Thursday, January 9, 2014

JAEA to Recreate a Core Melt to Better Understand #Fukushima I NPP Accident

Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) of Monju fame (most recently with free video playback software download that infected the PC in the central control room at Monju) will conduct an experiment that creates a small-scale core melt (commonly referred to as "meltdown").

Let's see. JAEA had a fire at Monju, which they hid. They dropped the fuel handling machine in the reactor. There were so many irregularities that Nuclear Regulation Authority was recommending shutting down the organization, when the pro-nuclear Abe administration came in and pledged to continue fuel recycle using Monju operated by JAEA.

(I would be much more comfortable if it weren't JAEA who will be doing the experiment.)

From Yomiuri Shinbun (1/8/2014):


JAEA to recreate core melt in an experiment, [result] to be utilized in dealing with Fukushima I NPP accident


Japan Atomic Energy Agency will conduct a small-scale experiment in the new fiscal year (that starts April 1, 2014) that will recreate a core melt that happened at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant after the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami.


So far, the progression of core melt has only been simulated by computer models based on limited data, and there is much that are still unknown. By using an actual fuel rod and overheat it without coolant [water], JAEA hopes to "better understand what actually happened in the accident and utilize the knowledge gained from the experiment in dealing with the accident."


The experiment will be carried out in JAEA's Nuclear Safety Research Reactor (NSRR) in Tokai-mura in Ibaraki Prefecture. A stainless steel capsule (1.2 meter long) will be inserted in the center of the reactor, and a miniature fuel rod (30 centimeters long) will be placed in the capsule without touching water. Uranium in the miniature fuel rod will undergo nuclear fission as it is being hit by neutrons emitted from the nuclear fuels surround the capsule, causing the temperature to rise above 2,000 degrees Celsius and causing the fuel rod to melt. [See the diagram by Yomiuri. English labels are by me.]


According to JAEA, since [the fuel rod to be used] is much smaller than 4.5 meter-long fuel rods used in a real nuclear power plant, nuclear fission will stop shortly, and the melted fuel will cool and solidify in a few minutes. The solidified fuel will be analyzed, and then stored in the pool on the premises with other nuclear fuels.


netudiant said...

Not sure how much can be learned from this.
The US built a small reactor at the Idaho Nuclear Lab specifically to test what happens during a loss of fluids in a reactor.
Of course, this work was done in the 1975-85 period, so it is not exactly cutting edge, but the technology has not changed much since then.

Anonymous said...

They almost got seriously hacked when a thumb twiddling worker was attempting to download software to view a Korean soap opera so now they are getting punished by actually being given something to do, however unnecessary. It's nothing more than keeping the workers busy until someone figures out how to put up an adequate firewall.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of this?

Anonymous said...

You can check seismographs info. here... check the days before? Any explanation?

Anonymous said...

@2:52: hahahahaha! And the "molten-through" core should reemerge somewhere east of Argentina… Please be careful: someone could die from this… laughing!

Anonymous said...

2:52 and 3:37, absurd. Smaller, frequent seismic activity is often a precurser to a biggie.

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