posted on Nov, 7 2013 @ 07:10 PM
Fukushima plant readies for delicate fuel rod removal
Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) is expected this month to begin removing fuel rods from a pool inside a reactor building at the tsunami-hit plant after
months of setbacks and glitches.
Experts say the operation is a challenging but essential step in the decades-long decommissioning after the worst atomic accident in a generation.
Some may have been holding their breath since September when they installed the crane for this most precarious task. The actual chore of 'fixing'
this problem has been a long time coming. Fukushima's is perhaps the most under-estimated crisis in Japanese nuclear history, it is still leeching
radioactivity into the waters of the Pacific even today.
The unavoidable "first step" to resolving the crisis is looming in TEPCO's near future (assuming the promise of this month is solid.) But there is
much to consider - if you are inclined to worry about as I am.
There are 1,500 nuclear fuel assemblies (15 foot long 660 pound clusters of fuel rods) to be removed by a crane that will dip it's grabber into the
holding pool ... all while keeping them cooled ...
...The 4.5-metre (15-foot) bundles, weighing 300 kilogrammes (660 pounds), have to be kept in water throughout the operation to keep them cool.
"If, for some reason, the water levels dropped, the fuel would quickly heat up," said Takashi Hara, a TEPCO employee in charge of fuel
Presumably, they will hose down the rods as they emerge from the pool until they are placed in the temporary containers (I dislike the connotation
that 'casket' conveys.) The the rods will be placed into a submerged holding 'casket' which will then be moved by truck to another storage pool (Does
anyone else see the irony this 'solution?')
I understand that this "first big step to decommissioning" requires the rods gone; but I suspect that simply populating yet another holding tank with
these radioactive materials is not really addressing the true issue of nuclear waste. I imagine the specifics are something that Big Energy and their
media pals never quite get around to sharing with the public.
At any rate, I hope everything goes well and without a hitch. For all our sakes.
edit on 7-11-2013 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)