Gundersen: Quite likely that 400 foot tall tower near Fukushima reactors “buckled” from massive earthquake — Consequences of it collapsing being analyzed by Tepco (VIDEO)

Published: October 4th, 2013 at 1:57 pm ET


Follow-up to: [intlink id=”tv-officials-concerned-400-ft-tall-pipe-next-to-fukushima-reactors-will-collapse-during-quake-8-cracks-found-in-support-brace-govt-orders-immediate-investigation-tepco-unsure-how-to-acces” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Tour of Fukushima Daiichi, October 3, 2013 – Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Chief Engineer (at 6:30 in): Tokyo Electric found cracks in the stack at about 66 meters up. That’s likely a seismic node, and its quite likely that that stack buckled from the earthquake.

Fukushima Diary, September 25, 2013:  Having been required by Nuclear Regulation Authority to take prevention based on the worst assumption, Tepco announced [on Sept. 25] they are calculating the possibility of [the stack] collapsing and the potential damage of it.

Tepco: We continue to monitor and analyze the situation.

Watch the Fairewinds video here

Published: October 4th, 2013 at 1:57 pm ET


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  2. New report shows support braces completely severed on 400-foot tower near Fukushima reactors (PHOTOS) October 7, 2013
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34 comments to Gundersen: Quite likely that 400 foot tall tower near Fukushima reactors “buckled” from massive earthquake — Consequences of it collapsing being analyzed by Tepco (VIDEO)

  • Patrick-Henry Patrick-Henry

    More fun from Fukushima…

    The comedy of problems and errors rolls on…

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Tall stacks at nuclear plants are designed to vent the reactor containment in case of excessive pressure.
    The use of the term "containment" probably isn't the proper name for a vessel too small to contain anything.
    At Fukushima, the stacks are the third "fix" for the small containment design flaw.
    In the 1960's, GE designed the little Mark I reactor to be, well, little.
    It turned out that the Containment Vessel was designed too small, and couldn't contain even a small accident.
    So, they designed a Torus, the donut-shapped wet well that sits under the containment vessel to absorbe the pressure of an accident, when the pressure just can't be contained by the "Containment Vessel".
    Experience with the Torus soon proved that it, too, couldn't contain an accident within the Mark I Reactor.

    Enter the tall stacks.

    Excess pressure would have to be vented from the Reactors directly to the environment.
    So GE Mark 1 reactors (23 of these dangerous old boys are still operating in the US) ultimately vent to the out-of-doors.
    The problem at Fukushima is that the valves used to vent the reactors are manual, meaning that in the event of an emergency, workers have to go into the plant and open those valves.
    Any volunteers?
    So, Unit 1 blew up.
    Then Unit 2 blew the Torus with a thud.
    Then Unit 3 blew sky high, in a spectacular daytime explosion that ended nuclear power worldwide.
    Then Unit 4 blew up.
    Did any of those vent stacks even get opened up?

    • MichaelV MichaelV

      No need to open anything at that point; the quantified energy found the weakest link in the triple redundancy safety loops.

      What does an auto dealer's 25 point pre-sale inspection include..?

    • We Not They Finally

      Wow, Philip. That's breathtaking. Just when you thought there could not be any more stories about fatally bad designs….

  • Jack Jack

    What's going up that stack to emit 10 sieverts? Looks like the pokemonkeys have some more bowing and apologizing to do.

  • AliveandGlowing1

    so…….what happens when they hit the dirt?

  • AliveandGlowing1

    ………as if I didn't know. I've never been so calm in my life…hey, anybody think thatkind of a 'big dirtbang' would be enough to set Daiini off to? I heard through the grapevine they got some real woes with some kind of 'seals' or something…..we'll just call this the last interlude…….before the 7th shew drops.

    Please, feel free to continue mocking every word I say…….. at the top of your lungs…….and stay away from my profile….

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      " … and stay away from my profile."

      What on earth is that supposed to mean? Isn't making it available for others to view the purpose of creating one in the first place?, oh mysterious one?

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        IMO, and I don't mean to sound like I'm attacking you, but if the profile information is a concern for you, just don't include information you don't want to have others see. That's what I did, because I like my privacy. Then you're at liberty to reveal what you want to about yourself, when you want to.

        'Just sayin' as we say here in the vernacular, Stateside.

  • AliveandGlowing1

    ..who knows? Maybe that 'god' character will give y'all one last WARNING SHOT HEADLINE………….just so's you will know for 100% sure just where we are in the great big scheme of

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Still 10 Sieverts..huh?

    I'm sure an the original earthquake might have buckled it.. an earthquake could take it out..but I also think..corrosion due to exposure to high radiation could also cause it to topple.

    Tepco: Ultra-high radiation levels may be from melted fuel that leaked out of containment vessel (PHOTO)
    Aug. 2 2011

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      corrosion is evident. The nodal point theory is interesting. Those are also big antenna/wave guides. I wonder if ionized gases accumulate on antenna nodes? It has the appearance of being a super strong structure. How would a metal structure like that succumb to earthquake loads; bending/buckling at truss beam mid points or joint cracking? My vote goes toward local corrosion, perhaps present to some degree before the earthquake even. Welds are corroding

      • We Not They Finally

        Well, all the storage tanks are apparently corroding too. They were not built NOT to.

        • gottagetoffthegrid

          I think they just did a sh!tty job putting them together.

          The last tank's base cracked. Probably b/c they didn't prepare a foundation properly.

          The others leaked at a seam– crap assembly.

          We all know TEPCO has the D or E team on this.

          Makes me want to cry

    • gottagetoffthegrid

      10 Sv per hour, Rose.

      We must remain vigilant wrt units here. The nuke/o-philes like to confuse things,obfuscate, baffle and downright lie by spewing all sorts of units.

      10 Sv/hr is a horrific dose rate. Chernobyl's exposed core was only 300 Sv/hr.
      that stack must be coated with condensed Cs137 and its salts.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        gottagetoffhtegrid, did you mean Chernobyl's exposed core was 300 mSv/hr? Millisieverts per hour?

        I watched video documentaries again recently, and dose rates were given in Roentgens or the measure previously used in Europe. Haven't seen (or computed) the dose equivalent in Sievert type units, thanks.

  • Replacant Replacant

    The key being the site is becoming so radioactive the ability to "work" on the site to "fix" issues is being prevented. Its getting worse each day and this doesnt even mention how much the lost coriums of Fukushima are contributing, these should be located via thermal and other sensors immediate, its a matter of life and death for Japan, the Pacific and possibly the world.

  • Oh yeah, that was two weeks ago TepGov reported that and since the tower is sitting around a high radiation level they are figuring out how to figure out what to do. What we have here is just Arnie pointing out this as another problem in his welcome synopsis. Even what Arnie says you have to read between the lines and this is not a put down of Arnie. He maintains some type of conservative veneer in order to look credible to the masses, to keep the shadowy men from his back door, to get another invite from Fox etc. etc. I'm grateful for anything he says. He is a nuclear industry refugee. First "They can't do too much as its too radio active" on the site that isn't the cores, not even in the reactor buildings. Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will one day the whole site have to be evacuated to avoid the crew exiting in body bags? And more important how will that effect Tepco stocks and relationships with banks moving forward through fiscal 2014? Silly Japan. You nuked yourself.

  • jackassrig

    Well Arnie is a little late. The collapse of the towers was discussed right here on channel ENENEWS almost 2.5 years ago.

    • We Not They Finally

      News stories don't always come out in the order they happened. There is actually A TON of stuff gone at once over lightly back then that bears repeating.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    C I R C U L A T I N G . T H E . G L O B E . . F A L L O U T . F O R . Y E A R S

    This nuclear plant was a disaster waiting to happen, as are many others.

  • sangell

    I was curious so looked up what the winter weather was near Fukushima. Sendai, the nearest big city has an average January low temperature of 27.86F. Folks all that piping around those storage tanks and even any piping in those reactor building are vulnerable to freezing and bursting during any prolonged cold spell!

    Those Kevlar tents they built around the ruins of reactor buildings 1 and 4 are going to do something else. They are going to prevent any daytime warming so it will be even colder inside those reactor buildings at least away from the fuel pools and corium deposits.

  • jackassrig

    It's not uncommon for a structure of this height to sway 18" to 20" at the top from wind loading. There's nothing a designer can do for the sway. The only thing to do is keep the stresses at the welds very low. The connection shown is where all of the bracing ties back to the structure. The weld failure shown is from IMO fatigue. The loading at this point is reversing due to the sway and the constant quaking at the site. This is causing very high stresses at the connection. Since TEPCO can not do minimal maintenance at the site, the tower is going to fall. Corrosion, fatigue, and lack of maintenance are unrelenting. I think TEPCO should tie a cable to the tower with a winch and try to direct the fall. TEPCO can not allow this tower to fall into the reactor buildings. The tower will take building and SFP with it. The tower is very heavy and as it gains momentum in the fall it will be the end to one or more reactor buildings.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Why not build them on movable structures as is done with skyscrapers? Then perhaps (if such an engineering and design feat could apply to these towers) they could better withstand the forces of wind and earthquakes.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        This kind of thing (movable platform designs) can be tested on tilt tables at Universities where structures are designed and tested by engineers.

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Of course, then everything attached to the stack or tower has to have apparatus to flex and bend, as well. So maybe it's too complicated, and not feasible or cost effective. (Yeah, that cost effectiveness will get ya every time.)

  • FXofTruth

    Can we all agree that GE is a screw-up company that makes lousy appliances and nuclear reactors. It also has the dumbest CEO on the Planet making idiotic statements like, "This will all be cleaned up and be better than before!" What he's really saying…it was a mess before and then this really bad mess happened but, we'll clean this mess better than we did the last one!

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    .. 🙂

  • jackassrig

    John Zink-I don't have stock in the company-has made self supporting stacks FOR YEARs. Of course it's more expensive to go this route. Who would think TEPCO would go the cheap route? The stacks at FUKU generate much drag from the wind because of the supporting structure. Remember the Tacoma Narrows bridge? That's what happens when the wind resonates with the natural frequency of the structure. This stack is 400' high and the winds-I don't have a reference in front of me-are say 80 mph at 400'. If it's round it produces less drag-profile and friction. All of the corrosion and general degradation has changed the frequency response so the next major EQ or the wind could buckle the whole sorry mess.

  • sangell

    If you look at the Fairewinds video you will see that the pipes and valves that move the radioactive water around the facility are just laid out on top of the ground. In the winter there is an excellent chance that those pipes and hoses will freeze and burst or that ice will form in the valves and make it impossible for water to flow through them. Up to now large leaks of radioactive water have soaked into the ground or drained into the ocean. That won't happen during cold weather though. The water will pour out and turn into ice. Radioactive ice. What happens if/when the ground of the Fukushima power plant are covered with a sheet of radioactive ice?