Fukushima News 11/21/13: Fuel Rod Removal Starts at Fukushima

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Published on Nov 21, 2013

Gundersen: Up to 3 explosions hit Fukushima Unit 4 after 3/11 — Study: There was fire in its spent fuel pool — NPR: Big worry since fire weakened building’s structure (AUDIO)

Nov. 18, 2013: [...] a fire in containment building [at Unit 4] weakened the structure. Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO, the utility that operates Fukushima, has reinforced the Unit 4 containment structure, but NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel says it’s continued to be a big worry.
Geoff Brumfiel, NPR, Nov. 18, 2013: [The] fourth reactor caught fire. And ever since, that reactor, Reactor 4, has been a big worry.
Chinese Science Bulletin, May 2013: “Fire in the spent fuel pool at the Fukushima reactor”
WBEZ’s Worldview, Nov. 19, 2013 — Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen (at 5:00 in): The building was structurally compromised. There was at least 2 if not 3 explosions in the building

More than two and a half years have passed since an earthquake and tsunami caused a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan. This week, the cleanup process enters a new chapter. Workers have begun the tricky but essential task of removing fuel rods from one of the reactor units there. Arne Gundersen, chief engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, explains what’s involved and walks us through the risks.


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Fukushima News 11/21/13: 1st Round Of Fuel Transfer Complete; “Cask” Containing Fuel In Safer Pool

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Published on Nov 21, 2013

TEPCO at final stage in 1st round of fuel transfer
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is preparing to complete the first transfer of nuclear fuel from a reactor building to a safer storage pool.
On Thursday, Tokyo Electric Power Company moved the batch of nuclear fuel from the No. 4 reactor building to a nearby facility housing the safer pool.
TEPCO workers used a trailer to carry a cask containing 22 unused fuel assemblies to the building 100 meters away, then unloaded the cask inside the building.
The workers plan to transfer the fuel units from the container to racks in the storage pool on Friday.
This will mark the completion of the first transfer.
TEPCO says it will review whether there were any problems or challenges. If not, the utility says it may start removing spent fuel assemblies that are far more radioactive than the unused fuel.
The pool in the No. 4 reactor building contains more than 1,500 fuel units, most of which are spent fuel rods.

“Cask” containing fuel moved into safer pool
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant says it has removed the first batch of nuclear fuel from the reactor 4 building to a safer storage pool.
Footage released by Tokyo Electric Power Company on Thursday shows workers lowering a steel cask containing 22 unused fuel assemblies from the 5th floor of the reactor building. Engineers used a huge crane to lower the cask, 5.5 meters long and two meters across, onto a trailer on the ground.
The container was transferred slowly to a separate pool in a building 100 meters away, and lowered into water to store the fuel more safely.
TEPCO plans to begin on Friday plucking the fuel assemblies out of the cask and placing them in storage racks inside the pool. The utility says it will review the process before starting a second round of fuel transfer.
Thursday’s transfer involved unused fuel units. The reactor’s storage pool has 1,511 fuel assemblies left, including 1,331 highly radioactive spent fuel assemblies.
TEPCO says the building housing the separate pool can withstand an earthquake as strong as the March 2011 disaster that badly damaged the plant.
Nov. 21, 2013 – Updated 11:07 UTC

Trial run of last ALPS line at Fukushima resumed
The operator of Japan’s damaged nuclear plant has resumed trial operation of the last of 3 lines of a key water decontamination system.
Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company restarted the 3rd line of the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on Thursday.
The system is designed to remove from contaminated water 62 kinds of radioactive substances, excluding tritium.
But its test operation was suspended in June following leaks of unprocessed water from a tank due to corrosion.
The utility restarted the lines one by one after working to prevent further corrosion.
The officials say test runs so far have shown that the system is failing to fully remove 4 types of radioactive substances, including cobalt and antimony.
They say they will work to fix the system and confirm the effects of anti-corrosion measures before making it fully operational next year. ALPS was originally to be in full operation this autumn.
Tokyo Electric plans to add more lines to the system so that it will be able to process all radioactive water in the plant’s storage tanks by March 2015.


Oregon Official: Reports coming in of seafood with radioactive contamination, “They’re kind of secretive, they don’t want to give up their sources” — Locals concerned about impact Fukushima disaster is having on area fish (VIDEO)

The Radioactive Ocean

Radionuclides in fishes and mussels from the Farallon Islands Nuclear Waste Dump Site, California.

Fish Anyone? Farallon Islands (and other) Oceanic Radioactive Waste Dumps
Long before Fukushima dumped millions of gallons of highly radioactive water into the sea, the oceans have been designated repositories for radioactive waste and fallout according to reports from the USGS and articles in the SF Weekly and Mother Jones. -

America’s Nuclear Waste Is Now Even Farther from Finding a Home

Senator Boxer Says Records Possibly Missing On San Onofre

EPA Radnet

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