Japan diplomat Akio Matsumura, Oct. 21, 2013: [...] One issue has stood apart from the rest since the first reports emerged on March 11, 2011: the 400 tons of spent fuel atop the damaged structure of Reactor No. 4. In the next month, TEPCO will [start the] transfer [...] TEPCO’s transfer process is complicated by extreme circumstances: A lack of information of the state of the assemblies inside the pool creates several unknowns. (Are the assemblies damaged? Have they moved inside the pool?). [...] TEPCO claims they will finish the transfer of all 1,533 spent fuel assemblies by the end of 2014, but like that of Prime Minister Abe, the confident face put forth by TEPCO has a thin link to reality. We have and will continue to see dependence on technological solutions undermined by circumstance, error, and nature. A timeline of decades rather than months is more realistic. [...]
Additional concerns regarding Unit 4 reported in recent weeks:
- Nuclear Expert: "Rods in the spent fuel pool may have melted... breached during the explosions... and their contents may be in contact with groundwater" at Fukushima
- Nuclear Engineer: Pyrophoric fire may have already occurred at Fukushima Unit 4 spent fuel pool -- Explosion possibly due to rods not being covered with water (AUDIO)
- 3 recent studies report multiple fires at Fukushima Unit 4 — "Occurred in spent fuel cooling pool"
- 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)
- Pro-Nuclear Expert: Typhoon collapsing Fukushima fuel pool "a very real concern -- I don't know what it is they’re doing about that" (AUDIO)
Published: October 22nd, 2013 at 3:36 pm ET