NHK: Plant operators trying to find nuclear cores — All fuel has melted through, much of it into containment vessel… So where’s the rest? (VIDEO)

Published: December 10th, 2011 at 1:32 am ET


Nuclear Watch: Cold Shutdown & Beyond, NHK, December 8, 2011:

NHK Host

  • The fuel inside 3 reactors has melted through the bottoms of their furnaces
  • Plant operators try to identify where all the fuel has gone
  • Analysts estimate all of the fuel has melted through the furnace, much of it into the containment vessel

Noriyuki Mizuno, NHK Science Commentator (Transcript Summary)

  • Above all, we need to know the temperature of the fuel
  • No thermometer is in place to let us know
  • Gov’t has set two conditions for declaring that the reactors are actually in cold shutdown
  • First is that the temperatures at the bottom of the reactors below 100°C
  • The other is to have greatly reduced emissions of radioactive substances
  • But if fuel has melted and reached the containment, the question arises as to the real significance of bottom temperatures of the tanks
  • The views of TEPCO is the fuel reactor was cooled. The company is indeed observed that the temperature in the containment is 40 degrees
  • The question is whether the people of Fukushima will be convinced by this argument
  • Another problem is that a temperature exceeding 100 degrees makes sense only when the vessel and the containment building were not damaged
  • The test loses its value when a reactor is damaged, which is the case at Fukushima Dai-ichi

Published: December 10th, 2011 at 1:32 am ET


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  3. Scientist: “The melted core cracked the containment vessel, there really is no containment” at Fukushima reactors (VIDEO) February 25, 2013
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43 comments to NHK: Plant operators trying to find nuclear cores — All fuel has melted through, much of it into containment vessel… So where’s the rest? (VIDEO)

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Reminds me of the kids book “Where’s Waldo”

    Except, that this is serious

    • americancommntr

      Just reported: Three large steaming blobs of molten nuclear fuel just popped up in Argentina, briefly, then slowly began submerging again, down the vertical holes they created, in accelerating fashion.

      Argentine citizens living in the area called Tepco officials in Japan and demanded they stop the nuclear yo-yo’s.

      Tepco denied owning the yo-yo’s, but said the amount of radiation recorded in the area was ‘just a little bit, not enough to harm anyone’.

  • Dr. McCoy

    Time to live In the moment each and every day for it truly is the end of the world as we know it…

    • stock

      No it isn’t. Don’t freak out and just try to enjoy the moment. Educate yourself and fight nuclear through every means possible!


  • Once again, why didn’t they just consult right at the beginning? Haven’t we been chanting “it’s left the building!” for months now?

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi risabee

      Hope you are doing well. I think they all know what is happening and keeping a closed mouth on this.

      They did the same thing with the Gulf Disaster, kept quiet and did things that were not right. All of them protecting the Corporation, and not the public.

      • I am fine, so far as I can tell, thank you much. I should have had a smiley to indicate my ironic snark about the authorities. You are quite right!

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      I think they know, the strange brew is merrily churning away, but do not want to panic the public for numerous reasons. Also, know one can say exactly what or where the fuel is but I’m sure they have infrared photos….hmmm speaking of which they just did release a few infrared photos a few months ago? I’ll have to search as I can’t remember the exact date. Anyone know off hand?

    • Captain Quark Captain Quark

      Can we re-name the fuel to Elvis? and then when we say Elvis has left the building everyone will love it…..

  • James2

    There is no way for them to determine where the fuel is. It’s so hot they can’t get near it.

    Even if they knew – and they probably do know that is is out of the building – but they can’t tell us

    • jimbojamesiv

      Doesn’t TEPCO have infrared to see the heat through the containment vessels?

      I think it’s correct that infrared would pick up the heat sources wherever they are?

      • James2

        IR is a light source. If it’s 40 meters in the ground, it will not show on IR. there were some IR images early on, and from the beginning #3 looked like the fuel was highly disbursed.

        I’m sure they have advanced sonic locating methods, but if they really don’t want to find the fuel, then they wouldn’t tell us even if successful.

        • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

          Hello All, I’m holding onto three basic theories about where & what’s up with the corium(s)-One being a scientist’s presumption,another being my own analysis findings,and the 3rd one belonging to another of the outstanding regular’s from the group here. I’ll start by sticking to my theory that they’re using some prototype technology method to “burn” a portion of the crap in the “nuclear fare” we’ve been seeing for a week straight now and whole bundles of fuel rods were placed out of “their” way,but into “harm’s way” of the Pacific Ocean and the marine life forms found within the radiations reach-along with the people whose lives & living is dependent upon the sea 🙁 How that ultimately plays out remains to be seen… With regard to a regular contributer of the highest caliber here who described the corium as having split into many little “roots” like a tree’s where it worked its way across a larger area making its way into underground “veins” of groundwater & into the nearby ocean. I tend to believe that would reduce the risk of a huge hydrovolcanic explosion and might also be favorable in the short term due to the smaller volume of material working their way downward would be at a slower rate and would likely cool & solidify sooner,although the likelihood of some large “blobs” of nuclear lava weighing tons & still holding copious amounts of heat with explosive potential is still very much of concern. Whatever ultimately isn’t recovered & placed into the “new” cooling pond/lagoon that I’d already assumed was the case even before nucklechen’s vids from 12-05 zoomed in on it just offshore roughly between R2 & R3 and probably even more in the area’s just out of camera view behind the remains of R4 as well judging by where I’d watched hours of TBS footage of the cranework activities that give that impression *4get about a sarcophagus now in any case I would think*….~PEACE~

          • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

            typo fix=”nuclear flare” ,not “fare”!!(?) WTH!!??-I’m obviously overtired & delirious-time for sleep!! Have a nice weekend everyone!! ~PEACE~ 73’s *Over & Out* 🙂

            • bc

              I am grateful for your comments, I think your onto something JB. I have been getting 10-30X background in my rainwater with my inspector EXP. The decay is quick though within a few hrs. I have tried to share my results and few even care. therefore I will make my best guess. I think it is bismuth 213 which can be produced by bombarding radium with bremsstrahlung photons from a linear particle accelerator. The radium comes from the uranium at fukushima. Thanks to ene news regulars who are seeking the truth about this disaster to those of you who spread lies and confusion YOU WILL NOT SUCCEED.

  • NukeisShit

    if you really want to feel safe, please read IAEA’s latest report.
    All issues have been solved. Tepco is a nest of masterminds and almost no radioactivity is all around.
    I would call it “funny”, but I’m non in the mood. I’m a bit too disgusted…

    • stock

      Great link, what a joke
      I sent them an email asking why they are supporting the end of the human species.

    • Captain Quark Captain Quark

      I’m not the only one who finds this report critically lacking in detail, and pathetic to say the least.

  • stock

    I would to postulate that those who appreciate ENENEWS should consider buying products from the advertisers on the site. Each click might be worth .15 to 1.5 dollars. And bandwidth does not come for free.

    And education does not come for free.

    What real news agency exists?
    bandwidth, if you visit take the time to klik adx!!!!!!!!
    Support your favorite blogs!!!!! they are not free to the operators, they take amazing effort and cost for

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Agreed and I must put my money where my agreement is. Having websites like Enenews, Fairewinds, Majia, Portoblog, etc. I almost wish they had a united fund for the numerous sites as there are so many which is great since MSM has turned a blind eye. Oh, wait, that’s right we are all paranoid and crazy for thinking there is a problem with three little suns (corium) sinking into the earth.

      • WindorSolarPlease

        Hi moonshellblue

        I agree that, there are sites with good information about this disaster. They give out more information than the media.
        I wonder how much longer this will keep up, before this is also changed.

        I am just as crazy and paranoid as you are, that there is three little suns (corium) sinking into the earth.

        Not sure why I think this is a problem (sarc)

        Their beautiful Country is toast..Things that are contaminated with radiation stays contaminated, just look at Chernobyl.

        Their greed has unleashed a monster with Nuclear Power, and the public suffers.

  • Human0815

    Sounds Kosher and Reliable,
    i should start to buy Christmas Presents
    because it really look alike that we will survive it
    without a deadly Blow of Radiation at least until 12/ 24-25-26

    Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells 🙂

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    “Analysts estimate all of the fuel has melted through the furnace, much of it into the containment vessel”

    This kind of announcement can be parsed in various ways, for example:

    (Tepco) Analysts (who cannot approach the site and who have a dismal track record) (have been encouraged to) estimate (but nobody knows).

    Melted… into the (damaged) containment vessel (and out the bottom).

    For the last couple of weeks we have been seeing this kind of “news”, some of it very mainstream. A lot of it could be traced back to one simulation by Tepco. I’m wondering if all “news” that starts with “analysts estimate” is probably just fluff – and yet I read it carefully hoping to find some tiny factoid. Sometimes it is valuable because it points out contradictions in earlier “news”. At least it is cumulative, drip, drip, drip.

    Anyway, does anyone know if this latest news is just a rehash of the Tepco simulation from a week or two ago? I’m referring to the one that morphed in msm to “thank goodness the concrete stopped the melt with only a few cm to go – that was a close call”.

    Is this new analysis? Who are the analysts? What are their qualifications? What is their reasoning? What data do they base their conclusions on? Let’s have a look at the data too.

    After the analysts wrangle for a while perhaps they will announce that while they could not reach cold shutdown, they have decided instead to be cool and shut up.

  • bfly…..Here is this article I read months ago.It is an retired nuke industry expert. He says once , the fuel hits the stainless steel , it will cut through like butter.Now I am confused about the diagram . It shows cement inside the containment vessel? That is news to me. I have not seen this diagram before or is it Tepcos special version?

  • bfly like above link did not happen so, I hope this link does.

  • bfly

    When that happens, you’re going to have a massive steam explosion, which creates extremely high pressure in the reactor pressure vessel,” Allen said. As has been noted in various news reports, the pressure dropped inside the reactor and radiation levels outside the unit rose significantly at about that time. That, he said, would seem to support conjecture that the vessel protecting the nuclear core may have been damaged or possibly ruptured and released some of the radioactive constituents.

    “I’ve done many of these experiments,” he said. “When you drop a molten core into water, there’s a big explosion.”

    The worst of the worst could come if Japan can’t come up with a way to sufficiently cool down the reactor fuel cores. That has reportedly become increasingly difficult with workers evacuating the sites — at least temporarily — because of high radiation fields.

    “These things play out over a long period of time, longer than people would think,” Allen said. “You have an earthquake that lasts maybe a minute, a tsunami that lasts maybe 15 minutes. But these things could go on for months. You could lose all six of the reactors.”

    If workers are unable to get additional cooling water into the reactor vessel, the molten fuel core will collapse into the water in bottom of the vessel. Eventually the heat from the decaying fuel would boil away the water that’s left, leaving the core sitting on the vessel’s lower head made of steel.

    Should that happen, “It’ll melt through it like butter,” Allen said.

    That, in turn, would cause a “high-pressure melt injection” into the water-filled concrete cavity below the reactor. Because the concrete would likely be unheated, the reaction created by the sudden injection of the reactor’s ultra-hot content would be immense, he said.

    “It’ll be like somebody dropped a bomb, and there’ll be a big cloud of very, very radioactive material above the ground,” Allen said, noting that it would contain…

  • bfly

    above is part of the article.(im still not that good with a computer. this tragedy has pulled me out of my ludite ways.)

  • SnorkY2K

    Can’t find it? Are they trying? Are there any microphones in the ground? Pour water on it and the cores will rock and sizzle with a good bit of noise. Use at least 6 microphones in two rings and you can approximate location and depth.

  • Tanuki San

    It’s a little annoying how they use the word “furnace” but the animation shows that by “furnace” they mean “pressure vessel.” So NHK basically announced that ALL the fuel has melted through the pressure vessel of reactor 1.

    There was no information about reactors 2 and 3, except that they think the fuel has stopped eroding the concrete. I’d like to see a diagram of what happened at reactor 3. And isn’t reactor 2 the one they’re most worried about because of the hydrogen gas?

  • Fudo

    Physics doesn’t support the assessment that the fuel burned through the containment. If you look at Chernobyl, the Corium spread horizontally and cooled once it breached the reactor core. The Russians spent a lot of money and lost lives building a cooling system under the plant that was never activated because the corium had eventually cooled on it’s own.

    It’s physically impossible for the fuel to stay in a ball shape burrowing down through the cement floor. The pancake scnario is common sense. Even anti-nuclear experts like Arnie Gunderson agree that in a furnace breach the fuel would have spread across the floor of the primary containment and eventually cooled. (he talks about it in the video that’s part of the article posted on ENENEWS “Nuclear Expert: Fukushima radiation still spreading”)

    This is a huge mess to clean up because the fuel will be fused into the concrete and solidified.

    In a crisis like this, there are probabilities and possibilities. It doesn’t make sense to embrace something that’s an extreme outside chance as the highest probability outcome. The historical data (Chernobyl), the design factor of the containment, and the physics of the corium doesn’t support this scenario.

    Even in a worst case burn through scenario, the material is dispersing, so the likelihood of an underground steam explosion is very low. Some material would remain in the furnace, some would remain in the primary containment, some would remain in the suppression pool, some would remain in the basement beneath the containment and suppression pool, and if there’s any hot fuel that made it through the concrete floor under the containment, this part could possibly could get into the wild.

    Visualizing the corium as a spherical unified blob with a super hot core melting to the center of the earth doesn’t fit any logical flow pattern for the materials involved or the reactor design, even in a full meltdown.

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      Those points seem reasonable, Fudo.

      Could you take an educated guess at quantifying “some”, “very low”, and so forth?

      I have no preconceived position on the answers, I’m just curious, and you sound like you may have some knowledge of the details. Even an order-of-magnitude guess would be interesting.

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      Chernobyl was 25 tons, these reactors were much, much larger. It was also MOX fuel Chernobyl was not. Time will tell.

    • dpl dpl

      the Elephant’s Foot structure is composed of two metric tons of black lava which contained 6% uranium it melted 2 meter into the concrete.
      the blob is larger has a higher uranium content and has moved further.
      The runny pancake /common sense theory is gaining steam but the FUKU express seems to have left the building. The lack of a consensus from the experts on what is happening at the plant leaves one to wonder if the let it burn approach will make things worse. the russians drilled into the building and inspected with cameras and rad monitors. where is the world response to this monster CF . I’m all out of hopium getting blasted with rads is starting to piss me off.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Any “pancake” at Fukushima is going to spread into the ocean. Once it goes through the containment it is only on landfill in some places and on porous sedimentary rock. Shouldn’t have been built there. No comparison to Chernobyl which also wasn’t using MOX fuel.

      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        I agree, anne…the orb or the pancake? corium is lava..and will take the path of least resistance…filling pipes fissures ,cracks..etc.
        It is heavy and hot and is coring downwards…
        Is it capable of disturbing the immediate shoreline strata?…I wonder.

  • StPaulScout StPaulScout

    “All fuel has melted through, much of it into containment vessel… So where’s the rest?”

    If, “all fuel has melted” what do they mean “where’s the rest”?

    • Enenews Admin

      – it says “all” of the fuel has melted through RPV into containment
      – it says “much” of the melted fuel is in containment
      – so where is the rest of the melted fuel?
      – “much” does not mean “all”

  • lokay5 lokay5

    NHK: Plant operators trying to find nuclear cores.

    Should read;

    NHK: Plant owners trying to find their ass with both hands, a map, and a flashlight.

  • thelili

    @Lokay5 hee hee excellent 🙂

    • bc

      Hi thelili,

      an earthquake or tsunami will be a distraction for sure, so would a pandemic. Have you seen the article about how little damage was done by the massive earthquake, other than the tsunami.

  • thelili

    @Bc lol oh yes I have seen the ridiculous things coming out in the news. At this point any distraction would suit them well. So all of the HAARP folk in here I hope you are doing your thing and staying on top of any anomalies.