Wired: ‘Healthy debate’ about location of Fukushima corium — Lava can melt a foot of concrete per hour — Cooling with water may not stop corium flow

Published: April 18th, 2013 at 8:59 pm ET
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Title: The Most Dangerous (Man-Made) Lava Flow
Source: Wired
Author: Erik Klemetti
Date: April 18, 2013 at 11:45a ET
h/t Room101

The Most Dangerous (Man-Made) Lava Flow

[...] researchers at the Argonne National Lab have created corium in the laboratory [...] They found that corium lava can melt upwards of 30 cm (12″) of concrete in 1 hour! This is why it is so important to know if a nuclear reactor accident has gone into true “meltdown” as the corium lava will rapidly melt its way through the inner containment vessels (or more) in a matter of hours unless it can be cooled again. However, results from these CCI (core-concrete interaction) experiments, suggest that cooling with water may not be sufficient to stop corium from melting the concrete. One thing to remember — much of the melting of concrete during a meltdown occurs within minutes to hours, so keeping the core cool is vital for stopping the corium for breaching that containment vessel.

[...] TEPCO, the Japanese energy company who ran Fukushima Dai’ichi, claims that the corium didn’t breach the outer wall of the containment vessel (although there is a healthy debate about this).  [...]

So, why is corium so dangerous? Well, even long after the flow has stopped, that lava will be highly radioactive for decades to centuries (along with the surrounding countryside if radioactive material made it out of the containment vessel) as the various radioactive materials in the lava decay. In fact, we don’t even have pictures of the corium lava from Fukushima Dai’ichi due to the high levels of radioactivity near the reactor. [...]

See also: Analysis: Melted fuel completely penetrated concrete in under 15 hours at GE Mark I -- Shows little decline in speed (CHART)

Published: April 18th, 2013 at 8:59 pm ET
By
Email Article Email Article
54 comments

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54 comments to Wired: ‘Healthy debate’ about location of Fukushima corium — Lava can melt a foot of concrete per hour — Cooling with water may not stop corium flow

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    The only real debate is whether or not the coriums are causing the massive increase in earthquakes in Japan, into the thousands since 3/11.

    Of course, any research out of the Argonne National Lab is going to be reviewed and edited by Areeva. Certainly don't want to interfere with the MOX shipments.

    Let's add this up. Install more MOX fuel into aging NPP's not designed to withstand MOX levels of energy when the plants were designed decades ago, let alone after years of ionizing radiation turning concrete and steel into powder and tinfoil. Not to mention all the shaking and rolling from the thousands of earthquakes in the last two years.

    If there was any doubt that the nuclear industry wants to kill us all, for profit, this should fix that.


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  • Atomfritz Atomfritz

    The believers of China Syndrome religion seem to be immune against any hard evidence. Sigh.


    Report comment

    • Jebus

      The believers of the nuclear psychopath religion seem to be immune to any hard evidence too…

      :)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k3Ofs6R9cg


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    • VanneV anne

      Atomfritz
      April 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm
      Yes Anne.
      The coriums stopped melting through the concrete after a maximum of a few meters because of dilution.
      It actually doesn't matter much whether they stopped after 65cm, 2m or 4m. At Fukushima the remaining concrete bed thickness under the coriums is still at least a dozen meters.


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      • VanneV anne

        Atomfritz, The concrete below the containment vessel is 2 meters thick not the 39 feet that you are saying.
        Fukushima Nuclear Power (English Sub) P1
        “…The pressure vessel is 16 centimeters thick,
        the containment vessel is 3 centimeters thick,
        and outside of the containment vessel is a two meter wall of shahei (see desc) concrete.
        Well then, let's take a look at the construction of Fukushima #1 NPP reactor 1….”
        http://transcriptvids.com/v/HZfhlu_Wy6c.html
        Below the concrete there is just landfill and porous sedimentary rock. According to your estimate (which containes no authority at all), the corium has gone through 33 feet of the landfill and sedimentary rock already.
        Do you have any authoritative links at all?


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        • stopnp stopnp

          The RPV also had holes in the bottom for the control rods making the cores egress that much easier. Such a lovely design.


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        • Atomfritz Atomfritz

          Anne, you know that the PCV is situated on a pedestal roughly a dozen meters high.
          The coriums would have to pass this before leaving the RBs, which is practically impossible.

          "Do you have any authoritative links at all?"
          This thread provides plenty of sources:
          http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=480200


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          • razzz razzz

            http://www.Physics Forums is run by a bunch of intellectual idiots. Admin Astronuc is the head tool for the nuke industry on that site. Three months after losing Daiichi, Astronuc still relied on TEPCO saying that there were no meltdowns. If he had any common sense left, it blew up along with Unit 1 and Unit 3.

            Another nuke industry tool is Atomfritz, ignores the obvious and misdirects to where the melted radioactive blobs are.

            Atomfritz should ask Astronuc for his definition of 'containment' as whether the blobs are within walls that have cracks or on their way to China doesn't make much difference if the atmosphere and hydrosphere are free to come and go after contacting any radioactive melt or exposed fuel. Radioactive lithosphere contamination is just a minor detail in their minds.

            Astronuc got this much right…there is no off switch for nuclear decay. Can't stop it, can't control it, can only contain it, if you had means of containment.


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          • Sickputer

            AF sez: "The coriums would have to pass this before leaving the RBs, which is practically impossible."

            SP:

            The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake moved the Daiichi plant site 8 feet laterally and 2 feet vertically. The lateral movement was somewhat defended by the floating concrete earthquake pads which formed the key building foundations.

            The design was a double-edged sword…critical subsidiary turbine buildings were on separate floating pads. The result…crushed cooling pipes and electrical switching gear in between the buildings.

            Efficient cooling became impossible to stop the melt-downs from exiting the reactor vessels in Units 1-3. All industry reactor vessels had been deemed "immune" to rupture by the head of the IAEA on March 15, 2011:

            "Nuclear reactors have layers of safety features designed to prevent radiation from reaching the atmosphere… Steel ingots are formed to contain the radioactive fuel inside of seam-free containment vessels immune to rupture. A pressure-resistant, airtight containment vessel is built around the reactor."

            These "nuclear reactors have multiple safety measures," International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said in Vienna."

            http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700118666/Japan-nuclear-safety-plan-foresaw-quake-didnt-see-tsunami.html

            SP: We know that vessel myth was shattered…and the cracked foundations leak like a sieve to this day. Convenient egress route for coriums.


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          • strAtum5

            "[...] which is practically impossible"

            Yes, for nuclear cheerleaders and engineers the term "practically impossible" translates in their dictionary as "until it happens". And when it happens (not an "if", but "when"), they'll just say "oops, sorry about that".


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      • We Not They Finally

        Atomfritz, "dilution" is not even a bad joke!! Who believes that malignant fantasy? Oh, YOU do? Well, the rational world is thataway….


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    • We Not They Finally

      Michio Kaku, world-renowned nuclear physicist, said that there were three MELT-THROUGHS at Fukushima, which he called "unprecedented." And he doesn't have to "believe" — he actually KNOWS "hard evidence" when he sees it. So no one actually needs YOUR input about what other people allegedly believe about a "China syndrome." Really. It's not that anyone thinks that you're stupid. More along the lines of dishonest. But this subject is thorny enough without deliberate deception and subterfuge. Not helpful, not welcome.


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      • Atomfritz Atomfritz

        Umm, the term melt-through is unspecific.
        It could mean melting through the RPV (what happened with some certainty), through the PCV (which is quite improbable). or even (at least theoretically) through the RB.

        So please don't make the mistake of ridiculous exaggerating, just because of misinterpretation.


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        • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

          Atomfritz

          "theres no 'real' chance of a meltdown". Thats how the thoughtful astronuc administrator starts the thread on your referenced authoritative blog. Would that have also been your opinion? Any child of 10 could take one look at the comically blown up Fukushima plants with an immediate grasp that all the technical authoritative confidence in the world didnt match reality. EPIC FAIL would be the verdict. Oh, sure you didnt see it coming. Well thats the thing about unforeseen circumstances isnt it? Not that sitting by the ocean on a gegraphically unstable place wasnt known. POISON, Atomfritz, thats what we have now, spread around the world. WOuld you argue the point? EPIC FAIL x 10000


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    • strAtum5

      The nuclear cheerleaders like yourself are immune to basic common sense ! The nuclear euphoria has completely nuked the part of their brains responsible for analyzing consequences of their decisions.

      Atomfritz, why don't you pick up a shovel and go to Fukushima for a few decades to help them out clearing up the mess ? That would be something useful instead of lecturing nonsense here.


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  • hbjon hbjon

    Let's make a list of the pros and cons of a few possibilities. The cold pancakes, warm granola, warm veins, hot mother lode, and hot blob. Things to consider. In terms of heat, corium pays a small price to surrounding materials as gravity pulls it down. Corium in the form of long veins may be able to dissipate enough heat to solidify within long tubular crusts. Maybe after thousands of feet of descent, the blobs started veining out. Drying out the underground and insulating itself from heat evaporating moisture will be a situation that lies in wait as time marches on.


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  • johnnyo

    17 comments on original article and none challenge it's assumption that Fuckcorioum may have eaten a little concrete but is still contained. And our neighborhood shills are barkin' early and often.

    That we have know idea exactly how far it has oozed its evil slimy self into the bowels of our Mother Earth should be the deciding factor in thousands of capital murder trials.

    Stringy veins or blobs or china syndrome …. the uncertainty should and hopefully one day will lead to hangings. Lots and lots of hangings. We the unpurchased must join the fray with the ferocity they employ in trying to kill us for profit.


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  • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

    Every time I hear mention of "nuclear religion" it reminds me of how pathetically stubborn and stupid their "flock" and their beliefs in their disgusting worship of radiation annihilation of everything that was "good" and "worthwhile" including all of the "good" people and the young & innocent who haven't & likely "WONT" even get a chance to develop into whatever category & type of person they would be if the worst influences on how they would've turned out had they not been doomed from the moment they were born had the "worst" influences not been soulless,crap examples of a sub-species of humanoid devoid of a conscience,soul and morals that best describe the traits of the most elite, powerful & influential examples of the 1% ilk?!! The people who don't use the kind, generous souls they walk all over as stepping stones to positions of power & control seem to have been eradicated as soon as they have a following or remain content "just getting by" without aspirations of gaining leadership & control positions that would allow their selfless drive to HELP others & protect the environment and all the life forms Earth holds. The scum of the Earth nearly ALWAYS have their seats of power reserved by the filth that keeps their throne warm when it's time for the old buzzards to retire & swim in the pools of radioactive blood money they socked away for their (literally)"golden years" when they move to places "less"-contaminated than OUR hometowns they FUKuD UP!…


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    • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

      But those of us who DO give a shit and TRY to help others and live our lives trying to do the right thing will NEVER reach the "heights"(?)=(DEPTHS)of the soulless ELITES by "invitation". The good-hearted people who achieve their dreams & goals and beyond are a rare breed in the present-day order of things since the blood-gorged parasites fear & envy anyone wealthy,powerful & connected who may use their resources to try to turn things around or invest in things that HELP others & pose a threat to those who poison for profit and want to keep EVERYONE else down beneath them and throw their full weight into ruining anyone able to do good & make a difference by thwarting those with ill intent! I hope those who are "in the know" like the author of the pages of the following link are still around since they'd be among the 1st the crooks would ambitiously take actions to make "extinct" along with everything & everyone else they're using their NPP's to kill off(?)!! If I ever won the big lottery I know I'd make a BIG difference in our fight!! Anyways take care ALL :) http://www.ratical.org/radiation/CoNP/1NPkills.html


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    • Trawling4Trolls

      It is an opt-in religion by definition, the "nuclear religion". It has several too-simple requirements. The requirements are that you subscribe to Identifying With Radiation as 'enormously uncontrollable explosive energy', and your subscribing to that implies that the subscriber is also possessed of those qualities. Implied to be so on a personal level, also, so watch out! LOL
      The second requirement is that you participate in the cult, the public ritual of Stupid Exuberance.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Truly sad that nuclear engineers and scientists are unable to come up with anything better than dowsing it with water. It's not a little smoldering campfire.


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    • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

      +311 TBP!; It's even sadder that "they" won't give up their crap, so-called "technology" this many years & accidents & examples of how truly FOUL they and their products truly are!! Anything that's failed so badly at every proposed use & implementation as a viable,valuable resource!~(other than for killing people & everything it contacts)as nuclear crap has makes it hard to consider calling "technology"(?)!! The technology of death and as THE worst of examples of scientific failure maybe, but not as some "great ACHIEVEMENT" of mankind! I don't claim to be better and FAR from the smartest person than anyone else,in fact I have been known to have self-esteem issues and never felt like I really fit into the society I was born into, but the narrow-minded,ignorant,self-destructive ways I've seen & learned that TPTB & their "brilliant"(?,pfft) scientists & researchers are "limited" to possessing has raised my self-esteem & made me feel like I have more to offer those around me who I can have a positive impact on than all of the nuke-pukes added together have EVER done to "help" others or preserve our precious planet and they make ME(a sorry,broke-ass MF'er) look good by comparison!! But then they even make the average (non-Govt.-affiliated)"serial killer" with only a dozen or so victims look like Boy Scouts too for that matter??!! **NO MORE NUKES!!**~It's a "no-brainer" choice and an EASY decision for even those of us who may have only half a brain left!…


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    • gottagetoffthegrid

      the sad fact is that there is absolutely nothing that can be done after melt-through. nothing. it is a blob of man-made nastiness that is a slave to the strong and weak nuclear forces. nothing short of Jesus coming back can fix it.

      all nuclear scientists know this. they dump water on it to keep the radiation in the ground water and out of the air where it is easily measured.

      wind has been cheaper watt for watt since at least 2007.


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  • stopnp stopnp

    That thread had a bunch of industry people on there chatting about how cool nuke power is. Such idiots.


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  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    A friend said uranium is something that never should have been dug out of the ground. She is right.


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  • Sol Man

    Soulless sycophants for the corporate cash flow have brought the world exactly to the point where we collectively find ourselves.
    It hasn't mattered whether any particular corporation was engaged in life sustaining, or destroying, activities, as long as the continued flow of the blood money was assured. Such is the weakness inherent in some people and proves the perpetuation of evil. It is part of the world banking system of fiat fractional reserve money, with the interest and fees, backed up by wars, and all that that entails, for corporate/banker profit, filtering down to a certain set of people. It is a self-perpetuating road to annihilation/perdition. And, we are seeing results being played out at an accelerating pace.
    We must change if there is to be one iota of hope for the future, though the prognosis is not good.


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  • weeman

    Let's hope that the containment held up and it did not escape into the environment, I am hoping on a miracle and maybe Murphy's law worked in our favor this time, I can not let my self think that it has breeched containment as that would be a admission of defeat and make cleanup impossible and we will have to learn to live with it if possible.


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  • ForwardAssist ForwardAssist

    All you need to learn about human race can be acquired by watching the original Planet of the Apes trilogy. Everything including the nuclear cult is there.


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      and if you want to see where we're going ForwardAssist, watch an old classic called THX 1138…

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066434/?ref_=sr_1


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      • pure water

        Isn`t the reality more illustrative?! With the experiments already done, with known results from them, TV junkies listen to TEPCO, which have proven themselves as greedy incompetent liars! The ownership of one nuclear plant does not give the right to poison the air and ocean, which support life.
        It is not so difficult to realize that as living beings we are just guests here and only for a while. That we and many other beings on Earth share the same environment, so respect for others is equivalent to selfrespect. But somehow humanity managed to create the big illusion of power and money and believes in it more than in natural order of things.


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  • HoTaters HoTaters

    I want a car, and a house, and a robot wife. i want a job and the perfect life.

    Atomic City:

    http://www.omd.uk.com/video


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  • Centaur Centaur

    The NRC model calculation for Mk I BWR meltdowns/meltthroughs in case of an enduring no-cooling scenario estimates a meltthrough ratio of ~18 inches per hour for concrete
    (http://enenews.com/analysis-melted-fuel-completely-penetrated-concrete-15-hours-ge-mark-shows-little-decline-speed-chart).

    –> Complete (concrete) meltthrough according to that study (thickness as Anne said before: 2m = 78ft) within appx. 4½ hours (plus ~4 hours ("242.5 minutes") between "core uncovery" and the beginning of the concrete melting).

    That gives ~8-9 hours from core uncovery until complete meltthrough. If that NRC study is (even a little) trustworthy, there's no real (scientific) necessity anymore for a "lively debate" about the question, if the (major part of the) coriums are INside or OUTside the plant. But maybe it's just more a political/interpretational sovereignty debate.


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  • pierre

    even IF the coriums are secure (hahhaha), there's #4 fuel pool which, barring some miracle, like humanity getting it's act together with an Apollo (hahha) scale project, is enough for an EQ by itself.


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