Nuclear Engineer: “You’re done, that’s it” if seal leaks at Unit No. 4 — “You can never pump enough water in to establish a level again in spent fuel pool” (VIDEO)

Published: June 27th, 2012 at 2:40 pm ET


Interview with Nuclear Engineer Chris Harris
Host Tim Alexander, Nutrimedical Report
June 14, 2012

At ~33:00 in

Source: Enformable

Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer: If you lose the seal… that gasket… you’ve got a direct shot to the containment vessel… so all the inventory [of cooling water] will go right down to the containment vessel… You can never pump enough water in to establish a level again in the spent fuel pool. In other words, you’re done. That’s it…

For a more in-depth explanation by Harris, see: [intlink id=”nuclear-engineer-identifies-weakest-link-at-unit-no-4-potential-catastrophic-drain-down-of-fuel-pool-photos” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: June 27th, 2012 at 2:40 pm ET


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25 comments to Nuclear Engineer: “You’re done, that’s it” if seal leaks at Unit No. 4 — “You can never pump enough water in to establish a level again in spent fuel pool” (VIDEO)

  • weeman

    Just order some leak seal they claim it seals anything on TV.
    Don't laugh tepco has already tried it, if they only had some during the earthquake they could have stopped all the leaks.

  • Centaur Centaur

    [part 1/4]

    Remember the little nuclear reactor boy with the box-shaped head, who was taking a shit? ( They sent out the message: "He MAY SOON shit all over the place, but not YET!"… so they lied to the kids… -.- – But that's just a side-note of shitty history… Let's – for a moment – stay with that analogy… because this way, all i intend to say is plain and easily understandable. (Furthermore, it describes the overall situation pretty well.)

    Assumed, the guys over at TEPCO and – at least 50% of – the "highest world leaders" don't "want us all to suffer and die", and… furthermore assumed, that there is no hidden top secret military decontamination device (sort of "resonance-induced specific-nucleii-quantum-state-exciter-laser-or-shit-like-that") that can be pulled like a rabbit out of a hat in case of things REALLY goin' down in Japan… so… assumed, they REALLY have unsolved constructional problems, that linger for a solution and hinders rescue… here's a summarized idea based on the given facts… maybe it can be helpful:

    What's the most likely situation to deal with at the moment on site? There are four reactors blocks, all of them in bad shape, which need to be secured and dismantled as soon and as cheap as possible. Let's pick one of them… so this is, what we have to deal with:

    [end of part 1/4]

  • Centaur Centaur

    [part 2/4]

    First thing to do: Dig a mining tunnel from sideways diagonally directly underneath the center of the (water-dripping) reactor block. To prevent contact with the contaminated water, use for example ~2×2 meter sized plastic tube cylinder segments that can be attached together (glueing or taping or something simple as that) to suit as "sub-surface rain protection coat" for the miners:

    After reaching the point underneath the reactor, expand the tunnel into a cave – with a waterproof ceiling made of hexagonal steel plate elements – starting from the central point and then spiralling out to about the diameter of the reactor block (a little larger):
    (plates overscaled)

    At the same time – within the cave – install steel walls – in a way, that allows later maintainance access of course – that form an as-stable-as-possible structure (maybe hexagonal too?) – to achieve inner rigidity – finishing off with a nice strong steel plate floor at the bottom of the cave.

    [end of part 2/4]

  • Centaur Centaur

    [part 3/4]

    At the same time: Sink steel plate elements from surface level down to the estimated rim of the steel structure that get's build down in the ground at the same time. Do this all the way around the reactor block and bolt, nut and weld all those plates together. Height above ground level has to reach the height of the upper rim of the SFP in place or higher. Add a stable steel structure (as described above) from the outside onto this vertical cylinder walls above and below surface level and again finish off with a stable secondary plate coating. Maybe it's wise to throw in some sensors and useful attachments into all those hexagonal cavities for diagnosis and eventually necessary service measurements in case of a local breach or sth. like that. Finally connect the cylinder with the base structure below.

    Then take a big tube and hang it into the vessel from above and FILL IT UP with water and boron and whatever-you-like in the right amounts – and don't forget to add some extra tubes for water temperature management and filtering measurements. If you want, add a lid.

    Then RELAX for a week or two. Go on a vacation, plant a tree or make some babies smile. Then come back and add some sweet high-tech underwater robots with buzzsaws, shovels and tin cans to deal with all the SFP shit, (if still findable) the core shit just as with all the little shit sprinkles in- and outside of the reactors core.

    [end of part 3/4]

    • hbjon hbjon

      Wouldn't it be shocking to find out, (we would never find out) if there was no fuel in any of the sfp's or reactor containments, and it all melted under the reactor buildings and is 3/4 of a mile down? Perhaps some is a mile and a half underground. Maybe all this information we are being told by TEPCO is a lie. Shocking as that may sound.

  • Centaur Centaur

    At the same time, decontaminate the surrounding areas. Then throw a big party for everyone.

    If this construction is possible under the given radiation situation on site, it should be affordable (maximum: some tens of millions of $$$) und it would pay back BIG TIME… for EVERYBODY.

    Good luck everyone.
    Flo (Centaur)

    [/dreaming] 😀 [end of part 4/4]

  • CB CB

    I feel like I've been here before.

  • gottagetoffthegrid

    well, they could just fill the primary containment vessel up with water before the seal fails. the one in Unit 4 is not damaged, as far as we know.

    just pump the supression chamber and the bottom of the PCV full of concrete or grout. then fill the top with water. they might have to blind some of the pipes that go into the PCV, but so what.

  • glowfus

    #4 sfp has three reactors worth of fuel in there. two spent units and a fresh unit. each unit = continuous three million horespower worth of energy. the whole thing is or isnt listing depending on what month it is. nine million horespower, 180 tons, 100 feet in the air, wobbling,,,,the ludicrosity of this,,,,

  • Correct me if I am wrong… Doesn't the colling water have to be circulated? I thought there were pumps circulating cooling water continuously, and that was part of the initial problem shortly after 311.

  • norbu norbu

    yes if they do not circulate, it will overheat right?

    • I think it was Arnie that said local hot spots develop where the rods are so hot the water can't touch them because there is so much steam being made, Sort of like putting a little water in a very hot frying pan. The water just dances around above the surface until it is gone.

    • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

      Quite correct.

  • patb2009

    that seal is unlikely to fail in it's entirely, but it could start leaking.

    Now the interesting one is if that seal leaks and you start adding water the PCV will fill with 60 feet of water and could blow out.

    the other is adding all that water to the RPV may destabilize the reactor vessel.

    the final one is the SFP is itself far more likely to fail, it's why the TEPCO people are suddenly working on Reactor 4.

    it's shifting and failing badly.

  • CB CB

    Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), who is one of the best-known experts on spent nuclear fuel, stated that in Unit 4 there is spent nuclear fuel which contains Cesium-137 (Cs-137) that is equivalent to 10 times the amount that was released at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Thus, if an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain, this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.

  • Tumrgrwer Tumrgrwer

    check out this article about spent fuel removal.

    • chrisk9

      This article is a great example of how difficult it is to move very small amounts of fuel fragments from the spent fuel pool, but has nothing to do with moving fuel assemblies or rods. The problem at Trojan was that over the years they had small pieces of fuel pellets down to dust like particles that they collected in the fuel pool. Trojan had a history of fuel cladding problems so they might have had more than the average plant. But since this was a Pressurized Water Reactor they had a transfer canal and fuel pool in a separate building that made this all easier than Fukushima.

      But this is how complex removing and processing very small amounts of nuclear material is in practice-Fujushima will need books and books of procedures just to start the fuel removal process, and they have curveballs thrown at them constantly.

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    • RememberThis RememberThis

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  • skizexq skizexq

    so put a fork in it?

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    This is all post facto..reporting..IMHO.
    We're done in.