Time: Some worry that melted Fukushima fuel may “reignite”

Published: December 16th, 2011 at 9:19 pm ET


Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Declares an End to the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis, Ecocentric TIME.com, Dec. 16, 2011:

Prime Minister of Japan […] declared an end to the nuclear disaster […] but other experts aren’t so sure. […]

While Tokyo Electric Power says the reactors are now in “cold shutdown,” some worry that the fuel could have contaminated groundwater—or that it may even reignite.

Published: December 16th, 2011 at 9:19 pm ET


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25 comments to Time: Some worry that melted Fukushima fuel may “reignite”

  • dpl dpl

    calling arnie G.
    I thought everyone jumped on the spaghetti/pancake wagon by now.
    arnie needs to do a new video for the nuke engineers/experts.
    showing pancake formulas with cooling rates and shit like that.
    I suggest a conference over at the international house of you guess it pancakes.

  • TheWorldIsBlind

    I would like to rename this article please:

    “Experts debate when next recriticality will occur”

    • TheWorldIsBlind


      for me, studying this info – regardless to the “instrument failure”, the fact that the chart is plotted is enough for me. i must conclude that each spike is a recriticality. as u can see – last recrit – dec. 14, 2011.

      • farawayfan farawayfan

        The gage shows the steady progression of radioactive material from the drywell into the concrete below. Decreasing values just mean the blob has moved on…..I’m sure once the levels go down enough, they’ll suddenly take away the “Instrument failure” designation and declare it valid again.

      • Misitu

        9.2 Sievert/hr is still within the range of [un]acceptably scary.

        9.2 Sv/h represents a cold shutdown?

        Alice in Wonderland

      • harengus_acidophilus

        Some thoughts about the former sky-high radiation values at atmc.jp…
        Is this some kind of 2nd level deception? Why did they don’t stop these kind of ‘whispering the truth’-site? Now we can see: exactly at the same time TEPCO is declaring ‘cold shutdown’ the values are falling down to one-digit-ones. And naive people would say: yes, cold shutdown.

        Are I’m paranoid?

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        China Syndrome – UC, Berkeley, Dept. of Nuclear Engineering

        One comment:
        “Of course its going to eventually melt down to the water table. Why do you think tepco has more or less abandoned this project from the start? Anyone claiming the fuel isn’t configured in a way to produce fission is straight up talking out of their ass right now. We’re in Darwin’s hands now.”

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Another comment:

          “This catastrophe will go on for years. Boron is a neutron poison and will only act to stop the fission, which is not the problem because fission stopped a long time ago when the fuel lost its geometry.

          “The problem is the decay heat from the fission products in the fuel. Trying to cool it with water is a waste of time because the heat transfer from the molten fuel to the water is too inefficient. Even if the fuel was at the bottom of the ocean it would still continue in the molten state.
          “That’s the problem with current nuclear reactor technology. You simply can’t control it in ‘loss-of-coolant’ type accidents.”

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Another comment:

          “Corium-water explosion could happen if blob melts through the stainless steel containment (RPV), then concrete (hydrogen explosions), then water (huge explosions).

          “Possible high-energy self-sustaining recriticalities (especially if the corium comes out as a blob, rather than in several pieces) to form an endless radioactive geyser, killing everyone on earth, spouting forth for thousands of years and beyond.

          “Almost in a whisper, as if nobody really knew

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Anoather comment:

          “…Eight months after the Three Mile Island accident, “an Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist declared, ‘Little, if any, fuel melting occurred, even though the reactor core was uncovered. The safety systems functioned reliably.’ A few years later, robotic sorties into the area revealed that half the core — not ‘little, if any’ — had melted down..’

          “I and TIME’s Kiev-based stringer recently published a piece for TIME from Chernobyl in Ukraine, where clean-up efforts continue a full 25 years after the accident. Whatever the end game at Fukushima, get your head around this, folks: it is going to be a huge mess for a long time yet.



        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          This article has a chart showing temp of reactors time of melt and explosions very good data

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Another comment:

          This is an industry that has the acknowledged capacity to render large cities like Tokyo uninhabitable, and very large areas (the size of the state of Pennsylvania) uninhabitable. It has so far produced some 300,000 tons of nuclear waste that will remain radioactive for thousands of years and with which it does not know what to do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AWcle6lM_Q And yet this industry is advertised with a straight face as a source cheap and clean energy.

  • lrpingel

    Recriticality has already happened. TEPCO admitted in Nov 2011 that fission had restarted. See more here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-01/tepco-says-nuclear-fission-possible-at-fukushima-plant-2-.html

  • gerryhiles

    As I understand it: for as long as Iodine-131 can be detected, fission is still happening, because this isotope has a half-life of about eight days.

    In this way it can be regarded as a ‘marker’ for all other nuclides still being produced, but less easily detected; and Caesium-137 – with a half-life of about 30 years is another indicator http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium-137

    Because these nuclides continue to be found, it can be safely(sic) assumed that everything remains out of control, if not necessarily leading to another major explosion.

    Back in March it seemed to me that, in effect, a permanent radio-active “volcano” had been created, but maybe more akin to Old Faithfull in Yellowstone National Park, which ‘just’ bubbles away for ever and a day, though harmlessly in that case.

    Anyhow that’s my take on things.

    • dka

      maybe we still need to be careful, the iodine found might also be coming from an hospital and to be 100% sure it is from Fukushima, keep in mind the location of where it has been found. Uphill, before hospitals or downhill, after one. Regardless, it would be surprising is the fissioning cycling of the corium would stop so early on its own, from what I read, it should never stop doing that once this cycling has started.

      • James2

        I131 in the air is coming from a nuke plant.

        Yes, make sure it’s not medical waste, but don’t kid yourself for a minute – the amounts we have seen for the past 9 months proves Fukushima has gone critical numerous times in the past 9 months

      • aigeezer aigeezer

        “once this cycling has started”

        The shills can call it recycling used fuel and sell it to us as a good thing.