Professor: There are fuel rods probably ‘fused’ in Fukushima Unit 4; Pool on bent legs, and lateral supports were not put in when first built — AP: International concern about “catastrophic open-air meltdown” (AUDIO)

Published: November 3rd, 2013 at 9:22 am ET
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Associated Press, Nov. 1, 2013: The [No. 4] reactor building was damaged by hydrogen explosions, and remains a source of international concern about a catastrophic open-air meltdown in case of a pool collapse, despite TEPCO’s repeated reassurance that it has reinforced the pool and that the building can withstand another major earthquake.

ABC News Radio, Oct. 31, 2013Richard Broinowski, adjunct professor at University of Sydney, Australia’s former ambassador to South Korea, Mexico and several other countries: Cooling pond 30 meters above the ground on bent legs — it’s been flawed and damaged by the earthquake, by the tsunami as well. It was badly constructed in the first place; the lateral support rods were not put inside when they should have been. It holds 256 tons highly radioactive spent fuel. [...] No one knows the condition of the spent fuel rods, probably some are fused. There has been a leakage of cooling water. How the heck you get them out with proper safety requires enormous feats of engineering.

Full ABC interview with Broinowski here

Published: November 3rd, 2013 at 9:22 am ET
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78 comments

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  3. NHK: Fuel removal at Unit 4 underway — BBC: Concern casks not watertight, rods would contact air — WSJ: Exposure to air can cause sustained nuclear reaction — AFP: Tokyo evacuations if uncontrolled nuclear conflagration? AP: Rods contain plutonium, experts concerned quake to hit during process November 18, 2013
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78 comments to Professor: There are fuel rods probably ‘fused’ in Fukushima Unit 4; Pool on bent legs, and lateral supports were not put in when first built — AP: International concern about “catastrophic open-air meltdown” (AUDIO)

  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    If what I have in my head based on that description is correct, there is virtually no hope on removing fuel. Next big quake, (or maybe gravity alone) and it will be SFP-4, for Spent Fuel Pile.


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    • Naha Johari

      Yeah I take it you have seen the photos. I ignore the propaganda video & propaganda photos of shiny new green cranes. Complete mismatch with reality. Duh..

      Richard Broinowskinthinks some fuel has fused though that's currently conjectural.

      I see only 4 notable points in the AP report:

      1. "Despite public concerns over potential risks of radiation from the plant, Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party has pushed for a restart of the country's nuclear reactors, which are currently all offline for safety checks." OK even more cheap death in Japan.
      2. "Moniz said he expects nuclear power will remain a crucial part of the energy mix as the world tries to mitigate global warming." OK even more cheap death globally.
      3. "Moniz, escorted by Hirose, inspected the Unit 4 pool area, as well as storage tanks for contaminated water, radioactive water treatment units and other facilities at the plant." Good. These scumbags will eventually die of painful cancer.
      4. "TEPCO also has appointed a former U.S. regulator who led the cleanup of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the United States as an adviser." Who?


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      • We Not They Finally

        Nuclear as a way to "mitigate global warming"?? CO2 (which is not even the proximate cause) is some terrible competitor against plutonium and strontium-90 and cesium-137 and iodine-131 (etc., etc., etc.)?

        Why bother with corruption, when the U.S. can just put morons into cabinet positions? Such people are idiots, and who cares if THEY become dead idiots, but what did the plants, animals and fish do to deserve that fate? Not to even mention the millions of little children.

        And yeah, I think it's fine that he went right to SPF4 too. Did he join Shinzo Abe in sampling the fish as well? He should. When you are in this position of power and you handle it THIS way, you should get whatever you get. Eat up!


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      • unincredulous unincredulous

        If most of the sea life in the Pacific Ocean dies, will it make the world hotter or colder? I have no idea. I think I would rather have a hotter world with edible fish, whatever.


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        • Sam

          If the politicians, the bureaucrats, the businessmen were sensitive enough, which means living with compassion, they will not be taking the kind of risks that has brought about this crisis in the first place.

          Albert Einstein:
          "Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations."

          I will add animals, birds, plants, sea creatures….to the about statement made by the great physicist.

          Another insightful remark made by one U G Krishnamurti goes like this:
          "If man does not realize that he is as insignificant as the field rat, he is doomed."


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          • nedlifromvermont

            Thank you Sam for the clever reminder …

            The real physicists in the room … Einstein, Szillard, Oppenheimer were against the FRAUD and HOAX of safe nuclear power from the beginning;

            the rest were false technical whores who sold their souls to General Electric and the other pro-nuclear monsters, who pushed through this diabolical and totally unnecessary business model through;

            Let the name of Lewis Strauss be forever damned and cursed for all time; and the rest: Glen Seaborg, who should have known better; Alvin Weinberg, Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who recognized the danger of nuclear fascism and the promise of solar power too late;

            Even Hyman Rickover, Father of the Nuclear Navy, whose reactor designs underlie the idiotic General Electric Mark One Boiling Water Reactor, a design long recognized by NRC and GE officials for being especially prone to rapid melt down and catastrophic failure, during extended loss of power scenarios: no emergency core cooling experiments were ever successful!

            but … but … "shutting down this long-time work horse of the industry would likely cripple the nation's nuclear power program" (so, an NRC official at the time of the official review of the Mark One program in the 1980's)

            so … so … oh what the hell … we don't want to imperil Good Ol' GE's profit margins for the safety of unimportant entities like the country of Japan; the Pacific Ocean; planet Earth?

            what a world, what a world

            peace


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            • Socrates

              Nedlifromvermont,

              The peaceful atom propaganda by Ike Eisenhower helped set this disaster up. He warned us of the MIC but failed to understand the dangers of the entire nuclear program. Truman and Churchill launched the Cold War, so they share the blame, too.


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        • rodgersericv

          If all the sea life in the Pacific died, it wouldn't matter if it made the world colder or hotter. Most people would die of starvation.


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  • ToBeExpected ToBeExpected

    Even my Internet browser has more ‘brains’ than Tepco and those in charge of clearing up this whole Fukushima mess – don't go here, don't go there, it communicates to me when the needs be. What a sad state of affairs for the human race and that is an understatement!

    How these particular humans in charge, can sleep at night is beyond me, but I can only guess that their consciences are so seared, they have lost the ability to perceive right from wrong and I can only surmise that that’s what comes of venerating powerless humans and speechless stone statues, for so long.

    Problem solving and having the capacity for abstract thought is what is supposed to distinguish us humans from the animal kingdom but in this arena; some are truly acting like coming from way, way below the instinctual intellect of our fellow seemingly senseless animals with whom we inhabit this planet. And these, are turning out to be even more stupid because they destroy their own habitat and everyone else’s in the process; something that no other living animal does on this planet to itself or others.


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    • tarpus

      "Problem solving and having the capacity for abstract thought is what is supposed to distinguish us humans from the animal kingdom but in this arena…"

      Trying to separate ourselves from animals is what got us into this mess in the first place. We are no different, we are no better.


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  • Sickputer

    So the bad news continues to dribble out (poorly constructed lateral floor supports…etc..). In the normal world of construction when a building collapses from terrorist attacks or earthquakes, just the people in the building and around the site are killed.

    When a Dr. Frankenstein building collapses the health damage is global. Horrible job by the Daiichi constructor Kajima whose motto is "Corporate slogan is "Company that builds 100 years". Unfortunately 100 years is a blink of the eye for nuclear debris. These nuclear thugs make Hitler look like a kindergarten teacher.

    Advice to Turkey…why in the world would you pay these maniacs to come into your country and build these monsters?


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  • Cisco Cisco

    "TEPCO accepts US offer to aid dangerous Fukushima cleanup"
    http://rt.com/news/fukushima-tepco-us-aid-139/

    The only US aid the nucleocrats have to offer from their US tool kit are the likes of Edelman, Burson-Marsteller, FleishmanHillard Ketchum, et al…spin doctors of the highest magnitude.

    The Japanese have lost control of the intended message which is the number 1 priority. The US or anyone can't stop the chain reaction, but they can fix the messaging/propaganda. The US is expert at that. Lately it seems that's all the US is the best at…lying.


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    • radioapatheticman

      Was the huge steel structure to the right in the photo built after the accident?

      http://rt.com/files/news/20/fe/30/00/fukushima-tepco-us-help.si.jpg

      If so, what's its purpose?


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    • nedlifromvermont

      yeah Cisco … telling it like it is …

      kinda sucks for the old credibility factor to be caught lying red handed … oh Barack??

      Guess GE will have to pay billions and billions in fake advertising about "intelligent machines" and "good things to life" to keep the truth about their monster GE BWR's under wraps for as long as the meltdowns shall endure …

      … safe nuclear power MY ASS!!

      it was always all about the fat profit margins with the risk socialized and the taxpayer HOODWINKED!!

      Thank You 1950's-era GE execs. You guy suck big time and for ever!

      We never needed this uranium business in the first place.

      Not for one minute.

      Pro-nuclear proselytizers everywhere should hang!

      It was always a hoax and a fraud.

      peace!


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      • HoTaters

        RE: the Democruds, it should be remembered President Truman, a Democrud, gave the go-ahead for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are plenty of pro-nuclear Democrats on the nuclear dole. Nuclear is deeply entrenched in the politics of both major political parties in the U.S.

        You anti-Republican types seem to have a short memory for facts like this. BTW, I do not belong to either of these parties.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman

        "First term (1945–1949)[edit]
        Assuming office; atomic bomb[edit]
        For more details on this topic, see Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."


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  • ToBeExpected ToBeExpected

    Well, if this is so, then the Japanese are going to have now be, completely honest about everything…. Will that be easy for them, I wonder, after all this time of telling blatant lies and fudging the issues..?? And who will be willing to ‘help’? Will they be lied to about the seriousness of it all and the true levels of contamination and radiation? I just hope it all goes well…. I sadly, have my doubts…. but we all live in hope, do we not?


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  • mungo mungo

    Um,no we don't all live in hope….


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  • Earthquake? 5.0 (near Fukushima)

    Earthquake hits close to Fukushima, tremors felt as far as Tokyo
    http://rt.com/news/fukushima-earthquake-evacuees-return-152/

    "A 5.0 earthquake was registered on Japan’s east cost in a prefecture neighboring Fukushima. It comes as a top Japanese politician called for acknowledgement of the fact that some Fukushima evacuees would never be able to return to the area.

    Sunday’s tremors were felt as far away as Tokyo, but no casualties or damage reports were released at the time.

    The news comes just ahead of one of the most dangerous nuclear cleanup operations ever attempted. Scheduled to start at the beginning of November, it will involve the careful, manual removal of 400 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods from the plant’s Reactor No. 4 – with an atomic yield greater than the Hiroshima bomb. The long and cumbersome operation will not permit even the slightest tremor, or Japan risks a catastrophe greater than Chernobyl. "


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  • Michele

    Reading Enformable Nuclear News, especially about our own people who are placed in control of US plants is certainly upsetting and cause for as much fear. The news covers the numerous incidences of Senior Level Operators who are unable to pass the minimum health requirements due to alcohol, drugs, or illness. In June 2012, eight operators of Susquehanna were found to be incapable due to illnesses that were not reported to the NRA and had been on the job from 2007-2012.

    The recent news is regarding 2 Senior Operators from Dresden Nuclear who have lived a saga that would make a made for television movie. After watching the movie, "The Town", they decided to become criminals. There were many at the plant who were aware of their career change, and said nothing. They were apprehended in Venezuela and face terrorism charges because they had sought to buy the explosive (C4).


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  • Sixela Sixela

    The bottom line is that we're FUK'd. Pretty sure they are using HAARP to create EQ's and to amplify and create typhoons. This way, when SFP4 finally goes, they can blame TEPCO, Japan and nature, and say that there was nothing they could do to stop it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMzydqUa2E8


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  • jec jec

    Lets do basic math..1200 fuel rods to move..with small teams of say 6 specialists(from TEPCO). So how many fuel rods can you move in a day..? Bent, twisted..and oh.yes..teams have to be continually exposed on high radiation (equals slow progress, potential injury/sickness by team members)..so say TWO fuel rods a day..time to fish in, pull out debris, eyeball (binoculars is what they will use.) attach holders somehow without moving the rods.. and guide the crane operations for attachment and lift. We are talking less than inches here in all this of accuracy. There was a reason it was computer controlled in ALL OTHER NUCLEAR FACILITIES. No one has done manual removals to my knowledge with this design of water storage fuel pools…but please correct me if I am wrong…!!
    So maybe two a day 1200 total= 600 days. Now with 365 days in a year,
    600/365 equals 1.64 years. Do you think that an earthquake of 7 or larger can be kept away for close to two years..?? I hope against hope I am wrong, but probability says a large quake will hit..and lots of smaller ones…so maybe only ONE fuel rod a day…Is any bookie giving odds???


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    • VanneV anne

      1535 fuel assemblies is not 1220 fuel rods.
      The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013
      "…leaving the spent fuel pool
      filled with 1,535 assemblies (1,331 irradiated ones and 204 fresh ones)
      …"
      http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/archivos_pdf/world-nuclear-report-2013.pdf


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      • VanneV anne

        264 fuel rods time 1535 fuel assemblies = 2.356.225 fuel rods.

        “…Depending on the type of light water reactor, a fuel assembly may contain up to 264 fuel rods and have dimensions of 5 to 9 inches square by about 12 feet long….”
        Fuel Fabrication
        http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/fuel-fab.html


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        • or-well

          Hi anne and all, about pool 4 fuel load…
          it's approx. 100,000 (one hundred thousand) RODS.
          It's impossible to say exactly without access to detailed internal Tepco records because there are various types of ASSEMBLIES, which may have different numbers of vacant spaces.
          1 7×7 used assembly
          4 8×8 used assemblies
          30 8×8 "New Zircaloy" used assemblies
          560 8×8 "High Burnup" used assemblies
          736 9×9(B) used assemblies
          and
          204 9×9(B) new assemblies

          An 8×8 may have 63 RODS or less. I've read that a 9×9 may have up to 5 empty spaces.

          http://www.cnic.jp/english/newsletter/nit154/nit154articles/03_nf.html


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          • VanneV anne

            This link only gives the number of the various types of fuel assemblies in Unit #4 SFP. Is there a link to the number of fuel rods in various LWR fuel assemblies?

            Is "high burn up" Mox fuel?
            http://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloads/Technology/meetings/2011-Dec-12-14-TM/8.20111115-IAEA-TM-MOX.ver-06.pdf


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            • or-well

              @anne, I don't know what "High Burnup" refers to.
              If they were not licensed to be using MOX in #4, I doubt they would openly say they were!
              I'd speculate it's a Manufacturer's designation.

              I don't have a link for Boiling Water Reactor fuel assembly configurations.
              world-nuclear.org probably has something. I'm sure there's lots on the 'net about it.


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            • razzz razzz

              "Is "high burn up" Mox fuel?" The answer is no.

              'High burn up" refers to the amount of time fuel has spent in the core undergoing fission (termed in percentage). The more time fuel is subjected to fission the more daughter products that are produced that interfere with proper fission to boil water.

              That is why they have to remove 30% of the fuel out of a BWR reactor core every year and replace it with new fuel because the 'burnt' fuel contains to many daughter products (contaminated) to be useful.

              When they say 'high burn up fuel' they mean fuel that was left in the core longer than necessary and is actually dirtier with more poisons that typical spent fuel because of the accumulation of more daughter products. As a result, it is also hotter temperature wise with decay heat due to containing more daughter products to produce decay heat.

              If you want 'low burn up fuel' which would be cooler during its decay process in a fuel pool, you just pull the fuel out of the core sooner instead of leaving it in the typical 3 year or so time frame.

              I over simply all these things. They are much more complicated than I could ever understand. Try the http://www.physicsforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=106 for more complete answers…of course they act like we can learn from Fukus', Daiichi and make the future better with safer reactor designs but insanity is repeating the same thing over again and expecting different results.


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          • VanneV anne

            It isn't the number of vacant spaces that will change the number of fuel rods per assembly. 264 of quite different from 63. Is there a link for the composition of these different fuel assemblies for the LWR?


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            • VanneV anne

              I meant to say: It isn't the number of vacant spaces that will change so much the number of fuel rods per assembly….


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              • or-well

                anne, I don't know where you got 264 rods per assembly from. All I know is what I've read on various sites and what has been stated here in articles and discussion.
                My understanding is that fuel assemblies are manufactured to hold a specific number of fuel rods, leaving spaces for either coolant to flow or a moderating material.
                Also, that there are a suprisingly (to me) large number of different assemblies, and their configuration depends on the type of reactor.

                My post was intended to be informational. No one has to believe anything they don't want to, or haven't investigated for themselves.

                I really don't care how many rods are in any given assembly. I just wish the so-called experts would get the difference right between RODS and ASSEMBLIES, as saying rods when they mean assemblies downplays the numbers and thus, the significance of the amount of dangerous fuel they are talking about.


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          • VanneV anne

            How does all this add up to 400 tons?


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            • razzz razzz

              I didn't read all the questions, if you accept (1) fuel assembly weighs 700 pounds then 1533 assemblies X 700 lbs = 1,073,100 pounds or divided by 2000lbs (a US ton) = 536.55 tons.

              If you subtract the weight of the other metals used in manufacturing the frame of the assembly and rods and maybe some boron and other stuff, the fuel pellets or maybe the actual uranium content remaining might weigh 400 tons all by itself.


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          • VanneV anne

            Did the nuclear industry start using in LWR reactors fuel assemblies created for PWR and BWR reactors and if so, when did this happen?
            World Nuclear Association Annual Symposium
            5-7 September 2001
            Framatome ANP extended burnup experience and views of LWR fuels
            “…Since the end of the seventies, when most of the installed generating capacity came
            on stream in Europe and the USA, the management of LWR cores has radically
            changed due to a number of advances in the nuclear fuel field. These fuel
            enhancements have been made possible by huge R&D programmes and by perfecting
            the analytical methods implemented to support the new fuel designs before obtaining
            their qualification through in-reactor experience feedback…”
            http://www.iaea.org/NuclearPower/Downloads/Technology/meetings/2011-Dec-12-14-TM/8.20111115-IAEA-TM-MOX.ver-06.pdf


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          • unincredulous unincredulous

            Boy, when they screw up they sure don't screw around.


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        • razzz razzz

          Either 8"x8" or 9"x9" fuel assemblies, in this case both hold 63 fuel rods (notice fuel assemblies and fuel rods are confused in the media, they are different).

          Bundles and assemblies are the same thing and news media uses both descriptions.

          So, if 4's pool has 1533 assemblies aka bundles (two unspent assemblies have already been removed out of a total 1535) then 1533 x 63 = 96,579 individual fuel rods because (1) assembly holds (63) fuel rods.

          Inside the fuel rods, which are made as about 12' long hollow tubes, there are fuel pellets stacked inside (about 360 fuel pellets. Pellets just shy of 1/2" tall and round like pencil size).

          (1) assembly weighs 700 lbs +/- thus (1) fuel rod weigh about 11 pounds, in general terms. 700 divided by 63 = 11.11


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    • HoTaters

      1200 fuel assemblies? Or fuel rods? Big, big difference. Add three 0's.


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      • bo bo

        Ok I'm confused now…sorry for this basic question – but if journalists themselves are confusing this in the articles – does anybody know – are they still pulling out one rod at a time out of each assembly? Or are they pulling out whole assemblies ?


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        • or-well

          Hi bo, expect contradictory answers.
          I'll just give my opinion.
          I believe they will be pulling assemblies.
          I think to pull rods would involve taking apart the tops of the assemblies, remotely, underwater…maybe not impossible, but sounds difficult.
          Plus, way more rods than assemblies, more chances for things to go wrong.
          Of course, if there's nothing left intact, it's all a sham.


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  • freespirit1620

    This is meant to distract us. Was the Japanese being honest comment a joke?


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    • ToBeExpected ToBeExpected

      No, not at all Mungo…no distractions meant at all!! I have been watching this as long as anyone has, since it occurred in fact, the very day, so, my take on it is, that if the US is going to go in, which they may well do, to help out, don't you think that they will have to be given the FULLEST picture of what is really going on vis a vis radiation levels etc? Unless of course they are sent in blind too, which could happen also? God forfend …

      Chernobyl was relatively easy compared to this, they acted and fast, and yes it is still leaking as I understand and there was lying yes, but not on the scale of this debacle..you would agree… I even remember the days they happened…we, or at least most of us over here in the UK, were not happy bunnies AT all for sure when Chernobyl happened. But then the Ruskies were much more self sacrificing as I remember… they fell over themselves to try to do something… The Japanese? Another story all together sadly..


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  • RememberThis RememberThis

    Accident on day one….any takers?


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    • dosdos dosdos

      Considering that they have removed one assembly in a test run, not me. It's reasonable to assume that other assemblies are in good enough shape to be removed without incident, especially the cold ones, like the one they already removed.

      As far as I'm concerned, the more assemblies they can get safely out of Unit 4, the better. If they can safely remove all the undamaged ones, we have a much better chance of surviving a botched attempt of removing a damaged assembly.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    H A P P E N I N G . N O W

    Radiation is higher lately, for weeks. Might have to do with SP4, maybe not.


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  • Sickputer

    The assemblies in the BWRs at Fukushima are 8 by 8s at least for Units 1-5 (Unit 6 is a newer generation BWR…it may be the same or may be different).

    63 rods in each assembly and one slot for a control rod.

    http://www.oecd-nea.org/sfcompo/Ver.2/Eng/Fukushima-Daiichi-3/index.html


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  • rockyourworld

    so, suddenly they're worried about a 9 point earthquake taking out fukushima? too late!


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    • unincredulous unincredulous

      They design the nuclear plants as if they are NEVER expecting anything can go wrong. Lowest possible safety considerations. Cheapest possible construction. Is that all investors look at. I should put in a bid.

      Mud and Straw ……………….$175,876,879.99
      Spit and polish………………$576,998.075.56
      Bullshit and bribes……….$459,809,954,098.98
      Bubblegum and duct tape……………….$98.00
      Advertising……………$76,000,987,449,847.01
      Labor………………………………..$7.69

      I ready to rock. Call me.


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    • unincredulous unincredulous

      I wonder how many of them stand around thinking about putting on new brakes on their car after its in the scrap yard scrunched up in a litle cube.


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  • rockyourworld

    we have to believe they are removing anything. i think they move the same parts around for show.


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  • freespirit1620

    To be expected, have you read the NRC papers on hatrick penrys site? The japs have told the NRC lots of info regarding sfp fires and more. We have had teams there since day one. My comment as to the distraction is the japs "attempt" to remove the spent fuel. The NRC FOIA papers tell a story of "water inventory lost" burning in excess of 9hrs. And if you're going to call someone an idiot at least spell mongo correctly.


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  • Gradius

    They should drop all politicals of the world into that pool. It would solve the problem asap.


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  • paschn

    Am I correct in assuming General Electric designed/sold/installed the reactors there? If so, why the shock at learning there were corners cut, safety/design flaws etc.?

    Sounds like another global catastrophe playing out under the wire in the Gulf. That too was caused by the same high degree of greed/corruption. BP this time. Why do I have an uneasy feeling that, although the companies' names are different the stocks are probably owned by the same giants of industry? Wouldn't that be a kick in the reality?


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