Tepco: Cooling system back on at Spent Fuel Pool No. 4

Published: July 1st, 2012 at 10:45 am ET


#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool Cooling System Update from TEPCO: UPS Broken

(UPDATE) TEPCO managed to bypass the UPS and restarted the cooling system at 3:07PM on July 1. At the time of the restart, the temperature of the water inside the Spent Fuel Pool was 42.9 degrees Celsius. TEPCO plans to replace the faulty UPS this week. (From the tweets of another independent journalist who receives TEPCO email.) 

Update: Kyodo has a report here http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/07/166901.html

Published: July 1st, 2012 at 10:45 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Kyodo: No. 4 Spent Fuel Pool’s cooling system stopped after alarm sounds — Tepco: “Leakage of water with radioactive materials has not been confirmed” June 30, 2012
  2. Tepco: Unable to activate backup cooling system at No. 4 fuel pool June 30, 2012
  3. Kyodo: Possible Leak at Unit No. 4 — Spent fuel pool cooling system halted after alarm sounds April 12, 2012
  4. Kyodo: Tepco to try and get No. 4 fuel pool cooling system running again Sunday June 30, 2012
  5. Tepco: ‘Burnt area’ on Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 secondary cooling pump (PHOTOS) June 5, 2012

67 comments to Tepco: Cooling system back on at Spent Fuel Pool No. 4

  • captndano captndano

    Does anyone know how high the temp. in the sfp can rise before they would have to evacuate?

    • also technically the fuel pools could suffer from a crack tearing, or an earthquake. It does not have to "heat up" / boil, to be exposed to the open environment… Once its exposed its exposed, and the radioactivity on site will skyrocket…

      The longer its exposed, the more complex the reaction… Which can lead to an atomic explosion or a loss of electronics… which could cause a domino effect to the other reactors…

  • doctorwhowhatwhere doctorwhowhatwhere

    Theoretically 65C, I think, captn… although Tepco being Tepco I'm more inclined to think that people nearby wouldn't know anything about it until we all found out that Tepco had abandoned the site.

  • It would take the fuel to heat above boiling point 100C. (which would allow the coolant to become steam).

    Once the coolant is unable to moderate the fuel from heat decay the rods anneal, And can also catch fire or even explode…

    Zirconium is highly counter reactive when combined with oxygen…

    So technically only 100C…

    However the hotter it boils, the faster it evaporates…

    Its not the heat of the coolant that would lead to an evacuation, but the amount of radioactivity in the environment…

    Also tepco has been ordered to stay until the end… So they will not be evacuated at any cost…
    They will be executed…

    • Basically think of the fuel rods as those candles that don't go out when you blow them… But instead of sparks or flames, they emit radiation…

      Now think of them in a glass of water…

      0 water = emittance of radiation…

      Too much radiation = death…

      Also because the fuel is heating up at twice the rate as reported it shows that there is more heat decay and radioactivity taking place within the fuel cells than previously thought…

      Which means they will take years longer to be cooled enough to be removed from the sfp.
      You cannot remove hot rods, as they cannot be dry casked…

      Also a quick fyi: With nuclear fuel; The spent fuel is more radioactive, than the fresh fuel cells.

    • I hope that includes TEPCO officials.

  • flatsville

    Evacuate exactly who exactly where?

    I honestly believe that we will not know things have gone horribly wrong until plant workers communicate they are running for their lives…and they may not be told of the danger until it is too late for them and nearby residents.

    If you read the skf blog spot report you'll note this:

    >>>In order to cool the fuel stored in the Spent Fuel Pool, the cooling system draws water from the pool, cools the water and circulates it back into the pool. There are two lines, and TEPCO tried to resume the cooling operation by starting the backup line. However, since both lines use the same UPS, TEPCO couldn't restart the system. TEPCO is planning to bypass the UPS and restart the system.<<<

    Brilliant…both cooling lines, primary and back-up, using the same Uninterruptible Power Supply which obviously CAN be interrupted.

    Really, does anyone doubt that the people running this operation are idiots???

    I hardly expect evacuation orders or warnings to be timely with this level of administration and control.

    • doctorwhowhatwhere doctorwhowhatwhere


    • Judging by the damage to the reactors… I doubt that the pool cooling lines are functional at all… There is a 35 ton crane sitting on top of the fuel pools in reactor 4 spent fuel pool… I seriously feel that they need to install an entirely new coolant circulation system at this point in time…

      I often wonder if they are going to turn on the wrong system and cause an electric fire, or another mini explosion on site, (because they arent able to perform a full systems check). They are essentially turning on the fuses one at a time and crossing their fingers at this point. Not exactly a safe way to go about things… But what can you do when half of the areas in the reactor are too radioactive to enter… (this may not be the case in most if any parts of reactor 4)… But certainly is the case for reactor 1, and 3…

    • SteveMT

      The evacuation orders will be issued when the duct tape melts and not before. These people have proven that they do not believe in proactive thinking.

  • captndano captndano

    Thanks for the reply. So, if I understand this correctly, since 212C is the boiling point of water, the 'coolant' they refer to is just plain old water. There's no other liquid mixed in the sfp?

    • captndano captndano

      I meant 212F

      • Not to my knowledge… they add boron, which stops a large percentage of neutron moderation, and Salt water… Which creates rust and salt deposits (which makes it more difficult for the boron to moderate the reactions)…

        But I assume its at least 85-100 percent standard h20… =

    • We had vague reports of TEPCO using seawater since 311. If boils at 100.56 °C

      • snowwy snowwy

        For pure water, the boiling point is 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit), and the melting point is 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
        For saltwater, the boiling point is raised, and the melting point is lowered. By how much depends on how much salt there is.
        The boiling point of salt water will rise by about half a degree Celsius for every 30 grams of salt dissolved per kilogram (litre) of water.

  • iso-tope iso-tope

    "In order to cool the fuel stored in the Spent Fuel Pool, the cooling system draws water from the pool, cools the water and circulates it back into the pool. There are two lines, and TEPCO tried to resume the cooling operation by starting the backup line. However, since both lines use the same UPS, TEPCO couldn't restart the system. TEPCO is planning to bypass the UPS and restart the system."

    ahh-ha! NO REDUNANCY or fail-safes.. ONE UPS for both Primary and Secondary pumps. Even something as basic as this, and so obvious, no clue…

    • flatsville

      >>>(UPDATE) TEPCO managed to bypass the UPS and restarted the cooling system at 3:07PM on July 1. At the time of the restart, the temperature of the water inside the Spent Fuel Pool was 42.9 degrees Celsius. TEPCO plans to replace the faulty UPS this week.<<<

      This is hanging by a thread.

      If this current bypass fails…well, what's Plan C?

      And of course they don't explain the nature or soundness of the bypass…and it's not clear if anyone has asked???

      • Fred

        "If this current bypass fails…well, what's Plan C?"

        Call Travelocity for the best airline rates on short notice to anywhere ELSE?

  • captndano captndano

    I was under the impression that Tepco had to resort to using fire hoses to pump seawater into the sfp at #4 following 3/11?

  • Tepco webcam does not look as if the problem has been solved.

    • I was hoping somebody would bring that up.

      Thanks majia.

      Lots of steam, smoke, grey stuff over Reactor 4.

      Weather @ Fukushima right now (= 11:34am Pacific Daylight Time)


      Light Rain
      Wind: W at 6 km/h
      Humidity: 94%

      The rain could be causing some of the steam.

      • Fred

        Watch the "steam" on fuku1live for a minute. The "fog" is coming from the right side of the camera, not out of the reactors…

        I wonder how much fire department activity occurs in the exclusion zone noone lives in but a few passing police cars. Fires must burn for hours before anyone notices with no local eyes to see them.

  • Ras Putin


  • bioviridis

    Does anyone know what might have happened around min. 2 and beyond in this webcam image?

    • looks like fire…

    • flatsville

      Thnx for posting. It doesn't look good.

      It looked like a fire to me as well with a column of smoke near the end.

      Given that the sky was turning dark at the time, I think the flash was actually the sun peaking through a break in the clouds on the horizon as it set.

    • Sam Sam

      When the Tepco demolition derby was on going I had a frightful premonition that the
      vibrations from the concrete removal would disturb the spent fuel pool causing the
      rods to vibrate and heat up. Well days later we have a cooling system down and now
      supposedly back up but in the recent video we see a smoke, fire and supposedly an
      explosion with the sky illuminated from neutron emissions. Either the SFP is going
      critical again or is there other nuclear dungeons in Unit 4 going critical? Not good.
      Thanks Japan for our pre 4th of July fireworks.

      • captndano captndano

        I was thinking that the vibration from all that demolition could rupture that so-called 'bulge' in the side of the tank?

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

      It's a beta flare.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        Beta-flare depicted behind Olkiluoto visitor centre
        Saturated picture shows typical colours for beta-flame over nuclear power plants but the really interesting part is the pink trail from the ventilation pipe.
        Camera wasn't good but you can see the light from excited air with almost any equipment in right conditions. Here is a challenge!

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        “Beta-flare is suggested phenomenon about nuclear radiation discover by Arto Lauri. I took this video at possible near of the Olkiluoto's nuclear power plant in Western-Finland. The color pink can be found at sky and it has succested that color is result of the radiation that is coming from a reactor building.”

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        “Beta-flare derives from extensive radiation emissions causing ionization. When atoms neutralise, they radiate UV which excites the oxygen and nitrogen atoms and molecules to send their respective wavelength of visible light. O2 red, N2 blue. Works like northern lights or fluorescent bulb.

        “One method for radiation to escape the power plant is free neutrons. They decay in 15 min unless captured by the nucleus of an atom (forming unstable isotopes and further radioactivity). As reactor produces 2-3 neutrons per fission 1-2
        of them have to get out! And out from the whole building so they won't decay inside, ionize air there and destroy workers lungs.

        “The way for thermal neutrons to get out is the ventilation pipe (edit: with the fierce air flow). And there we can track down the betaflare also.”

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        “ “Styrge says:
        “This is challenge so suitable for Flicr users: nuclear power plants emit radiation from their ventilation system which can be seen with some image manipulation from a footage taken in suitable conditions. It's would be clearly visible for a naked eye also in case the disturbing industrial light was out.

        “Mechanism is the same as in northern lights: secondary reaction from radiation which sends out characteristic light from oxygen (red) and nitrogen (blue) molecules. Resulting pink/magenta. So it IS stella polaris out of a nuclear power plant. Steam cooling towers cover it up so try with ones by the sea, with a distinquishable ventilation pipe.

        “There is not coming smoke, steam or even heat out. Just neutrons, ions, radioactive isotopes and delayed gamma along room temperature air.

        “Our background radiation has multipliet already so this is not just a freaky phenomenon, but an important verification on how this threat has been obscured by nuclear power industry. Physicists (like Einstein) predicted in the beginning that this is going to be a problem in the future…

        “A have uploaded two example shots here and there is more on my website:


      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        That much radiation is coming off Fukushima Daiichi every second. You just can't see it unless the light catches it just the right way.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        When I watched the last press tour of Fukushima Daiichi, I saw the bus. Everything inside was covered with white cloths tied over everything. After the tour the cloths had turned pink.

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    Looked like a fire until my whole screen turned pink-magenta in a flash, more like an explosion than a sunset.

    • I believe Fukushima, the plant, has gone "critical"

      1 and 2 have been steaming like never before

      The fire and flash on the TBS-JNN Cam are very disturbing

      So, I think this is IT at the plant.

      The question is, what is IT?

      Help please.

      • koshkasobakina

        I think that it's just several factors together:cloudy day+rain+ fog+time lapse x20 + sunset + they turn on lights + camera is located rather far away and rather low. Nothing sinister. Looks like flash but remember the time lapse

        • Kosh

          Are you new here?

          No I don't think I'm mistaken about the source of the steam releases evident in the Tepco video,

          when emissions can be seen streaming from buildings, then those emissions should not be considered fog.

          The TBS video of the "ball of fire" is less clear, but we've seen those flashes before with the purple sky afterwards and I think there is agreement here that those flashes are not naturally occurring and are some sort of beta flare or criticality.

          We are also seeing Iodine-131 detections in Japan, suggesting ongoing criticalities.

          I've been watching the plant and monitoring plant data for over a year. The data suggest the situation is deteriorating.

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            The TBS cam seems to be non-functioning for a while.

          • koshkasobakina

            @majia – I'm not that new, I've been lurking.
            I think ongoing criticalities are given, but webcam videos are not all that reliable source of information, especially if there is thick fog, wind and other weather conditions combined with speeded up video. And I think that any flashes most likely to occur would happen where we cannot see them, deep underground. I totally agree about the deterioration of the situation… All the best!

        • WildTurnip WildTurnip


          Looks like nuckelchen agrees with you…and he's not 'new' here.


  • norbu norbu

    The fire ball on the right looks like some energy vortex spinning around a center energy source. The one on the left look's like the exhaust cause by the energy release from the other. The flash that covered the screen looked like the product of both. Scary

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Everything is fine…Don't worry…Pay no attention to those units… Go before I lose my temper! The Great and Powerful Tepco has spoken!
    Now go back to OZ where everything is beautiful.
    Be Happy

  • norbu norbu

    I am looking behind the curtain.

  • norbu norbu

    Hi wind solar, yes that would be good

  • linuxblue

    What are the scenario breakdowns for this? Worst case? Casualties? Short term? Medium and long term? Radius of uninhabitable land? It looks that dire that to me a cold-blooded assessment needs to be made.

    • Cannot conduct an assessment until one knows how much fuel burned and whether it was spent or new.

      Cannot conduct an assessment until the DoE and the NRC release data collected by the Atomic Energy Commission and other international agencies (IAEA) possessing the best classified data about fallout effects generally and biological effects of internally ingested beta and alpha emitters specifically.

      The only good data we have about fallout effects are based on Chernobyl studies.

      The Yablokov data are alarming when extrapolated to Fukushima, which has 4 compromised reactors and at least 4 compromised spent fuel pools (maybe up to six reactors and 7 pools when you consider the common spent fuel pool).

      Chernobyl burned for 10 days. Fuksuhima has been burning off and on for over a year.

      Chernobyl's direct impact on the ocean was limited; Fukushima's impact on the ocean has been unprecedented.

      Any scenarios drawn from Chernobyl data (the real data) are too alarming to consider scenario planning for. . .

      because there is not much we can do other than to somehow bring the plant under control and then shut down all the rest of the reactors in the world.

      Yablokov, Alexey, Vassily B. Nesterenko, Alexey V. Nesterenko, and Janette D. Sherman-Nevinger Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for the People and the Environment. New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1141, 2009. http://www.strahlentelex.de/Yablokov%20Chernobyl%20book.pdf

      • flatsville

        >>>Chernobyl's direct impact on the ocean was limited; Fukushima's impact on the ocean has been unprecedented.<<<

        Have you read this?


        Buckyballs traveling through the ocean without disintegrating and hitting the West Coast…???

        Who would have predicted this? It is almost sci-fi esque.

        An unprecedented open air nuclear experiment indeed…

    • flatsville

      >>>It looks that dire that to me a cold-blooded assessment needs to be made.<<<

      I believe some government or agency has already done an assessment…and it's likely worthless. What is going on in Japan is a large open air nuclear experiment with so many different factors,variables and scenarios it is impossible to ballpark nos. or determine the outcome.

      (Ex.–My area got hit with hot snow and rain after 3/11…a vagary of weather patterns.)

      It could grind on like this for another year or more…or go catastrophic in a matter of minutes with the next earthquake.

      And there's no accounting for how many people will die as a result of bad decisions or politics post-next critical catastrophe…which is what got us here in the first place.

      I watched the Battle for Chernobyl again over the weekend. I was stunned (again) by the effort on the part of the Soviets to impose the level of remediation they managed to accomplish…all in seven months time. We see nothing like that happening in Japan. Had they not done what they did, a secondary explosion from the corium hitting the water in the sub-basements (that the plant firemen poured on the building) would have taken out most of Europe. People seem to forget how close we came to a full blown hemisphere-wide catastrophe in 1986…and that monster needs a new concrete sarcophagus to keep it contained.

      We are all living on borrow time. Assessments mean little. And the only plan wroth having is to shut down every…

  • linuxblue

    So to use the phrase at the start of the plant's explosion after the tsunami, we are "out of the playbook". Incredibly, there are still academics here in Australia who think that we have a nuclear future; I watched some guy – Barry Brooks – give a nuclear love-in speech. Nuclear future? Over my dead body.

  • mungo mungo

    i dont believe that no one knows where the corium is…. there must be some equipment in space that can precisely see, in real time, just where the radiation is eminating from, where the hot spots are etc etc?

    • flatsville

      Yes. Perhaps. Given the level military satellite technology you'd think so…or that they would have an approximate location on the depth.

      The Soviets snaked through tunnels in sub basements and cut through concrete walls to get a visual on the corium…and then burrowed underneath once they knew exactly where it was. The plan was to place a refrigeration unit underneath to keep it cool, but instead they pumped in a new thick concrete base.

      I doubt anything like that has happened here to get a visual or detect the precise location of the coriums.

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      mungo: TEPCO has drilled bore holes sideways into the cliff face under Buildings1,2,&3. Bet they know precisely where Coriums1,2,&3 are. Still keeping the "in the basement" fiction alive, and so not telling the public, who are becomming increasingly alarmed just the same. When TEPCO began constructing a cofferdam between Buildings1,2,&3 and the Pacific Ocean to block the flow of ground water into the ocean, and began drilling wells to intercept ground water uphill from Buildings1,2,&3, then we knew where Coriums1,2,&3 are.

  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    flatsville: Sorry, was catching up with weekend posts. TEPCO will eventually fill the Building remains with sand or concrete, announce to the world that the Fukudisaster is over, and just walk away.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Hi philip, not so fast! Tepco ist indeed trying their best, like in the upcoming task of "Identifying leak areas in the primary containment vessel (PCV)"! This is their plan, as presented in their report:
      "However, the area around the PCV is subject to high-dose radiation and is extremely narrow in some places, and the lower part of the PCV (pressure control room, etc.) is flooded. Technologies for identifying damage areas in this type of environment have yet to be established. For this reason, it is necessary to develop inspection methods and devices that could be applied to high-dose areas, narrow spaces, and underwater environments."

      Laughing for not to cry again. Happens too often lately.

  • flatsville

    I remembered a discussion of a coffer dam back in Summer 2011 and it got nixed by TEPCO. I wasn't aware it got the go-ahead.

    Looks like it was a reaction to Cong. Wyden's visit?

    Yep…Gotta get all the way around it AND underneath it if not impossible or too late.

  • Sickputer

    Anybody got a photo of the cofferdam crew? Or did they get blown away by the latest Fukshambles burps?

    They know it's futile so I seriously doubt they have done more than run a string line in the sand. When a hundred barges arrive with sheet metal and 5,000 steel workers appear out of the nuclear fog I will believe the project is underway. As it is now there are a few hundred kamikaze workers trying to stay alive in the very hot sun and a very toxic environment.

    So when's the next tour bus? 😉

    • flatsville

      You are likely right about the progress thus far. It will take a return trip by Sen. Wyden to determine what if any real progress has been made…and he'd better bring a shovel and a pair of work gloves to make certain anything happens.

      I gotta give him credit for trying back in April. He needs to threaten Tepco/JapGov with a return trip soon.