Friday, January 6, 2012

On Spent Fuel Pool #4

Enenews is reporting today on a Kyodo news story:

Kyodo: Secret worst scenario was ‘reactor explosion’ at No. 1 and Spent Fuel Pool 4 drying up -Hosono

here is the link to the original Kyodo article

"Worst scenario during Fukushima crisis was reactor explosion: Hosono"

I am going to quote from the original article::

[excerpted] TOKYO (Kyodo) -- "The government predicted two weeks after the nuclear crisis erupted at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March that the worst scenario would involve an explosion at the No. 1 reactor and the water inside the No. 4 unit's spent fuel pool drying up, nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono said Friday....

"'It was only a scenario based on a hypothetic assumption... We refrained from announcing it, as there was a possibility of triggering unnecessary concerns among people,' said Hosono, who at the time was serving as a special adviser to then Prime Minister Naoto Kan." [end quote]

MAJIA HERE: The scenario of unit 4 spent fuel pool drying up does NOT appear to have been purely hypothetical. I went back through all of the articles I've saved and looked at early reports on the status of spent fuel pool #4. This is what I've found.

Wall Street Journal “Setback in Reactor Fight” Mar 16 2011 p. A1, A10. Quote is from p. A10

[excerpted] But the situation at one of those-offline reactors, No. 4, became dire on Tuesday when the spent fuel heated up and generated hydrogen that led to a fire, according to government officials.

“That fire was extinguished in a few hours…


Maugh, Thomas H. (2011, March 19). Electric power partially restored at Japan nuclear plant. The Los Angeles Times.,0,6212176.story

 [excerpted] Meanwhile, workers had jury-rigged an unmanned device that could spray seawater on the No. 3 reactor for up to seven hours at a time and they hoped to install similar devices at other buildings. Police and military were also spraying water manually on the other buildings at the site in an effort to keep the reactor cores and the spent fuel pools cooled and prevent a meltdown that would release large amounts of radiation into the environment.

…Engineers have been focusing their efforts on reactors No. 2 and 3 and the building housing reactor No. 4, which also houses a damaged spent fuel pool, but the need to build shelters to protect workers and equipment from the water that was being sprayed, as well as the radiation, delayed efforts..."

UPDATE 1-Japan radiation release lower than Chernobyl. Reuters.Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:44pm EDT

[excerpted] "Nishiyama said the high-level radiation is suspected to have come from the reactor, where overheating fuel rods are believed to have partially melted.

He said further verification is needed to find out how the radioactive water reached the underground site where the workers were exposed. Huge volumes of water have been poured into the reactor as well as its apparently boiling spent fuel pool since they lost their cooling functions.

Japan struggles to cool radioactive materials, after helicopter mission ruled unsafeBy Brian Vastag, Rick Maese and Debbi Wilgoren, Wednesday, March 16, 12:36 PM Washington Post

[excerpted] "At the Fukushima plant, workers were focusing on the unit 3 reactor building, where a white plume of smoke was spotted Wednesday morning, and on unit 4, where fires flared up Tuesday and again on Wednesday morning.

The blazes triggered fears that spent uranium fuel sitting in a pool above the reactor was burning. Such a conflagration would generate intense concentrations of cesium-137 and other dangerous radioactive isotopes. But a spokesperson for the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry lobbying group, said Tokyo Electric Power Co. concluded that the first fire in unit 4 was not in the spent fuel pool, “but rather in a corner of the reactor building’s fourth floor.

April 5, 2011 U.S. Sees Array of New Threats at Japan’s Nuclear Plant. The New York Times.By JAMES GLANZ and WILLIAM J. BROAD

[excerpted]…"The document, which was obtained by The New York Times, provides a more detailed technical assessment than Japanese officials have provided of the conundrum facing the Japanese as they struggle to prevent more fuel from melting at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. But it appears to rely largely on data shared with American experts by the Japanese.
Among other problems, the document raises new questions about whether pouring water on nuclear fuel in the absence of functioning cooling systems can be sustained indefinitely. Experts have said the Japanese need to continue to keep the fuel cool for many months until the plant can be stabilized, but there is growing awareness that the risks of pumping water on the fuel present a whole new category of challenges that the nuclear industry is only beginning to comprehend.
The document also suggests that fragments or particles of nuclear fuel from spent fuel pools above the reactors were blown “up to one mile from the units,” and that pieces of highly radioactive material fell between two units and had to be “bulldozed over,” presumably to protect workers at the site. The ejection of nuclear material, which may have occurred during one of the earlier hydrogen explosions, may indicate more extensive damage to the extremely radioactive pools than previously disclosed. ..
The N.R.C. report suggests that the fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor suffered a hydrogen explosion early in the Japanese crisis and could have shed much radioactive material into the environment, what it calls “a major source term release.” 

Nuclear Apocalypse in Japan
Lifting the Veil of Nuclear Catastrophe and cover-up
by Keith Harmon Snow

Global Research, March 18, 2011

[excerpted] "As the sun set over quake-stricken Japan on Thursday 17 March 2011, we learned that four of six Fukushima nuclear reactor sites are irradiating the earth, that the fire is burning out of control at Reactor No. 4's pool of spent nuclear fuel, that there are six spent fuel pools at risk all told, and that the sites are too hot to deal with. On March 16 Plumes of White Vapor began pouring from crippled Reactor No. 3 where the spent fuel pool may already be lost..."

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