Nuclear Engineer: New cover on Unit 4 can trap hydrogen gas during criticality in fuel pool — Blast would be close to a nuclear explosion, from a practical standpoint (AUDIO)

Published: November 22nd, 2013 at 11:09 am ET


Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen, Nov. 19, 2013 (at 7:00 in): Modern fuel racks have boron surrounding the nuclear fuel, and the boron at Fukushima Daiich likely leached out over the last 2 years […] If the fuel gets too close to each other it can cause a chain reaction in the fuel pool.

Full interview with Gundersen available here

Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer, Nov. 21, 2013 (at 34:45 in): You can have occur a complete criticality in the spent fuel pool. If you imagine the whole spent fuel pool boiling away at one time, a dazzling display of light, […] involvement where the fuel itself gets damaged, liberating hydrogen, getting contained inside the new building that they have, and that exploding. I almost believe that would be close to, or indistinguishable from, a nuclear explosion from a practical standpoint.

Full interview with Harris available here

Published: November 22nd, 2013 at 11:09 am ET


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  3. Nuclear Engineer: Fuel appears damaged in Fukushima Unit 4 pool and will fall apart if they pull it up — Make sure your radiation monitor works so you know what’s going on when something drops (AUDIO) September 6, 2013
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57 comments to Nuclear Engineer: New cover on Unit 4 can trap hydrogen gas during criticality in fuel pool — Blast would be close to a nuclear explosion, from a practical standpoint (AUDIO)

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Well! Allrighty then!

    I guess they will have to do a strip tease and show the world what they got! I bet they turn off the cameras if they do.

    • Gradius

      Actually you cannot. If they do, the camera would die in few seconds for sure (too much radioactivity).

      • unincredulous unincredulous

        I went to a strip club once. They advertised, "50 beautiful women, and one ugly one."

        I guess reactor number 4 is the ugly one.

        • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

          I went to a strip club once and then my wife beat the crap out of me.. 🙂

          • unincredulous unincredulous

            You must be black and blue from spending so much time on the internet. She probably could use some radiation warning tattoos to get your attention.

            I know a guy who is an alcoholic. For years I would watch her beat him. It was watching the kicks in the nuts that made ME stop drinking. And I'm drinking occasionally now, thanks to this ugly E.L.E.

            I really wish someone would kick Tepco and the Japanese government in the nuts.

            • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

              Yes, all good things must come to an end. 🙁

              I have shared my concerns and what little wisdom I do possess with others to carry forward.

              Bitch slaps and a few/lots of kicks in the nuts are very, very appropriate for all those that now do not see the bright lights shining directly on/at them.

              I truly see what still comith this way and hope that we humans can change direction quickly enough to alter the final outcomes.

              Radiation badges and white jump suits may sadly be mandatory in the future.

              I will be the guy saying, "We don't need no stinking badges!"

              They will not/wont/can't help anyone in the near future. 🙁

              Hang in there my friend and keep spreading the news!

              • Kassandra

                I suspect that none of the plebes will be provided badges or any other radiation protection.

                I'm inclined to think that fallout, bioaccumulation and biomagnification will be denied even as the population collapses because of it.

                And the policy of denial includes lots of other nasties in addition to radionuclides.

                Sometimes I feel enraged and other times I'm must tired.

  • jec jec

    Quick way to remove the 6 person, 36 person, specially trained team personnel. One BOOM.

  • Crash2Parties Crash2Parties

    Soooo…does all this fluff news since Monday's fuel rod extraction mean TEPCO won't be releasing day-to-day progress reports? If that's the case, what's the lead time should things go terribly wrong?

    Although, I did find a pretty picture here of a cask on a truck:

  • Shaker1

    Respectfully, anne, I can't imagine what difference it makes anymore whether the exercise in the SFP in Unit 4 is faked or if what Tepco says is true. Most can't (or sadly, won't) assure themselves of what might be the reality of the situation and it proceeds. I might agree with you (my imagination tells me that you're correct) while there's only a small exception already raised that is knowledge of malevolent secrets beyond the tools of power generation in their interest and power guard with our lives. I'm not a man given to prayer, but for the moment I see no choice and wish the best in the endeavor with hope that they, at least, respect their own lives enough and not allow self-scarifice in some great farce. I might add that it strikes me that many of our gods (and heroes, whose tragedy isn't really their death as assumed) through the ages have been self-sacrificial victims, so I've some question of even that.

    Anyway, the cover is exactly that, a trap for hydrogen, and I've stated before that I had hoped that Tepco would see that point well enough and respect that aspect enough to then also use that trap to advantage. They could, at least, replace the atmosphere with nitrogen on a constant flowing basis to minimize the possibility of fires that they can't access as before. They could filter, control, and direct, somewhat, atmospheric emissions, even if the workers would need personal breathing apparatus. It'd be shameful to let hydrogen return it to square…

  • weeman

    I sure would like to know, why unit four blew up in the first place, it should not have, can you please explain.
    Did the hydrogen explosions compressed the fuel? Did the nuclear blast from unit three cause prompt criticality due to EMP? How did the hydrogen migrate to unit four from three, not from stack, low levels of radiation in filters, do not add up?. What was the actual location of new fuel bundles?
    What about collecting noble gases or are they short lived and not to be worried about?

  • charlie3

    With fukushima and TEPCO, everything that can go wrong, has,plus some more. The evil place in damned and cursed.

  • nuclear_genie nuclear_genie

    Photos— Nobody who is trying to run a scam is going to be stupid enough to mix black and white photos. One must be a file photo.

    Arne is still saying the fuel racks are distorted. Where is the evidence for this? He also says the building is listing, but there is no evidence for that either. In fact, the video of the removal of a fuel assembly clearly shows that the assembly is pulled straight up, otherwise it would have swung sideways once it was clear of the rack.

    Of course, like the moon landing, this could be a fake too.

    Arne also goes on and on about the supposed deterioration of the boron plates. They are clad with stainless steel and there is no reason to think so.

    Also, just once, it would be refreshing to get some independent confirmation that Arne "built fuel racks". There seems to be no way to confirm this. Also, he should be honest about that "chief engineer" business. He is the ONLY engineer. A bit of embellishment there which gives the impression that there is a group of engineers of which he is the "chief".

    Hydrogen explosion. Where would the hydrogen come from. The hydrogen which caused the explosion was created by molten zirconium in the melting down reactors reacting with water. That can't happen anymore.

    People should worry about real hazards, such as the Diablo Canyon plant which is not up to earthquake standards.


    • mairs mairs

      Hey look over there. Not over here.

      • We Not They Finally

        Good point, mairs. And nuclear_genie, It actually gets not-amusing when people who do not seem to have first-hand info of their own, get all wrapped up in downing the info of people who at least have a track record, expertise, and honest spade work from the start. Arnie G. doesn't lie just because you can't understand what he is saying. This gets obstructive. The problem at Fukushima don't lessen just because you're confused.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      See if Arnie has a C.V. online somewhere. Many professionals also publish their bio's. Or see if he's a member of LinkedIn, or something like that, if you want proof of his credentials.

    • unincredulous unincredulous

      The computer controller knows where the assemblies are to the millimeter. All it would take is just a millimeter or two to throw the calculations off. I suppose the program could be altered to compensate for any tilt in the building. It would suck if the millimeter caused the rods to touch together and cause a criticality.
      Maybe being happy will compensate. Best wishes to all.

    • 富岡_Blue_Heron 富岡_Blue_Heron

      Er, it looks to me like the rack is tilted a degree or so, and the extracted assembly is scraping against the left and forward edges (leaving marks on the facing side throughout the length). There is a gap on the right side between the assembly and the rack If the extracted rod is almost hanging plumb (but scraping) throughout the extraction procedure, then it won't move much when fully clear. Which is probably why the oops chose these particular assemblies to start with.

      • Crash2Parties Crash2Parties

        Mmm,if the tilting was directly toward or away from the camera (or nearly so) would make it almost appear as if there was no tilt.

        • 富岡_Blue_Heron 富岡_Blue_Heron

          IOW I think the video shows precisely the problem Mr. G is warning us about. If the extracted rod assembly is plumb leaving the rack, that particular rack is skew as demonstrated by the interference on the front and possibly left sides and the gap on the right side. Not enough to trip the sensors monitoring drag in this case.

      • Jebus Jebus

        If the overbuilding was built plumb, the rigging would hang plumb.
        If the original building was still settling, the racks would be unlevel…

        • 富岡_Blue_Heron 富岡_Blue_Heron

          Yepper. Anything will hang plumb, but who knows what forces those racks underwent; continue to undergo (settling).
          What forces might be exerted on an assembly undergoing extraction by the rack in case of a seismic event? Knock on wood, folks, knock on wood….

    • gottagetoffthegrid


      Hydrogen is generated when hot zirc and steam are mixed.
      So in a super hot boil steam would be forming on the zirc cladding.

      No melt necessary.

  • nuclear_genie nuclear_genie

    Here's that Diablo Canyon link. This is truly frightening. This place would have been flattened by the quake which hit Fukushima.

  • Shaker1

    weeman, collecting the gases was exactly my point about control of the atmosphere inside that cover. It's not rocket science to do that, and minor leaks are in control are irrelevant to none at all.

    Concerning your questions, those were the exceptions that I was speaking of in my first comment. Personally, I can't buy the migration of hydrogen from Unit 3. While the pictures I've seen directly after Unit 3 blew can't make me sure, it would seem that plumbing was awfully compromised for that kind of flow, and also it's rather telling that Unit 4's panels were blown out at lower levels than even Unit 3, some gone even at ground level in 4. If Unit 4 before the blow was intact, why weren't they aware of the hydrogen build-up and not venting the structure?

    Given the nature of the cover, why aren't they making a stated effort to control the atmosphere inside it? It's interesting that they don't seem overly concerned with fires or the damage and lack of access fire might become. So is there something there to catch fire on a spontaneous (however that happens) basis, or has it already burned and they're just cleaning up what mess they can and generating some public-satifying PR?

    You're right in my mind, about things 'adding up'. But we're obviously not party to the variables in the equation for any of it to add up. Doesn't seem Arnie has those variables, either, and he just expresses knowledge he can gain through what he's given to believe is simply a…

    • weeman

      You do not go to all the trouble of building structure to remove spent fuel assemblies, so the question is what do they want to retrieve?, if the SFP was empty or partially uncovered, I do not see how you retrieve?, if it is the MOX fuel they are after, then it must have been stored in other pit and or that is was what burned and the SFP is not effected?
      One more thing, what if the corium from unit three did not go to basement, but went sideways and flowed into basement of unit four, does anyone know if there is a link to each building, I would think.
      I am a man of a million questions with no answers, but I have imagination, please excuse my ignorance.

  • Shaker1

    nuclear power generation plant at the stage of maintenance and shutdown reported.

    I know. It's damned frustrating, huh?

  • ftlt

    Not another explosion, please

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    So far, so good. 🙂

  • razzz razzz

    I wonder if the cheap asses are only using one cask to do all the transfers.

  • pkjn

    "Chernobyl Was Transparent Compared to Fukushima": Harvey Wasserman on Ongoing Crisis
    19 November 2013 Truthout
    The information we were getting this summer included revelations that 300 tons of toxic water leaked in one week, and then in other news, the fact that 300 tons are leaking into the Pacific daily.
    Every day, and this is for two and half years now, and there is no end in sight. It could go on for 50 years. We've already detected radiation from Fukushima off of the coast of Alaska. There was a study of 15 tuna caught off the coast of California; out of the 15 tuna caught, 15 had radiation from Fukushima.
    You wouldn't want to eat this tuna. Radiation in even small doses, cesium, strontium, iodine, will bio-accumulate. If you get a relatively small dose into some seaweed, fish will come; they will eat enough seaweed that it will be significant; they will be eaten up the food chain; we're at the top of the food chain.

  • Shaker1

    nuclear_genie, I don't see the point of whether Arnie has personally physically built fuel racks. That he may have doesn't cross my mind. I've always thought of his claims as that of a manager in some capacity of a concern that built fuel racks. Has he seen racks? Yes. Is he aware of the materials in the racks? Yes. Did he have a hand in design? Maybe. When one manufactures anything one accepts variables that are outside of one's control. Are the parts and pieces of what makes up a rack what he says they are? Just like I, looking at a piece of metal on the floor that is unmarked and without true certification, tell whether it is type 304 stainless, or type 316, though in some applications, it makes the difference between something functioning to design or failure. He honestly, in every situation, can't say they are for sure. It's more a matter of use of the English language than of actual fact, like a supervisor saying 'we built x' when all the guy touced except casually were pieces of paper.

  • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

    The new cover blocks out anyone seeing what is happening inside and protects those within from the three coriums and SFPs emitting daily from the other reactors beside it.

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    54 Counts per minute and raining across Chicopee MA via

    Spent approximately 1.5 hours outside today. Total bq/liter at 54cpm x 1.5 = 81 counts per minute exposure over 12-20 breath's per minute in lung liters = total exposure for the day. "We and I and Grampybone got a dose today."

  • bdais92

    Compared to Fukushima, Murphy (murphys law) was an optimist!!!

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