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Far Away From Any Stable Shutdown

Susanne Gerber

03.11.2011

“Some of the fuel has escaped the vessel, experts believe, and is in spaces underneath, where there is no way to use control rods to interrupt the flow of neutrons,” reports the New York Times. The Times reporters interviewed Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute:

  • “Mr. Koide holds that the nuclear fuel at the three reactors probably melted through containments and into the ground, raising the possibility of contaminated groundwater.”
  • “If much of the fuel was indeed in the ground early in the crisis, the “feed and bleed” strategy […] would not have done anything to reduce danger from fuel already in the soil…”

According to the Times, “Tokyo Electric does not deny the possibility that the fuel may have burrowed into the ground, but its officials say that ‘most’ of the fuel likely remains within the reactor, albeit slumped at the bottom in a molten mass.” The Times reported on another interview about the location of the fuel, this one with “a former nuclear engineer with three decades of experience at a major engineering firm… who has worked at all three nuclear power complexes operated by Tokyo Electric” who spoke on the condition of anonymity:

  • “His main concern was that officials could not pinpoint the exact location of the nuclear fuel — which would greatly complicate the cleanup.”
  • “He said that tiny fuel pellets could have been carried to different parts of the plant, like the spaces under the reactor during attempts to vent them in the early days. That would explain several cases of lethally high radiation readings found outside the reactor cores.”
  • “If the fuel has been dispersed more widely, then we are far from any stable shutdown.”

For more information on the melt-through see: Truth & Consequences: A guide to the triple melt-throughs at Fukushima (VIDEOS)

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Einsortiert unter:Accident, Consequences, Fukushima, Kernschmelze, Meltdown

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