Nuclear Expert: We believe molten fuel already melted through floors of Fukushima reactor buildings, or is still in process of melting through (AUDIO)

Published: September 18th, 2013 at 7:06 am ET


Source: Green Power and Wellness
Host: Harvey Wasserman
Date: Aug. 12, 2013

At 4:45 in

Harvey Wasserman, host: We don’t even know where these cores are, do we? That’s a really amazing situation.

Gordon Edwards, nuclear expert and president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility: That’s correct. What’s happening is, how far these cores have penetrated through the floor of the reactor building, or not, is really unknown because the radiation levels are so intense, that not only can humans not go in there […] but even robots that they sent in there, the gamma radiation is so intense that it fries the electronic components after a few minutes. So the robots are of only very limited use for a short time.

The result is they just don’t know what the state is, but we believe that the molten core has melted through the bottom of the containment vessel, it’s onto the floor, and it’s probably either melted through the floor, or is in the process of melting through the floor… Units 1, 2, and 3. Now some of those units are perhaps in worse condition than others.

Full interview here

Published: September 18th, 2013 at 7:06 am ET


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  2. AFP: Fears that molten fuel went into ground after melting through containment vessels at Fukushima — They still can’t find three reactor cores (AUDIO) January 23, 2014
  3. Nuclear Expert: Molten fuel may have flowed through cracks in foundations of Fukushima reactor buildings — No one’s been able to go under there and take samples September 11, 2013
  4. NPR: How can Fukushima’s molten fuel be contained so it stops contaminating the planet? Nuclear Expert: There’s no way to get at molten fuel… I’ve not seen a solution to this (AUDIO) September 17, 2013
  5. Reporter: Many experts now believe Fukushima’s melted fuel burned through the concrete floors and has gone down into the groundwater — “No one yet knows how deeply those 3 cores melted into the ground… No one knows where the cores are” (AUDIO) May 12, 2016

43 comments to Nuclear Expert: We believe molten fuel already melted through floors of Fukushima reactor buildings, or is still in process of melting through (AUDIO)

  • corium pudding corium pudding

    Fukushima disaster mitigation plan:

    1. Slant drill to look for corium. You'll know you've found it when your drill melts.

    2. Place powerful explosives or small atom bombs next to and below the coriums. Blow the coriums and reactor buildings into the harbor.

    3. Pick up the molten fuel and fuel rods from the ocean. The water will provide the necessary radiation shielding.

    4. Learn nothing from the experience and build a new nuclear plant nearby.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    A drill bit will work, even in the presence of intense gamma radiation. Use a slantwise drilling rig to locate and map corium. If Corium1-3 are not located immediately under Units1-3, then use directed drilling to follow the corium lava tubes until the corium is located. Equip drill bit with radiation monitors to detect nuclear debris as you drill.

    You cannot create a Plan for dealing with the Fukushima Mess until you have located 250 tons of missing molten nuclear fuel. Isn't it about time we had a Plan? 😉

    (TEPCO keeps acting like it doesn't want to know where the corium is.)

    Where is the damn corium, eh, Japan?

  • dosdos dosdos

    The odds that the cores are still molten is very slim. They're still hot, no doubt, but the earth is a massive heat sink. And as the cores sink, they follow the paths of least resistance, which tends to make tendrils and smaller scattered pools, which have a much harder time staying molten than a large blob of core. If they were still molten, we would see constant steam condensing from groundwater making contact with the molten masses. The odds are that the cores have scattered all over the place and look like spaghetti. This is going to complicate removal much more than larger single globs of core would, because it's everywhere.

    • corium pudding corium pudding

      Then at what point does TEPCO stop dumping tons of water into the reactors? Is all that water really still cooling anything?

      • hbjon hbjon

        It's like when you burn your finger on the stove and run cold water over your finger. It's not cooling your finger but it makes the pain go away.

      • hbjon hbjon

        We all got burned from the nuclear middle finger.

      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        "Is all that water really still cooling anything?"
        No, IMO. This activity adds up to about 5% of the release of highly contaminated water at the FDNPP. The vast majority of the radiation damaging the Pacific Ocean, or about 95% of total releases, is from groundwater flowing around nuclear debris in the ground under Units1-3. Reactors1-3, and Containments1-3, do not have to be cooled with water. Instead, pour in Markww's to encase the corium splatter in concrete.

        • hbjon hbjon

          What's up PUN. I know it's hard to accept some of the reality of the situation in FDNPP, but let's look a little closer with an open mind. We saw and know that units 1,3, and 4 had massive explosions and the status of the fuel is questionable. Not only the active reactor fuel, but the sfp fuel as well. If the reactor cores shot out of containment like cannon balls, they probably landed in the ocean. Not that all of them shot out, but maybe only U3 core shot out. The question in my mind is if it splattered, aerosolized, vaporized, and was carried away by erosion over the last two and a half years, what exactly melted and went China Syndrome? I say that it was the sfp fuel because it was much cooler and less volatile. In this situation, there would be a lot more fuel exposed to the environment that has been reported by Tepco or anybody else. Now, being that the case, would you want to try to keep that much fuel from overheating? It's quite the quantity of fuel.

          • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

            Who has the best grasp of the reality of Fukushima? Both of us, hbjon, contend that Reactors1-3 went ex-containment. I guess you are saying that Reactors1&3 blew up, into the atmosphere, along with SFP4. But even so, Unit2 may have gone "China Syndrone". Could a SFP blow up? Quite possibly. Did this happen? Probably not, since we have good pictures that show that at least the tops of the spent fuel assemblies look to be intact after the explosions. Even SFP4 looks to be intact. Check out an early Arnie Gundersen analysis.
            I'd say that most of the questions and issued Arnie raised in May, 2011, remain unanswered in September, 2013. When the Equipment Floor of Unit3 is cleared, I want to see pictures of the containment plug in place. That will tell the tale on Unit3. No plug = no core. If the plug is still in place, and if the tops of fuel assemblies in SFP3 are intact, then the source of the Unit3 explosion remains a mystery. I hope that TEPCO is kept honest here, and that someone is in the control room watching over the shoulder of the operator of the remote control crane, so they don't drop a new concrete plug into the #3hole, or otherwise destroy the evidence of what caused Unit3 to blow.

            Personally, I believe that much of the 250 tonnes of nuclear fuel in the cores of Units1-3 went…
            ,,,ex reactor building,
            And are now lost underground.

            • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

              Up and out, or down and out, the fact is that most of the nuclear fuel is no longer inside the reactor buildings. Japan needs to stop, already, with the drawings that show melted nuclear fuel in the bottom of reactors, and in neat little piles on the floors of containment vessels.
              These are so much more than "We don't know where the melted fuel is."
              These are lies. 😉

              (Where is the damn corium, TEPCO?)

              • hbjon hbjon

                It's just too illogical for their to be spent fuel pools with intact fuel assemblies in units 1,3, and 4. A few cameras were dropped in some water to look around but I believe that was the flooded basement of unit 1 or 4. Yes, unit 2 had a core catcher that worked as designed and prevented criticality, but China Syndrome occurred nonetheless. There was so much time before the releases of sfp video that I am skeptical that Tepco didn't tamper with the videos. They certainly had time to fly over to Hollywood and build the required set. Remember, they've been pretty cute about stuff like that.

    • fuganzi

      The cores COULD still be molten. Most rock and concrete (and other debris) will vaporize on direct contact with molten corium. (This was likely the black smoke we saw in the weeks after Unit 3's blast – I'm optimistic that Unit 1 and 2 either did not melt, or quickly solidified similar to TMI, or more likely, like Chernobyl).

      Rock and concrete material that was not in direct contact, may have melted instead of vaporizing, and formed a crust over the core material when cooled with water. Ground water is vaporizing in the vicinity of the core, and depending on the depth; some will find its way upward through cracks, but some will also condense on the way upward. It may be that at a certain depth, there isn't enough of a clear path for steam to escape, and the earth sinks the heat, and the water condenses in the surrounding rock without emerging from the surface.

      (the idea of slant-drilling may validate this speculation; but it may also create a clear release-pathway for trapped steam?)

      TEPCO really needs to get on the stick with detailed seismic surveys, slant drilling probes, and maybe even some ground-penetrating radar. Like; LAST YEAR. I don't see why locating the core(s) is not priority #1.

      • fuganzi

        (what I'm saying; above. . . )
        If you have a blob of 100 tons (we'll be charitable) of a substance that is 3500-5000 C. Any foreign substance is going to be vaporized. The Uranium won't vaporize until 8000 C. – and I think that it won't reach that temperature (anyone know)? So the blob is going to keep itself chemically pure. Byproducts are going to be produced in fissioning, but it's all going to vaporize. (even the Pu will boil-off at 3300 C).

        This heat is transmitted via conduction, to the surrounding rock.

        Rock or any other material NEAR the blob, is vaporized. As this vapor works it's way upward, through cracks and voids in the rock, it will cool and condense. This will SEAL above the blob, and around the shaft.

        As the temperature decreases further away from the blob, (and I don't know how far. Centimeters?) you'll have molten rock, which will not mix with the corium blob, because as soon as it gets near by convection, it vaporizes and bubbles upward.

        Further still, rock is solid, but very hot. I'm guessing this is Meters or Tens of Meters. Any water contained in this rock is going to vaporize, and try to gas upwards. When it goes far enough up, it hits cooler rock and much will probably condense, and become groundwater. No groundwater is getting anywhere near that corium.

        • fuganzi

          . . . however:

          The molten/vaporizing rock is filled with chemically-reacted byproducts (the iodine, cesium, strontium, which is constantly produced by the fission process in the core) – and this reacts with minerals, dissolves into groundwater, and flows out with the groundwater.

          If the core has cooled below the melting point of Uranium; 1132 C; (now that I'm actually looking this up, I'm wrong about the boiling point – it is NOT 8000 C, it's 3818 C – I apologize for the error in my post: but the basic physics is correct). Then we get the situation like in Chernobyl, where parts may have flowed away from the central mass, and fission slows, and they begin to cool.

          But the outflows are still going to be very hot for thousands of years, and still produce byproducts. They'll be surrounded by molten rock for dozens or hundreds of years, and they'll be outgassing this terrible junk into the groundwater. (look up "elephant foot chernobyl" on Wikipedia.

          Chunks like this are going to sit down there in the ground. Nobody will be able to get near enough to dig them out, until long after we've endured thousands of years of dealing with outgassing of byproducts and release into the environment.

  • nedlifromvermont

    What a wonderful technology (NOT …)

    Too bad it's not enclosed on a submarine, and we could just scuttle it … oh wait … that's what this Mark One (GE) design BWR was originally designed to power: a SUBMARINE?!?! Give me a break.

    Good thing GE saved some money on the design process for a nuclear reactor (sarc) … we've only lost Japan … oh right, and Hawaii and California and British Columbia … but whose job is it to police General Electric??? Oh right, they write the rules, so if they screw up, we're all dead; but they're really rich and powerful, so they don't need to be careful, right??

    So why not give them blanket liability protection (Price-Anderson) from any damages one of their cheaply designed machines could cause, forever? So their balance sheet may be protected??

    Right?? Got it?? No. They already have it. For fifty-six years they have total liability protection from any mistakes from their Cheap! Cheap! design studios. So let's just hope for the best! Right, Congress? Right, Brother Barack? Right, Allison McFarlane???

    They wouldn't mess up, but why take any chances with a national treasure like GE??

    And if they do mess up, we're only talking about a country or two or three and a few hundred million lives or more, and a few ten's of percent of the planet's food source .

    Not that we don't NEED nuclear power, so the really stupid, greedy rich, who bought uranium ores, can cash out and be whole!



  • SteveMT

    Are these people for real? Have they been in a cave with a laptop, but without a modem? They are still covering for each other. That is certain. The comments of this nuclear expert are patently offensive. He can't say be sure if the corium melted through the floors because no measurements can be taken. It this a joke? At this latest, late date, the corium melting through the floor should be a given until proven otherwise. If robots are fried, humans are fried, and metal is being fried by the intensity of the radiation, what should that tell him? If Fukushima bay is steaming on its way to boiling with ever increasing radiation levels, what should that signify? These expert people are holding on to their belief that the GE Mark 1 is best thing that ever happened to the world since split bread whether the world dies because of it or not.

  • weeman

    Question does radiation effect fiber optic cable?
    Why not use a plumbers snake with camera connected to fiber optic cable.
    I have seen some mechanical snakes that the military use and each link mimics the one in front and so on?
    Take a step back from technology, go low tech, wind up toys, you can store large amounts of energy on a spring? .
    This is a problem that can be answered, if they want to know, probably after the Olympics.

  • ftlt

    They are probably out of time if the earthquake forecasters are right…

  • irhologram

    Why do we continue to discuss what has already been documented! Someone here posted early on that they knew the 3 cores had melted through and they knew where they were…and provided the link. This week, we had stories indicating they know the coriums melted through. Fiber optics will not work. Only grapheme insulated materials will prevent disintegration. WHY would we not use grapheme-coated robotics! (If I know this, THEY know this. SO if I didn't know better, I'd think its intentional. DO I know better?)

    On another note (Coincidentally?) just after viewing Nucklchen's (sp?) video of the blazing webcam's events the last week of July, TWO of my computers fried. This is a new one. I no longer have that link. Dare I ask for it again?

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      No?.. 🙂

    • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

      Ir, I had something similar happened from Nuclechen's link, and it took two days to fix my computer.

    • weeman

      Then send in grapheme coated fiber optics to investigate, but be pro active and try try again.
      The engineering schools in Japan should be dedicating themselves to objective such as this, not a clue and never will, they seem to have no imagination and sightless.

  • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

    This story is from August 12th…..
    Source: Green Power and Wellness
    Host: Harvey Wasserman
    Date: Aug. 12, 2013

    Also, I thought this site was an open forum, but I noticed many comments are being removed now. It is ok to talk about some stuff like whether or not Obama is a good democrat, or if Romney would be worse. , but not other stuff like Japan offered to enrich uranium for Iran before the great Tsunami. I am sure this comment will be removed as well. Just one more news black out regarding Fukushima…..

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Moderators are always conspiring to control/mold the thoughts inside your mind…

      • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

        Yes, but I know the truth is…there is no spoon.

        • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

          .. 🙂

          • ENENews

            There's only one moderator here and it's me. I have zero time to be reading through the comment section and removing them. I barely even check the comments that get reported. This site has to have one of the least moderated and most open comment section. Only reason I saw this thread is because obewans line "Moderators are always conspiring" caught my eye when it was in the recent comment sidebar.

            These accusations are hilarious to me. Like where that HatrickPenry guy makes a video saying ENE is 'controlled' because his Mom posts comments and comes back the next day and they are deleted. Or when Leuren Moret says ENE is part of the establishment and shouldn't be trusted when she was interviewed by RadChick.

            And so what if the interview is from last month? I was lucky to have stumbled across it yesterday. Contains lots of credible info. Have you seen it posted anywhere else? Oh well enough time wasted, I back to work

            • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

              We were not talking about you..the world wide web is a very big/huge place… 🙂

              You do a great job and any moderators slipping in here or that I might mention would not work for you..

              Let's roll!

            • Time Is Short Time Is Short

              Enenews is, and always has been, the preeminent website for Fukushima news and comment.

              If there is ever a Pulitzer Prize for websites, Enenews should get one for the daily and detailed coverage of the worst man-made ecological disaster (and many other widespread disasters) this planet has ever seen.

              The only thing this site needs is a better search function, because historians and documentarians will be searching this site for decades to come for detailed information on what is clearly a Near-Term Extinction Level Event.

              Or for what history is left to us.

              Thank you for what has been done before, and thank you for what is yet to come.

              Time Is Short.

              • Anthony Anthony

                Wow well said. I second your sentiment.


                  agreed Anthony. TIS hit it square on the head. ENENEWS is beyond question, the go-to place for today's Fukushima news and most likely will be a treasure trove for historians to come. And yes…I do believe the species will carry on…though we're likely to be doing so far – far – away from this scary nightmare…

            • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

              ENEnews Admin.: Don't worry, we love you!
              Great job.
              No worries.

            • newsblackoutUSA newsblackoutUSA

              Enenews…I appreciate you & I believe in "enenews" and I have donated $ to support this website; but comments have been removed, I will not retract that statement. I am not just speaking of my comments. I have come back to the forum to look up a link provided in a comment, and the comment was gone. Maybe there is a function of the feed that drops the comment; being a webmaster, I can say that not everything always works as it should, nor is everything within the powers of the website owner to control the site.

              Thanks Enenews for your input.

            • teamplayer

              Thank you for all you do, ENE.

  • The coriums might be eating through the concrete. Only a scientist who is outside of the nuclear industry can make a comment like that.
    The key is as Mr Edwards noted the nuclear industry is self regulated. So the outcome of that is a triple melt through with three ruined reactors feeding radiation to the Pacific. Many more similar accidents waiting to happen in the USA. Lots of mostly American but some Canadian reactors surrounding the great lakes. Edwards points out we in N. America aren't to bright in our placement of NPP, risking the drinking water of 40 million souls. You, me and everybody else have played a role in this as we all have let this happen. More effort is needed to disassemble the power the nuclear industry seems to have. Maybe offer the politicians a bigger briefcase of money?

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Time for some in their face ..bitch slapping!

    No worries though, since we all have the unlimited/no cap good faith and credit of the US tax payers for an eternity, to backup all our efforts!

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Fukushima Equals 6,000 Hiroshima Bombs Today, More Tomorrow
    Sept. 11 2013

    "Question. What other questions must be asked when confronted with an Extinction Level Event, and why have any hope whatsoever?”

    Answer. Ask what is the published lethality of the all of the released isotopes and do not let the Empire paid trolls fool you by using radioactivity numbers; it is the LETHALITY that counts. When you find the numbers for the two Cesium Twins multiply by 14 for the Total radiation in a single release from an active reactor core. Multiply the combined Cesium137/134 radioactivity numbers by 5 for the Total radioactivity in a single release for old fuel rods. Those will give you a rough idea of the radiation released for that instance.

    As for “hope,” that is fine, knock yourself out.

    PS. Good article..although I'm not sure the whale photo is real.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Love veteranstoday..

  • Is Fukushima really in cold shutdown? via A Green Road Blog

    Radioactive Smoke/Steam Coming Out Of Ground And #3 Reactor Building At Fukushima 2011- 2013 via @AGreenRoad