Gundersen: Up to 3 explosions hit Fukushima Unit 4 after 3/11 — Study: There was fire in its spent fuel pool — NPR: Big worry since fire weakened building’s structure (AUDIO)

Published: November 21st, 2013 at 4:03 pm ET


NPR, Nov. 18, 2013: […] a fire in containment building [at Unit 4] weakened the structure. Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO, the utility that operates Fukushima, has reinforced the Unit 4 containment structure, but NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel says it’s continued to be a big worry.

Geoff Brumfiel, NPR, Nov. 18, 2013: [The] fourth reactor caught fire. And ever since, that reactor, Reactor 4, has been a big worry.

Chinese Science Bulletin, May 2013: “Fire in the spent fuel pool at the Fukushima reactor”

WBEZ’s Worldview, Nov. 19, 2013 — Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen (at 5:00 in): The building was structurally compromised. There was at least 2 if not 3 explosions in the building.

WBEZ’s interview with Gundersen available here

See also: [intlink id=”3-recent-studies-report-fukushima-unit-4-was-on-fire-multiple-times-occurred-in-spent-fuel-cooling-pool” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: November 21st, 2013 at 4:03 pm ET


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  2. Nuclear Expert: Fuel rods in Fukushima Unit 4 “may not be in their original position” — Concern over “way the spent fuel is sitting in pool” (AUDIO) November 1, 2013
  3. Fire alarm goes off nearby Fukushima spent fuel pool — Tepco: “No smoke, etc. was found around ceiling at site using a web camera… we have judged incident was malfunction” August 5, 2013
  4. Gundersen: Intake Structure that cools reactor and spent fuel pool is probably most vulnerable part of Ft. Calhoun nuke plan — Critical that it stays dry (VIDEO) June 28, 2011
  5. 3 recent studies report multiple fires at Fukushima Unit 4 — “Occurred in spent fuel cooling pool” October 16, 2013

53 comments to Gundersen: Up to 3 explosions hit Fukushima Unit 4 after 3/11 — Study: There was fire in its spent fuel pool — NPR: Big worry since fire weakened building’s structure (AUDIO)

  • Canuck1

    I just watched some happy customers buying Pacific fish with big grins on their faces, as they walk away with radiated fish particles..
    Its shooting a machine gun up in the air and see if the bullets fall and hit you in the head..Lets take a chance…

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    Irritating when the report/article doesn't even differentiate between a fire/explosion in a reactor vs. a spent fuel pool. Big difference.

    "Geoff Brumfiel, NPR, Nov. 18, 2013: [The] fourth reactor caught fire. And ever since, that reactor, Reactor 4, has been a big worry."

    Very careless reporting. Poor fact checking. Journalistic failure.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Is Brumfiel of NPR referring to the fuel pool or the reactor? Sheesh, dude, get your facts straight.

    • 富岡_Blue_Heron 富岡_Blue_Heron

      At least they reported something moderately scary. Sort of like, "Well, folks, we had to do a story on it. Sorry."

  • Ontological Ontological

    pure crap plz don't add this stuff to the feed admin.

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    Still no reports on extraction of fuel at reactor 4 itself. TEPCO has been mum on the issue and no new information has since surfaced. The problem stands with the levels of radiation that has not been reported to the public at reactor 4. If TEPCO expects to remove any fuel from the fuel pool, the status of the reactor must also be published to the public. They could be very well hiding a 3rd type of reactor explosion with 90% control rods injected and 10% containment failure with miniature fission events. The status must be reported to the public to know the duration that workers at unit 4 can sustain operations such as COOLING and BORON CRISIS management. Boron itself is not even a very good filter for radioactive decay. Over time even the Boron cannot sustain concentration levels and is subject to critical events. It's just starting. The reactor 4 building did explode. If TEPCO is hiding an entire nuclear fission event every calculation made of the level of catastrophe is blow out of the water. "We and I and Grampybone are OUTTA HERE!"

  • pkjn

    Japan: Lawmaker receives death threat after handing letter to emperor
    TOKYO, Nov. 21 (United Press International) — Japanese lawmaker Yamamoto, who has been criticized for handing a letter to the emperor, received an envelope with a bullet in it, authorities said.
    The envelope also contained a letter threatening to kill Yamamoto.
    Police said they have launched an investigation.
    Last week, another envelope was sent to Yamamoto with a knife inside.
    The lawmaker was recently reprimanded for handing a letter directly to Emperor during a party last month.
    Yamamato, an antinuclear activist, said the letter urged the emperor to pay attention to problems caused by the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima atomic power station.

  • Charles Charles

    What I want to know is how the hell was there an explosion in a non working reactor???

  • micsam

    Video of Water being sprayed on SFP 4 fire after explosions March 21 2011. Is There any fuel that can be removed or is there any fuel there at all? Tepco mass deception look at SFP4 don't look at R5&6 SFP's or R1,2,3 or the other Reactors in Japan

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    Does anyone know how long the small amount of water that is in the transfer casks is expected to stay cool during the transport to the csfp? I was under the impression that spent fuel rods were not to be moved from its own reactor's sfp for 7 to 8 yrs of core removal because of heat concerns. Right now they are moving the unused assemblies, what happens when they start to pull the spent fuel?

    • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

      On the other hand, is there any fuel left to move?

    • razzz razzz

      I read it takes 4-5 years for decay heat in fuel rods to reach levels where it can be air cooled. The reactor is empty in Unit 4 and the fuel that was in there was moved to the fuel pool. It had been at least a year the reactor was emptied maybe 2 years plus going on 3 years since the Great Quake so that makes at least 4 years that the core load has had a chance to cool down, almost ready for air cooling casks.

      Exposed to air, due to decay heat, fuel rod cladding can heat up and on flame on then the cladding begins reacting with air to sustain it own fire by converting moisture in air to hydrogen and oxygen. Decay heat output is higher in fuel that has been irradiated inside a core after about 3-4 years of use and finally removed as spent fuel that is no longer able to fission efficiently.

      Low water in the pool exposes the top of fuel rods and the cladding begins heating up possibly burns if exposed to air long enough esp. rods from the recent core removal being the most active with decay heat early in the disaster. That's how you get a fire in the fuel pool and hydrogen gas build up that might exploded.

      If the fuel overheated or caught fire or both then the worry is the cladding is to fragile to be moved. Ceramic means some type of clay material and has the uranium mixed in it to form the pellets. Clay melts around 3,000F+/- degrees.

      While pools were low on water parts of the fuel could fission and heat up, a reset for decay heat timing with fresh byproducts.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        The fuel was only out of the reactor 2 months when the quake hit. And some had never been in the reactor. And some MOX fuel that hadn't been ever used was stored for reactor 3. Then there have been fires and explosions an the fuel many all be damaged. So it may never be ready for a dry cask.

        The experts are all worried.

        Why anyone would want to live in the world with another new reactor or nuclear weapons is beyond me.

        • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

          Hi anne. You missed my question. The canister that the fuel assemblies are placed in for transport from unit4 sfp to the csfp. They are loaded under water and the amount of water inside the canister after the canister lid is put on, along with a load of assemblies. Doesn't seem like there is much cooling water in the canister during the move from reactor sfp to the csfp. Overheating inside the canister because of any delay during the way could be an issue. Remember that the fuel rod assemblies are going from one pool to another because they are still to hot to long term cask yet. The water in the canister/cask can't stay cool for long again was my concern. What say you?

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            I'm definitely not an expert. I would think that it is routine if the fuel is spent from the reactor and not damaged in any way. I make that assumption from the fact that I think I read that the spent fuel pool is not really supposed to store spent fuel for any length of time. There might be more than just water to stop a reaction suck as boron. Also they have been injecting nitrogen to ward off an explosion.

            However, I think that all or most of the fuel is most likely damaged, so I think you are right to question that there is great danger to be transporting the fuel from the pool in unit 4 to the common spent fuel pool. And that may be why they are transporting it to the common spent fuel pool. Maybe a pool off site would take too long for the transport.

            I think that when the experts are all greatly concerned, then the probability for multiple disasters is quite high.

            I don't know what happened with the petition to the UN to take oversight of the fuel removal away from TEPCO. It is difficult to have any confidence in TEPCO at all.

            • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

              Sorry, such as boron.

            • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

              What I meant, the spent fuel pool in unit 4 was not designed to hold the spent fuel for a long time (from something I read), and that is why the common spent fuel pool exists. But after 40 years there is so much spent fuel, and the casks for dry cask storage are very expensive, so the spent fuel is stored long after it could have been moved to dry cask storage.

              I have no idea as to how ordinary operations may have been affected by nuclear weapons production, or if experiments were being conducted using breeder rods. I did see in one of the videos of SFP 4 a rack of rods without handles that PattieB had pointed out. And I read today that the 6% use of plutonium in MOX fuel is an average for the fuel assembly and that an individual rod can have as much plutonium as someone might want.

              The problem with SFP fuel removal is also that with the uneven subsistence of the building (3 feet or more) and the earthquakes, the fuel racks are damaged. So I don't see how they will be able to extract all the fuel assemblies without an inadvertent criticality.

              • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

                Also someone said (whether they were right or wrong I don't know) that the zirconium wouldn't have been affected by the salty seawater used for cooling.

                But if there is corrosion of the fuel racks by the sea water, or corrosion of the handles of the fuel assemblies, it is going to be impossible to remove the assemblies without a criticality, IMHO.

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            If there is an earthquake during the moving process or some kind of accident caused by workers who are mentally disabled or drunk, this is going to be a real problem. And I can't imagine anyone with technical expertise wanting to be present, the danger is so great.

        • It can take 15 years for the newest 'high burnup' fuel that they like using to cool off enough to transfer. It is to hot, that there is no current approved way to store it.

  • Socrates

    How can anyone do a proper forensic investigation without a lie detector test? Now there are threats and criminal penalties to question authority. That speaks volumes.

    The NRC documents say the fuel burned up. Much of it did. Part of it did. Some of it did.

    It is my lungs. It is my childtens' lungs. It am sick of playing this game of hide the weenie. Just tell the truth and shame the devil. A loss of credibility and trust will only make things worse.

    If we are all exposed because someone went cheap, then let's get it out in the open. Lying will only make things worse.

  • pinksailmatt pinksailmatt

    They don't think we can handle the truth.

    • gottagetoffthegrid

      I don't think the majority can understand the truth, even though it is simple: you and your kids, etc will die young because of the great Fuku.

      They may not even care.

      The only way to kill nuke power is to cap total planetary power production. That means everyone must reduce their power usage by 5 to 10% per year. Every year. Forever. Unless we can fix the population to 5 Billion. What? Oh. Seven you say? Missed the boat in 1990? Shoot!

      Seriously. Max earth solar power will be exceeded in 350 yrs. then it's nuke only. There is a great write up on The Oil Drum. It does the thermodynamics for us geeks too 😉

  • SadieDog

    Is it a coincidence that our most popular famous profane term, i.e. we are fu**ed, is also in the name of what will undoubtedly f*** us.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Got, you make some excellent points and yes we are currently energy pigs by design and fashion. I for one think we will develop new cleaner energy technologies that will not do the same damage the ones we recently have used have done. I am hopeful we can pivot off of Nuclear and do it quickly.

    We here must be the ones to/that spread the reality of what is now happening to everyone we know and to anyone in the reigns of political power so we can enact the proper changes.

    I always like to listen to this one and Joe is one of the best guitarists in the wold and worth a follow around youtube. He has a way of capturing my pain with the strings and riffs of his guitar..enjoy!

  • rakingmuck

    Unlike most here I am not a nuclear expert. I am a researcher and strategist. I get paid well for it, mostly because I am extraordinarily thorough. I have felt for the past two years that all of this "noise" about Unit 4 is a grand distraction as all evidence points to a lack of the estimated fuel and spent fuel maintained by the lairs (collectively). I agree, sadly, that this corrupt and evil cabal will allow an extraordinary event to take place that can be blamed on "human error". All the evidence required has already been seeded by the number of stories in the MSM about human error being responsible for events at US NNP. (workers drinking, slacking off,etc). So they will have their grand event. And live in bunkers for the rest of their days. That is hell.

  • Nick

    Today, one that is forever etched in my (then) 5-year old brain, I find myself wishing we had a viable colony on the moon. A place where we learned how to live in the harshness of space, get pregnant and raise healthy offspring.

    The lessons of such extreme living could then have been applied to present day earth.

    Don't we need to start building huge domes with sophisticated filters over parts of cities?

    Don't we need to extract water from deep earth materials (far away from Fukushima/nuclear radiation?

    Don';t we need to be growing food in same domes, in a desperate attempt to slow down the inevitable
    destruction of plant DNA?

    We choose to go to the moon. …..not because it is easy but because it is hard…..

    What a fantastic program Apollo was.

    There is no Manhattan Project or Race to the Moon type effort that can clean up Fukushima. Absolutely nothing can undo what has already transpired.

    All that's left is for humans to lie to each other.

    #4 has/is already released lethal amounts of it's toxic brew into the waters and air of earth.

    So has/is Units 1, 2, and 3.

    Denial means paralysis.

    We are all paralyzed.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Some of us here are paralyzed, but the rest of the world is simply clueless by design.

    Nothing to see here just move along has always worked in the past, only found later to slap those same moved along people in the face and/or bite those same moved along people in the ass.

    The move alongers still have no clue what still comith this way..:(

  • The nuclear sledgehammer is now hitteth themeth overeth the headeth..

    Will they listen?

    Will they hear?

    Where are those multiple melted out coriums TEPCO?