4 Months Later: NRC says radiological material dispersed in ‘various forms’ around plant — Most likely from inside reactors — Isotopes indicative of core damage

Published: March 5th, 2012 at 6:31 pm ET
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Transcript of Task Force Public Meeting
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
7/28/11
Emphasis Added

[...]

MR. SHADIS: Good afternoon, everyone. Yes, I want to say first this may be a little bit naïve, but members of the public are pretty much limited to what is reported in the press with respect to Fukushima. I was surprised to hear you all say that the fuel in the spent fuel pools was not damaged. Press reports indicate that fuel particles up to a centimeter or more in size had been found a mile or more from the spent fuel pools and that’s my first question. Can you address the disparity here?

MR. GROBE: These are the kinds of details that are going to be evolving over the next months and years and maybe even more than a decade. The — there’s nothing particularly that focuses any deposition on the spent fuel pool, in fact, most of the deposition that has been reported to date appears to have come from the reactors. There are — there’s great difficulty in units one, two and three in actually observing the fuel that’s in the spent fuel pools and what I said earlier was that there’s some level of confidence that the fuel in the spent fuel pools has not been damaged based on looking at the ratios between various radionuclides and by looking at that, you can determine the age of the fuel. And when I say age, I mean the amount of time that it’s been out of the reactor. You can you evaluate the various isotopes and determine whether that fuel was actually being irradiated in the reactor at the time that it was melted and released or whether or not it was in the spent fuel pool and was older fuel. So it — these are — these details have not been definitively identified, but there is information that indicates that the fuel in the spent fuel pools was not damaged. I don’t think any of that influences our recommendations regarding the spent fuel pools. Our recommendations are that should you have instrumentation that tells you what’s going on, that you should have electrical power to make sure that you can run the systems to provide makeup water [spelled phonetically] and if those are not available to you, you should have an alternate means that doesn’t involve dropping water from helicopters to spray water into the spent fuel pools.

[...]

MR. SHADIS: [...] Well, you know, following on that question, are you then — is it your preliminary assessment that these large particles of fuel were somehow ejected from the

MR. GROBE: I need to say that the task force did not evaluate this issue or render a conclusion on this issue. What it did was recommend the 12 overarching recommendations and the subordinate implementation details, and that is the extent of our conclusions at this point.

MR. HOLAHAN: Yeah, this is Gary Holahan. You know, although the — we don’t consider this a technical report on the details of what happened at Fukushima. I think, you know, a very reasonable working hypothesis — I don’t want to get too definitive on it, but, you know, ascribing these dispersed radioactive materials in various forms on the site, you know, it most likely appears they were from the reactor cores rather than spent fuel pools. I think we have to wait for a definitive answer, but things like the amount of iodine in the, you know, in the radiological material that was dispersed are generally indicative of core damage as opposed to spent fuel pool damage.

MR. GROBE: Again — I’m sorry, again, just emphasize, these technical details are the kinds of things that are going to be sorted out over the next months to years and really do not impact on the recommendations that the task force has made.

[...]

h/t GH

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Published: March 5th, 2012 at 6:31 pm ET
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18 comments

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18 comments to 4 Months Later: NRC says radiological material dispersed in ‘various forms’ around plant — Most likely from inside reactors — Isotopes indicative of core damage

  • dear jones

    common sense will do better than this guy.


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    • aigeezer aigeezer

      Which guy do you mean? Shadis? Grobe? Holahan? Other?… I'm not sure what you mean yet.


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    • lokay5

      "NRC CHAIRMAN JACZKO: So, the spent-fuel pool indications, that’s coming from, I would say, our team in Japan? Would that be acceptable?

      CHUCK CASTO: Yes, they’re coming from TEPCO."

      SAY WHAT ?

      Does anyone else notice something WRONG with that answer?

      Does that mean that "our team" is TEPCO?


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  • HoTaters HoTaters

    Disgusting. Anyone with a brain knows Reactor 3 blew up, and parts of spent fuel rods were thrown up to 1km away (some reports saying up to 5km away).

    Or should I say anyone with a brain who has been following this?

    I guess I shouldn't blame the poor, uninformed sheeple who rely on mainstream media for their reporting. Or should I? Hmmn, such a moral dilemna!


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    • James2

      No, what they are all saying is that the reactor on 3 blew up and the spent fuel rods remained in the pool and it was reactor core material that went everywhere – that means MOX.

      Of course they don't want to be, um, err, "definitive" on that…


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  • bfly

    @ static66 , the transcript above is mind-boggling ! and to think they have workers all over SFP4!


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  • Bobby1

    "I think we have to wait for a definitive answer, but things like the amount of iodine in the, you know, in the radiological material that was dispersed are generally indicative of core damage as opposed to spent fuel pool damage."

    This is correct, and it indicates that iodine is coming from the underground coriums.

    Mochizuki is reporting iodine-131 in the tap water at Minamisoma.

    http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/03/iodine131-measured-from-tap-water-in-minamisoma/


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    • Bobby1

      I tried to find out, not sure, but I think Minamisoma uses well water.

      That would mean that the coriums may be contaminating groundwater 20 km from the plant now.


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  • Misitu

    I love this comment from MR. GROBE on page 31

    "The next area I would like to focus on, next slide, please, is the area of combustible gas control.
    [...]
    The task force spent quite a bit of time studying what we knew and do know today about the situation with the hydrogen gas at Fukushima and concluded that there really isn't enough information at this point in time to do anything other than conclude that this is an issue that clearly requires focus."

    ?

    How long have we had these machines

    ?


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  • aigeezer aigeezer

    I kept wondering why this transcript seemed to have a condescending tone – thinking it was another of their "expert" phone conferences. I now realize it was a public meeting.

    There is this soothing drone: leave it to the professionals, it will take years, we've made our recommendations, we'll look for evidence some other time, go back to sleep, everything is fine, eat a banana. We are really really good at this and that is why we are recommending that it is not a good idea to drop seawater by helicopter onto spent fuel pools.

    Amazingly, they still seem unable to speak in coherent sentences even when they are in flat-out spin mode.


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    • GeoHarvey

      Actually, it was a teleconference with public participation, and the transcript does not do justice to the tone of the conversation.
      When Ray Shadis asked about whether the fuel was ejected from a reactor, he was cut off. The admission that the fuel had recently been critical was followed by a good deal of blustering, and seemed dismaying to the board members – I wondered whether the person who said that would ever be allowed to speak in public again – or possibly fired.
      In order to have been found a mile from the plant, the fuel had to have been ejected at something more than the speed of sound. Heavy buckshot from a shotgun has much better ballistics than a broken fragment would, and it would not travel a mile. The force of the explosion must have been very powerful.
      I can only imagine two ways this could have happened. One is if a reactor blew up, spewing fuel. The other is if a spent fuel pool went critical an detonated deep inside it. It could not have been scattered from a spent fuel pool by a hydrogen explosion, because the force of the explosive would have been above the fuel, driving it down, rather than up. That might have put some fragments outside the building, but not a mile away.
      I wonder how long it will be before the whole story emerges.


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  • CaptD CaptD

    This is just so much more Nuclear Baloney (NB) from the NRC!

    It is time for all folks that realize this is just pure BS to write their Leaders and demand that they find out what is going on at the NRC and why they have not been honest about what radionuclides have been found and in what quantities since 3/11.

    That is scientific data and it cannot be massaged in order to sidestep what is happening in Fukushima!

    Senators Boxer and Sanders are on the NRC oversight Board; they will welcome your comments: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Members.Home


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  • James2

    This is called trying to twist your way between misleading and lying.

    They know exactly what was ejected and what it means, but they also knew the party line was to not tell what was ejected and what that means and so you get a lot of "qualification" words.


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  • Hogweed

    NRC said

    You can you evaluate the various isotopes and determine whether that fuel was actually being irradiated in the reactor at the time that it was melted and released or whether or not it was in the spent fuel pool and was older fuel. So it — these are — these details have not been definitively identified,

    ===
    But now they have been so this NRC holding "lie" doesn't work any more.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22236558

    Radioactivity from Fukushima Dai-ichi in air over Europe; part 2: what can it tell us about the accident?

    Kirchner G, Bossew P, De Cort M.
    Source

    German Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Köpenicker Allee 120-130, 10318 Berlin, Germany.

    It is shown which information can be extracted from the monitoring of radionuclides emitted from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant and transported to Europe. In this part the focus will be on the analysis of the concentration ratios. While (131)I, (134)Cs and (137)Cs were reported by most stations, other detected radionuclides, reported by some, are (95)Nb, (129m)Te, (132)Te, (132)I, (136)Cs and (140)La. From their activity ratios a mean burn-up of 26.7 GWd/t of the fuel from which they originated is estimated. Based on these data, inventories of radionuclides present at the time of the accident are calculated. The caesium activity ratios indicate emissions from the core of unit 4 which had been unloaded into the fuel storage pool prior to the accident.


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  • CaptD CaptD

    @Hogweed
    Does it surprise you that so few labs globally are posting data about radioactive pollution in their own Country, that has come from Fukushima?

    I can see them not saying to much about what they read or hear about in Japan but when it gets to their own Country, I would think they would be much more vocal unless their ow Gov't. is telling them to keep quiet!


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