It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is already in a losing battle to stop radioactive water overflowing from another part of the facility, and experts question whether it will be able to pull off the removal of all the assemblies successfully.
"They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods," said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.
The operation, beginning this November at the plant's Reactor No. 4, is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle, said Gundersen and other nuclear experts.
“There is a risk of an inadvertent criticality if the bundles are distorted and get too close to each other,” Gundersen said. He was referring to an atomic chain reaction [...]
“The problem with a fuel pool criticality is that you can’t stop it. There are no control rods to control it,” Gundersen said. [...]
“Previously it was a computer-controlled process [...] It has to be done manually so there is a high risk that they will drop and break one of the fuel rods,” [Toshio Kimura, a former Tepco technician, who worked at Fukushima Daiichi for 11 years] said. [...]
The process will begin in November and Tepco expects to take about a year removing the assemblies, spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai told Reuters by e-mail. It's just one installment in the decommissioning process for the plant forecast to take about 40 years and cost $11 billion.
Originally posted by MysterX
OK...let's hope everything goes well and nothing goes terribly wrong...but, what are the implications, exactly, for the world if something did go wrong?
What are the possible, even likely scenarios...anyone care to speculate?
I suppose i'm really asking would the Fukushima meltdown and the operation to remove the rods, cause a threat to life on Earth or is that being overly dramatic / pessimistic?