Nuclear Engineer: New fuel is highly reactive, easier to go critical than spent fuel — Bad situation if assemblies are damaged (VIDEO)

Published: July 20th, 2012 at 3:01 pm ET
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Follow-up to: [intlink id=”tepco-no-major-deformation-or-corrosion-seen-so-far-in-removed-fuel-assemblies” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Interview with Nuclear Engineer Chris Harris
Nutrimedical Report
July 20, 2012

At ~26:45 in

Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer: … the reason why they are trying to pull [the fuel assemblies] out right now is because they don’t know what it would look like. There’s debris in that pool. And that’s one of the questions they’re trying to answer: Is the new fuel damaged?

New fuel damage is bad for a lot of reasons.

It’s highly reactive — it’s possible — it’s easier to go critical on that than it is to go critical on spent fuel.

Published: July 20th, 2012 at 3:01 pm ET
By

11 comments

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11 comments to Nuclear Engineer: New fuel is highly reactive, easier to go critical than spent fuel — Bad situation if assemblies are damaged (VIDEO)

  • Wouldn't it have been better to have a look 15 months ago?

  • Wreedles Wreedles

    The thing they're not mentioning is that the new fuel assemblies are the only ones they can remove right now.

    You've seen the pictures with all the people observing the removal near the crane, and the shots of people scrubbing the newly pulled assemblies?

    Had it been a used, irradiated assembly, all of those people would have received a lethal dose within seconds.

    They're going to have to build some sort of water shielding contraption to remove the irradiated assemblies.

  • jec jec

    Correct! And had it been a damaged assembly, "all of those people would have received a lethal dose within second."..as well as a lot of innocent people in the nearby area..Fukushima City and so on…This is not a project to try and simplify and 'save face' on..Just Saying..

  • jackassrig

    I would bet my last dollar that this is another YEPCO lie. I think the SFP was lost and they were trying to cover the nuclear poo with the Red Dragon.

  • djysrv

    Nuclear fuel that hasn’t been loaded into the reactor and bombarded with neutrons is pretty benign stuff. Unirradiated uranium gives off an occasional alpha particle (the nucleus of a helium atom) which can’t even really escape the bundle. Wearing gloves and regular clothes is more than adequate protection. This fuel is designed such that it can’t start spontaneously fissioning. It requires both a source of neutrons and some water to get the whole thing going, one without the other won’t start the chain reaction.

    • larry-andrew-nils

      i was under the impression that water is not necessary in getting fuel to go critical.

    • Kassandra

      I recommend reading Full Body Burden, which looks at Rocky Flats CO, to understand the myriad risks posed by Pu, particularly its tendency to ignite, explode, and migrate.