Investigation of “deformed fuel assemblies” from Unit 4 pool at Fukushima — “Confirmation of cracks” due to mishandling in past (VIDEO)

Published: February 3rd, 2014 at 8:25 am ET


TEPCO (pdf), Dec. 27, 2013 (emphasis added): Cracks Found during Inspection on Fuel Assembly Having Deformation in Fukushima Daiichi NPS Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool — Regarding a fuel assembly having its handle/channel box deformed (*) due to mishandling in the past, an inspection of the shape was conducted to know the degree of deformation. During the inspection, cracks were found in the channel box of the fuel assembly. We consider these cracks were caused when the channel box was deformed in the past. During this inspection, there was no change in the radioactive material concentrations in water of the spent fuel pool and the doses obtained by area monitoring. (*) The occurrence situation and the investigation summary have been disclosed in NUCIA (Nuclear Information Archives) (Report No. 1982-Tokyo-T003)

TEPCO, Jan. 30, 2014: Investigation into deformed fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool at Unit 4 in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station >> Videos of deformed fuel assemblies here

TEPCO, Jan. 30, 2014: Confirmation of cracks by investigation into deformed fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool at Unit 4 in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station >>  Video of cracks in fuel assemblies here

See also: [intlink id=”cbs-tepco-says-fuel-removal-even-worse-than-gundersens-analogy-its-like-pulling-lit-cigarettes-from-a-crushed-pack-its-going-to-get-far-more-difficult-in-f” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: February 3rd, 2014 at 8:25 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Multiple assemblies ‘deformed’ in Fukushima Unit 4 pool — One “bent at a 90-degree angle” — Tepco: Mistake occurred when handling the fuel… 25 years ago November 13, 2013
  2. Damaged fuel rods are cracked and leaking radioactive gases in Fukushima Unit 4 pool; Wire appears trapped in racks — Another assembly bent when “mishandled during a transfer” November 14, 2013
  3. Tepco finds bent, damaged spent fuel assemblies in multiple fuel pools at Japan nuclear plant — Concern about prompt moderated criticality December 23, 2012
  4. Tepco says fuel assemblies could be damaged if hit by heavy object — Unable to locate beam in pool? (VIDEO) September 25, 2012
  5. Now revealed there’s 80 damaged spent fuel assemblies leaking radioactive materials in Fukushima storage pools — Kyodo: Removal attempt at Unit 4 starts later today — Japan nuclear official ‘nervous’, as one slip could result in monumental chain reaction (AUDIO) November 17, 2013

66 comments to Investigation of “deformed fuel assemblies” from Unit 4 pool at Fukushima — “Confirmation of cracks” due to mishandling in past (VIDEO)

  • Machomaker Machomaker

    We consider these internal radiation were caused when the wine box was deformed in the past. *sarc*

    Japan's Koshu wine promoted in Britain

  • Sol Man

    MM, I had responded to your note on "They're all related…" with information from the classic "The Golden Bough," here,the quote:
    "Similar cases of incest with a daughter are reported of many ancient kings. It seems unlikely that such reports are without foundation, and perhaps equally improbable that they refer to mere fortuitous outbursts of unnatural lust. We my suspect that they are based on a practice actually observed for a definite reason in certain special circumstances. Now in countries where the royal blood was traced through women only, and where consequently he held office merely in virtue of his marriage to a hereditary princess, who was the real sovereign, it appears to have often happened that the prince married his own sister, the princess royal, in order to obtain the crown which otherwise would have gone to another man, perhaps to a stranger. May not the same rule of descent furnished a motive for incest with a daughter? For it seems a natural corollary from such a rule that the king was bound to vacate the throne on the death of his wife, the queen, since he occupied it only by virtue of his marriage to her. With that marriage terminated, his right to the throne terminated with it and passed at once to his daughter's husband. Hence, if the king desired to reign after his wife's death, the only way which he could legitimately continue to do so, and thus prolonging through her the title which had formally been his through her mother." Sir George…

  • Arizonan Arizonan

    And this discussion of Frazer's book has nothing to do with spent fuel rods at Fukushima. PLEASE take it to the nonnuclear discussion board available in a link listed on the right side of your screen. Posting this discussion here is intolerable. It may be an interesting and worthwhile discussion, one I might even like to join in, but please, obey the traffic rules!

    • Sol Man

      Accept information; enrich. Be satisfied.

      • Radio Radio

        This is the thread where we deal with the article Sol Man. I'm going to share with you what others have shared with me when i would go off topic, especially if i was getting hooked in to an argument, which, dominated the thread instead of the article.

        It can get hard to tell the difference between purposeful distraction, people just wanting to share loosely related information but don't want to use the off topic forum to do it, and folks who don't know the protocols. Pretty soon, accusations can start to fly. The way to avoid this is to follow the rules that ADMIN created for us all that we have all agreed to follow in order to use this site in a positive way. We all go off topic and the way to take an off topic discussion to the off topic forum from a specific thread is to send an invitation – hit reply, let folks know where you will be and what you want to share, then submit. Very simple. In fact, the off topic discussion thread is usually hopping. It's a good place to take the broader explanations of power plays, political machinations, or anything that doesn't directly link to the topic.

        This thread is about the deformed fuel assemblies, and the ramifications of these are very great and maybe even immediate. That's why i'm reading peoples responses, to help me understand it, or see how it fits, or what they feel about knowing what it means or dealing with what being unable to know what it means because truth is hard to find. Peace.

  • Nick

    Unit #4 Spent Fuel Pool.

    Memo from TEPCO:

    Dear planet, we discovered some anomalies in our spent fuel bundles in Unit #4 at Fukuppy DIEEACHIE

    The good news is we can see how radiation is getting out, and we are thrilled since we don't have much of a handle on Unit #3's spf.

    The bad news is, well can we just bow our apologies and be done with it?

    So, sorry.


  • Go Flying

    'Mishandling in the past'

    And not mishandling the entire shebang now?

    Fucking imbeciles.

  • weeman

    I hope you don't think that this situation is strictly a Japanese problem, I am sure that this is a problem at every nuclear plant, the fuel racks are all similar and procedures are the same.
    Bent fuel rods stored in a uncontained building lowers the tolerability of Risk, another nail a big nail, I have come to fear spent fuel pools and there potential.

    • Shaker1

      weeman, you appear to be correct that this is a problem experienced at every nuclear plant in which the fuel rods have the same basic idea in design.

      Check this out:

      I haven't finished reading the PDF yet (somewhat busy day) but there are some things that I find truly interesting in its content that even now, after all the discussions about such things, that are enlightening.

      Just some offhand comments, though, until I read the rest, is that we here should become more informed regarding the fuel configurations, their components and materials to avoid misconceptions. Experience with the ductility of zirconium makes these cracks in this portion of the component bothersome even with the mechanical distortion that I would expect with handling. The paper cites this material as zirconium, while I believe I've seen other citations of stainless steel. With 300 series stainless, I would expect such cracks due to work hardening even is slight vibrational environments. I'm no expert, just with some experience, but I understood that zirconium is not susceptible to such. That distortion pictured is not great, nor is it 'sharp', so I would wonder if the channels experiencing the same kind of material degradation that the cladding of fuel is known to experience. Does it contribute to fragility? I'll look when I have more time…

      • weeman

        I will look forward to your conclusions and will try to comprehend what I can, thanks for link?

        • Shaker1

          I finished reading and though it was greatly interesting to me, I don't think that there's too much relevant in this case of mechanical damage beyond that, yes, the channel box itself is subject and exhibits the same material degradation problems as the cladding of the fuel rods themselves. The material problems are directly associated with initial material condition (grain structure), hydration, and the normal (in this case) nature of the material in the environment. Their basic purpose is to explain the bowing of the channel boxes that interferes with control blade insertion which is degraded by poor fuel management, number of fuel cycles for a particular assembly set, and high burn rates, which more plants in the States here are doing. They cite that 35 BWRs in the US reported experiencing bowing on the order that might create problems with blade insertion.

          Concerning the fuel channel box shown, other than the mechanical stress it's been through, nothing can be known about the reasons as its age or the conditions under which it has operated are not stated. I would think that the fuel rod cladding materials have been similarly affected as the box, but they appear to have withstood the mechanical stress. one would have every right to be concerned about more mechanical stress to the rods in removal.

          The paper is worth viewing for the full annotated graphical depictions of a channel box loaded with its assemblies. They're on the first few pages.

          • Radio Radio

            Weeman and Shaker1, all good points and S!, thanks for doing the research, especially on a busy day. Arnie Gundersen was really concerned about the cladding, too, from the explosions and the overheating in both pools 3 and 4. He's pretty sure that with both distortion and cracked cladding, pulling these up are fraught with danger, which is why he publicly called on not letting TEPCo do the task.

            Thanks also for the summary. I have to say that i wish we had a laypersons language for these things, but, this technology is not simply a part of our everyday verbiage.

            • Shaker1

              "I have to say that i wish we had a laypersons language for these things, but, this technology is not simply a part of our everyday verbiage."

              I'm a metal worker, and have worked with zirconium, both the 702 and 704 alloys, just in a different application, generally for the chemical process industry and plating industry. It's a bit easier for me. But even so, I think your statement applies to the majority of people in one respect or another. Add that to the fact that many might be able rattle off a bunch of facts about something but really not understand it in relation to other things around them, and one can become a bit testy about quite a bit of the technology that we use today. The common man uses technological understanding on the order of their great-grandfathers on the assumption that someone is looking out for their interests, and that might not hardly be the case. Personally, I get the idea that most answer that they just have to learn more, when I think that maybe it's time we slowed down a little and take some stock of some of these things.

              • Radio Radio

                🙂 Yes. But, to help the world at large understand the issues and dangers that something like nuclear radiation presents, especially in a lack of waste disposal technology, and also the ever-present low levels that will get upped by Fukushima, we need language that's not technical and which our "great-grandfathers" and grand-mothers could rasp quickly. Too technical and our eyes start too roll and too simple it just sounds like a matter of opinion, not of concern. "Radiation bad, very bad" will only go so far for anti-nuke speeches trying to convince people of the dangers and the industry dazzles with jargon and measurements while experts render their assurances in simple sound bites of "safe as bananas" and so, as you suggest, people tune out thinking the "experts" have their backs. My concern is that the message will take a long time to get out at this rate. Yet, it IS getting out, if not really completely understood. So, i suppose we all just keep trying.

  • Ontological Ontological

    That looks a bit more like a blown out reactor fuel pool photo, this comes from that pristine "stage" Faux news said was R4? Right, clean energy, check.

  • Sickputer

    Unit 4 blew up on March 15, 2011 (AKA the Ides of March). 2055 years earlier Julius Caesar was assasinated.

    Supposedly Unit 3 was the dirty assassin for Unit 4 blowing up (a fairly ridiculous scenario of hydrogen coming from shared venting pipes). I don't buy that tale at all. For one thing connecting pipes were shredded by the massive lateral and vertical thrusts of the 311 9.0 earthquake.

    The second reason I doubt that story is because Tepco has suppressed the video of that Unit explosion. The link on Wikipedia purporting to be Unit 4 explosion is actually the Unit 3 explosion.

    Why hide it when they showed the terrible MOX explosion at Unit 3? They are hiding the video because it will confirm there was a nuclear explosion at Unit 4. Some whispers from eyewitnesses of the walls "melting" during the explosion.

    As for the wall damage itself…two separate holes measuring 690 square feet each. On the same wall. Doesn't sound like a hydrogen explosion to me.

    Those bent assemblies were "mishandled" all right, but not by humans running a crane. They were bent by the earthquake or by the explosion. Tepco never fails to come up with lame excuses and lies about this out of control nuclear complex. They will not escape the verdict of history.

    • weeman

      Correct me if I am wrong, but unit 4 blow up at night and more than once, so the video is not of 4 disintegrating?
      The discription of unit 4 was the building morphed, that is a strange word and does not describe explosion more like a implosion as air rushed in to fill the void in air pressure inside building?, very low yield or criticality, if no KV signature no nuclear explosion?, does a nutron bomb have a KV signature ?

      • Radio Radio

        weeman, i'm not sure but that Unit 4 SFP had one massive explosion then a fire now and again. It would smoke and steam before they figured out the water was leaking out the cooling pipes. Unfortunately, someone was putting out very manipulated video footage taken from the cameras, which are too far away to tell much of anything, which is the point, of course of why the cameras are where they are. But, footage would be taken from this raw feed for about a year or more, then the images run through a video effects editor that allowed people to reach any number of conclusions. Slowing footage down, then speeding it up, coloring it, magnifying here and pulling back there, can make a small fire look like a burning scene from some nuclear hell. ANY size fire is too much fire, so i didn't see the point of making it bigger than it was. Anyway, my point is that promoting distorted images whether to make a point, get people motivated, or to disinform the public has only made the whole thing even muddier. The spf pools are there. They are holding water. They are a complete mess filled with debris, distorted from heat and explosions and dealing with them will be urgent for the next several years because they are the most vulnerable structures still left standing.

      • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

        This article in 2012 said there was a blast and people were brought to their knees.
        " Mr. Casto partly conceded the point, but said he still believes the problems at No. 4 may have been more severe than Tepco thinks.

        “I don’t think that the complete story is out. Until you pull the fuel out, you don’t know what happened,” he said. He also questioned Tepco’s theory that the March 15 explosion at No. 4, which was the source of the concern about damage to the fuel pool, was caused by a leak of hydrogen from reactor No. 3."

    • Shaker1

      Looking at photos before Unit 4 blew but after Unit 3 did, it's plainly obvious to me that Tepco was reaching with any claim that the hydrogen 'migrated'. Beyond noting that the larger ductwork was severed, I questioned whether the normally negative pressure that they maintain in the buildings was present with the loss of onsite power. Seems to me any power available was given to cooling functions, and to hell with such a trivial thing as the building pressure and leaking atmosphere to the environment. Another thing that I noticed was the difference in damage to the adjacent building that runs along both 3 and 4. As seen from the roof, Unit 4 did more damage to that building. Maybe the nature of 3's event 'pulled' material up rather than out, but another thing one notices is that 4's damage was extensive outwardly all the way down to ground level, the panels between columns blown out, while 3's at that level were more intact. It strikes me that the talk of something going on at the lower floors has much traction, that they had just finished with refurbishing for MOX use, and loading was in process.

      • Radio Radio

        Shaker1, this might go with the detonation versus deflagration claim of Arnie's in Unit 3. Up, not out, as you're seeing, too.

      • Radio Radio

        Right, the migration of gases theory. One thing that can be hard for people to understand is that the remaining nuclear engineers at TEPCo were not allowed to openly consider any scenarios other than the best and least dire. If people get a chance to watch any of the tapes or read any of the minutes released during the investigation, the crews ere told what the issue was by one or two people in charge and then they were to find solutions within those parameters and none other. Their jobs were to prove how it MUST HAVE happened, not WHAT happened.

        I am grateful to all the people who went out and got geiger counters and to the researchers who called for samples and for the industry whistleblowers, and of curse, for all those who blog or support and share the info. We have a chance of getting to more information in a far shorter period of time than we did with Chernobyl. I remember how impossible it was to get any idea of what was happening for years and years.

    • Radio Radio

      Thanks Sp. I remember when you aded that bit about the Ides of March back when this whole thing happened.

      So, i remember a while back a report that was uncovered by the committee tasked to investigate what really happened, meaning, whose fault, etc. Remember? They did discover some memos regarding the distortion of a fuel rod assembly, prevented the inspection on that and on several other things going wrong, all to keep costs down and pass the inspection. But, i agree with you, those distortions were very slight and they figured that the rods would be cool enough after sitting in the pools that it wouldn't be a big issue. You were laser focused on these pools and i agree in your assessment – the damage is really from the explosion. It weren't no small little backyard blast. Knowing what was blowing up was heart stopping. Through shear luck or grace or what have we, we are fortunate that both pools didn't topple right then and there.

  • humptydumpty humptydumpty

    Tepco is obfuscating again — they don't want this evidence to reveal that there was severe damage to the fuel pools during the initial earthquake/explosions/fires disaster. I'll bet some of those fuel rods are badly broken and fragmented, some may be partly melted, and there's extensive damage to the cages and other structures.

    Mishandling? Previously they said that during normal operation, computer-controlled movement of fuel assemblies was being done with absolute precision, so they should tell us exactly how mishandling occurred according to their reports at the time of THAT accident. I won't hold my breath.

  • jump-ball jump-ball

    When America's 100 and the world's 400-plus NPPs finally lose cooling power to a CME-caused global grid collapse, the ELE event will have started with an earth-facing 'geo-effective' X-class capable solar sunspot such as this monster facing us head-on today, with a NOAA-NASA approved 50% chance of eruption at SpaceWeather but which SolarHam would, when the final time comes, declare to be magnitudes higher:

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      We are (all life) screwed unless all Nuclear Power Plants are shut down immediately! 🙁

      Please..somebody wake up the ship of fools! 🙂 Hurry!

      • jump-ball jump-ball

        Those ill-conceived-designed-elevated GE and other still HOT fuel pools need years of electrically powered cooling even after the cores are shut-down.

          • jump-ball jump-ball

            I believe it: Rats ate the insulation off my five 100' rolls of copper wire after eating their way into the sealed, waterproof 3/4" outdoor storage shed. Sharpening their teeth.

            • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

              Be careful!,wouldn't want to give TEPCO any ideas that might net them net the full price for clean no.#1 copper wire when they cash in on Fuku-Ichi's contaminated haul via some distant scrapyard(?)! 😉 But their CEO might also use this method to "sharpen his teeth"-the rat ba$$turds!!-Take Care-gotta get back to the slime oozing out from my TV set…PEACE

        • J.

          This is a crucial point. TEPCO has not achieved real cold shutdown — it's a monstrous mislabeling — but even if they had, the risks would remain. And as Koizumi now realizes, Japan has absolutely no plan for waste storage. The old idea, I have read, was to bury waste in the Yucca Mountain facility in the USA, but that plan has completely fallen through. There are no affordable, credible plans anywhere in the world. The only hope I can imagine is some brilliant new process to make the waste less toxic.

          • Radio Radio

            J., we cross our fingers. I actually think there can be something found that can help somewhat, maybe even more, but, soooo little research went into looking for solutions to waste storage, as you've pointed out, that we are now scrambling.

            I agree with your sentiment "monstrous mislabeling."

            • humptydumpty humptydumpty

              WRONG, tons of money & research went into a waste storage solution, but every option proved to be flawed or politically unacceptable. I knew a Professor of Engineering at Stanford whose firm had a major contract with DOE for this research. Yucca Mountain was the conclusion, but NIMBY was the political answer.

              The waste storage problem is just as insoluble as the shutdown problem or the proliferation of radionuclides in the environment — THEY HAVE NO VIABLE SOLUTIONS and they are working by the seat of their pants. Notice I said "viable" solutions — that means "affordable" by nuclear industry profit standards — profits must never be sacrificed, regardless of the detriment to the people and other living beings.

              • Radio Radio

                I agree HD on all but the "tried" point. I don't see the efforts expended thus far as much more than a shrug and "we'll think about that." Compared to what the industry puts into making the waste and public funds spent developing new nuclear options, waste disposal has gotten short shrift. It wasn't the part that made anyone money. It wasn't glamorous. And, the makers of nuclear waste were not required to have solutions save toss some money at a research project in a lab here or there.

                Yucca Mt. Well, it may still get used. People change their minds and political tides turn. The plan was to put the stuff in there and let it leak over time since no container or vitrification process can hold it for long, maybe a thousand years at most as glassified logs for the waste water, and 100 years for the dry casks, pretending that the surrounding rock would contain it despite the cracks and that it would miraculously not percolate down into the aquifer underneath it that provides water to millions in nearby Amargosa Valley. I don't consider that much of an effort. Perhaps they could try just a bit harder?

          • Mark Wonclunker

            Disposal in the sun is looking better every day.

  • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

    It was confirmed in the FOIA documents there was a zirc fire on the 3/12/2011 in SPF 4. The information being released to the public i.e. this article is like a merry-go-round that keeps circling back with a small change to make it appear as new info. I wish they would just admit there is nothing they can do, and expose what to expect from this nuclear holocaust.
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  • Nick


    I thought that TEPCO was the supreme result of evolution, how on earth could there have been mishandling of url assemblies?

    When all of the TEPCO executives are dead, they will lie still.

  • Nick

    fuel (see how url appeared?)


  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Love it! they will lie still." they will lie still." 🙂

  • babbo dorian babbo dorian

    I do not believe in the sfp4 but as a stage initiated by a scientist more than a year ago.
    I am sure es only for marketing and tepco invoicing and collecting from tax payers bag.
    Sorry… but that is how I think.

    • Radio Radio

      babbo dorian, no doubt TEPCo works to paint the picture which they both want us to see and one THEY ALL want to believe. Industry scientists are often in a state of denial about the real dangers of their products. But, in this case, given the amount of fuel in the pool of SFP 4 or both 3 and 4, had they collapsed or vaporized, very little life would be evident for hundreds of miles and the facility would be unapproachable. And, the entire US West Coast, along with most of Japan, would be having daily nosebleeds, hair loss, and death on a very massive scale, not the relatively small scale we see right now. Millions rather than hundreds or thousands. We'd ALL be symptomatic from high exposure radiation poisoning, which is immediate in its effects. So, the fact that only those creatures who are having to swim in this radiation each day, which is low level but persistent, are dying from radiation and a toxic brew of chemicals en masse, in unprecedented large numbers, that tells me the pools are standing, that only a fraction of the fuel was ejected, and that the coriums are leaking into the groundwater. So, even with TEPCo's tendency to fib, we can build our own picture of how much was released and in what way it was released. I don't think that the worst that can happen has happened and we need to make sure that it doesn't.

  • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

    With 45+ years immersed in electronics technology, I sense a need to clarify some thing here.

    We need to be very careful about how we interpret the term "computer controlled" as it relates to the handling/movement of spent fuel assemblies.

    It is all too easy for media hacks to have no idea what they are talking about when they use technical terminology.
    Especially TEPCO media reps!

    Just because a computer was some how involved in the process of
    how the spent fuel was moved does not in any way mean that the movement process was actually done autonomously by a computer.

    With such an old technology NPP, I find it hard to believe that the money was ever spent to truly automate the fuel movement.

    Myth 1 …robots doing surgery. In reality it is a surgeon using electro-mechanical apparatus to implement fine detail surgery, i.e. there is no computer "doing it".
    Yes, maybe a computer is involved in the interface, but sure as
    hell not any sort of software knowing how to do anything in the
    actual surgery!

    Myth 2… Robots entering the NPP at Fuku. What they sent in was
    in essence a kids radio controlled toy "on steroids".
    So far I have found no evidence to support the idea that their was any form of AI on board the units sent in to the NPP, hence, the term "robot" is horribly inaccurate.

    My point here is that the assemblies were most likely moved via human control, similar to a modern day construction crane.

    No doubt, mistakes happened.

    • Radio Radio

      fgj, good points. Thanks for the clarifications.

    • Shaker1

      Exactly, fireguyjeff.

      In my trade, the technology's impact has been great. When I started, machining was done with a man who might have the cutter in the work 30% of the time with accuracy of .001, while now, just in my lifetime, a man can run a number of machines at once, cutters in the work 90% of the time, accuracy normally of .0001, and repeatability (able to duplicate that accuracy) orders above even that. The big difference? Now, basically, one can have idiots run the machine. They know what they know, but never approach the problems that intimacy with the process might give. They might notice why the cutter is different, run at slower speeds and feeds for aluminum as opposed to titanium, but not have any real idea why it must be that way except some vague general terms. Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking the efficiency. It's the reason cars last as they do today while being maintained by other idiots, where your grandfather's car would have never stood that. We're basically still the humans who live in the iron age, whether we know it or not. Iron is still the truly magic metal, though, if asked, most would name something else. Philosophically a deep subject, I just think at times we need to stop and take a deep breath.

      But one thing truly worries me about SP4. They've built a new crane and all, but I do wonder if they've intimately mapped the pool and have feedback positioning loops on that equipment, or is it just the same as they had before?

      • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

        Well, you obviously understand the issues I had to "Readers Digest" for brevity here.

        My original observation is that I have never seen anything yet to support the idea that there was EVER any feedback loops within the
        SF positioning system.

        All I have seen is a scaled up version of the coin operated crane machine for grabbing stuffed animals out of the glass box at the arcade.

        And even if there were any sort of alignment sensors on the assembly racks, they would have been hard wired.
        The latter cabling would have sheared nearly every where, hence rendered useless due to the quake.

        On another point, the positioning system depended on the racks being very plumbed to vertical to let the operator depend on gravity and water viscosity to keep the fuel assemblies aligned
        and relatively stable (no sway).

        With everything on tilt and/or bent/broken after the quake, the system has been reduced to something more like a single wide trailer freeway accident….
        shredded parts everywhere with little resemblance to what was
        assembled before the accident.

        Sort of like WWE wrestlers ripping up phone books.
        Good luck recovering the phone book.

        • Radio Radio

          My understanding is that they are having to "eyeball" each extraction from a distance. The operator is using a remote camera that he looks through from his cabin. They just can't get closer without getting irradiated on the spot, and as you both say, nor can they use computers because the alignment in both the shape of the pool AND the fuel rod assemblies is out. They actually did a good job cleaning the debris away and building a flat work platform and the structure should support the crane. The most immediate issue that i have heard about is a concern of the fuel rod assemblies getting caught on each other or on some debris and cracking during the extractions. Then they would have to evacuate, decontaminate the area, start again.

          The process as i understand it is that they pull some fuel rods, stop to clear more debris, i think by changing out the grabbing tool head, then back to the fuel rods, then back to the debris removal. I also think the team is trying to be real careful. But, the reality is that the entire system was originally designed to be straight, true and computerized. It was not designed to be damaged and still be able to pull fuel out. One more short sighted engineering design. Let's all take that deep breath shaker1 talks about.

          • Shaker1

            Fireguy and Radio, I understand that with the mess things aren't exactly ideal. As to feedback loops, I was wondering if there was something on the cranes as simple as the mechanism of digital read-outs on each axis, x, y, and z, of the crane. Even a damned simple mechanical measuring wheel rolling on the beams would do that. Mapping could be done as they proceed, taking readings from any exposed surface. Any electronic portion of the probe may not need to even enter the area of the assembly itself, but on the order of a hard probe connected to a measuring device, such as the indicators I've used to position a part on a machine. The mapping sequence would then be a 'trial run' for the actual pick. Doesn't the pick of one open a measuring area for the next? A non-vertical pick would require that the crane move in all axis as it progresses, just to avoid bending the assembly as it rises. Did they just shrug their shoulders, assume impossibility of such system, and give up?

            Debris is another thing, especially the smaller acting like grains of sand in one's shoe. It is what it is.

            Hey, I read that some of the first helicopter blades were machined manually with a person manning each axis simultaneously, and another calling out the point-to-point movements from a map. Granted, the helix of the blade shape wasn't perfect, a series of discrete lines actually, but the lines were in themselves short enough that it was essentially functional.

            • Shaker1

              On a side note, I've a funny story regarding overhead cranes and manual picks. I used to fabricate heating coils for a pickling line of a steel tube manufacturer. The line was a series of about 10 large tanks in which the operator would immerse a bundle of material from overhead, in and out of the tanks in sequence. The tanks were long and narrow, about 40Ft long x 10Ft wide and 12 Ft deep.

              The coils were situated along the the sidewalls, 6 on each side, and for the first half of the line were rather expensive as they were zirconium to stand the sulfuric acid content. They constantly damaged the coils, leaking steam into the tanks and making a mess. My company sent me down there to gain some insight into why this was happening. So I walked into the area with the honchos from the tube manufacturer, saw what they were doing, and damn if I couldn't help laughing. Here's this guy 40Ft above in the crane, trying to move tons of material at a time suspended by a single wire rope cable with little control over twist and with varying balance to the loads. He has to do such with timing as the output went directly to the extrusion line and had to keep it busy and running. What didn't the honchos understand?

              About the only thing the trip accomplished was to get those manning the line to stop turning off the steam completely in a damaged coil so that it didn't fill with contents from the tank. One can't weld a tube filled with sulfuric acid and iron sludge…

  • Nick

    Okay, mistakes happened. So why can't Japan and TEPCO admit to that fact?

    Is the rest of the planet to die just because some anally inept human couldn't admit that mistakes were made?

  • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

    I can offer this answer…

    The resistance/inability to admit responsibility for "mistakes"
    is the result of…

    A latent pathology within all 1st world cultures.

    A blatant pathology within (nearly) all corporate cultures.

    Combine the latter and you have…
    20th/21st century genocide(s).
    Revisionist history.
    Profit as a singular corporate metric.
    Economic growth for the sole purpose of supporting the latter.

    I worked for a few years in a Japanese owned/run high tech company.

    It is not safe (political correctness) to explain what I saw and experienced first hand about Japanese culture that fits in to the latter explanations.

    Needless to say, everything we are dealing with in terms of obfuscation from TEPCO and Japan Inc. is very predictable, if not
    guaranteed (more or less).

    Please don't get me wrong, plenty of countries and corporations fall in to the latter description too.

  • pinksailmatt pinksailmatt

    cracks in the fuel rods?

    Hit by an explosion that did what to concrete beams?

    The Tomato Laughs!

    • Radio Radio

      pinksailmatt, which is why they had to spend two years building an entire new steel structure around the old one just to support the crane once they first shored up the pool with new steel and concrete enough to what? – not exactly stable but better than if they hadn't shored it up at all, perhaps. Let's hope. And, yeah, laugh, or would that be more like scoffing? too.

      The company TEPCo hired to build the structure seemed to do a good job. They were actual building engineers. That always helps. We'll see. I wish they had been the ones to build the tanks, but, that went to another crew who mostly haired unemployed labor that had never held so much as a blow torch. Most all the work is contracted out to three different companies which do not coordinate much with each other. This is one reason, i think, that some areas seem to be making a little progress while others are having complete fiascos. Not just that one issue is harder, but, the difference between skilled and unskilled labor, design expertise, materials handling knowledge, etc.

  • paschn

    Did General Electric only design the reactors at this site or were they involved in site selection/construction as well?

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