*UPDATE* Mainichi: Reactors No. 1 and 2 have holes up to 50 square CENTImeters, analysis says — Biggest hurdle now is filling with water — “Caused by hydrogen explosions” — Half million pounds of highly radioactive fuel inside reactors 1-3

Published: December 9th, 2011 at 1:52 pm ET


Long and tough road ahead for work to decommission Fukushima nuclear reactors, The Mainichi Daily News, Dec. 8, 2011 (Emphasis Added):

  • It is expected to take more than 30 years to decommission crippled reactors
  • Workers […] would have to venture into “uncharted territory”
  • Filled with hundreds of metric tons of highly radioactive nuclear fuel
  • Work would have to be done in a “territory where humans have not stepped into before,” said a senior official of TEPCO
  • 1,496 fuel rods [???] from the No. 1 to 3 nuclear reactors
  • 3,108 fuel rods from nuclear fuel pools of the No. 1 to 4 reactors

Filling Containment Vessel with Water

  • According to experts, filling the containment vessels with water completely to shield radiation is the “foremost and biggest hurdle”
  • It is necessary to spot and repair damaged parts in the containment vessels
  • Up to about 5,000 millisieverts per hour of radiation — lethal levels — have been detected in the reactor building of the No. 1 reactor
  • In April, TEPCO said it would bring the nuclear plant under control by filling the reactors with water
  • Subsequent analysis of the accident suggested that the No. 1 and 2 reactors had holes of up to 50 square meters caused by hydrogen explosions and the like [EX-SKF said Mainichi article was mistranslated. The original Japanese says the size of holes as 50 square centimeters, not meters.]
  • In May, TEPCO said it had scrapped its plan to repair the containment vessels and suspended the work to fill them with water

Removing Melted Fuel

  • Workers have been fighting an uphill battle to remove crumbled fuel
  • Most of the fuel melted and apparently dropped into the containment vessel from the bottom of the pressure vessel at the No. 1 reactor
  • A single fuel rod contains about 170 kilograms of uranium
  • About 254 tons of uranium in the reactors alone must be recovered
  • Between the upper lid and the bottom of a containment vessel is up to 35 meters
  • Work has to be done to chop off and recover melted and crumbled fuel by using remote controlled cranes
  • Melted fuel is mixed with metal from fuel pellets and reactor parts

“Because no one has seen the inside of the nuclear reactors, the timing of starting the work to recover nuclear fuel mentioned in the report is only a nonbinding target.” –Head of expert committee Kyoto University professor Hajimu Yamana on Dec. 7

h/t Enformable

Published: December 9th, 2011 at 1:52 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Japan Times: Melted fuel burned holes in Fukushima reactors — Explosions cracked containment vessels? March 8, 2013
  2. NHK: Over half of fuel has melted out at Reactors No. 2 and 3, says Tepco’s assumed worst scenario (VIDEO) November 30, 2011
  3. New Japan gov’t report singles out “critical conditions of Unit 3” — Explosions at reactors were “presumably” caused by hydrogen December 30, 2011
  4. Kyodo: Sharp drop in water at Fukushima Reactors No. 1-3 — “Below level regarded as necessary to keep fuel inside cool” August 30, 2012
  5. CNN: Reactors may be “riddled with holes” — Experts suspect full meltdown at No. 1, 2 and 3 May 25, 2011

57 comments to *UPDATE* Mainichi: Reactors No. 1 and 2 have holes up to 50 square CENTImeters, analysis says — Biggest hurdle now is filling with water — “Caused by hydrogen explosions” — Half million pounds of highly radioactive fuel inside reactors 1-3

  • dpl dpl

    admin sounds like you got this one from the onion

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Good grief!!!!! 14604 FUEL RODS!?!?!?

  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    No wonder I have the blues today……….

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    Hi all, don’t know if this has been posted today already. I just had a look at atmc.jp – a lot of prefectures which were “green” during the past weeks / months have turned “red” again.

    For example Yamanashi (southwest of Tokyo) showing the highest levels since end of August (and note: the measuring device is fixed at 17.4 m height!)

    I didn’t check the weather eport, but I assume it’s rainig radiation… 🙁

  • James2

    They never fail to surprise me. 50 square meters is something like 1500 square feet.

    So does this say that #1 and #2 each have a 1500 square foot hole in the bottom of the containment?

    That’s considerably larger than the surface area of the Reactor itself which only has about a 500 sqft footprint How can this be?

  • thelili

    James2 what they really want to say is that the bottoms of all of the containment units in question-are gone-completely.

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    There is a massive amount of melting molten hell in 3 reactors burning past containment into the ground is what TEPCO meant to say. 30 years to fix this meltdown is not even a reasonable estimate considering the fuel will still be burning just as hot in 30 years. The water table is right downhill from the dripping cores so it may not be a massive hydrovolcanic reaction but rather a slow chain of releases that lasts an eternity. A slow relentless dripping of fuel into reactive materials making the area a place impossible to work at for further containment efforts. Brought to you by GE.

  • Maybe they are adding up a blown out top AND bottom in each reactor?

    How much of the container is left to contain radiation or the TONS of out of control nuclear fires burning in multiple reactors?

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    I think they reveal much more than they intend with statements like “According to experts, filling the containment vessels with water completely to shield radiation is the “foremost and biggest hurdle”.

    All the king’s horses and all the king’s men have been working 24/7 for NINE MONTHS to fill some vessels with water.

    … and they have no idea when (or whether) they can do this “simple” task.

    This suggests to me that it must be far worse in there than they would have us think (no surprise), but also perhaps far worse than we might speculate from the slim bits of information we get.

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      I posted the comment above when the theme was 50 square meter hole(s). Now that it’s been changed to 50 square centimeters, the claim that filling the vessels is the “foremost and biggest hurdle” (after nine months of trying) seems all the more ominous.

      What (exactly) makes it so hard to fill vessels with water in a nine month (thirty year?) timeframe, with unlimited budget and resources, with all life on the planet in the balance, with the whole world watching (oh, wait… it’s just Enenews), and with a teensy hole in the vessels that they decided in May not to repair?

      Either the task is much harder than they admit (seems likely) or they are more incompetent than we dare imagine. Yes, of course it’s the radiation, but how (exactly) does that impact them?

      I lean toward thinking that filling vessels with water is probably not their “foremost and biggest hurdle” at all. But what is it, if not that? What are they actually doing there? What triage decisions do they make every day – decisions that affect all of us? For example, do they have a committee that says “gosh, we still can’t fill these pesky vessels, so let’s dump some of this stuff in the Pacific for now and retrieve it later”?

      Sorry… speculation doesn’t help, but I sure wish they’d give the world a say in its own life/death decisions.

  • dpl dpl

    yet still no confirmed leaking of radioactive water given from the officials at the plant. i think they could declare it a wetland by now and put in some ducks and shit.


    may i just say i think some guys on here are a bit selfish really sometimes.
    the usa may be the next destination for fukushima radiation but so are plenty of other countries too.
    all anyone seems to care about on here sometimes is the usa.
    point 1.we arent all american you know
    point 2.japan is the country foremost to worry about right now and the japanese people
    point 3.americans again show why they only care about themselves and if this hadnt have been so close to the usa,they wouldnt have blinked an eyelid.
    number one priority is japan not the usa
    had to be said

    • James2

      Well, it is a US-based site.

      And most of the active shills have been provided directly from the US government “intelligence” agencies.

      I’m amazed that there are hardly any folks from Japan on here.


        yes but was the website built for fukushima in japan or the usa?
        and there is unlikely to be any goverment agents on here or people payed to be here by them.
        if the goverment wanted to close this website down it could hack it dead within a minute easily

      • Enenews Admin

        actually alexa shows several cities in Gunma Prefecture where enenews is in the top 20 websites overall. In fact in Ota, Gunma we are #3, likely behind only Google and Facebook. Currently you can see on Alexa’s website that ene is #14 in Isesaki, Gunma http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/enenews.com.
        Also we were in the top 5,000 in Japan until the recent extended website outages reduced overall traffic by 10% or more. In the US it has been around top 30,000. Conclusion? Japan is well represented on this website, though they may not be commenting nearly as much.

        • James2

          I stand corrected – good information

          Do you have any information on how many posts/views are coming from the Fort Meade, Maryland area?

          • Enenews Admin

            had to chime in since that’s one of the only times i saw a comment of yours and didn’t think damn that’s true

            i’ll check around on the ft meade info

    • WindorSolarPlease


      We are all in this together, this could very possibly effect the world.

      I can only talk for myself and the Country I live in. I have no idea what other Countries and people are going through.

      I think we all have warned many people to get out of the way from this radiation, what foods to avoid, and the best way to protect yourself.

      Always interested in what other people are going through, that live in other Countries.

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      FUKUSHIMAHELL, you make some valid points, but you weaken your case considerably by posting them in a thread about a completely different topic. The thread you chose showed none of the behavior you deplore (although many other threads do), and you effectively hijacked this thread for a while. No big deal.

      That said, I disagree with your conclusion that “number one priority is japan” in the following sense.

      Obviously Japan’s situation is dire and needs urgent attention, but it is not obvious at this stage where the damage will be worst. If, for instance, the Pacific Ocean ecosystem is badly compromised then the consequences go far beyond Japan. I would suggest that number one priority is stopping this ongoing monster (which is of course in Japan but could have been anywhere), repairing as much damage as possible everywhere on the planet, and dismantling all potential future sources of such damage. There is no reason why much of this activity can not be done in parallel, in many countries simultaneously.

      No ethnocentric view is appropriate. We are all in this mess, wherever we live, whether we like it or not, and whether we are aware of it or not – all life on the planet. I am neither Japanese nor American, and I live about as far from Fukushima as it is possible to be on this planet, but I believe this ghastly event will impact me directly nonetheless and I follow the story with horror. Focus, earthlings, while you have choices. 😉

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Good God. A couple HOURS away and what happens??!?!
    ALWAYS THE UNEXPECTED…even tho we can ONLY expect the WORST.
    TY enenews.

  • just read the number as : the bottom plate is gone

  • Sevv Sevv

    Hey Guys, time for my first post here (reading since september) 😉

    The disaster has concerned me for a long time now – I’m thinking most of the time about it, consequences for humanity, and moreso, consequences for nature (animals, plants and other life).
    Fukushima, and nuclear industry in general, has proven to me that Einstein was absolutely correct about the infinity of humankind’s stupidity. I’m quite amazed how these reactors are built in the most unsafe places…

    Fukushima and the surrounding playing down are undiscussably among the worst crimes ever happened. But I still think there may be some positive effects.
    Maybe humanity finally realices that we are just a part of nature as well and the abuse of nature needs to stop. Humans learn by doing faults (yes, even if this was a case that really shouldnt have happened). It may be wishful thinking, considering the down-playing by ignorant governments, but there’s always hope when people like you here try to convince people of the atrocity of this disaster. And nuclear power is seemingly coming to an end (no more (new) plants here in Switzerland and other countries).
    I think the inherent flaw causing this event is human’s greed. Sometimes it just feels as if it was nature’s emergency break against us. Either we care for our planet or we may just go fuck ourselves. I’m ok that there’s the little unfairness of not all humans being that way. But considering our systems we are all more or less prone to being greedy. But we can change that.
    Fukushima is a new card thrown into the darwinistic card game. It sucks that it will fuck up ecological life systems, including showing us the yellow or even red card. But life goes on.
    Surfing around for informations I’ve found an interesting article about some quite amazing life forms which will (help) clean our planet with or without us. Nature could well go without us.

  • dave14139

    They must mean 50 square cm. 50 m^2 would be over 500 sq ft hole. Anyways, nice to see some honest talk about the qty of fuel load and the path to blocking the radiation with water. Still remains to be seen where the fuel IS….

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    So my hunch was correct…just sayin…
    Heart of the Rose
    December 5, 2011 at 12:46 am · Reply
    @Nuckelchen…Good day…
    TEPCO clowns with the color..what is that supposed to do?…lol
    JNN…red glowing base of reactor 3 and in front of 4.
    I haven’t said this in a long time..the foreground(Tepco) is a quite high embankment…and past the foliage is a deep drop..
    The right side of reactor 1 ..I believe …is in the condition.. that is happening now with reactor 2…a big gash in the side.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Quote: It is expected to take more than 30 years to decommission crippled reactors

    Do they have 30 years left of their lives and their Country, to work on this?

    • truthseek truthseek

      Lets imagine a protracted timeline, relative to FUKU so far,
      the contrast to the apparent Soviet efforts to abate / contain.
      FUKYU has simply gone too far, in such a short period
      of time… This is unfathomable…

      **I AM NOT suggesting this… but
      utter abandonment / turning their
      backs may be… the only thing…
      to write it .off.

  • James2

    OK, I see the update – Admin did the article originally say 50 square centimeters and instead of 50 square meters, or did it change after we pointed it out?

    The reason I ask is that there is a huge difference between the two. I was surprised at the size of a 50 square meter hole, but I’m equally surprised if the hole is only 50 square centimters, which is only 2.68 square feet

  • truthseek truthseek

    The world awaits (some in awareness and) nearly all in unexpressed fear of this holy doom as the Fukushima powder keg teeters with an unfathomable and highly reactive radiological complexes which are very likely to be launched, injected, haplessly puked into our atmosphere FOREVER!

    A (or the) big blemish/mark for humanity.

  • CaptD CaptD

    So much is yet unknown about this,

    The Japanese should N☢T Laugh but get mad,

    Eliminate TEPCO and eliminate the problem!

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      CaptD, I get your frustration when you say “Eliminate TEPCO and eliminate the problem!”, but alas, the problem is meltdowns/meltthroughs/leaks etc. and it remains unsolved, with or without Tepco, governments, analysts, bureaucrats, and any of us posting here.

      It is bizarre that the world is waiting for Tepco to solve the problem, but does anyone, anywhere actually know how to solve it?

      • CaptD CaptD

        Until TEPCO gets a Major management shakeup or better yet replaced with a Internationally chosen Management team under the direction of a NEW Board of directors that have a rep from Greenpeace and one or more of the Japanese “Hero’s that have spoken out against TEPCO, the Japanese people will never know the truth or believe what their Government says…

        If Arnie, and a few others were on that Board then we would know what is going on, until then TEPCO is just trying to save money while their big stockholders BALE OUT!

        Someone should do a story on who has sold how much TEPCO, then see if they are the same folks saying everything is OK (for themselves) N☢T Japan!

  • CaptD CaptD

    A woman is at significantly greater risk of suffering and dying from radiation-induced cancer than a man who gets the same dose of ionizing radiation. This is news because data in the report on the biological effects of ionizing radiation published in 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 1 has been under-reported. It is more often acknowledged that children are at higher risk of disease and death from radiation, but it is rarely pointed out that the regulation of radiation and nuclear activity (worldwide) ignores the disproportionately greater harm to both women and children. 2
    The goal of this briefing paper is to help the lay reader understand the data on radiation impacts to women presented in the NAS radiation report. Other researchers indicate that the effects may be even greater than the NAS findings.3 This is because the NAS report covers only radiation doses that are from sources outside the body (gamma and X-rays)–leaving out doses from radioactivity taken inside the body. These internal effects result from contamination inhaled in air, and ingested food and water and confirm that the overall assessment by the NAS is not complete.
    Nonetheless, the NAS report is stunning enough: it finds that harm to women (cancer) is 50% higher than the comparable harm to men from radiation doses that fall within the legal limit to the public over a lifetime. Let’s be clear: radiation kills men–but it kills significantly more women. Both cancer incidence and death are 50% higher for women. Non-cancer health impacts were not included in the analysis.