FIRE JUNE 2011
FIRE NOV 2012? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDYjx_VRAO8&feature=youtu.be
The Fukushima nuclear complex is composed of Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini. The two stations are approximately six miles apart. Fukushima Daini has four nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools. According to a November 16 report by Tokyo Electric Power Company titled, “Integrity Inspection of Dry Storage Casks and Spent Fuel at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station,”[i] as of March 2010 the Daini site held 1,060 tons of spent uranium fuel. Fukushima Daiichi has six nuclear reactors; each reactor has a spent fuel pool. The Daiichi site also has a common spent fuel pool. The total spent uranium fuel inventory at Daiichi in March 2010 was reported as 1,760 tons. The 2010 report asserts that approximately 700 spent fuel assemblies are generated every year.[ii] The report specifies that 3,450 assemblies are stored in each of the six reactor’s spent fuel pools. The common spent fuel pool contains 6291 assemblies. The amount of mox fuel stored at the plant has not been reported. One source suggests that unit 3’s reactor core contained a range of 164 to 32 mox assemblies.[iii] The low-end estimate of 32 mox assemblies is from France’s Areva, which provided the fuel for unit 3. As the French Fukushima 3/11 Watchdog group points out, the low-end estimate of 32 mox assemblies translates into 5.5 tons of fuel containing more than 300 kg of plutonium: “300 kg is therefore equivalent to 300 billion lethal doses.”[iv]
Release of the written transcripts of the March 16 audio files of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Operation Center Fukushima Transcript provides some insight into the complexities of the disaster. Conversations about the plant status clearly indicate that spent fuel pools 3 and 4 were damaged and burning.[v] On page 62 of the transcripts, speakers are recorded as stating that in additions to units 1 and 2 “boiling down,” the spent fuel pools in 3 and 4 are having "zirc water reactions," indicating that the fuel cladding was burning because the used rods were no longer submerged in water. A speaker asserts that there are “no walls” on unit 4 spent fuel pool: “The explosion leveled the walls, leveled the structure for the unit 4 spent fuel pool all the way down to the to the approximate level of the bottom of the fuel. So, there is no water in there whatsoever.” Later in the transcripts, a speaker reiterates this report on the status of spent fuel pool number 4: “our understanding of the unit 4 spent fuel pool is it has been destroyed on the side such that it will get no water above the bottom of the active fuel for in effect the sides of the reactor building are gone…the sides are gone.…” The overall status of the plant is summarized on page 215 by another speaker: he states the status of the plant has progressed" to at least "2 reactors [in meltdown], multiple spent fuel pools and maybe 4 reactors and 4 spent fuel pools...." The prognosis is considered grim: “We’ve just not seen any mitigation of any of the events and we would take all the spent fuel pools and probably all the four reactors into the final conclusion because we’ve not seen any mitigation….[vi]
[i] It is worth noting that although this report was produced on 10/26/2010 the file properties indicate the document was modified on 3/13/2011: Integrity Inspection of Dry Storage Casks and Spent Fuels at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. November 16, 2010. http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf
[ii] Integrity Inspection of Dry Storage Casks and Spent Fuels at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. November 16, 2010. http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf.
[iii] Fukushima 311 Watchdogs. MOX fuel-Corium-Plutonium in Fukushima Daiichi, http://www.fukushima311watchdogs.org/biblio/9/Mox%20fuel-corium-plutonium%20in%20Fukushima%20Daiichi.pdf.
[iv] Fukuhima 311 Watchdog http://www.fukushima311watchdogs.org/biblio/9/Mox%20fuel-corium-plutonium%20in%20Fukushima%20Daiichi.pdf.
[v] U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission Official Transcript of Proceedings of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi ET Audio File (2011, March 16). Page 62, http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1205/ML12052A108.pdf
[vi] U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission Official Transcript of Proceedings of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi ET Audio File (2011, March 16). http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1205/ML12052A108.pdf