Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Much Radiation Is At Issue: Cesium 137 in Spent Fuel Pool 4

This is part II from yesterday's posts covering the amount of radiation at the Fukushima plant:

In this post I am summarizing remarks made by Professor Hiroaki Koide at the May 4 Conference in New York City available at the webpage Cinema Forum Fukushima. I will use the data presented here for a third post.

Professor Hiroaki Koide, Nuclear Reactor Specialist and Assistant Professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute also spoke at the conference.[i] Prof. Koide discussed the amount of radiation released in March of 2011 and discussed the status of the reactors at the plant. He stated that the Japanese government report submitted to the IAEA quantified the radiation released by the explosions of March 2011 at 15,000 terabecquerels of cesium-137 alone. This figure did not include other radionuclides, nor did it include cesium released of radionuclides into the ocean. Yet, it amounted to 170 times the amount of cesium-137 released by the Hiroshima explosion (Hiroshima was 89 terabecquerels of cesium-137).
Prof. Koide addressed the status of reactor 4 separately. He explained that the reactor core 4 contained 548 assemblies of nuclear rods. Those assemblies were not in the reactor core at the time of the earthquake but rather were in the reactor 4 spent fuel pool. There were therefore a total of 1331 fuel assemblies in pool 4. These fuel assemblies contain five thousand times the amount of cesium 137 released by the Hiroshima bomb. Prof. Koide went on to explain that three of the other reactors at the plant, reactors 1, 2, and 3, all had core meltdowns and the current locations of the melted coriums are unknown. He noted that significant releases of radiation contamination continue into the ocean. Prof. Koide concluded that humanity as a whole has never experienced this level of radiation contamination and he stated “I have no idea what will happen but we will be fighting this radiation on the order of tens, hundreds of years

[i]           Footage of the NYC Press Conference May 4th 2012 Cinema Forum Fukushima

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