Japan Diplomat: Concern fuel rods in Unit 4 pool are damaged — “Have they moved”? — Transfer process could go on for decades, not months

Published: October 22nd, 2013 at 3:36 pm ET
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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:

Published: October 22nd, 2013 at 3:36 pm ET
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Related Posts

  1. 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
  2. “Nothing like this has ever been attempted” — Yale Professor: “All of humanity will be threatened for 1000s of years” if rods in Unit 4 pool touch and have nuclear reaction during removal process — Tepco: “Not clear” if fuel is already damaged October 27, 2013
  3. Tepco Adviser: “Everyone in the world” will be safer if fuel rods transferred from Fukushima Unit 4 — WSJ: Global concern over removal process (VIDEO) November 18, 2013
  4. Nuclear Industry Report: ‘Reduced stability’ of fuel pool in Fukushima Unit 4; Admits there’s damaged fuel inside? — Gundersen: Fuel racks moved and damaged; Fallen debris distorted tops (AUDIO) September 27, 2013
  5. WSJ speculates: “Is process of emptying the Unit 4 pool starting?” — Will Tepco continue taking out more racks? — Law forbids disclosing when nuclear fuel is moved July 19, 2012

14 comments to Japan Diplomat: Concern fuel rods in Unit 4 pool are damaged — “Have they moved”? — Transfer process could go on for decades, not months

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Add… warping and corrosion.


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  • weeman

    Tepco we request the procedure manual that you have created and tell us the how, what and were?
    Please release footage of condition of SFP and fuel assemblies at this time.
    Hard to believe they are in perfect condition?
    Do you have a contingency plan if you have a criticality and are we going to be able to monitor radiation levels during process and keep population informed to make a educated decision to stay or leave.


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    "TEPCO claims they will finish the transfer of all 1,533 spent fuel assemblies by the end of 2014"
    Doubt it.
    Many assemblies will dump raw fuel pellets onto the floor of SFP4. What, then?


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  • MichaelV MichaelV

    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. [...]…{= Fukushima was a s***** place to build a nuclear power plant, or there is no fix for a s***** nuclear meltdown disaster, or its a s***** deal that the nuclear insiders are duping you with, or some combination involving at least two or more simultaneously.


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  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    Number 4 SFP is the one Arnie posted a photo of. His reaction to the photo was to ask where all the bundles of spent were as they were certainly not in the SFP. Here are some photos if you haven't seen these already. Very early after the accident.

    http://cryptome.org/eyeball/daiichi-npp/daiichi-photos.htm


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  • waenderer

    So it comes down to this : if they touch these rods in the wrong way, they blow……if they don"t, they blow.
    Maeby it is a good thing people don"t realise what"s really going on, i never thought i would say that……..


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  • We Not They Finally

    If they cannot do it in months, then then SURELY cannot do it in decades. The radiation there is getting exponentially worse as time goes on, making conditions progressively more hazardous to do anything productive.

    But this isn't news The only news here would be them snapping out of denial and stopping with the lies.


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  • Wyakin Wyakin

    It is probably more precarious than any of us could speculate.

    Matsumura has been one of few in the Japanese establishment to provide meaningful information on the status of SPF4.

    I remember reading this gem when it first emerged:

    http://enenews.com/tepco-no-major-deformation-or-corrosion-seen-so-far-in-removed-fuel-assemblies

    Based on the number of SPF4 fuel fires subsequently reported/disclosed, we now know this Tepco account, along with many others, are complete fabrications. It is probable that many of the assemblies, if any still exist, are fused to distorted racks or to the bottom of the SFP in melted fuel composites. It is an understatement that this will be an experiment in fuel retrieval.

    Matsumura says it best about comprehending the magnitude of the problem:

    “the volume of stories of unanticipated but ongoing mechanical failures and worker mistakes can be hard to follow. What do we do with figures like “400,000 becquerels per liter” or 1,533 spent fuel assemblies? And any attempt at understanding is further complicated by the limited reliability of the information, an issue that could be resolved by true independent assessment on a wide range of technical issues, such as hydrology and mechanical and electrical engineering.”

    We are expecting different results that those we have seen thusfar, but as far as I can tell there still has been no reliable information, or a true independent engineering assessment.


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    • VanneV anne

      If they do retrieve any fuel assemblies, how will they be able to store damaged fuel assemblies in the CSFP? The CSFP is storing MOX fuel assemblies? Is there anything left of the CSFP anyway? and if there is won't the CSFP explode with the MOX fuel when the damaged MOX fuel and other fuel is added from the U4 SFP?


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  • razzz razzz

    You can add in saltwater and copious amounts of boron into the mix of how does the fuel and fuel rods react under such heated conditions.


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  • Shaker1

    One thing that really bothers me is the lack of pictures of this pool. If everything is so 'good' in it, where are they? I'm sure they exist. I don't see everything, but all I've seen seems to be the same shots over and over.

    Personally, I do believe a portion of the contents of the pool caught fire. I don't believe for a moment they were some kind of grease fire, and the radioactivity levels bear that out. But I'm concerned, as Arnie, about the conditions of the cladding itself. Zirconium can retain its shape even in grossly oxidized state, but it becomes very embrittled. I believe one thing, even if they can pull the assemblies successfully (which I hope that they can; just get it on the ground) they're still going to have a problem and they're not going to be able to handle them as they do normally. Personally, I didn't believe for a second that what they had pulled from the pool earlier and showed in (distant) pictures was representative of what's there.


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