Wednesday, December 21, 2011

TEPCO/Japanese Government Released Mid to Long-Term "Roadmap" for Decommissioning Reactors 1 to 4 at Fukushima I Nuke Plant

where they hope they will have been long retired and gone before any of the serious stuff like removing the corium from somewhere deep in the reactor buildings (hopefully). Or taking out the spent fuel from Reactor 3 Spent Fuel Pool (if they can find any left).

The title of the Roadmap report does not say anything about Reactors 5 and 6. It says:


"Mid- to long-term roadmap toward decommissioning of Reactors 1 through 4 and other works at TEPCO Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant"

For now, it is only in Japanese, available at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) press release section, here.

Let's take a look at the 5-page summary with pretty pictures that TEPCO drew. As you may have guessed, the whole thing is a joke, or based on hope and wishful thinking, because many of the technologies that will be needed to do any of the jobs that TEPCO lists as necessary for decommissioning the plant are not even developed.

That much is immediately obvious on Page 5, where TEPCO outlines necessary work on-site (in beige color arrows) and R&D necessary (in green arrows), and planning necessary (in pale yellow arrows) for removing the "fuel debris" (corium) from reactors, and decommissioning the reactors. "HP" in the map "means decision-making point" (handan point - handan means decision making in Japanese):

On the other hand, TEPCO seems to think removing the spent fuel from the Spent Fuel Pools will be an easy task - 2 to 3 years of planning, and removing the fuel sometime after 2016. How? Here's what TEPCO envisions (from Page 2; I added the English labels):

TEPCO thinks the easiest will be Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool, followed by (believe it or not) Reactor 3 Spent Fuel Pool. They hope to start removing the spent fuel from Reactor 4 SFP within 2 years from now, and from Reactor 3 SFP within 3 years.

How about removing the "fuel debris"? The process entirely depends on developing technologies - remote-control decontamination, remote-control repair of the Containment Vessels, remote-control surveying of the inside of the CVs, and finally removing the fuel debris. One funny thing about the pretty pictures that TEPCO drew for the presentation is that the company still depicts the "fuel debris" (corium) sitting pretty on the concrete floor of the Containment Vessel. TEPCO has admitted to the possibility that the corium is at least 65 centimeters into the concrete, and other researchers have said it may be as deep as 2 meters into the concrete.

In the first two pictures, I just noticed a stick figure inside the reactor building. So TEPCO is planning to send carbon-based workers to do the decontamination and repair of the Containment Vessel in extremely high radiation. Furthermore, the company seems to want to believe that whatever the damage to the Containment Vessel may be it is at the location that can be accessed, not in the basement. The only work in the basement in these pictures is stopping the water going from the reactor building basement to the turbine building basement.

The high-ranking US government officials were at hand for the declaration of the "cold shutdown state" and "end of the accident" by Prime Minister Noda. They were probably accompanied by the nuclear industry people and nuclear consultants wanting the piece of this decommission work that is guaranteed to last 30 years at least.

Not just nuclear industry consultants, but at least one alternative energy big shot was in Tokyo; Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute was urging the Japanese government and Japanese people to spend big money on alternative energy while telling the Japanese people they don't conserve energy enough. He may be eyeing for a government project on non-nuclear alternative energy. He said Japan should invest big money on alternative energy and energy conservation, and make a great contribution to the rest of the world by sharing the result.

I'm afraid the Japanese people may have had enough of being an exemplary global citizen, particularly when they have so many things to take care of within their own country.


Anonymous said...

They might as well have just written that they need a DMC-12 DeLorean and a flux capacitor. They probably already have enough plutonium to generate that 1.21 jiggawatts of electricity.

Anonymous said...

The long term roadmap has been released in English here:


> TEPCO To Socialize Losses, More Questions Arise About Decommissioning Plans | SimplyInfo

Atomfritz said...

Hm, let's hope that the remaining structural integrity of the reactor buildings will suffice to put up the required crane installations. Or maybe they just didn't mention possible reinforcement plans.

The images indicate that they plan to flood the drywells and wetwells... didn't they have concerns the buidings could handle this in case of a new quake?

By the way, using carbon robots in highly irradiated areas isn't at all unusual in the nuke industry.

Lots of subcontractor workers are rushed into the high-radioactive areas, after being trained at mock-ups to do the right movements in the few seconds they are in the "hot areas", until they sucked up their annual allowable dose in spite of creative dosimeter placement etc.

Sometime tens of workers are needed to just unscrew a single bolt, one after the next rushing in, turning the bolt one or two turns and then rushing out again.

It's also common that workers rush from one plant to the next one for such labor, taking up a multiple of the allowable radiation in total. Cancer rate is very high at those workers.

Quite a lot of people do this, travelling from one to the next nuclear plant, as the salary for a few minutes of this work can equal the salary of several days of normal work.

No nuclear plant could be operated without making use of such workers, as for each regular annual refuelling maintenance several hundred to thousand such workers are needed.
Of course the nuclear industry doesn't like to talk about this.

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