Gov’t flip-flops: Unit 4’s fuel rods to be removed starting this year — ‘Buckling’ building, quake concerns behind change

Published: June 21st, 2012 at 11:42 am ET


INTERVIEW-UPDATE 1-Japan nuclear minister speeds up Fukushima cleanup
By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Yoko Kubota
7:53 a.m. CDT, June 21, 2012

Fuel rods in cooling pool have fanned safety worries

Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant will begin removing fuel rods from a damaged reactors a year ahead of schedule, a government minister said Thursday, a move to address concerns about the risk of a new quake that could cause a further accident and scatter more radioactive debris.

“We would like to start taking out undamaged fuel this year. Preparation is now under way,” Japan’s nuclear crisis minister, Goshi Hosono, told Reuters in an interview.


Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) […] had said in April it aimed to begin removing the fuel rods from the No. 4 reactor at the end of next year.


Tepco says its analysis shows the No.4 reactor building would hold up in a strong earthquake. But Japanese safety regulators ordered Tepco to recheck its findings last month after measurements showed one of the walls of the reactor building was buckling out by about 3 centimetres (1.2 inches).


Published: June 21st, 2012 at 11:42 am ET


Related Posts

  1. NHK: Fuel rods to be removed from No. 4 fuel pool — Concerns about sea water damage — Special container so fuel doesn’t going critical — Test date not revealed ‘for security reasons’ July 13, 2012
  2. Damaged Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 had 204 unused fuel rods inserted before quake + Scientists say another 9.0 megaquake may hit at year’s end = “Fukushima is still on the edge” October 29, 2011
  3. Buckling at Unit No. 4 was likely caused by a quake — Indications that building didn’t ride it out anywhere near as well as we thought (AUDIO & VIDEO) June 29, 2012
  4. Kyodo: Concern about condition of Fukushima Unit 4 — Fuel rods may get dumped onto ground and burn up in quake — Tepco ‘hastening’ removal December 3, 2012
  5. Gundersen: Fukushima Unit 4 fuel racks distorted from quake and roof falling into pool — Nuclear rods likely to snap and won’t be able to be removed (AUDIO) September 12, 2013

38 comments to Gov’t flip-flops: Unit 4’s fuel rods to be removed starting this year — ‘Buckling’ building, quake concerns behind change

  • Sharp2197 Sharp2197

    Don't they have to build a building over it first to hang a crane.

  • glowfus

    if you drink one quart of california milk per day (.152 bq/L) in 11 years a 100lbs person would consume enough radiation to cause internal body tumors. (50bq/kg) and of course this only includes the milk and of course this only includes the cesium.

    • patb2009

      for children it's much worse as they are very sensitive to radiation, so, expect a generation of young kids to be growing up with thyroid disease, cysts, heart disease and venous diseases.

    • NoNukes NoNukes

      I believe glowfus' data comes from here:

      Am I the only one who wonders if it will really take that long to take "out undamaged fuel" from the r4 sfp? How much could be "undamaged" at this point?

      Has anyone else noticed high readings on Radiation Network today? After reading Bobby1's blog today (I'm so glad that you are on our side, Bobby1):

      …I noticed high readings on Radiation Network, 50+ in WV, VA, PA, CA, WA, etc….the readings seemed highest in MN (60+), which has just shifted to 0.

      Any thoughts on this?

      • NoNukes NoNukes

        Radiation Network published an alert, for those who missed it (like me) on Tuesday:
        Update: 6/19/12, 7:00 P.M: – Radiation Detection in Wisconsin

        Starting this afternoon, local time, a recent Monitoring Station in Frederic, WI detected an elevated level of radiation. The reading just barely surpassed 100 CPM for only a minute, more than twice normal background, but that maximum reading was at the apex of a classic ebb and flow pattern often associated with a passing radioactive system. In fact, there were scattered thunderstorms in the area, along with a flash flood watch.

        At the same time, interestingly, the southern edge of the Jet Stream was positioned immediately over the Frederic station in northwest Wisconsin. We saw this very same pattern with the Rattler and Taos detections reported in the last few weeks, where airborne particles on the slower margins of the stream are freer to drop down to Earth. – see the Updates below.

      • NoNukes NoNukes

        AZ and UT have been 50+, too.

    • raek

      Japan 's allowable amount in food sold in supermarkets is 100bq/kl per item. Yokosuka served oranges in school lunch that contained at least .5 bq/orange. When I asked the board of education if in any given school lunch meal, if each item contained 100bq/kl (allowable by the gov. safety standards) and there were 5 items on the plate, that meal theoretically could contain 500bq/kl, is that acceptable to the board of ed? They answere yes because it is sold in supermarkets and the gov deems it safe! My kids take lunch but things need to change around here. Watch my fight on youtube sakuramane2004. Sorry I don't have english subs for some stuff, I am too busy with the fight in the field right now. Where did you get that calculation of 50bq causing tumors? I need that kind of data for the fight. please send it to me at my youtube I check there more often

  • kongrufus kongrufus

    Oh good.. I jut hope they can actually do this then!! If not, thi 'supervolcano' will most likely erupt once more and spew it's radiation all over the world again 🙁


    oh…so TEPGOV is reading our posts…

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    They forgot about the fuel for a bit..
    Remove melted fuel..
    Good luck with that…

  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    Since there are NO undamaged fuel assemblies in SFP4, taking out undamaged fuel assemblies will take no time at all. Nor will that new overhead crane be required, since there are no undamaged fuel assemblies to be removed. An auxiliary cooling pump sprang a leak during the EQ, draining most of the water out of SFP4, exposing most of the spent fuel assemblies to air. Zirconium cladding caught fire, as it is prone to do as the fuel inside heats up. Time went by as helicopter water drops and fire hoses were tried. More time went by as any water that made it into SFP4 promptly leaked from the damaged pump, until that leak was found and fixed. More fires broke out in the meantime. Corrosive sea water was used to fill SFP4. The contents of SFP4 are uniformly damaged, and simply cannot be removed as intact fuel assemblies.

    We must conclude that this statement is meaningless propaganda, merely designed to blunt demands for action to avert a collapse of Building4 or the draining of SFP4 by subsequent EQs. Add Mr. Hosono to the list of nuke criminals for this entirely bogus announcement.

  • 1984

    And your going to have camera's there 24/7 ? Tepco, we want to see this, live. Get to work, no fooling around.
    Wonder who or whom put on the pressure ?

  • glowfus

    what could possibly be causing the increased cs-134 in california milk? check the box which most closely matches the correct answer. 1) ucb's califration is way off and there really is no radiation in our milk. 2) spring run-off/pollen from the sierra nevada mountains. 3) the approaching pacific ocean debris field. 4) damaged reactors at daini, onagawa and tokai. 5) 9 million horsepower worth of missing reactor fuel at fuku plus the 9 million horsepower worth of fuel in sfp #4. all leaking. 6) the tooth fairy did it.

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      lol… our vote is for the tooth fairy… the pro nuke experts say there is no such thing as dangerous radiation, so the tooth fairy MUST be to blame.

  • Tumrgrwer Tumrgrwer

    With all the truthful information provided by Tepco the tooth fairy has got my vote!

  • kalidances

    It appears that people are losing focus. The people of Fukushima need medical help, relocation expenses,burial expenses, restitution for the event,legal representation, and uncontaminated sources of food.
    Everyone knows all parties involved are lying.
    Is it possible to focus on getting the proper aid to Japan-right now?
    The clock is ticking. Each day the faults grow weaker and the containment units are becoming more ineffective. The right lightning strike, minor quake that activates another fault, or power outage will start the final destruction of Japan, then Korea, then China, and so forth. Everyone knows what is going to happen to the West Coast of America.
    Hurry up.

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      Once the Pacific is dead, we all will be very shortly.

    • Kalidances

      A couple of months ago, in April, you posted about a significant problem at a plant in Ibarki.

      Is that plant still at risk?

      Is it Tokai?

      Thank you

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    For visual analysis.
    June 9 2011
    June 26 2011
    Remove fuel rods?…what a joke.

  • Truth

    So, now its buckling?! Anything to do with the 60 ton new roof? How did they get it on there if they could not get a crane on there? What's the trick?…

  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    "Tepco says its analysis shows the No.4 reactor building would hold up in a strong earthquake."

    Exploding a SFP and a reactor inside a building actualy makes the structure stronger. All that debris and all those cracks, all the missing walls and roofing, that just STRENGTHENS the building. Yup, the building is actualy STRONGER now than it was 3 years ago. Fucking idiots…..

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Reactor 4 SFP dry, fuel uncovered, Radiation levels outside unit 30R/hour after fire..Article posted Jan.2012..concerning March 17 2011…Unit 4.

  • razzz razzz

    I'm guessing here, but the new temporary cover keeps excess rainwater runoff from overfilling the SFP#4 besides any deconstruction debris from falling into it.

    Removal of any undamaged unused fuel assemblies that were stored and waiting to refuel the reactor are safe for removal.

    I think Arnie pointed out that there could have been 'hot spots' in SFP#4 when the water level was low or empty thus causing older fuel assemblies to burn and/or melt where newer fuel assemblies remained unaffected.

    SFP #4 contains 1,535 fuel assemblies, about double the amount the pool was designed to hold, which amounts to about 145,000 individual fuel rods or uranium in pellet form that weigh about 135 tons.

    I read, there are about 300 fresh (unirradiated) assemblies that can be possibly removed right now.

    • I like Washington's blog but what about spent fuel pool #3?

      What happened to it?

      I think it was aerosolized in the explosion.

      What about the common spent fuel pool?

      The cockroaches in my yard are 95% gone. Truly amazing.

      My husband has developed symptoms of radiation exposure because he flys so often.

      I've only seen 1 bat this year and very few baby quail.

      This clusterfuck has poisoned the entire west coast as well as Japan, among other areas.

      I live in AZ.