Wednesday, August 31, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Water Entombment Is Back on the Table

Remember the time when the TEPCO/government complex pretended that it would fill the Containment Vessels of Reactors 1, 2 and 3 with water to cool the Reactor Pressure Vessels inside? It was late April, TEPCO started to pour an enormous amount of water in the RPV of Reactor 1 to fill the Vessel (as the water would leak into the CV). The operation was dubbed "water entombment".

We know how it quickly ended. TEPCO finally managed to actually measure the water level inside the CV and RPV of Reactor 1, and found that there was hardly any water in either of them - i.e. both the CV and the RPV of Reactor 1 were broken, kaput. Of 10,000 tonnes of water that TEPCO poured into the CV of Reactor 1, 3,000 tonnes were discovered in the basement.

But now, the water entombment is back in discussion in conjunction with decommissioning the reactors at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, according to Mainichi Shinbun (8/31/2011).

According to Mainichi, the plan submitted by TEPCO to a special committee of the Nuclear Safety Commission calls for the following steps:

  1. Clean up highly radioactive debris inside the reactor buildings;

  2. Identify and repair the damage to the Containment Vessels and the reactor buildings;

  3. Fill the Containment Vessels with water;

  4. Open the top lid of the Reactor Pressure Vessels and remove the melted fuel.

The NSC committee will consider the plan, and the government will decide on the final plan by January 2012.

My questions:

Step No.1: How? By whom?
Step No.2: How? By whom?
Step No.3: What's the point again?
Step No.4: What melted fuel?

And no one knows, or rather, no one cares or wants to know, where exactly these melted blobs of fuel rods, control rods, instruments, metals, etc., are right now. TEPCO and the government will proceed as if they remain at the bottom of the Containment Vessel of each Reactor, if not still within the RPV.

Inside the reactor buildings there are at least several spots as identified by TEPCO where the radiation levels are measured in sieverts/hour. Who is going to do the cleanup work, not to mention repairing the CVs and the building (I suppose they are thinking about the concrete foundations)?


Anonymous said...

It's not only Japanese governments that are idiots when it comes to radiation-Take a look at this article about the leading Republican presidential candidate in the U.S., Rick Perry. He issued permits for a major donor to build a nuclear waste facility directly above a Texas aquifer that provides drinking water to 1.9 million people in 5 states.

pat said...

Whats the point at all?

The Racs are melted out, the core is on the floor.

What's the point now, all you do is contimante the ground water

netudiant said...

It seems that the plan ( is simply a recognition that the site is just too dangerous to stabilize in place. The nuclear fuel/corium must be removed, else it continues to contaminate more of Japan.
The engineering that is required for this will be enormously costly, both in money and in people's lives, yet completely unproductive. That reality may be starting to be acknowledged. It is part of the cost of nuclear power as currently implemented. One can only hope that politicians and business leaders will recognize that this is not sustainable. If nuclear is to be a viable option, it cannot have this kind of failure. Costs may double, or more, but that is still way less than the so called sustainables would cost.

Anonymous said...

I love their list it sounds like the story of Noah's Ark.

1) Build giant football stadium sized ship with only a handful of close relatives.

2) Fill ship with 2 of every animal on Earth and enough food to last the trip.

3) Repopulate the mud encrusted Earth using only your closest relatives.

4) In a fit of social retardation build nuclear reactors and bombs eventually fulfilling Armageddon.

No wonder we are so retarded all that inbreeding was sure to lead to nuclear disasters. I can't wait until every nation on Earth is using nuclear power and generating waste with the promise that future technology will eventually solve the waste problem. It has been over half a century and the promise of economical waste burning reactors is still a much touted pipe dream. China isn't leading the way with "new" MSR technology they are following the path of failure enjoyed by may past MSR/FBR based projects. India has been working to close the Thorium fuel cycle for decades with very little to show for it. There is no reason to believe China will surpass India anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update Ultraman Tiga. Well, those are good questions you pose. They are going to Plan B, or is that D? And, no explanations, of course, given for changes or expectations or what is really going on. Does not sound good but who knows maybe they can pull off a small victory if this plan works (I am not that optimistic but maybe we need a bit of luck).

This is unrelated yet quite related in regards to the low quality of government we are all getting in the world these days. It is actually safer to be in Japan where you will get zapped with radiation than in America where you will get zapped by maniacal police;

America is Bonkers

jp said...

Yes, this is just silly

What they need is a much simpler plan

1. Find the core/corium.

Once they know the answer to that they can proceed in some sensible way.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and we forgot to mention the step number 5:

5) Burn all radioactive waste so that radiation can evenly spread across the world.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, the idea of filling the CV with water was initially rejected by TEPCO because of the additional weight of the water would impose on the structure. Well to remember these buildings have experienced:

A. Massive seismic shaking
B. tsunami pressure
C. hydrogen explosion
D. ultra high heat from reactor core melt.
E. pressurized steam

What makes TEPCO think these structures are in good enough shape now to bear loads they were concerned about before?

katz said...

the Japanese are good at suicide.

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger

I would like to ask you is it common that what is shown in the Japanese version of Mainichi will not always be reflected in the English version of Mainichi?


Anonymous said...

Sorry folks ! All this is purely intentional,if anyone truly believes that the people involved in "responding" to this catastrophe are acting out of stupidity , then take a closer look in the mirror.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@anon 5:55AM, it is common. Not just Mainichi but all newspapers and news agencies in Japan, including NHK. They only translate select news. Mainichi is better than others, but they don't publish all.

Anonymous said...

They are not the sharpest knives in the drawer,they could be 5 star generals.

uke said...


If renewables had the same state sponsored R&D funding that nukes have had, they would be immensely cheaper with zero risk, why do people continue to push such nuclear idiocy?

Anonymous said...

>> Step No.1: How? By whom?
>> Step No.2: How? By whom?

Space aliens or humans from the future. Right now both are playing rock-paper-scissors, but each rounds keeps ending in a draw.

Anonymous said...

that sums it all:
@arevamirpal::laprimavera, that might even deserve its own blog post to bring a lighter note of black humor ;-s

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