Nuclear Engineer: New way to locate Fukushima molten fuel “means they’re expecting to find this stuff very deep into the ground”… unless it’s just an experiment (VIDEO)

Published: October 19th, 2012 at 12:18 pm ET


Follow-up to: [intlink id=”los-alamos-lab-we-can-find-fukushima-corium-with-x-ray-type-image-no-core-a-possibility-photos” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Interview with Nuclear Engineer Chris Harris
Nutrimedical Report
Oct. 18, 2012

Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer: They’re using cosmic rays as a light source […] the shadow will be the molten fuel […]

If they have to go to such measures, it means they’re expecting to find this stuff very deep into the ground. Otherwise there would be no reason to use this kind of technology, unless they just want to do some kind of experiment.

Full broadcast here

Published: October 19th, 2012 at 12:18 pm ET


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16 comments to Nuclear Engineer: New way to locate Fukushima molten fuel “means they’re expecting to find this stuff very deep into the ground”… unless it’s just an experiment (VIDEO)

  • guezilla

    I'll probably jinx it myself by saying so, but I hate it when people (esp. "from position of authority") talk about stuff they don't know the first thing about, let alone have read the press-release…

    According the the LANL muon-radiography press-release, "Massive numbers of muons shower the earth every second. Los Alamos researchers found that by placing a pair of muon detectors in front of and behind an object, and measuring the degree of scatter the muons underwent as they interacted with the materials they penetrated, the scientists could gather detailed images."

    Front AND behind an object. As the nice illustrations provided with the article confirm, the corium needs to be surrounded by those muon detectors. While it could be conceivable they would dig huge holes for those detectors, it would be very complicated, and the ground between the detectors would interfere majorly with the measurements.

    • guezilla

      The illustrations were on some of the news articles, but can also be found on their original research paper:

      That research paper makes it obvious they're only considering the case where the nuclear fuel is still completely contained within the core inside the RPV. For reactors 1 and 2 the endoscopy visual and radiation findings rule that possibility entirely out, and I can't imagine the situation at unit 3 is any better.

      An additional technical hurdle they'd have to overcome, if possible at all, is that their simulation assumed (among with the detectors operating perfectly) there was no radiation present. In the research paper they say half a meter (1.6 feet) of concrete provides adequate shielding, but this shielding was not modeled in their simulation and will further attenuate the signal.

      From paper: "A major engineering challenge at Fukushima Daiichi is radiation shielding of deployed detectors. The site has high radiation levels on the order of one mSv/h dominantly produced by γ rays from 134Cs and 137Cs. These increase the singles counting rates and produce accidental coincidences in tracking detectors. Tests performed at the reactor site, and measurements with small scale drift tube detectors have shown that 50 cm of concrete will provide adequate shielding for operating detectors at the locations modeled here. A radiation shield of precast-concrete can enable quick installation to the site."


        brilliant stuff guezilla. Though technically challenging , I found your critique to be brimming with insight…

    • corium pudding corium pudding

      Exactly. So the only reason to use this technology is to find the corium underground? Nobody's interested in what happened INSIDE the reactors? Looking inside will give you a clue if the corium has left the building. This guy doesn't make any sense.

  • Sickputer

    I thought I was crazy thinking the same thing, but you said it for me. They make up the abilities of their toys as they go along. Big fat contract for somebody's favorite special interest.

    • guezilla

      I don't believe LANL is originating this claim, in fact, it's so outlandish as to be inconceivable to come from anything stated by LANL. The muon-detector method is quite simple and clear, and the LANL guys have explained it straight, complete with the diagrams mentioned above.

      Basically, they use two detector plates able to measure the time and angle of muon hits on them. Comparing the angles measured from each detector, they can determine if anything scattered the muon on its way through. Dense material will provide more chances for the muon to hit something and scatter (get deflected in different angle) and uranium is about as dense as it gets. So the uranium has to be between those two plates.

      Problems with this approach is they have to be able to measure the angles precisely, the detectors will not be 100% perfect, and the high radiation environment is going to cause a lot of further degrading in their accuracy. In addition concrete used for radiation shielding and especially 50+ meters of ground if they somehow managed to get the detector plates underground are also pretty dense, and the uranium will no longer stand out of it. Plus they'll have lot more area to cover in their search…

      On the other hand the technology does show promise and I wish them luck in applying it, it might prove useful as it matures, especially in lesser accidents.

  • Sickputer

    So unless they are misdirecting us, since they deployed ground device, we were wrong thinking that the US military had thermal imaging equipment for below ground imagery. Not as advanced as we thought. Puny nucleocrats to paraphrase Bruce Banner.

    The drilling rig is apparently the old fashioned way to get corium location results. Hey Bruce! Ready to go? We got 800 feet to drill!

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    TEPCO should buy several YDX-6 Core Drilling Rigs from their good buds, the Chinese.
    Configured as a slant rig, they will be able to quickly locate corium beneath Units1,2,&3. Once located, slant drilling can be used to create a map of the coriums.

    TEPCO, you can't develop a plan for dealing with the corium until you know where it is. Is it just under Buildings1,2,&3, at a depth of 25' or 75'? Is it half a mile underground where you won't be able to do much about it? Is the corium in big bus-sized lumps, or has it spread out into irregular pancakes? Once you know what you are dealing with, you can begin to develop a plan to deal with the situation.

    The problem is that they are looking for the corium above ground, where it isn't. The corium is below ground. They may mess around with various technologies all they want to, but it will all turn out to be a waste of time and effort. Eventually, we will see slant rigs at Fuku drilling into the ground to find the corium.

    As they waste time, ground water seeps past corium, picking up very high radiation levels and pouring continuously into the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean Fishery will be closed soon, as the market for Pacific Seafood crashes. Would you eat Pacific salmon or Alaskan King Crab that has bioaccumulated high amounts of radiation? And in the meantime, radiation levels continue to creap upwards alarmingly in Tokyo and around the world.

    • Radio VicFromOregon

      Good insight, PhilipUpNorth. They could simply go for core samples from drilling to determine where the corium is. I think this is the chance for the US boys to use a new tool that can help them find fuel in less severe catastrophes, which is still a good thing. Fukushima is the chance to test methods and equipment in an actual event with the debris, the fluctuating radiation for human and machine functioning alike, the wiring issues, the dangers and logistics.

      • Anthony Anthony

        Regardless of what they say then it is on us to believe the reports, right? I really wish they'd just focus on prevention of further issues relating to SPf4 and ultimately the common pool; whether that be the invitation of the worlds scientists and nuclear physicists to brainstorm on solutions. That would be FUKU news Id be glad to read everyday!

  • Radio VicFromOregon

    I'm not sure TEPCO's plan was ever to find the corium once it was thought to be outside and underneath the reactors. There is no technology at present that can do that. I think they want to appear to decommission the reactors, not retrieve the corium. If this device can show a little fuel left in a reactor, TEPCO can call it good and say that's the bulk of it.

  • vivvi

    So …. if the radioactive nightmare has left the premises, does this mean that whoever it lands on is now responsible to clean it up? Wasn't that TEPCRAP's attitude to people contaminated with their fallout? If it should happen to slide out to sea or pop up along a fault line someplace else, will they deny all responsibility for it now?

  • kalidances

    @Vivvi yep that is exactly what will happen. Tepco, the Japanese government, the American government, the IAEA, and everyone else involved will lie, deny, and get their "esteemed scientists" to say it wasn't their fault. The media will be paid quite well to publish every lie. Look at the arguments that happen here on Enenews and magnify the chaos and lack of cooperation to the absolute extreme when it is finally understood that the Pacific Ocean has been compromised and everyone is facing illness.
    It will very soon be the entire world's problem. My fear is that even after Fukushima explodes people will keep worrying about "what level of toxic" the emissions are-as people keep dropping dead. It is amazing that so many parents haven't gone to their congresspeople citing health concerns for their kids.
    For America, Winter and Spring will be its wakeup call. People here never seem to learn to cooperate until someone they know personally dies.