Spent fuel pool No. 4 water level drops to 1/3 capacity — High levels of radiation released after ‘equipment’ in pool was exposed

Published: June 20th, 2011 at 1:38 am ET
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Japan pumps water into reactor to contain radioactivity, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, June 20, 2011:

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which runs the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, started Sunday to pour water into a pool on the top floor of reactor 4 of the six-reactor plant after it discovered the water level had dropped to about one-third of its capacity, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The drop caused equipment in the pool to be exposed, releasing high levels of radiation, officials said. [...]

The radiation levels at reactor 4 have been preventing workers from entering the structure to conduct repairs.

Published: June 20th, 2011 at 1:38 am ET
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39 comments

Related Posts

  1. Tepco: Recent quake caused water level drop in tank next to Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 January 2, 2012
  2. Report: Tepco sends “emergency” mail about Reactor 4 — Water level decreasing at 5 times normal rate in tank near spent fuel pool — Link to New Year’s quake unclear January 1, 2012
  3. 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) June 27, 2012
  4. Japan TV: Temperature in spent fuel pool at No. 4 “much higher than the normal level” — “May be boiling” (VIDEO) April 13, 2011
  5. U. of Tokyo analysis: Mystery explosion at Reactor No. 4 caused by radiation dissolving water in boiling spent fuel pool — Contradicts TEPCO’s assumption September 15, 2011

39 comments to Spent fuel pool No. 4 water level drops to 1/3 capacity — High levels of radiation released after ‘equipment’ in pool was exposed

  • risabee risabee

    I wuz hoping for a slower news day …


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  • fireguyjeff fireguyjeff

    Doh!
    Sorry Mister Burns.
    I fell asleep while I was watching the
    #4 spent fuel pool camera.
    It’s the companies fault for letting me eat donuts and crashing on the sugar high.
    I hope this won’t affect my performance review.


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    • Fall out man!

      Good point, its unbelievable that those clowns could let that happen. No wonder they want to cover the whole thing in a circus tent! Haven’t they heard of cameras?


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  • Is the pool at issue the spent fuel pool? If so, this is scary news.

    Go back and read what the nation and the nyt had to say about a fire in a spent fuel pool back on 3/15
    http://www.thenation.com/article/159234/fukushimas-spent-fuel-rods-pose-grave-danger
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/world/asia/16fuel.html

    Recall that Arnie showed us how the zirconium casings of the rods would burn if exposed to air and then break up because of brittleness if water subsequently was added.

    Could this event explain the odd light and steam events that have been observed for the last week and a half?

    ?????????


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    • Fall out man!

      Wow. If that’s what has been causing the flashes and steam for a week and a half then the public viewing their cameras know more about what’s going on in there than TEPCO does!!!!!


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  • Fall out man!

    “The drop caused equipment in the pool to be exposed, releasing high levels of radiation, ”

    Presumably if what they call “equipment” was releasing vast amounts of radiation, that “equipment” would be otherwise known by the term “fuel rods”. On a brighter note, that must mean that at least some of the fuel rods are still intact as opposed to being at the bottom of the pool!!!!!

    You can bet they waited until the wind was blowing offshore to give it an extra big release – straight over the United States.


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  • I think they’re working out of the Dummies Guide to Reactor Management.


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  • those fuel rods will not be intact if they were exposed to air and then subsequently engulfed in water. Recall that Arnie demonstrated how brittle they would become….


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  • BetaFlare

    sm mighty wrenches they’ve dropped in…

    equipment in the pool exposed, releasing high levels of radiation


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  • VanneV anne

    Another earthquake:
    13:07 JST 20 Jun 2011 37.3N 141.3E 60 km 3.7 Fukushima-ken Oki

    http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/

    Coordinates of Fukushima #1 37.233 141.015; Fukushima #2 37.317 141.026


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    • Cindy

      Nice find, risabee

      93*C = 199.4 *F


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    • Manifest Irony

      Yikes! Pushing 100 degrees Celsius. Certainly not much of a safety margin left at 93 deg. C. Very interested to know how long the pool went without makeup water being added. Did they just forget to call in the pump truck for a few days? Regardless, there is a real danger the No. 4 spent fuel pool could boil completely dry, damaging the zircaloy cladding and exposing volatile fission products to the atmosphere.


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      • Steven Steven

        Maybe they got the cam feeds crossed, fed us the real one and sat there with a cuppa watching the fake one.

        LOL just imagining the supervisor spitting tea across the room as he idly checks the ‘fake’ feed and sees all the steam.


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  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    I think I read “somewhere” ca. 2 weeks ago that they couldn’t completely fill the SFP of unit 4 with water, because there is a giant hole in the wall which is located UNDER the water level needed. That would mean there is no possibility to fill the pool completely.


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    • Fall out man!

      If that hole in the side got bigger and deeper that could explain the sudden loss of water.

      Maybe they could patch it? At Chernobyl I recall three Russian divers volunteered for a suicide mission to either raise or lower a gate under water. They cheered when got out of the pool after completing their mission. Of course they were killed by the radiation. Unfortunately, this pool is full of fuel rods and debris. Its a grim situation. Worse than Chernobyl.


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  • jump-ball

    Some earlier comments have been that TempCo has been using the Putzmeisters to pump water into 4 at night when the radioactive steam won’t be seen, and now the possibility arises that the water level didn’t just drop recently, but has been dropping for weeks, and the pumping process has been failing all along, but why announce that when you can later “discover” that water has dropped to 1/3 full.


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    • Fall out man!

      I don’t recall if it was fuel pool 4, or even if a fuel pool number was specified, but Tepco boasted that they had restored the fuel pool cooling systems at one point. Presumably by that they meant they ran a hose up the inside of the building instead of just spraying it with that hose off the back of a cement truck outside.

      The only thing I can think of is that the after shocks have made a hole in the pool worse and now not only are they running water in with the hose inside the building (if there is one), but also with the truck outside. Of course, that means more radioactive water flowing into the sea, but that’s better than a fuel pool fire. If that really is the case, its hard to see how such a volume of water can go anywhere but the sea. So much for their plan to clean the water up first.

      Mind you, this is pure speculation based on little more than blind prejudice and distrust on my part. If we actually hear some new sea contamination figures that might say something. But given the circumstances, its the only explanation I can think of for now.

      Feel free to pull that speculation apart if it still doesn’t make the pieces fit.


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  • nomade

    Can someone translate this?

    “No. 4 spent fuel pool temperature for a value other than not being published, not a graph.”

    It’s a new graph, wasn’t there yesterday because I checked. Yet they have readings since June 12 on it.

    Hey CTBTO… aren’t your ultra sensitive monitoring stations detecting a significant rise in radioactivity?

    GIVE THE WORLD’S SCIENTISTS YOUR FRIGGING MONITORING DATA CTBTO!!

    If the readings are indeed no cause for concern (like you keep stating) then where’s your problem?

    This was a civilian accident there is absolutely no justification in treating the data like it’s some kind of military secret.


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    • SteveMT

      TEPCO: Temperature of #4 spent fuel rod pool is 86 C and contains 1,535 fuel rods.

      Tuesday, June 21, 2011 07:20 +0900 (JST)
      “It hopes to lower the temperature of the pool at the No. 4 reactor, which remains high at around 86 degrees Celsius.”

      “The pool contains 1,535 spent fuel rods and its weakened structure makes it vulnerable to future earthquakes.”
      http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/21_03.html


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  • AustralianCannonball

    My latest video:

    Fukushima(Crime against humanity)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR-AxEfAluE


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  • chrisk9

    The equipment the headline is talking about is the Steam Separator and Dryer. They sit inside the reactor above the fuel and are very radioactive when not covered with water in the equipment pool. This is a separate pool, not where the fuel is stored,and these are moved into this pool before any fuel is moved from the reactor. This is not that big a deal in the big picture and should have no impact on anyone except workers on the refueling floor.

    The question is why TEPCO would even mention this, and what kind of work needs to be done on the refueling floor that is so important?

    The fact that the spent fuel pool is near boiling may be the answer. TEPCO has never explained the real situation of this spent fuel pool: why there was 2 fires,why so much water needed to be added, if there is a serious leak in the pool, and how stable this pools structure really is.

    Units 1-3 are nightmares, Unit 4 could make Japan mostly uninhabitable.


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    • ocifferdave

      Perhaps Unit 4 could make a total evacuation of Daichi happen, and thus all the other fuel pools and reactors will then follow suit…nuclear geysers.


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  • Seeing the video last week of the air bubbles streaming through the water to reach the surface that I did not see in first video of weeks back, thinking the bottom of pool is leaking more due to cracking losing water more quickly or the fuel is becoming hotter or has it began to lean holding even less water more because of the weight of quake tremors there ? There has been the fear that was expressed of the bottom of the pool falling out !


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  • Zardoz

    After about 4 minutes in, you can easily see this vapor is spewing from #4 SFP – http://news.lucaswhitefieldhixson.com/2011/06/critical-event-occuring-at-reactor-4.html


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