so Here's how (or Bottoms up)


        Report comment

      • UncleCrusty

        Cannot ignore your comment. It's too honest and real. I Haven't had a drop in 20yrs myself and I find myself in the same place frequently. Maybe you could unplug from the mayhem that is Fukushima for a bit. You might know a couple friends of mine. Bill and a guy named Bob? Go say hi for both of us. I forget sometimes I do not have to walk it alone Just a thought from a friend.
        Funny how this shit happens :-) Peace


        Report comment

        • vital1 vital1

          Our biggest responsibility is to future generations, and all life on this planet. How we act now will have profound effects on the future.

          Those of us who are aware must act positively, and with purpose, lives depend on it. Positive personal actions spread out, like a ripple in a pond, and make a huge difference.

          Here is one way you can do this, you may find other ways.

          Handing out and emailing this flyer has reached lots of people. It has the potential to save lots of lives. Action is what we need not just talk. It is a simple and effective method to spread awareness.

          Get the message out there on how serious the Fukushima nuclear disaster is quickly, and efficiently. You don’t need to explain anything just distribute the lifesaver.pdf or create your own, hand it out, mailbox it, or email it.

          http://technologypals.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/lifesaver.pdf


          Report comment

          • We Not They Finally

            vital1, thanks for continuing to push this. Just getting it onto people’s radar that the illnesses to come (tragically, yes) will be radiation caused, is essential.


            Report comment

          • TheDebi

            Is it possible for someone with the appropriate knowledge level update the information in this pdf? I can offer this as a link on my news website (I have a couple of thousand twitter followers too) but it would be more effective if recent information were included.


            Report comment

      • Nigwil

        We know drug alcohol never made any problem better. Hold a steady course mate! We need you bright eyed and bushy tailed!


        Report comment

    • We Not They Finally

      I understand the sentiment — fear, depression, rage, all that. Just DON'T DRINK. You'd only be hurting yourself. And remember that you are NOT ALONE. Also (if you have any spiritual beliefs) try to remember that higher powers have compassion for us poor humans, whatever it may seem like from day to day. Stay well.


      Report comment

      • mteafws

        Feels pretty lonely when my friends and family tell me I am being silly, or dumb when I tell them about the situation. I like your positive outlook though, cuz I am spiritual, and you've steered me in the right direction again. Thank you, for reminding me I an NOT alone, and not to give in to my fear, depression, rage, all that. Take care.


        Report comment

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    It can be anticipated that lack of cooling water, fires, falling debris (from the explosions), salt water corrosion, and neglect have weakened a significant number of spent fuel assemblies in SFP1,3,&4. Some will be leakers, complicating CSFP and dry cask storage. Some may break during handling. A fuel assembly contains half a ton of fuel pellets. These are normally spaced apart in zircaloy tubes, allowing for cooling by water and steam. But in a "pile" on the floor of a SFP, the water turns into a reflector, and loses its ability to cool the pellets by removing the heat of fission. Melt-down and pooling of the molten pellets can be expected to occur during fuel removal. And many MOX, and perhaps PuBreeders, are in SFP3&4. This, in turn, seriously increases the heat in the pool, and demands on the pumps and cooling system components. The result will be a very slow fuel removal process. TEPCO should be developing strategies for cleaning up spilled fuel pellets. (This problem has been mentioned many times on ENEnews over the months. Good to hear Arnie bring up thus problem.). ;)


    Report comment

  • 21stCentury 21stCentury

    Neutron moderators -v- Neutron absorbers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_moderator

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_capture

    …and the boron was shipped to Japan on a 20 mule-team wagon.


    Report comment

  • Sol Man

    I just came back from the store. Talked to one person while there and told her about enenews. She had no idea= of anything about this ongoing nightmare! That is the way with most people that I have spoken to about this. Speak truth!


    Report comment

    • vital1 vital1

      Get the message out there on how serious the Fukushima nuclear disaster is
      quickly, and efficiently. You don’t need to explain anything just distribute the lifesaver.pdf or create your own, hand it out, mailbox it, or email it.

      http://technologypals.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/lifesaver.pdf


      Report comment

    • We Not They Finally

      Sol Man, yes, but it is also amazing how many people DO know. My husband and I (he’s gregarious) talk to random strangers and it’s amazing what people seem to pick up even if they are not going out of their way to research the info. Even a lot of kids out there in their early twenties seem to know. Of course the vast majority is still distracted or glazed. But that may shift rapidly for a lot of other reasons.

      The big thing is that when it finally “hits home” in the U.S. in ways too huge to ignore, that accurate info is put out there, and that there is not suddenly some bad “diversion.” (Don’t want to spell that one out.)


      Report comment

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Did you notice that glazed look/stare coming from behind her eyes?

    Like a fog floating around her brain?

    Thats fluoride and GMO foods doing their designed magic and its all wonderful and I bet she can't wait to go out and do her very own personal shopping and/or then get back home to watch her favorite TV show!

    This is a taught Zeitgeist paradigm..


    Report comment

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    "Possible"? It's been the worst radiological disaster since 3/11. And it isn't "possibly" going to get much worse. It will definitely get much worse for at least the next 250,000 years.


    Report comment

    • razzz razzz

      Without containment of the melted cores, no telling what might happen but continued radioactive releases is guaranteed.


      Report comment

    • We Not They Finally

      anne, tragically you are correct, however frightening that sounds. Genetic damage bio-accumulates into the future through genetic lines. The grandchildren are worse off than the children, and so on. God help us all.

      In 1942, the world thought that WWII was the worst catastrophe to ever befall Mankind. All while “they” were hatching something even wors…


      Report comment

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Well that thought is something for mankind to look forward too!

      So sad and true!


      Report comment

  • gmathol

    It is to late anyway! The fish population in the Pacific might be already contaminated.

    Japan is a great nation of No-nos.


    Report comment

  • We Not They Finally

    “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.

    Oh, and we all think that the fuel rods are just neatly stacked like matchsticks, not intertwined like twisted sisters, or melted, or if you pull on one you can topple another? I’m all for them TRYING, but I fear that this has “bad luck” written all over it.

    Besides, it might have desperation/last-ditch-effort written all over it too. Apprehensive here, to say the least.


    Report comment

  • We Not They Finally

    Again, all this new, open panic arose on the heels of that last EARTHQUAKE. So their silence about that is another big lie. And typhoons are on the way. Good God!


    Report comment

  • nedlifromvermont

    a little story from the opening chapters in "We Almost Lost Detroit" with some applicability here …

    Out in sunny Idaho (where GE nuclear makes its base), a team of reactor operators was messing around with the fuel rods, control rods in a reactor core, (Experimantal reactor SL-1 I believe)

    and a control rod stuck … so the guy yanked on it … and a criticality was induced, with an explosion and release of radioactive material into the containment area,

    the two guys died; one they found right away, and he was buried in a lead box, two hundred feet down a shaft,

    and the other guy (the Yanker?) they couldn't locate him, because it was dark inside the sealed containment structure, and nobody could hang around looking for a good ol' nuker boy for more than a few minutes, because of the radiation levels …

    they finally found him, dead, and highly radioactive, impaled on the rebar sticking through the concrete, on the top of the containment,

    and it took many teams, many days to recover the body off the ceiling, because he had yanked at the stuck control rod, a little too hard!!!

    Think it will be like that here?

    Why did you have to "push it through" Mr. GE? You could have set up dude ranches on the areas with the uranium deposits you speculated on!

    Now, we're all going to go down ('cept those in their swanky bunkers

    peace … I suppose?!?!


    Report comment

  • got air got air

    nukers are like the bankers in congress. quantitative easing in today's justus system that seems work so far.


    Report comment

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Is a bunker like a strip club? :)


    Report comment

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Worst News: Unit 4 SFP contains a full load of MOX fuel, with much plutonium.
    http://www.japannewstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/SpentFuelRodPoolFukushimaDaiichiNuclearPlantUnit41.jpg
    See the photo of SFP4, with the rack of MOX fuel on the lower left.
    MOX fuel assemblies have a unique handle on top, different from uranium fuel visable in other racks.
    TEPCO says:
    "I got your billions of lethal doses of plutonium right here." ;)


    Report comment

  • SusanS

    ☢ Fukushima Petitions to Sign & Share! ☢
    ☢ Japan Needs Worldwide Help NOW! ☢

    http://tinyurl.com/FixFuku

    We need a worldwide consortium made up of experts in the field to start brainstorming solutions to what is happening in Fukushima and what can be done to FIX it. We need them NOW. Each country will also need to commit funds to this effort, since it is and will continue to affect the entire planet. The consequences could be the extinction of all life on earth. It is past time to do this. Japan is calling for help and they can not handle it alone.

    ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢


    Report comment

  • SusanS

    ☢ Japan Needs Worldwide Help NOW! ☢

    ☢ Fukushima Petitions to Sign & Share! ☢

    http://tinyurl.com/FixFuku

    We need a worldwide consortium made up of experts in the field to start brainstorming solutions to what is happening in Fukushima and what can be done to FIX it. We need them NOW. Each country will also need to commit funds to this effort, since it is and will continue to affect the entire planet. The consequences could be the extinction of all life on earth. It is past time to do this. Japan is calling for help and they can not handle it alone.

    ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢ ☢


    Report comment