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Fukushima plant head: Too early to predict decommissioning

34 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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Tell me again how nuclear energey is cheap and safe. It's going to 40-50 years to fully decommission this plant. It could even be longer because, at present, they don't have the technology or facilities to remove and store the melted fuel rods. Meanwhile, the release of the radioactive water is going to go on for decades as it continues to build up daily. This all could have been avoided if TEPCO and the J-Gov had taken the advice given to them in 2002 by a French team of experts to put the back up generators on the roofs of the housings and waterproof all the back up electrical systems. They chose to ignore the advice after deeming it too expensive. How did that work out for you Japan?

The worst of this disaster may be yet to come. Removing the melted fuel rods will be a very delicate and difficult process. One mistake and the sci-fi movie The China Syndrome could easily become a reality.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Tell me again how nuclear energey is cheap and safe.

It's not really a black and white situation. If you were to compare output (gigawatts?) between nuclear and coal powered plants, many more people die from the pollution of coal plants than die from nuclear disasters. Also, even with the cost of decommissioning the Fukushima, when taken into the overall costs of running nuclear plants in Japan, and the costs of non-nuclear pollution, and the sheer output of nuclear plants, they likely come out both safer and more efficient.

The problem of course being that when they go wrong, they go REALLY wrong.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

The most pressing immediate task is to safely start releasing large amounts of treated but still radioactive water from the plant into sea

i wish I could put “safely” and “still radioactive” in the same sentence. The guy is a wizard!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

The government needs to put a timeline on this, these guys are just stretching this out because they want to keep their jobs. It's not going to be finished but this guy retires.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

The timeline is likely to be 100 years and an eventual cost of more than ¥50 trillion not counting the costs of storing over one million tons of nuclear waste. There remains a strong possibility that the melted fuel cannot be removed and currently TEPCO does not how to do it.

While the melted fuel remains it requires cooling water which continues the water storage problem.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Too dangerours to ever trust this technology

1 ( +3 / -2 )

But hey, it's clean, cheap, and safe, right guys?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

They stlll have no real idea after 12 years.

The technology does not exist yet to safely enter some of the areas of high radioactivity and carry out any form of meaningful decommissioning work.

Even the nuclear gypsies would balk at entering some of the areas, as they are now better educated and aware of the dangers.

Robotic machines and cameras last a few hours before their CPUs and CCD are fired by the radiation.

Time/ distance and radioactive decay in those areas are the only solution.

The first nuclear power plant in the world at Calder Hall (now Sellafield) in the UK was originally predicted to take 40 years to decommission from a scheduled shut-down, and that was not an explosive, sudden stop!

Now estimates range to over 100 years to 2120, and it is vastly over budget.

What timeline for Fukushima Dai-ichi?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Take your time Sir, the damage has already been done! so what is the rush???

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Let the enormity of that sink it. It wouldn't surprise me if TEPCO/LDP eventually decide to go the Chernobyl sarcophagus route. Of course first they would have to figure out how to stop all that water from flowing through the nuclear material.

 880 tons of highly radioactive melted fuel and other debris that must be safely removed and stored

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

TEPCO has no idea what is happening inside the reactors or even where all the molten fuel is. The radiation levels are massively more than 15 SIEVERTS per hour. No worker can get into the reactor basements.

There is no technology available to remove the corium. Robots put inside the reactors are quickly fried. It is not known if the corium can even be removed or if TEPCO will be forced to wait for a reduction in the radiation.

Saying twice the current length of time is not unrealistic. Decommissioning of regular nuclear reactors always ends up taking more time than initially planned. They also go over budget many times.

The cost of decommissioning a regular reactor is paid for by the power company. This is a level 7 nuclear disaster that will be mainly paid for by the taxpayers.

I was very conservative with my estimates. I actually think it will take 100 years or more and will cost over ¥100 trillion.

There are also 20 reactors to be decommissioned over the next 50 years. Crating many millions of tons of nuclear waste.

There are plans currently where to store the waste.

While the corium remains then cooling water will be needed.

The corium waste is estimated by TEPCO to be more than 600 tons.

from the wanderlust post

"The first nuclear power plant in the world at Calder Hall (now Sellafield) in the UK was originally predicted to take 40 years to decommission from a scheduled shut-down, and that was not an explosive, sudden stop!

Now estimates range to over 100 years to 2120, and it is vastly over budget."

None of us will live long enough to witness the end of the Fukushima plant. We will pass on our problem to our children who will also pay for it without getting a single watt of power.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Awa no Gaijin

   None of us will live long enough to witness the end of the Fukushima plant. We will pass on our problem to our children who will also pay for it without getting a single watt of power.

> Yet another assumption !

> And a very bleak outlook.

> You cannot possibly know that .

But I can from my training, occupation, and personal experience. I can also predict you won't live long enough to see the end. We can also look at the decommissioning of reactors in other countries.

Another end is the spend nuclear fuel and waste in about 10,000 years.

I prefer the open minded optimistic approach in the hopes that it is entirely possible someone will find a better way to deal with the situation.

I prefer realistic approaches which can be changed and developed over time. Making the best decision at the right time.

In 100 years Chernobyl will also still be there.

Technology is becoming more advanced so to base your theory on past events to predict the future isn't feasible !

Send your answers and suggestions on a postcard to TEPCO. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it.

I will be right.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Awa no Gaijin

can you explain why new plants always take longer to construct and cost more?

can you explain why decommissioning nuclear reactors take longer and cost more?

How much has the Fukushima disaster plant cost so far? More than ¥25 trillion in 12 years. Not fantasy or unrealistic to think the final cost will be 3-4 times that.

Back in 2011 both the government and TEPCO said it would only cost ¥5 trillion and take 30 years. The compensations and subsidies alone cost ¥8 trillion.

What is your plan for removing the corium?

Certainly, the government and TEPCO cannot truly state the exact time limit or the final costs. TEPCO has been a serial liar and falsified documents in the past.

"The government is maintaining its original goal of completing the plant's decommissioning by 2051. But some experts say removing all of the melted fuel debris by then is impossible and suggest a Chernobyl-style entombment of the plant, an option that could help reduce health risks while the plant's radioactivity gradually decreases."

There will also be more powerful earthquakes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

All good reasons to never use nuclear power ever again. And they're extending the 60 year life of other reactors....... The mind boggles at the insanity of it all

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Awa no Gaijin

How long did it take to land on the moon? We will most likely be on Mars before the end of Fukushima. Part of being an engineer is giving realistic answers to the challenges faced and not dabbling with whataboutism.

There are many tens of experts to be found online giving the time and cost estimates like the ones I have posted.

Remember, nuclear fuel will last more than 10,000 years. At what cost?

There are no nuclear faeries. Only nuclear gypsies.

There is now a shortage of trained and qualified engineers for decommissioning the 20 reactors needing it. The labor shortage is a problem going forward.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@mammamiaToday  06:43 am JST

What about jailing all the TEPCO responsible who were at the helm of the company in 2011? That will never happen and who knows why eh!They caused so many death and suffering for their negligence!

Where did you hear of one single death or anyone dangerously exposed on and after 11.march 2011?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

But the nuclear village - the nexus of government, nuclear-related companies and scientists - is coalescing once again just 12 years later. It has too much vested interest involved to be abandoned.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I am not a pessimist. I am a realist.

First, the article headline states "Too early to predict decommissioning."

Then the article states "The government is maintaining its original goal of completing the plant's decommissioning by 2051."

The original estimate was 2030.

It will become 2060, 2070, 2080, 2090, and 2100.

Bingo.

My timeline is provided by experts online.

The normal decommission period for a reactor is 50 years. Once a license is granted the reactor must be fully decommissioned by 50 years. That is one without melted fuel.

The money is banked and available and earning interest so it pays for the power company to go slowly. Even leaving it for a couple of decades to reduce the radiation levels.

You are so outspoken by everything the LDP says and does but now you believe them when they say 2051.

As for the costs

https://www.jcer.or.jp/jcer_download_log.php?post_id=49661&file_post_id=49662

TEPCO does not even know what has happened to the corium or where all of it is.

https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-japan-stateless/2021/03/8323f3ca-gpsummary_decommissioning_eng.pdf

This is a forum for posting whatever opinions posters have on a topic.

I did not post a single insult against you.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There is also the decommissioning of the second Fukushima nuclear plant. Daini. More of a normal one compared to the nuclear disaster site.

Expected to take more than 40 years. 10,000 spent fuel rods in the cooling pools.

The cost is supposed to be paid entirely by TEPCO.

"About 50,000 tonnes of radioactive waste will be generated from the plant's decommissioning. The total cost of decommissioning Fukushima Daini, excluding the cost of nuclear fuel disposal, is estimated at more than USD2.5 billion."

https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Fukushima-Daini-decommissioning-plan-approved

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Awa no GaijinToday  12:37 pm JST

Perhaps more reasonable to assume before your so called 100 year timeline that a more sophisticated and efficient albeit 'safe' method for dealing with radioactive waste will be achieved.

Not to mention your timeline is actually void of proof !

Pessimists don't contribute much to humanity.

Right on the money.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No power company has before been faced with a nuclear meltdown of three reactors creating 800 tons of highly radiated corium. There are no technologies known to deal with its removal. They will have to develop techniques over the coming decades. There will be many failures with robots quickly frying from the high radiation levels.

No one is even certain at this stage, especially TEPCO that the corium can be retrieved safely.

But because the plant is next to the ocean there remains the problem of leaking cooling water into the reactor basements.

While the corium remains it will require cooling water for many decades.

There is an international conference held yearly to find solutions to the retrieval of the corium but no solutions so far. There are international experts working for TEPCO.

The next stages are the removal of the spent fuel in reactor pools 1&2.

Some should read the article.

"The government is maintaining its original goal of completing the plant's decommissioning by 2051. But some experts say removing all of the melted fuel debris by then is impossible and suggest a Chernobyl-style entombment of the plant, an option that could help reduce health risks while the plant's radioactivity gradually decreases."

The removal of the spent fuel has been delayed several times and could go on until the mid-2030s. There will be many delays with this massive project.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The government introduced a special tax of 2.5% for 25 years to pay for the Tokohu reconstruction which Fukushima is part of. Now it intends to increase the period and divert some of the money for increased defense spending.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Awa no GaijinMar. 5  12:50 pm JST

Iam in fact a chemical engineer however in health care not in nuclear science.

Furthermore it would appear that you are dabbling in whataboutism by making predictions on something thats at the moment not understood due to a lack of information of which you also admit.

I am with Awa, who is an actual engineer.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

RKL

I am with Awa, who is an actual engineer.

You don't know that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The second Fukushima NPP will also be decommissioned taking 40-50 years.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Awa no GaijinMar. 5  12:50 pm JST

Furthermore it would appear that you are dabbling in whataboutism by making predictions on something thats at the moment not understood due to a lack of information of which you also admit.

Iam not making any predictions .

Merely stating a fact its entirely possible a better solution to the problem could be found. 

This is a news commentary forum and not an engineering seminar where people drop their sensational fantastical assumptions into a suggestion box.

Good insight from an authentic engineer.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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