NRC March Email: Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 was likely dry enough to lead to catastrophic explosion — Structural damage to pool area known to exist — Pool leakage likely

Published: January 7th, 2012 at 7:44 pm ET


In response to today’s post: [intlink id=”fukushima-worst-case-beyond-250km-could-be-evacuation-zone-covering-reactors-pool-sand-mixture-considered-last-resort” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

March 29th, 2011 – Status of 3 Units and 4 pools – Realistic Scenarios, Enformable, Dec. 15, 2011:

From: Brown, Frederick
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 10:56 PM


SFP 4: 1331 bundles. Full core offload about 120 days ago. No checker boarding of hotter fuel. Structural damage to pool area is known to exist, and structure may not support a full pool weight load. Pool leakage likely, requiring addition of water periodically. Pool was likely dry enough to have cladding/water reaction which produced enough hydrogen to lead to catastrophic explosion that destroyed secondary containment.

March 22nd, 2011 – Side of RB the source of white smoke for U2? Suspect torus damage:

Published: January 7th, 2012 at 7:44 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. NRC March Email: “The walls of the Unit 4 spent fuel pool have collapsed, and there is no water in there” January 11, 2012
  2. Reactor Operator: FOIA response shows US knew in March that Spent Fuel Pool No. 3 leaking — “Flooding of pool may not be possible due to damage” (VIDEO) January 3, 2012
  3. Ex-Chairman of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Upcoming ‘attempt’ to remove Fukushima Unit 4 spent fuel is very, very unprecedented — Pool has significant structural damage — Will be very risky (VIDEO) September 24, 2013
  4. TEPCO: Nuclear fuel rods in No. 4 spent fuel pool are “confirmed to be damaged” — First time damage revealed at any pool April 13, 2011
  5. 220 Million Bq/liter of Cesium now in No. 2 Spent Fuel Pool — SFP No. 1, 2, & 3 “clearly have significant spent fuel damage” (VIDEO) August 28, 2011

19 comments to NRC March Email: Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 was likely dry enough to lead to catastrophic explosion — Structural damage to pool area known to exist — Pool leakage likely

  • Mack Mack

    Look at this NRC email exchange when asking for employees to help out in Japan:

    MW: “I’m a PWR person so this leaves me out.”

    SB: “That is no excuse, Mike. “W” and “R” make up two-thirds of what they need…or may, be even more…”

    MW: “It is true the “W” and “R” are the same for both generic designs. However, there are 13 letters in the alphabet between “B” and “P”, which leaves a lot of room for totally different acronyms.”

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    The fuel pool already had a recent catastrophic loss of water and now they are emailing about what may happen if the fuel touches atmosphere? Well I guess has some sense to know a huge hydrogen explosion is VERY possible when nuclear fuel is not cooled. Lesson learned you industry bafoons! Keep pumping water into that damn thing and put new supports in every day all day. The spent fuel needs to be removed and relocated bit by bit. The earth is shaking regularly and the damn planet can’t handle much more. Grampybone needs a damn vault to take cover in. Maybe some god damn lima beans too!

    • According to internal NRC emails on the Op-Center list, the subject of zircalloy fire was…

      1. Something the NRC knew quite a lot about and had thoroughly researched and even gamed with mockups. Unfortunately for the situation at Daiichi…

      2. The material was “eyes only.” Few knew of its existence, fewer had clearance enough to see it.

      None of the documents released via FOIA indicate that the Japanese government or TEPCO were ever given the NRC data. But the knowledge that zircalloy burns was out there in various national nuclear establishments and academia. Became public pretty quickly.

      Bear in mind that until the whole world saw reactor buildings at Daiichi blowing up, the nuclear industry had always insisted that hydrogen could not be generated during nuclear accidents and melting reactors can’t blow up, overheated zircalloy cannot oxidize in water or burn in air. Hell, before Fukushima, the nuclear industry and its promoter/defenders in government swore – literally, in courts of law – that isotopic releases do not move in plumes. A deliberate confusion served to the courts, press and public between radiation and radioactive contamination that worked great until people started seeing Fukushima plume maps on television.

      The world nuclear establishment of course knew. There were big hydrogen explosions at both TMI and Chernobyl, and several experimental reactors exploded during meltdowns. They’ve known about plumes of contamination since Trinity. They never intended for any of these things to ever become public knowledge. Fukushima Daiichi has revealed some nasty ‘secrets’ I hope people won’t forget.

      • Exactly, they knew. Not to overdo it, but I spent some time on an NRC EIS they want comment on.

        Easy for public to comment, keep it professional though, hard hitting and professional.

        • Aw, hell. These mindless, soulless dolts [NRC] don’t even have requirements for fail-safe emergency backup power to spent fuel pools now, when the plants are operating with down (for years) EDGs, dead batteries, no fire extinguishers, etc., etc. Sure, let ’em run for 60 years (20 past life expectancy), then let the cram-packed spent fuel just hang out in the spa for another 60. By then they might have a place to put it that enjoys some shielding and actual management, but don’t bet on it. And definitely don’t bet on old Sol to mind its CME manners for 120 years, or our very delicate grid to even be functional for another decade. The nuclear industry’s going down. What in the world would make anybody believe these corporations will exist even for that decade?

          Grumble, grumble… there’s no saving grace here. And NRC’s firmly on THEIR side, not ours.

  • A cave with upwelling of oxygen and some 1/2acre of greenhouses along eith loaded chicken coops and 3 years of storage food, LOL.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    They already admitted one explosion in SFP #4.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      Theory for Fukushima Daiichi 4 explosion
      17 May 2011
      “A theory has emerged to explain the explosion at Fukushima Daiichi 4, despite no nuclear fuel being damaged there, based on an influx of hydrogen via pipework shared with unit 3.

      “Major damage was done to unit 4’s reactor building some time on 15 March, but until now no technical explanation for this had been made known. Hydrogen explosions occurred at units 1 and 3, with the source of the gas being damage to fuel in the reactor vessels. However, unit 4 was undergoing maintenance with its core stored temporarily in the pond, leading observers to think unit 4’s hydrogen explosion must have come as a result of damage to fuel in an overheating pond.

      “However, on 30 April a visual inspection of the pond revealed no serious disruption to the structures and fuel, apart from a scattering of debris. Tepco did not see the kinds of damage that would result from the pond boiling dry and the oxidation of the fuel.

      “Now the company has put forward a theory based on a hydrogen explosion due to influx of gas via ventilation systems shared with unit 3. Warning its theory was ‘presumptive’, Tepco said hydrogen from venting unit 3 could have flowed into certain levels of unit 4 through its Standby Gas Treatment System (SGTS).

      “When called upon, the SGTS moves air from the reactor building to the environment through a series of filters and discharge via an exhaust stack. Its operation maintains low pressure within the reactor building and prevents any potentially contaminated air leaving through tiny holes. Fukushima Daiichi 3 and 4 share the same stack, used for this purpose as well as for venting from containment when a reactor is at high pressure.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        “Tepco said that hydrogen from unit 3 could have ‘flown’ into unit 4 during venting to emerge in five different locations on the 4th and 5th floor. The company has yet to ascertain whether the system valves were in a position to make this possible, but it considers damage to the building to be consistent with the theory.

        “It could also explain fires seen in unit 4 earlier on 15 March, which were reported at least twice but extinguished themselves without any intervention.”

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    Spent Fuel Pool of reactor 4 Unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi 8 May 2011

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    Gee, who’s running this site. A one-two punch of reinforcing disinformation on F1 SFP4.

  • PattieB PattieB

    the vid of the pool they claimed was 4, was of building #2…. not correct amount of rods in them racks in the vid folks! 4 has over 1500. the vid showed most racks as being empty!

    confirmed even by NRC that #4’s pool was burning back in March 2011 !~