Yomiuri: Tepco having difficulty with ‘debris’ around Unit 3 due to high radiation — Years before spent fuel removal will begin

Published: September 11th, 2012 at 6:23 pm ET


Title: Debris removal inching along at Fukushima nuclear plant
Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun
Date: Sep. 12, 2012

Debris removal is progressing slowly at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to photos released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. 1-1/2 years after the nuclear crisis began.


TEPCO is having difficulty removing debris in and around the No. 3 reactor building, which was destroyed by a hydrogen explosion on March 14, 2011, due to high levels of radiation around the building.

Steel platforms, where unmanned heavy equipment for debris removal will be installed, have been mostly completed on the eastern and western sides of the No. 3 reactor building. TEPCO also plans to construct platforms on the building’s northern and southern sides.

TEPCO expects to finish debris removal within this fiscal year and start removing nuclear fuel from the fuel storage pool at the end of 2014.


Published: September 11th, 2012 at 6:23 pm ET


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  3. TV: Dam gates ‘shifted’ in Fukushima Unit 3 fuel pool — Damaged by massive piece of falling debris — Concern it could trigger drainage from pool — Tepco: It does not ‘appear’ to be leaking March 30, 2015
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17 comments to Yomiuri: Tepco having difficulty with ‘debris’ around Unit 3 due to high radiation — Years before spent fuel removal will begin

  • Sickputer

    "TEPCO expects to finish debris removal within this fiscal year and start removing nuclear fuel from the fuel storage pool at the end of 2014"

    SP: The cranes will get most of the Unit 3 building debris removed on the upper levels. The trick will be working around and amongst the residue of fissile fuel in and on the lower levels. Big question mark on how long it will take to find and repair the building cracks that are flowing water into the subsurface and on to the Pacific Ocean 200 yards away.

    And then there's the condition of the Unit 3 spent fuel pond. The fuel assemblies there may prove as difficult to remove as Unit 4. Perhaps worse because of the MOX fissile fuel meltdown.

    • lam335 lam335

      re: "And then there's the condition of the Unit 3 spent fuel pond. The fuel assemblies there may prove as difficult to remove as Unit 4"

      Gundersen has mentioned that, unlike the #4 storage pool, the #3 pool has not been "reinforced" (since it's too much of a mess and too radioactive to get in to work on it). For this reason, he said that the #3 SFP is more vulnerable to collapse than #4, though its nuclear load is not quite as large:


  • markww markww


  • dodge

    There is a problem that isn't often mentioned. These spent fuel pools, and damaged reactors are in close proximity. It is like a chain under extreme pressure, it is only as strong as the weakest link. Any additional radiation release (beyond what we are thinking of as the new normal) will make even the limited efforts they are doing presently impossible. There already is a known shortage of workers (because they are reaching and exceeding their life-time exposure limits). The prime efforts are maintaining some control over runaway meltdowns. Repairs to leaks, and fixing the biggest problem areas. Just imagine if any one of those problems gets worse, and the others have to be neglected and abandoned? It really is long past time for a world wide effort to address this problem. Military personal need to be involved. It's only right that they should bear the responsibility — after all the industry has a duel purpose of providing energy for the public and bombs for the military. I'm thankful that military use has been limited somewhat (still lots of depleted uranium, small nuclear weapons used, and of course all the testing) and the United States still holds the record for the most uses against civilian populations — but the military bears major responsibility for the nuclear environmental crisis our world faces. Citizens also bear responsibility when we fail to hold elected officials accountable. Time for concerned world citizens to unite and salvage what we can.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne


      And then throw in MOX = the ELE of Fukushima


      @dodge: "…long past time for a world wide effort to address this problem." They need to declare a global state of emergency. I can only think that economics is staying their hand. If they declare an emergency, the world citizenry would be forced to look this demon in the eye. If that happens, all of what we've been following this last year-and-a-half will come slamming into their faces, all at once. Food, water and air will become the center-piece of discussion at every dinner table.

      I can only think they're giving TEPGOV more time to get a handle on things. They're not concerned with the health effects upon the people, as they feel the losses can be absorbed by the existing population. What they're not factoring into the equation is the long-term mutagenic damage that's being done to all who are currently being exposed to this radiation. We're not only facing the effects of this radioactive exposure within the existing population but the forwarding of that damage into all future generations.

      They're not only leaving us out in the cold, but themselves, as well…

      • Sirius

        AS: you know, maybe the Fukushima story is just one of the means to limit the world population, as some conspiracy theorists believe.

        Now, after all we've seen over the last 1 1/2 year, I think it's not impossible.

  • Nigwil

    Dodge, I agree. Any further release of radiation that excludes workers from parts of the site will leave more ready-to-fail equipment and temporary cooling unreachable with the result that any failures will simply cascade to disaster.

    Already they cannot get into reactors 1 2 or 3 to do any work on those spent fuel ponds, or to chase the corium. They must have all finger's crossed in regard to their cooling systems to those spent fuel ponds, as any failure of cooling or loss of pond water within those has the real potential to lead to a fire in a spent fuel pond.

    The result of any such SFP fire would almost certainly result in the abandonment of the entire site, which, left unattended would eventually simply brew up and spew its radiation far and wide.

    If the exclusion zone extended as far as Fukushima No 2, then that would follow suit soon after.

    Remember too that all Japan's nuclear power plans are now cooled by pumps and systems powered directly by the nation's remaining fossil-fuelled power plants. Any collapse or brown-out of the local power grid will leave those sites on standby generators, which will eventually do what standby generators have been found to do elsewhere. Stop.

    Not a pretty picture.

  • weeman

    We're are the pictures, let's see and study.

  • jackassrig

    The radiation continues to weaken the structure. The structure doesn't have years before the fuel can be removed. Unit 2 is deterioring before our eyes. The upper part is sagging. Unit 4 is missing the top stories and Unit 3 is a bombed out hulk. Soon these building will be a pile of rubble. There seems to be no sense of urgency. Sometimes YAPCO sits and thinks and sometimes they just sits.

  • dosdos dosdos

    Hydrogen explosion…..how tightly they cling.

  • irradiatedinbako

    Tepco and Japan govt and mafia need to lose the idiotic nationalism ..

    Accept international help and expertise.

    International nuke experts and govt's need to demand global expertise and intervention.

    This is utter stupidity to let this Fukushitty situation escalate further.

    Fuck .. Japan is sending Coast Guard to protect those miniscule islands against China .. WTF .. for fishing rights in a poisoned sea?

    Dead is dead. You don't have a second chance after that.

    • chrisk9

      Idiotic nationalism-right on-the number one problem post disaster.
      And since they are accepting no help from anyone they just make up stuff to do that is stupid. I don't understand the steel platforms and robots. How much dose was sucked up building platforms? Why not just remove hot debris using overhead cranes? The operator will be 100-150 feet away, build him a shielded cab, and his dose will be very low. I have seen this done on a smaller scale. Put different kinds of tools on the end of the crane or even magnets. Lay down a shielded container on the ground and just drop the stuff in it. This is the approach I learned in the industry for smaller problems, but why would it not work?

      • weeman

        Nobody is going to help them, no one can solve this dilemma and nobody wants to look like morons trying and the nuclear regulatory commissions don't want to admit it is out of control and we should abandon all fission.

      • irradiatedinbako

        Hi Chrisk9 .. your experience and knowledge has been a blessing around here.



  • tooktheredpill tooktheredpill

    Here is the report on a uk NPP….30 miles from me. It shut down (production) in 1991 (having operated for over 30 years)….so what you might say!? although it closed in 1991 (and didn't suffer a MELTDOWN or anything like fukushima) based on their on estimates this station (that has been COLD for over twenty years!!! will still take until 2083 to be fully decommisioned!!! (check their time report in link!) THATS'S 3 GENERATIONS from where i currently sit!! That's my kid, his kids and their kids just to fully close a reactor that WAS JUST SHUT DOWN NORMALLY!!!!!


    Over there they have noooooo idea where their cores have gone…in 3 reactors connected at one site with the entire fourth core sitting 100ft in the air!!!

    Is it me or am I feelin like i'm the only 1 who gets this. If it takes nearly 90 years to decommision a reactor (in a normal operating situation) HOW THE HELL ARE THEY EXPECTING TO CLEAN FUKUSHIMA UP!!!! ?