NHK: Fuel removal process underway at Unit 4 (VIDEOS)

Published: July 18th, 2012 at 12:45 am ET
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h/t Myme

More video here: http://news.tbs.co.jp/newseye/tbs_newseye5084154.htm

Published: July 18th, 2012 at 12:45 am ET
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  1. 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
  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
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  4. Tepco to remove fresh fuel from No. 4 pool this summer — “Hoping to determine how damaged unused assemblies are” May 28, 2012
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16 comments to NHK: Fuel removal process underway at Unit 4 (VIDEOS)

  • Sickputer

    Nuck had a great 4X time lapse of yesterday's removal in the webcam Forum.

    Good luck Samurai workers!

    The air temperature is cool (72 degrees F) so that helps. The wind will be blowing later to Tokyo:

    http://www.meteoblue.com/en_GB/point/forecast/tab/b/pictocast/c/jp/f/51932

    Yes, the two fuel assembly removals are supposed to be of fresh fuel non-irradiated from core usage, but the big question is how much did they get irradiated in the racks from the water and the volatile used fuel. Or maybe some chunks of molten fuel rods have attached to these assemblies. Hopefully the workers will get a break in the bad luck that has dogged Fukushima Daiichi for 16 months.


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  • Myme

    They removed one unused fuel rod today (4 meter long, 300 kg).

    TEPCO is transferring the removed rods into the common pool, it says. The work will continue today and tomorrow one by one.

    1534 to go.


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    • mungo mungo

      not forgetting the other 6000+ bundles in the pool 50metres away…
      • Reactor #4 contains 1,535 spent fuel rods which remain highly radioactive.

      • These fuel rods currently hold the potential to emit 37 million curies of radiation.

      • Those fuel rods are stored in a concrete pool located 100 feet above the ground, inside the structurally compromised reactor building, effectively making the pool open to the air.

      • The pool holding these fuel rods is "structurally damaged."

      • "If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident." – Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy.

      • "The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed as it was at the other three reactors." – Mr. Alvarez.

      • Just 50 meters from reactor No. 4, a much larger pool of spent fuel rods contains 6,375 fuel rods, all of which remain highly radioactive.

      • All these fuel rods are, astonishingly, exposed to the open air. They are not held inside any containment vessel.

      • The total number of spent fuel rods across all six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site is 11,421.

      • If reactor No. 4 suffers a structural failure, the release of radiation from the 1,535 spent fuel rods would make it…


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  • Myme

    What would happen if they accidentally drop one? Do we need to take cover? What should Japanese people do?


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    • Max1 Max1

      Excellent question.


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    • razzz razzz

      If they are doing everything underwater then not much will happen as far as radiation exposure goes. The special transfer case is pretty much bullet proof when sealed up. Anything that goes wrong would still be surrounded and shielded by water. The unused assemblies are pretty much harmless unless the hollow rod's skin is damaged and the pellets stacked inside of them are exposed.

      The transfer case will be underwater with the assembly being place inside the transfer case underwater and the case closed and sealed then the transfer case with the assembly inside is lifted out of the pool swung over and loaded onto a special truck which takes it over to the common pool to be put in that pool and the case opened underwater and the assembly removed.

      At that point, they must want to inspect the assembly with its rods and see what condition everything is in since it was exposed to seawater (a corrosive), boron (another corrosive), probably heat from the pool heating up or fires, debris hits, any radiation readings and all the unknowns, before they decided it is safe to be left in the common pool.

      Seems to me, it is not that critical to move an unused assembly as they are using a typical crane with a long boom that has lots of play (movement) in it unless they made up some special rig for the occasion.

      There is never a decent fuel assembly pic when you need one…

      https://www.google.com/search?q=nuclear+fuel+assemblyf+pictuire&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org


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    • Radio VicFromOregon

      We sooo don't want that to happen. Looks like Razzz has a very good description below on the process and they are managing to do this mostly underwater.


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  • allanshields

    just as David answered I am shocked that any body can profit $6865 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you see this site alturl.com/qhw96


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  • chrisk9

    Thanks Razzz good information. I am also surprised that they are using the long crane. There is very little tolerance removing a fuel bundle out of the storage racks so I also think they must have modified the crane.

    The next tricky part will be lifting the cask out of the water. After the fires it is certain that there are some very hot particles and flakes of fuel in the water. I would imagine that they will lift the cask out very slowly as they wash it down with high pressure hoses. But there may be some very hot surprises coming out with the cask that could slow things down.


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  • crazyjane61

    My question: Are they only attempting the removal of fuel rods that are in good shape?

    IS THIS AN ATTEMPT TO SAVE MONEY BY USING THESE NEW FUEL RODS ELSEWHERE?
    Sorry for the caps, the thought just boils my heart.


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