Title: Errors Cast Doubt on Japan’s Cleanup of Nuclear Accident Site
Source: New York Times
Author: Martin Fackler
Date: Sept. 3, 2013
[...] Nuclear experts also questioned the government’s longer-term plan to extract the fuel cores from the reactors, which if successful would eliminate the major source of contamination. Some doubted whether it was even technically feasible to extricate the fuel because of the extent of the damage during the explosions and subsequent meltdowns.
Even at Three Mile Island, where the reactor vessel remained intact, removing the fuel by remote-controlled machinery was a tricky engineering feat. While great strides have been made in robotics since then, damage to the containment vessels at Fukushima makes the problems there much more complex.
Molten fuel not only piled up like wax from a candle on the vessel floor, as at Three Mile Island, but ran through cracks into the piping and machinery below. Some experts warn that it may even have found its way into the ground beneath the buildings. [...]
Published: September 4th, 2013 at 11:38 am ET