Nuclear fuel rods in Common Pool to be inspected for ‘soundness’ at Fukushima plant (PHOTO)

Published: December 20th, 2012 at 10:25 am ET
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16 comments


Title: Inspection of the Spent Fuel Appearance and the Fuel Rack in the Spent Fuel Common Pool at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
Source: Tepco
Date: Dec 20, 2012

Spent Fuel Appearance Inspection

The soundness of the spent fuel (the impact of the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake) will be evaluated.

  • Put the spent fuel on the fuel preparation machine installed on the pool wall and inspect the appearance utilizing an underwater camera.
  • 26 (planned) out of the 6,375 spent fuels stored in the common pool will be randomly selected for inspection after sorting out by the fuel type and fuel rack type.

Fuel Rack Inspection

The soundness of the spent fuel rack (the impact of the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake) will be evaluated in order to examine the feasibility of long-term spent fuel storage in the common pool.

  • The appearance of the rack materials will be inspected and the space between the foundation bolt nut and its seating surface will be checked by utilizing an underwater camera.
  • 2 (planned) out of the 76 fuel racks installed in the common pool will be randomly selected for inspection after sorting out by the fuel rack type and seismic margin.
  • For the purpose of mitigating the radiation impact on the underwater camera, all the spent fuels stored in and near the racks subject to the inspection will be moved to empty racks in advance.

See also: [intlink id=”mother-load-common-spent-fuel-pool-50-meters-away-4-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: December 20th, 2012 at 10:25 am ET
By

16 comments

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  3. Fukushima Daiichi Worker: I saw black smoke that came from Common Spent Fuel Pool’s chimney — I wonder if it was the smoke of boiler… it’s not fire (VIDEOS) January 7, 2013
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16 comments to Nuclear fuel rods in Common Pool to be inspected for ‘soundness’ at Fukushima plant (PHOTO)

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    While you are at it, TEPCO, why not remove a bunch of those 6,375 spent fuel assemblies to dry cask storage? You can assume that any spent fuel assembly cooled in sea water will corrode through and spill their fuel pellets during the next 3 – 6 years. Many of the fuel assemblies from SFP1,2,3,&4 are so damaged that they cannot be handled safely at all. Why not put them right into storage casks in each SFP, and leave them there. Handle each assembly once, and done. Get the casks out of the Common SFP and into a Permanent Storage Facility ASAP. Design a dry cask or a wet cask that can contain some of the hotter spent fuel. Mass produce them to cut costs. Get going. Time is short!

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Don't be surprised to learn that it is already too late. There had to have been severe damage on 311 and since and there must have been salt water used to cool the pool after 311.

      They were going to move fuel rods from SFP#4 to the common SFP and never have. They just aren't telling the truth.

      All the salt water used on Fuku Daini corroded all the cooling pipes and everything else.

      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        anne: Can the Common SFP be used to temporarily cool spent fuel assemblies from the other SFPs until they can go into dry cask storage? Or, by using sea water to cool the Common SFP, have they assured that the Common SFP will have pipes and pumps corroding and failing in the next few years? And at the same time, giving us another 6,375 spent fuel assemblies, in the Common SFP, which will corrode and fail over the next 3 – 6 years. Will their tests of spent fuel assemblies in the Common SFP prove that the fuel assemblies in the Common SFP cannot be safely handled until they can go into dry cask storage?

        And another technical question: What happens in a dry cask storage container if a damaged spent fuel assembly spills its load of fuel pellets into the bottom of the dry cask. Can there be a fire, criticality, or burn-through of the dry cask? How hot can 5 year old spent fuel pellets get, in contact with each other in a pile? Your thoughts would be much appreciated. :)&

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          We haven't been able to see the Common Spent Fuel Pool on the webcam since at least June, 2011, and maybe never. We haven't seen any video. I think the only thing going for it is that it isn't 100 feet in the air. There has been speculation in the past that the fuel rods were on fire in the common spent fuel pool. Surely a lot of thick, black smoke was seen billowing from that direction on the TEPCO cam. I suspect that corrosion started in March 2011 and has been continuing even since. The pool lining was most likely damaged on 311 when the earth dropped a whole foot and probably shifted horizontally as well. And the tsunami surely inundated this building along with the other nuclear reactor buildings.

        • jump-ball jump-ball

          "What happens in a dry cask storage container if a damaged spent fuel assembly spills its load":

          Words can't describe my doubt as to whether the dry cask was ever designed to seal a worst-case rod condition, on a money-is-no-object budget, but was rather finalized on a minimal cost design that would encase undamaged rods, on the same corporate principle as was the cost-saving 100 foot elevated SFP recommended by GE to BWR operators worldwide, instead of the totally safer, more costly, in-ground SFP.

          • Mack Mack

            jump-ball – You're not alone in thinking dry casks aren't the best idea.

            In Ace Hoffman's book 'The Code Killers," he says:

            "Dry casks were invented because spent fuel pools are expensive to maintain and take up a lot of space. Dry casks look harmless enough. Some are built vertically, some in a horizontal configuration, which just shows that the nuclear industry doesn't have a clue as to which way is better. However, dry casks are inherently more dangerous than spent fuel for several reasons: The zirconium will be exposed to air in virtually any accident since the fuel is not in water, and does not have 30 feet of water above it. Also, the fuel rods cannot be inspected as easily, or removed for special handling if they are found to be flawed.

            A single dry cash contains enough poisons to cause the permanent evacuation of a large state…"

            Page 17
            http://www.acehoffman.org/books/TheCodeKillers.pdf

          • Radio VicFromOregon

            jb, i think you have a correct assumption. I recall an interview with Arnie about TEPCO planning on just pulling out the unbroken rods, which he thought would be extremely difficult to do in the first place, then leaving the broken ones in the pool and not dry casking them. In the interview, his thought was that a broken fuel rod would be extremely hot and it would have to be done very quickly without breaking it further or dropping the dang thing. Ones with microcracks could possibly be transported in a lead sling wrapped around a water/boron pouch, but could even a rod in that condition be dry casked? Your question is not being answered by TEPCO, the NRC or the IAEA because there may not be an answer.

            • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

              The spent fuel pools simply cannot be emptied, because the fuel assemblies are too damaged and corroded to be handled safely. Vic, I agree with Arnie. They might make a show of removing the new fuel from SFPs, but a pile of spilled fuel pellets at the bottom of a smoking dry cask sitting in a yard full of other drycasks is something TEPCO won't be able to do much about. The seawater, fires, and dewatering of the pools have done so much damage to fuel assemblies, that they cannot be safely removed, nor transported, nor stored in dry casks.

              So the fuel stays where it is, for the most part. One by one, the spent fuel assemblies will corrode through, will break apart, and will spill fuel pellets onto the floors of all seven SFPs. TEPCO will continue to stumble from broken pipe to broken pipe, trying to keep the pumps running for the next 20 years, as the buildings continue to sink and break up. As Building4 crumbles and falls. This is just going to be incredibly discouraging to watch, isn't it?

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Fukushima Daichi or Daini? Why is Daini mentioned in your post? What did we all miss here that you seem to have found? Please explain.

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          That question was addressed to Anne re: Fukushima Daini.

          It is true there was damage at Fukushima Daini, but Anne, are you saying fuel from Fukushima Daichi and Daini are stored in one common storage pool? I was always under the impression Fukushima Daichi had its own common spent fuel pool, but maybe I missed something along the way.

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            I mentioned Fuku Daini because there was so much damage from the 311 earthquake and tsunami and cooling with seawater afterward that there is extremely little likelihood that the common spent fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi (which only stored fuel from Fuku Daiichi) was spared any damage from either the earthquake, the saltwater from the ocean tsunami, and the cooling of fuel with sea water afterward.

            I have posted pictures of earthquake damage at Fukushima daini and workers and TEPCO have said that the damage is such that these reactors can never be restored for use again.

            There is more information on the link above which is a comment to the enenews.com article and headline on Fukushima Daini.

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Here is the information about the damage to Daini:
          http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/08/fukushima-ii-not-i-nuke-plant.html?showComment=1313923325696#c8805646999477886239
          http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/05/shukan-asahi-fukushima-ii-daini.html
          The comments to the August 2011 ex-slf story and links to photos are important.
          The basement completely flooding from the tsunami means that everything was covered with salt water. There is no way to clean up the corrosion by salt water.
          The breakage of pipes by the earthquake would include the pipes running out of and below the reactor. With meltdown there is no way any repairs can be done. The loss of power reported was long enough and together with the damage by the earthquake meltdown must have happened. Maybe they hadn't welded close the means to vent the buildings and thus perhaps they avoided explosions. But this doesn't mean that meltdowns didn't occur.
          http://enenews.com/shukan-asahi-fukushima-daini-also-had-major-damage-after-311-submerged-under-4-meters-of-water

    • Fury Fury

      phil; It would take longer than what they are doing right now. The safest place is right where they are at. Most are still way too "hot" for dry cask or they would already have been there. They could get hot enough to build up enough pressure to leak vapors out, pollution release. As long as they don't use any more seawater the corrosion should stop. as far as any dissolved materials, thet could be vacuumed out and mixed with concrete and buried. And there is no permenent storage facility yet. would take years to build it.

  • RJ RJ

    Should read:

    "TEPCO management, local Fukushima and national government heads to be tested for soundness"

    • jump-ball jump-ball

      Be aware that "testing" has become a calculated political ruse, in the manner of u.s. treasury secretary "Mr. T" Geithner, advising u.s. and european banks on how to obfuscate their unsalvageable, bankrupt condition, by publicizing an otherwise unfounded, "successful stress test", of their current condition: think of your self-promoting cardiac surgeon declaring that your post-heart-attack surgery 'stress test' verifies your fitness to endure any further duress.