Nuclear Expert: Iodine-131 in No. 4 pool suggests that “spent fuel has started its own chain reaction”

Published: April 15th, 2011 at 3:28 pm ET
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Three Mile Island expert: Fukushima could kill 200,000, GlobalPost, April 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm EDT:

Interview with Arnold Gundersen; 39-year veteran of the nuclear industry, has worked as a nuclear plant operator and served as an expert witness on the Three Mile Island accident

[Emphasis Added]

… [M]y biggest fear right now is the unit 4 spent fuel pool… There was a report this week that they found iodine-131 in that fuel pool. Iodine-131 can only come from nuclear fission, and because it has a short life, it disappears after about 80 days.

In other words, the presence of iodine-131 suggests that the spent fuel has started its own chain reaction without any human intervention. …

As workers pour water into unit 4 — which they need to do to keep it cool — they might essentially be creating a nuclear reactor

The fuel could get hot enough from the chain reaction that it will boil the water out again. So we could still get a fuel pool fire. That would volatilize some really heavy elements, sending some highly carcinogenic materials into the atmosphere. This should be a very big concern. …

Read the report here.

From yesterday: Iodine-131 in No. 4 spent fuel pool at 22,000 times above normal

Wall Street Journal: “A new concern arose late Wednesday with the discovery that the radioactivity of water in reactor No. 4′s spent fuel pool was vastly higher than normal. A sample of water taken Tuesday contained 220 becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter. That compares with a level of just 0.01 becquerels or less for normal spent fuel pools. Such pools hold previously used nuclear fuel, allowing it to slowly cool down over a matter of years.”

Published: April 15th, 2011 at 3:28 pm ET
By

7 comments

Related Posts

  1. Canadian Nuclear Scientist: Another, even more dangerous possibility than fire at Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 — Re-initiation of chain reaction can occur if fuel rods move slightly, an “accidental criticality” April 29, 2012
  2. TEPCO: Nuclear fuel rods in No. 4 spent fuel pool are “confirmed to be damaged” — First time damage revealed at any pool April 13, 2011
  3. Iodine-131 in No. 4 spent fuel pool at 22,000 times above normal April 14, 2011
  4. Nuclear engineer: Enormous amount of plutonium at No. 4 spent fuel pool in danger of catching fire; Pool is cracked and leaking (VIDEO) April 13, 2011
  5. Gundersen: 200 brand new fuel bundles in Fukushima Unit 4 pool are most at risk to start nuclear chain reaction — If too close together during removal, there will be a criticality — “They have to be very, very cautious” (AUDIO) September 27, 2013

7 comments to Nuclear Expert: Iodine-131 in No. 4 pool suggests that “spent fuel has started its own chain reaction”

  • xdrfox

    Reactor 4
    Spent fuel rods in a water pool may have become exposed to air, emitting radioactive gases. An explosion and fire have damaged the building. There are no fuel assemblies in the reactor; 548 were removed for maintenance and are part of 1,331 in spent fuel pools.
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/16/world/asia/reactors-status.html


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  • xdrfox

    The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan emitted a new burst of radioactive material this week after a bungled cooling effort apparently affected spent atomic fuel in the site’s No. 4 reactor cooling pond, the Associated Press reported…
    http://enenews.com/new-burst-radioactive-material-emitted-after-bungled-cooling-effort


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  • xdrfox

    … A new concern arose late Wednesday with the discovery that the radioactivity of water in reactor No. 4′s spent fuel pool was vastly higher than normal. A sample of water taken Tuesday contained 220 becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter. That compares with a level of just 0.01 becquerels or less for normal spent fuel pools. Such pools hold previously used nuclear fuel, allowing it to slowly cool down over a matter of years. …
    http://enenews.com/iodine-131-in-no-4-spent-fuel-pool-at-22000-times-above-normal


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  • xdrfox

    Tuesday, TEPCO collected about 400cc of water from the fuel storage pool of the No. 4 reactor, using concrete pumping trucks, and analyzed the radioactivity level of the collected water. The results show that radioactivity levels of iodine 131, cesium 134 and cesium 137 stood at 220 becquerels, 88 becquerels and 93 becquerels per cubic centimeter, respectively.

    The results also indicate that the water level of the storage pool was about 2 meters above the upper end of the fuel rods, with all the fuel submerged. On Wednesday, the water level rose by about 1 meter after water was sprayed in.
    http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201104140125.html


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  • Mox

    Fuksuhima Daichii plutonium reactor 3 has uranium weight of 133Tons. Half, 61Tons is mox -plutoniumrods UO2,UO2-Gd2O3 36pcs.

    Any release of one microgram or more of this plutonium has to be mandatorily reported to IAEA. Has ? TEPCO done that :(

    On the seismically unstable tsunami-beach there are over 20 G.E. mark 1. -type “doubledecker nuke-bombs” – all dived in the multiple tsunami vawes. Total material still going to blow ups is up to half million tons. No, not an error: count 40 years of veri highly radiaoactive fuel rod accumulation on all the sites, were seawater cooled, plus the minuscle reactor contents.

    Who would scout and verify all these relevat hiden facts?


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  • radegan

    Cesium 137 transforms by decay into Sleazium 131, which as you know, affects the brains and moral compass of politicians. So try not to blame them for lying to you, it’s just the radiation.


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