Home > Man-Made Disasters > Japan: Study Says Nuclear Fuel at Fukushima Reactor Possibly Melted Twice

Japan: Study Says Nuclear Fuel at Fukushima Reactor Possibly Melted Twice

“TOKYO (Kyodo) — Fuel inside one of the reactors at the crippled nuclear complex in Fukushima Prefecture, which was believed to have been kept cool at the bottom of the pressure vessel after its core suffered a meltdown, has possibly breached the vessel after melting again at the bottom of the vessel, an expert’s study showed Monday.

The study by Fumiya Tanabe, an expert in nuclear safety, said most of the fuel at the No. 3 reactor may have fallen into the containment vessel underneath, and if so, the current method used to cool the reactor would need reviewing, which could force the plant operator to revise its schedule to contain the five-month-old disaster.

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. earlier said the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors’ cores are assumed to have suffered meltdowns, although the melted fuel is believed to be kept cool and solidified at the bottom of each reactor pressure vessel after water was injected into the vessel as an emergency measure.

After analyzing data made public by the operator, known as TEPCO, Tanabe argues that it became difficult to inject coolant water into the reactor’s pressure vessel after pressure rose inside it from the early hours of March 21.” Read more.

Flashback: Fukushima Nuclear Reactor No. 3 Using Controversial, and Dangerous, MOX Fuel – “Of particular interest here is the fact that MOX is a highly controversial fuel. In a 1997 letter written to then President Bill Clinton, 171 organizations joined together requesting that the President prohibit the use of MOX plutonium fuel in commercial nuclear reactors. Not only was this type of fuel ‘experimental’ at the time the letter was written, it was also more easily utilized into weapons-grade material and ‘increased reactor hazards’ due to technical issues inherent with this type of fuel. ‘Plutonium in the system makes more — and more dangerous — types of radioactivity. This affects the discharges to air and water, and all waste types. Plutonium also affects the fission process itself, making it more difficult to control and leaving an even narrower margin for human error, as well as affecting the physical integrity of the reactor itself.'” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters
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