WSJ: Molten fuel could be outside Fukushima reactor — Experts concerned it’s not being cooled properly

Published: March 9th, 2013 at 7:06 pm ET
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Title: Fukushima Digs In for Decades of Cleanup
Source: Wall St. Journal
Author: MITSURU OBE
Date: March 8, 2013

[...] Last year, a radiation reading of 73 sieverts was recorded inside the containment structure of reactor 2—a level so high that it wouldn’t only kill a human instantly, but it also could even disable a remote-controlled robot.

Occasional spates of high readings have been noted at the plant, and Tepco says they could point to molten fuel outside the reactor. However, reactor 2 has had more such spates than the other reactors and has logged sudden jumps in temperature over the past year, which Tepco has blamed on faulty thermometers. Some experts say it is even possible that the molten fuel may not be cooled properly, and that the unit isn’t truly stable.

“The fuel may be kept cool as long as plenty of water is sprayed on it, but once the amount of water is reduced, there could be a problem,” says Fumiya Tanabe, a former senior researcher at the government’s Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

Tepco says the unit is “under control.” [...]

See also: A guide to the triple melt-throughs at Fukushima (VIDEOS)

Published: March 9th, 2013 at 7:06 pm ET
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