Sunday, June 19, 2011

Uh Oh: Fukushima and Spent Fuel Pool #4

Normally I do not include the entire text of NHK reports but this one merits full text. Please read the text carefully.

TEPCO injects water to No.4 reactor storage pool
"Tokyo Electric Power Company has been trying to reduce a high level of radiation discovered in the Number 4 reactor of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

"The utility started to inject water into a pool on the top floor which was used for storing large equipment contaminated by radiation on Sunday.

"The Number 4 reactor was shut down for a routine inspection when it was hit by the earthquake and the tsunami on March 11th.

Large hardware in the reactor was removed and was submerged in the pool to block the release of radiation.

Tokyo Electric Company discovered that the water level of the pool had dropped to about 1/3 of its capacity as of June 11th.

The machinery is thought to have been exposed and releasing high amounts of radiation.
The operator fears it could hamper restoration work in the Number 4 reactor.
TEPCO says the radiation level on the top floor is so high that workers cannot enter, but if the equipment is submerged again, the radiation level will decline enabling operations to restart. END QUOTE

Monday, June 20, 2011 05:53 +0900 (JST)

MAJIA HERE: This article is stating that the reactor core, which was taken out of reactor #4's containment was put into (presumably) #4's spent fuel pool. This is the spent fuel pool that had fires early on in the disaster (in March). This spent fuel pool has now been found to be 2/3 EMPTY. That means that the fuel rods in that pool were no doubt burning because these fuel rods are covered in zirconium. Gunderson showed us some weeks ago how they burn when not continuously cooled. They then become very brittle when cooled, after being heated.
Holy cow. We have a pool full of spent fuel rods that have been exposed to the air. This pool is in the attic of a building that is teetering because it was damaged by the explosion in #3 reactor in March.
Spent fuel pools contain far more dirty radiation than the reactor cores. Indeed, a fire in a spent fuel pool is about the worst danger that can occur at a nuclear plant.
let us go back and look at those dangers, relying on the Nation to start
Christian Parenti writes on March 15 in the Nation:
"But spent fuel rod pools are actually highly radioactive, very unstable, extremely dangerous and, compared with reactors, not well supported, contained or looked over.
"The spent rods give off considerable amounts of “decay heat” and thus must be submerged in constantly circulating water. Expose them to air for a day or two, and they begin to combust, giving off large amounts of radioactive cesium-137, a very toxic, long-lasting, aggressively penetrating radioactive element with a half-life of thirty years. When cesium-137 it enters the environment, it essentially acts like potassium and is taken up by plants and animals that use potassium..."

MAJIA HERE: let us look at what the New York Times had to say about them also on March 15 written by WILLIAM J. BROAD and HIROKO TABUCHI

Begin quote: "If any of the spent fuel rods in the pools do indeed catch fire, nuclear experts say, the high heat would loft the radiation in clouds that would spread the radioactivity.

“It’s worse than a meltdown,” said David A. Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists who worked as an instructor on the kinds of General Electric reactors used in Japan....

...A 1997 study by the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island described a worst-case disaster from uncovered spent fuel in a reactor cooling pool. It estimated 100 quick deaths would occur within a range of 500 miles and 138,000 eventual deaths.

The study also found that land over 2,170 miles would be contaminated and damages would hit $546 billion...END QUOTE



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