Fukushima 50 Special: Unit 4 pool “had boiled dry, raising the spectre of a nuclear fission chain reaction” — Feared nearby nuclear plant would be evacuated

Published: March 5th, 2013 at 2:20 pm ET


Title: ‘I am one of the Fukushima fifty’: One of the men who risked their lives to prevent a catastrophe shares his story
Source: The Independent
Author: David McNeill
Date: March 2, 2013
h/t Anonymous tip

They displayed a bravery few can comprehend, yet very little is known  about the men who stayed behind to save Japan’s stricken nuclear plant. In a rare interview, David McNeill meets Atsufumi Yoshizawa, who was at work on 11 March 2011 when disaster struck […]

Source: NHK

The engineer says he moved offsite for a few days to a disaster-response building in the town of Okuma, 5 km away. But on 15 and 16 March 2011 the situation at Daiichi reached its most critical phase. A series of hydrogen explosions had left much of the complex a tangled mess of radioactive concrete and steel. Unit three had exploded, three reactors were in meltdown and over 1000 fuel rods [assemblies] in the reactor four building, normally covered under 16 feet of water, had boiled dry, raising the spectre of a nuclear fission chain reaction. In his darkest moments, Mr Yoshizawa admits he shared the same fear as other experts – that the crisis could also trigger the evacuation of the Fukushima Daini plant 10 km away. […]

See also: [intlink id=”gundersen-soon-after-311-image-shows-nuclear-fuel-is-exposed-in-fukushima-unit-4-fuel-pool-clean-path-for-plutonium-to-escape-offsite-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: March 5th, 2013 at 2:20 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Kyodo: “Renewed nuclear chain reaction feared” at reactor No. 4 March 18, 2011
  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. 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 August 14, 2013
  5. Gov’t Report: Criticality suspected to have occurred in Fukushima fuel pool — Nuclear chain reaction after massive explosion at Unit 3 compressed fuel together? Concerned about ‘substantial damage’ to fuel (VIDEO) July 4, 2014

24 comments to Fukushima 50 Special: Unit 4 pool “had boiled dry, raising the spectre of a nuclear fission chain reaction” — Feared nearby nuclear plant would be evacuated

  • patb2009

    this is the first public statement that the SFP at Unit 4 went dry

  • Sickputer

    Rod Adams….don't you think you owe a lot of people an apology? Starting with the Chairman of the NRC and working your way down to Enenewsers:

    Atomic Rod: "The temperature in the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent fuel pool never exceeded 90 degrees C and the level in the pool never fell below the top of the used fuel that was stored there. The Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the people who supported his testimony to Congress on the afternoon of March 16, 2011 were dead wrong." —October 16, 2012


    SP: Oh there was somebody that was dead wrong…look in your mirror.

  • pcjensen

    Rod really does need to stop lying.

    • Nope he must continue, his ego and livelihood depend on it.

      Sorry, as we win battle by battle, plant closing by plant closing, he will get the wake up call he requires.

  • razzz razzz

    I don't get it.

    Any steam coming up in #4 means the pool is not completely dry and steam will still afford some cooling and parts of the rod assemblies that were exposed are not on fire, at least no flames in this video. Besides that, stored fuel rods are surrounded by boron filled shields that would need to fail and if Arnie was worried about putting out a spent fuel rod fire because water would be useless in that situation, it didn't happen as they refilled the pool(s).

    Then the follow on link 'See also: Gundersen soon after 3/11' has Arnie talking about a 'fuel bridge' in the pool, that would be in #3's pool with its fuel bridge in it not #4's. If any pool went completely dry, it has to be #3 before or during its explosion.

    More than likely #3 pool water flashed to steam sometime during the explosions. And if plutonium was a worry, it would have been more apt to come out from #3 in quantity not from the #4 pool. Besides #3's pool seems to be missing a lot of fuel rods from the videos and pics. Hence broken fuel rods freeing up plutonium and other nasty stuff found near and far around the plant site came from #3 not from #4.

    • We Not They Finally

      How would you even know if the steam coming up was from the elevated spent fuel pool, or from beneath it? Just asking. it's honestly confusing to follow the contruction of these buildings. And we don't get to get very close, do we?

    • Razz the reports on spent fuel pool 4 are simply contradictory

      There were plenty of early reports about a fire in unit 4 pool reported in the media.

      The NRC transcripts indicate the sides of the unit 4 pool were gone.

      Then, days later, the IAEA reported that the fires in 4 were somehow put out.

      That report disappeared from the web. I should have taken a screen shot.

      But something happened later in 2011 to spent fuel pool 4. I do have before-and-after screen shots. It looks like something was melted on unit 4 building, as evident in the shot from 2012 available here

      I have no idea what really happened…

      There are many theories, including some proposed by Sickputer and James

    • razzz razzz

      Granted, some fuel rods heated up and have split open, dumping their fuel pellets in pile somewhere or maybe even a some fuel rods caught fire somewhere onsite because of being isolated from cooling, that probably did happened.

      Steam and smoke act different. Even if the spent fuel was exposed and the steam passing by wasn't enough to cool it down on the outside while inside the rods continued it decay heating, they started refilling the pooling anyway with salt or freshwater before (most of) the fuel rods heated up enough to burn on their own. In #3 we really can't see how much left the building yet but probably blew out before it burnt out.

      Also in comparison #4 was crammed packed and over-limit with fuel assemblies. #3 had a typical load of spent fuels that had been cooling down, not counting any fresh MOX fuel loads.

      Not to beat a dead horse but have to keep the events straight as misplaced quotes or uncorrected mistakes are being used to describe what happened.

      • Starr quotes Alvarez in the clip posted at Enenews http://enenews.com/scientist-discusses-fukushima-disaster-during-highly-informative-interview-audio

        There is enough cesium in 34 assemblies to make 5000 miles technically uninhabitable.

      • razzz razzz

        That link discussed fuel cladding interacting with steam during steam injection tests.

        You can't produce steam unless you have a water source and a heat source.

        The only way hot zirconium cladding reacts with water/steam is by splitting H2O into an explosive hydrogen/oxygen mixture and it can do that using the surrounding air moisture when condition are right, that is why putting water on a cladding fire would make it a worse fire.

        You will have to quote how fuel rod cladding makes steam without water.

  • We Not They Finally

    We wondered about that from the start. Reactor 4 looked in worse shape than the bombed-out Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, and we were clueless as to how it could "contain" ANYTHING. Yet people kept saying they were fearful that it would topple or collapse. And we were thinking, what could still be in there ANYWAY? We always suspected that all, or at least most, of the damage happened in the first few days and it was irretrievable. We just never hear much about reactors 5 & 6. But we wonder if that's not because they were "saved," but because they were devoted to some top military secret project that was not supposed to be happening at that plant at all. Only time will tell….

  • Sol Man

    What looks like steam may be metal burning.

  • W8R W8R

    " Only time will tell "
    Wishful thinking… They may never tell the truth..
    As for the steam, umm, maybe the millions of gallons of water they were/are pumping THRU the reactors…
    The gasses lever lie, they had open air fission going on..

  • What is next?
    Fukushima power plant getting out of control???
    Still expecting some special worse case scenario before evacuating Tokyo???
    Think twice and act fast. People life is being put into a gambling machine.