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TEPCO delays removal of spent fuel from Fukushima reactor

27 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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27 Comments
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I wonder if the day will come, while I am living, that Fukushima is no longer a news item?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The Government of Japan says it is politically unacceptable to entomb the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and yet I just read that there priority is safety???? Okay....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Send in the drones. There should be many types which can be useful. Would a real hero be someone who is already dying of cancer or something who could go in there for a time?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Why would the melted fuel suddenly stop melting down and remain there?

I would figure by now that it was already down into the mantle. Can anyone with a nuclear background fill us in on that here?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

the estimated cost of cleaning up the Fukushima plant has doubled to nearly 22 trillion yen ($190 billion), and is expected to continue to grow.

Please tell me again how nuclear power is cheap and safe. (roll eyes)

8 ( +12 / -4 )

No hurry: plenty of coal in the gravy train.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If the radiation is too high to remove the spent fuel rods from pool 3 now. What will be the difference in radiation levels be 100 years from now. There are radioisotopes whose Half-Life is thousands of years from now. Entombment of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant seems the safest thing to do.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

But no delays for people being forced back into the evacuation zones. Good old TEPCO.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Entomb it and nobody knows what happens inside like another meltdown.

Chernobyl was so succesful that they need to retomb as the original sprang leaks

3 ( +4 / -1 )

But no delays for people being forced back into the evacuation zones

Exactly. It's news like this that makes me question the common sense or lack thereof of individuals that eat items from this part of Japan!!

To each their own I guess.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Our priority is safety

In that case you probably would not have built it in the way or location you did, or not at all. None of these reactors are insured, after all. But even if we can believe TEPCO has a renewed motivation for safety, the sub- sub- sub- contractors have been skimping on it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Cement Sarcophagi are only meant to last 25 years. Hence the need to do another Sarcophagi of Chernobyl. Yes,, Entomb the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Utrack - Entombment of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant seems the safest thing to do.

Yeah, great idea! However, before you suggest such lunacy you should watch the movie, The China Syndrome to get an idea why your suggestion is so daft. Chernobyl was able to be entombed because all the fuel rods were blown out of the cooling tank and into the environment. This was because the Chernobyl reactors were not built in a containment vessel. However, the Fukushima reactors are built within a containment vessel which virtually collapsed onto the damaged fuel rods. These rods have to be kept cool for the next few hundred years, so entombing them is not an option at all!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Nobody knows for sure but it is a certain that as steam is being produced that there are nuclear reactions ongoing in the melted/damaged fuel.Japan is faced with the problem of moving fissile material that at present is being cooled-this is a dangerous situation as this material could produce more sustained reactions or not?

What the Japanese plan to do has never been attempted. Hopefully, any damaged fuel rods can be cooled and removed whilst the corium is easier and more stable to handle.

Only time will tell..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Entombment of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is possible. Keeping the spent fuel pools cold can be accomplished with external piping connected to coolant rods placed by robots into the spent fuel pools. If they can waste time, money and lives with this clean up. TEPCO can think of ways to entomb the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

They need more time to be safe. And people are criticizing that. Um. Is that consistent, at all? Isn't this what TEPCO is supposed to be doing? You know, if there is anyone wondering if there is a huge contingent of bored people willing to just natter against TEPCO for any reason whatsoever, well, here is your answer.

15 comments. Not a single expert, but everyone offering .... seriously offering... their helpings of advice and admonishment. Cyber-rubberneckers and kibitzers.

I shall stroke against the torrent and say that I am happy that TEPCO is taking measures to deal with whatever problems it finds. I hope that they shall always do so diligently for our safety. And thank you TEPCO for prior efforts. Please accept the increased fees of your customers as compensation for all the trouble that anti-nuclear hysteria has caused and is apparently continuing to cause..

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Utrack - Entombment of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is possible. Keeping the spent fuel pools cold can be accomplished with external piping connected to coolant rods placed by robots into the spent fuel pools. If they can waste time, money and lives with this clean up. TEPCO can think of ways to entomb the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Possible you say? But, not plausible! At this point in time they have no reliable cooling system in place

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So far robots have not survived more than 10-15 minutes in the intense radiation, before their chips and CCD optics fry. TEPCO and the nuclear village actively discouraged any research into emergency robots before 2011, to avoid any questions on the myth of safe nuclear power. Hitachi, Toshiba and the rest are working on it now, but so far the containment structures have proven to be a robot graveyard. For carbon-based life forms, safety is measure in seconds in there.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“Our priority is safety, even though it is important to set a goal,” Naohiro Masuda ...."

Well, now it's too late. Should have thought about safety long time ago!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why included the costs for rebuilding houses etc as effect of the tsunami. That hasn´t anything to do with the nuclear accident. Separate the costs belonging to the nuclear plant. You journalists ought to be serious.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"tens of thousands of fuel rods"...what? How Many "tens"???? Can we get some journalism here?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why would the melted fuel suddenly stop melting down and remain there?

Because the only way for it to stay molten is to have a continuous addition of heat. The only source of heat is from nuclear fission. Nuclear fission requires fuel, in a favorable geometry, with a high enough concentration and a moderator. When the fuel melts it loses that geometry, it also melts structural materials which mix with the fuel lowering the fuel concentration and there are no longer spaces between the fuel rods for a moderator. Taking all the above together, the fuel solidified years ago.

There are radioisotopes whose Half-Life is thousands of years from now.

And there are other radioisotopes whose half-life is microseconds from now.

These rods have to be kept cool for the next few hundred years, so entombing them is not an option at all!

They need to be kept cool for about 3 years from their last criticality. That time would have ended about 3 years ago.

Nobody knows for sure but it is a certain that as steam is being produced that there are nuclear reactions ongoing in the melted/damaged fuel.

Except there is no steam being produced. And plenty of people know that there are not nuclear reactions ongoing. Analysis of the water being pump from the reactor buildings (which is in contact with the fuel) does not contain radioisotopes like I-131 which would be present if the fuel was still undergoing fission.

Keeping the spent fuel pools cold

The spent fuel pools do not need to be kept cold any longer. Spent fuel only requires active cooling for about 3 years. That means by 2015 the spent fuel at Fukushima no longer needed active cooling.

Separate the costs belonging to the nuclear plant. You journalists ought to be serious.

But then the spreaders of doom and gloom can't make it sound as bad. By lumping all the costs together they can spread more fear in general and specifically against nuclear power, which feeds into their biases.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Forbes do say that the costs for cleaning up etc is $15 bln of the nuclear plant and the compensation for they who have been evacuated is $60 bln.

The costs for damages of houses etc that the Earth quake and the tsunami is $250 bln that doesn´t have anything to do with the nuclear plant. Why are they not serious. The nuclear plant do not have anything to do with that 10 000 people were killed in a water Power accident in Connection with the Earth quake and tsunami.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/03/10/after-five-years-what-is-the-cost-of-fukushima/#283172d16016

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The U.S. has been making robots to use on planets like Mars. Have not TEPCO and the Government of Japan thought to purchase a Mars Rover? Or some such remote control vehicles for these melted reactors. I do know that the first ones sent into the reactors were lost. I do believe through manmade error of direction.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'm shocked at the number of nuclear experts that visit this site, unfortunately I don't even work in the nuclear industry so I will refrain from offering any plausible but better alternate solution to this. But hey don't get me wrong I don't trust Tepco either; they definitly have plenty reason to be not forthcoming, but as it stands they are piloting the plane with only 1 functioning engine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dom P: Any reliable sources to go with all this good news you lay out?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dom P: Any reliable sources to go with all this good news you lay out?

Any college textbook on nuclear physics.

"tens of thousands of fuel rods"...what? How Many "tens"???? Can we get some journalism here?

No we can't. There are only 566 spent fuel rods in the Unit 3 pool. I assume the writer was overwhelmed by the fact that each fuel rod is assembled out of about 200 to 300 individual tubes welded together (not sure what type rods Fukushima used so not sure of the exact number of tubes per rod). So there are about 113,000 to 170,000 tubes connected together to form 566 rods.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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