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Some spent fuel rods at Fukushima were damaged before 2011 disaster

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By Aaron Sheldrick

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39 Comments
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Oh dear! 3 fuel assemblies out of 1500...

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

oh dear

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Seriously now, have the right people been chosen to do this job? 3 fuel assemblies? That's equivalent to 30 atomic bombs? Seriously now, have the right people been chosen to do this job?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

There needs to be a criminal negligence investigation. What were these guys doing??

4 ( +5 / -1 )

One of the assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982

Oh dear! They have known about this for 20 years and forgot to tell anyone.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

3 assemblies that were damaged BEFORE the nuclear accident. Moved when the proper equipment, including a computer-controlled crane for precisely locating and lifting the rods so that criticality is not triggered when 2 or more rods are not kept the essential minimum distance from each other (no longer available) were in operation. Moved before building 4 and its fuel assemblies began tipping at a 'slight' angle. Moved before debris (including the crane) fell into the pool on top of the assemblies (which TEPCO claims has been removed--oh except for the 'small' pieces which "will be removed along with the fuel assemblies using a newly constructed special tool to lift out the assemblies" [TEPCO].

I live here, work here, have loved ones here, own property here (Tokyo) and am hoping for the best, but if odds were being given, not saying where I'd put my money.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Seriously now, have the right people been chosen to do this job?

You'll find out when they attempt to decommission the plants. If there's no radiation, they picked the right people. If the radiation is fuming all over, then no.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Chucky3176,

You'll find out when they attempt to decommission the plants. If there's no radiation, they picked the right people. If the radiation is fuming all over, then no.

Or, looking at it another way; if, the day after they attempt to decommission the plants we wake up, they picked the right people. If we don't, they didn't.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well, I wish them good luck dealing with this. It will be difficult, and the Reactor #4 fuel rods are going to be a lot easier than the ones they'll have to deal with in the future. I wouldn't let the crane operator drink too much the night before...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

tepco has been nothing but negligent. first the placement of the cooling pumps. then leaks. new news comes out weekly.

now apparently tepco was negligent even before that....and hid it of course...

and we are expected to trust tepco to move over a 1000 rods over the course of years without make a single mistake while constantly rotating the people performing the work out cause they have exceed their radiation exposure and cutting costs to protect their bottom line and their banksters?

sounds more like an accident waiting to happen.

tepco should be bankrupt. nobody should be too big to fail.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

recherche88

3 assemblies that were damaged BEFORE the nuclear accident.

So it makes sense that they're kept in the spent fuel pool rather than be transferred.

hereforever

That's equivalent to 30 atomic bombs?

Certainly not in explosive power, as they can't explode.

BertieWooster

Or, looking at it another way; if, the day after they attempt to decommission the plants we wake up, they picked the right people. If we don't, they didn't.

Very realistic.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well, obviously there was no reporting requirement for damaged fuel rods. Wonder if other reactors around Japan had damage rods that are venting radioactive gas as Fukushima?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Three of the spent fuel assemblies due to be carefully plucked from the crippled Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima in a hazardous year-long operation were damaged even before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that knocked out the facility."

Sounds like an excuse in the making for when the worst happens.

"One of the assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982, when it was mishandled during a transfer, and is bent out of shape..."

"In a statement from April 2010, TEPCO said it found two other spent fuel racks in the reactor’s cooling pool had what appeared to be wire trapped in them. Rods in those assemblies have pin-hole cracks and are leaking low-level radioactive gases, TEPCO spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai told Reuters on Thursday."

More proof that these clowns should have been out of business long ago. It's a shame that the big 'I told you so' coming up will come at such harsh costs.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Yet the government still wants to start up the reactors as quick as they can. A small note on page 11 after everything....lets hope nobody sees that!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Usual abundance of non-sensical comments...(Thank you though Star-viking for trying to make some sense)

Why don't we all save (nuclear generated) electricity and get off the internet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They clearly need someone with more experience and sense than TEPCO seems to have to run this operation. How about Homer Simpson?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One of the assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982, when it was mishandled during a transfer, and is bent out of shape, TEPCO said in a brief note at the bottom of an 11-page information sheet in August.

TEPCO should be criminaly punished for not reporting this accident to the regulators, unless regulators were in the conspiracy. If the accident had been reported to the public in 1982, TEPCO would have been stripped of the license to operate the NPP and we would not have had this disaster in 2011.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This is CRIMINAL! Tepco are hiding everything, send them all to jail!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is old news, that information has been available since March, 2011, but not exactly publicised. There are also 70 damaged fuel rods in the reactor 1 SFP! 3 in SFP 2, 4 in SFP 3 and 1 each in SFP 5 & 6.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

OMG! We're we lied to?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To all Nye-sayers - who do you suggest to decommission the plants? GE? Toshiba? New company? Not feasible I guess. What TEPCO did and what TEPCO is doing now are two different things. I don't try do defend them but if you have watched Science Zero on ETV two weeks ago you would know a little something...

Like what effort they put to develop ways to clean up this place. How much development and human resource (high tech and high level operators) were needed just to solve problems with removing the small debris and the big metal object fallen into the pool. That goes on and on...

We should really insist on revealing the wrong doings of the management of the whole industry - I myself am for Zero nuclear. But we have to let them work toward finishing it. Its not a few months process. Hope they succeed in the best possible way although complications like this will always exist.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Ok..... I am pro nuclear, in that I think we should use it for now and phase it out ASAP! BUT that being said, Japan SHOULD NEVER EVER AGAIN USE NUCLEAR POWER! This is just another nail in the coffin. Like giving a small child a loaded gun. I have defended Japan so many time, I am done! I am through it! TEPCO, hopefully, ONLY TEPCO, is as inept as anything in this world can come.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Would you let your child play with a loaded shotgun? Of course not! Yet, we have idiots like this in charge of nuclear power plants. I am starting to come to the conclusion that just about everything about Japanese integrity is complete BS!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Is everyone sure that this was not previously reported? I thought I heard about it around the time of the Tokai incident.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Seriously now, have the right people been chosen to do this job?

We average Joes will never know. But they probably have the best people they can find at this current point in time. Not that I'm saying that is a good thing ...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I can't even put this finished bento back into its little cardboard box without getting a little bit of sticky something on my fingers...I really hope they get this right, I really really do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of the assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982, when it was mishandled during a transfer, and is bent out of shape, TEPCO said in a brief note at the bottom of an 11-page information sheet in August.

Just 3 years after Three Mile Island, one might have hoped safety and precision to be a top priority.

If it takes 31 years for this information to be leaked (at a politically opportune moment), what else has TEPCO been concealing across its estate of 17 nuclear plants?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

snithinjapan

Sounds like an excuse in the making for when the worst happens.

"One of the assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982, when it was mishandled during a transfer, and is bent out of shape..."

Can we say this was not reported? This was before the internet, and so we'd have to do a lot of leg-work to confirm or deny the point.

"In a statement from April 2010, TEPCO said it found two other spent fuel racks in the reactor’s cooling pool had what appeared to be wire trapped in them. Rods in those assemblies have pin-hole cracks and are leaking low-level radioactive gases, TEPCO spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai told Reuters on Thursday."

Note this predates the 11th of March 2011 - so that certainly puts a dent in the "TEPCO always lies to us" idea.

inakaRob

TEPCO, hopefully, ONLY TEPCO, is as inept as anything in this world can come.

How is it inept to keep damaged rods in the best place to keep them?

Let's wait and see how the removal process goes for the remaining 1500 rods. I'd guess when they are gone then TEPCO can decide if it's better to remove the damaged rods or just leave them in place.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Doesn't bode very well, does it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

as far back as 1982,

That lets so margin for the perps to cask their checks and retire before it's found. So Abe has no worries (for his @ss) to let TEPCO reopen what they want,

How is it inept to keep damaged rods in the best place to keep them?

Criminally inept. I don't know the best place for the rod since 1982, but surely not inside a reactor in full action. I see they didn't warn locals and faked "all is safe" till some disaster happen. And it did, so the times of "if..." are over.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cos

"How is it inept to keep damaged rods in the best place to keep them?"

Criminally inept. I don't know the best place for the rod since 1982, but surely not inside a reactor in full action. I see they didn't warn locals and faked "all is safe" till some disaster happen. And it did, so the times of "if..." are over.

So, inside a spent fuel pool, which cools the rods and blocks their radioactivity is definitely not the place to keep them? Better to pull them out, risking breaking them and releasing fuel pellets into the pool or the environment?

I understand the "TEPCO can do nothing right" attitude, it's popular, but that does not make it correct.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Several years ago while the Liberal Democratic Party was still in power (before they lost in a big way to Minshuto), the Communist Party questioned them on the safety of the nuclear power plants in Japan. The LDP said everything was perfect and everything was operating in good condition. Did the LDP know at that time that they had a time bomb on their hands at the Fukushima plant? Can these guys, along with the TEPCO idiots, be trusted to do anything right?

Once the LDP and other political parties get the state secrecy law put into effect, doubt if we'll ever be told the truth about anything (seems as if this is happening now ...). They, especially the party in power, will cite state secrecy, then go on with whatever they were doing as if nothing had happened.

Back up to the destroyed nuclear power plant at Fukushima ... what's next? Are we in for some more big surprises?

By the way ... what happened to our "nuclear expert" in Kobe? I believe his code name is something like "Zichi." His picture showed someone wearing a WWI-style flight hat. He seemed to have a lot of informative stuff on nuclear going ons. Haven't heard from him in a couple of months. Do hope the ol' boy is okay ...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Star-viking

Reread my post, as I said, you may be right on moving the rods, the issue is not about that. You have primo, the 3 decades of hiding the problem to the public, like to people that lived 10 km away to whom they repeated "we have super technology, we master it, all is in control...", while they don't know how to move out broken rods for instance, and that was one hint, that they wouldn't do how to deal with a full broken plant with leaks from all sides. Segundo, prior to 3.11 the crap maintenance of that plant (while they knew they had broken rods). And since then...

"TEPCO can do nothing right" attitude, it's popular, but that does not make it correct.

Yes, true it's incorrect to say they do nothing right as long as 100% of their plants have not yet become an ecological disaster. Like that would be OK if every month a shinkansen derailed, as that would mean more than 99% stay on rails. I don't see one reason for trusting them with all that there is on their record. There exist nuclear plant operators in the world, there is no reason to get one of them to replace TEPCO.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To safe-guard honor always hide the truth. If you don't talk about it and refuse to see it the problem will just stay hidden. Well with all the recent discoveries on mislabeling, illegal bank loans and this latest revelation what else is Japan hiding under its kimono? The ground water is radiated; no? The race is dying out because of low birth rates, no? Socially and structurally Japan is in a big mess, no? The answers to these and many other statements and questions are ' no '. Because if you don't talk about it and refuse to see it, the problem is not there. Simple as A b e.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have to kind of agree with Star-viking as to keeping the broken cask in the pool, what better place is there after all? My question is along the lines of... If you knew you had a problem in 1982, then why haven't you begun preparations to solve it in the last 30 Fricking years?

If I got a hole in my roof in 1982, you can be damn sure I would have gotten it fixed by now. Oversimplification, but you get my point. They have had 30 years to solve that problem and still nothing has been done.

That query forces me to question Tepco's integrity over the entire past 30 years and possibly since the company was founded.

Someone brought this up earlier and I can't help wondering... It has already been opined that Tepco is a bunch of bungling, incompetent, criminally negligent clowns. So, what about the other plants in their fleet? What about the fleets belonging to other power generators? Obviously the government at some level was complicit in this, whether by having lower safety standards than they should have had, or whether some regulator was picking up his envelope of cash in Tokyo. If Tepco's Fukushima Daichi, was overlooked... Then what all else was overlooked?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

bogva: "What TEPCO did and what TEPCO is doing now are two different things."

It certainly does. First, what TEPCO did was nothing, for the most part, except seek profit. What they are doing now is sub-contracting and not keeping track of people they supposedly staff, and have even admitted as such. The only thing NOT different is that TEPCO continues to function and not be held accountable for their actions despite EXTREMELY gross negligence and admitted criminal actions.

Star-Viking: "Can we say this was not reported? This was before the internet, and so we'd have to do a lot of leg-work to confirm or deny the point."

The internet started in 1967, fact be told, albeit nothing at all like it is today. Just wanted to point out how you are factually incorrect. And guess what, the pen and quill, and the newspaper for that matter, were invented LONG before TEPCO started trying to cover things up -- doesn't mean they could not have released the news.

"Note this predates the 11th of March 2011 - so that certainly puts a dent in the "TEPCO always lies to us" idea."

Are you saying the internet did not exist in 2010 and this was widely released as public information?

"How is it inept to keep damaged rods in the best place to keep them?"

Inept is the fact that they were damaged, "when it was mishandled during a transfer, and is bent out of shape...", and that ineptitude continues to this day, unpunished, be it them demanding no water be poured on reactors, running away from the problem, trying to cover it up, lying about it, denying it, then finally admitting it, claiming they'll change, then not changing, ad nauseum. They've been inept since they began. Not removing them is just a sign they have absolutely no idea what to do. In a couple of years when it's all too late we'll hear the truth.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Fair enough Cos,

Sorry if I came across harsh.

However, we don't know if the rod was or was not reported bent in 1982. In fact, we don't even know if it was discovered in 1982. Still, let's assume they knew it was bent in 1982, and reported it. What do we think the response would be? There's no Internet. Blogs, Facebook, and the kind of news aggregators which are represented by this site are not even a twinkle in a SF writers eye.

TEPCO report a bent rod in SFP4. What do the regulators say? If it is safe to leave it there, then do so (they might even investigate...). It's been 31 years. The rod has not exploded nor drenched us with radiation. It's residual heat is probably very, very low - seeing that spent rods need about 5 years to cool down to temperatures where they can be transferred to dry storage.

If TEPCO didn't report it promptly, and if they were required to - then that's a black mark against the persons responsible. If they did report it, then that's a white mark for them. Still, at the end of the day, I think there are more serious things to worry about than one bent rod, and two rods entangled with wire. Let TEPCO get the remains 1500 rods out, then let's worry about the remaining 3.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Star-vikingNov. 16, 2013 - 11:14PM JST

Still, let's assume they knew it was bent in 1982, and reported it. What do we think the response would be?

Shut down Fukushima Daiich NPP. The bent fuel rods might be safe in there. However, we do not want a NPP running with abnormality. By shutting down Fuku Ichi in 1982, we could have avoided this whole trouble today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

CH3CHO,

I doubt that would be the response, after all there would be some experts who would know that a bent fuel assembly in the storage pool has nothing to do with an NPP running with an anomaly.

smithinjapan,

The internet started in 1967, fact be told, albeit nothing at all like it is today. Just wanted to point out how you are factually incorrect. And guess what, the pen and quill, and the newspaper for that matter, were invented LONG before TEPCO started trying to cover things up -- doesn't mean they could not have released the news.

You are assuming they did not release the news. Have you trawled the Japanese newspaper archives? Regulators's reports?

You are also assuming that people's responses to newspaper reports before the advent of the Internet as we know it today would be the same as today. I doubt it, and the Arab Spring is a case in point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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