Postponed: Fuel removal attempt at Fukushima Unit 4 delayed, possibly for weeks — Gov’t safety agency wants tests conducted, as another ~M5 quake hits Eastern Japan

Published: November 4th, 2013 at 4:17 pm ET


The Japan Times, Nov 4, 2013: Tepco to conduct fuel removal test at reactor 4 […] Tokyo Electric Power Co. will conduct a fuel removal test at the No. 4 reactor building of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant, delaying the start of the actual operation by up to two weeks, sources close to the matter said Monday. […] The test was requested by the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization. […] It has also urged Tepco to have its work evaluated by a group of Japanese and overseas experts formed by the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning, a Tokyo-based organization founded by Japanese government agencies, nuclear facility manufacturers and electric power companies.

Kyodo News, Nov. 4, 2013: TEPCO to conduct test for Fukushima No. 4 unit fuel removal […] The operator of the plant, crippled in the March 2011 quake and tsunami disaster, planned to start removing nuclear fuel from a cooling pool at the reactor building as early as next Friday. The decision comes after a government-affiliated nuclear safety agency called for an initial test operation, including transporting a protective fuel cask from the storage pool to another pool in a different building about 100 meters away for more stable conditions for cooling spent fuel, the sources said. The administrative agency, the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization, has already inspected equipment to be used in the fuel removal work […]

From last Friday: Removal of Fukushima’s spent fuel on target: U.S. Energy Secretary -Reuters

Published: November 4th, 2013 at 4:17 pm ET


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114 comments to Postponed: Fuel removal attempt at Fukushima Unit 4 delayed, possibly for weeks — Gov’t safety agency wants tests conducted, as another ~M5 quake hits Eastern Japan

  • Lady M

    Regarding Wyakin's note above — Should we also be looking at where the steel comes from, in a car or appliance we are contemplating buying? Japan is a huge steel producer; lots of production is in the south but there's a good deal around Tokyo too. Is radiation contamination of Japanese-made steel any issue now? I realize food is more important because we ingest it, but we do spend a great amount of time in close proximity to a lot of steel in our daily lives.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Fuel removal hold while the Japanese apply duct tape across earthquake fault lines, corral the hurricanes, and stop up all the rain.

  • Lady M

    Where I'm going with my question above is this: IF there IS an issue with steel contamination of Japanese cars, appliances, etc — and if that issue were to become publicized in this country (for example, by manufacturers who do NOT use Japanese steel) — then it could create a major internal push by some huge and financially capable corporations in Japan to get something done with Fukushima. Radiation concerns with exports like sushi, dried algae, rare mushrooms, etc are sort of vague and don't create much of a stir in the US. And likely very few US consumers know or care who "Tepco" is. But I am thinking that many of the biggest auto, appliance, and electronics manufacturers in the world use Japanese steel in at least some of their products, and they could not tolerate their brands' being linked by US consumers with deadly radiation; they would demand, and quite possibly fund, action.

  • Lady M

    Mmmm, good point, Wyakin. Still I think the notion of having Japanese auto, appliance, and electronics manufacturers internally drive a Fukushima cleanup has potential. Per your notes: any manufacturer who advertises that they use no Japanese steel would simply have to make sure they also don't use any recycled radioactive steel. The advertising industry could do something clever with this — ie, they could get US consumers insisting on "Clean Steel" for the products their loved ones touch, at home and on the job. Buildings that we now recognize for being "Green" would need to be "Green and Clean," etc. The campaign could even be a nice boost for American-produced steel. AND it could be a great impetus for recyling plants to reject radioactive material for recycling; they accept it because it's cheap — but if its use drives down the worth of all the products made from it, it becomes expensive. Technology + Economics + Education via advertising > Fukushima + Radioactive Recyclables.

  • Shaker1

    Lady M, used to be that government contracts stipulated that contractors provide goods produced in America. That isn't the case anymore even on that level, I would say because of the loss of manufacturing (due to numerous causes). But having worked in industry and seen the proliferation of materials from all over the globe, in actuality, Japan might still be a more reliable supplier than some others. China and India come to mind. In the case of China, it's not just lead contamination in painted toys for children, or contamination of plastics, which has been published in the MSM. There was also a case of contaminated steel from Mexico (made with radioactive scrap) in the MSM. Recycling is a bottom process, and like bottom feeders it sucks up everything. Laws here may not have any real effect. For instance, in the electronics industry, if one crushes, etc. PC boards, it becomes hazardous waste, more costly to ship, handle, etc. PC boards loaded into a ship intact to China is not. The crushing, etc. happens there, and returns in raw materials, which are not then hazardous waste. That was the case with the paint on toys. While I personally would be willing to pay for a system that is more effective, the general public in this day and age of gross misvaluation and the recognition of worth is not.

  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    Lady M, I used to drive long-haul truck and have taken loads into scrap yards, and sea ports before. All metal coming and going from most major scrap yards has to be driven through radiation detectors prior at the gate. Additionally, all inbound and outbound shipping containers pass through radiation detectors at the port. Either when the initially come off the ship or prior to be removed from the semi or train.

    I'm not saying that this is going to catch everything, but there are detection processes in place (or was 13 years ago). However I don't know if the detectors are strong enough to detect low level radiation.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Ownership is a wonderful concept and even with radioactive recycled materials..Ergo: The Results
    Being somebody else's property is often sad. Look at the sad faces on these sheep.

    But then that "owned by the collective" ownership principle comes often with many great rewards too!

    The bad news is that these out of control "3 burning sitting stars" will burn forever and they can never ever be turned off! All approved by the ownership collective!

  • Lady M

    Thank you, all good food for thought!