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A Detailed Look At The Spent Fuel Rod Containment Pools At Fukushima

Tyler Durden's picture




 

With the latest headline from Reuters that TEPCO workers are preparing to spray water at the spent fuel pool in Reactor 3 which has been overheating and spreading radioactive steam into the atmosphere, it is time to present the details of how dry casks and spent fuel are contained at Fukuchima. For that we go to a presentation by TEPCO from November 2010 titled "Integrity Inspection of Dry Storage Casks and Spent Fuels at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station." It is no surprise that, as the introduction states, in Japan's 54 NPP, the strategy is "to store spent fuels safely until being reprocessed." Unfortunately for everyone involved, the existing spent fuel is store in a manner that is anything but "safe." Should these structures fail, the fallout that will enter the atmosphere will be unprecedented. So where and how are they stored? We find out, in detail, below.

Summary of storage capacity and utilization at the various TEPCO NPPs:

Probably the most important chart: this is the most recent status of spent fuel rods at Fukushima:

This is what a typical storage pool looks like. This is the area that supposedly has no water left in it in Reactor 3. Notable is that a spent fuel rods have a 19 month cooling life.

And below is the actual pool that is supposed to have water in it. It is now most likely empty in Reactor 4 and probably does not exist in the other ones.

And while irrelevant for the current discussion, below we present some details about Dry Cask storage facilities:

Below is the schematic of the containment pod.

On the chart below Alarm Monitor 4 would be going apeshit. If only it worked.

The charts above are very nice in theory. After all the conclusion of the presentation indicated there was no "significance of defect /degradation of the system." Until one of those magnitude 9 earthquakes that nobody tested for, and a 30 foot Tsunami that nobody predicted, destroyed everything. And now the only thing left is to spray water in hopes of refilling pools full of thousand of spent, and lethally radioactive, fuel rods. Surely, this will end great.

Source

 

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Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:41 | 1064632 Turd Ferguson
Turd Ferguson's picture

Jeezo, Tyler. Where the hell do you get all this info.

You are the man. The Edward R Murrow of the 21st Century.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:45 | 1064650 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

what i like is they have all the info the fast money guys have on CNBC but just won't tell you....all the bankers left japan.......Jim Sinclair says tonight the end is near.

 

The timing of this earthquake is impeccable!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:59 | 1064731 Cistercian
Cistercian's picture

 With apologies to my Lord....

  HOLY SHIT!That's too fucking much to let loose!

 Not EPIC FAIL...ULTRA SUPER MEGA FAIL!!!!!

  God help us if even 5% of that goes airborne.

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:07 | 1065097 10kby2k
10kby2k's picture

Air force one is going to sprinkle pixie dust...problem solved. Dow up 5,000!

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:52 | 1065435 Harmonious_Diss...
Harmonious_Dissonance's picture

Give Tyler & ZH some props on your blog, Turd!!  wtf? they are not listed...

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:06 | 1065100 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Cistercian, you can bet your last non-glowing bennybuck that 5% of that is already well and truly dispersed. To imagine otherwise, knowing the pool locations and then taking a quick look at the X-plosions and all the gobbledygook explanations, denials, statements and retractions since tell you that fan and shit have met, at high velocity.

And actually, everyone is concerned about airborne, why is no one askign the question about water-borne? Remember thsi was a tsunami that swept in and out? And all thseo expolded tanks? How does water do with nuclear material uptake? Anyone?

ORI

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/american-cross-nuclear-rumbles/

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:06 | 1065311 Cistercian
Cistercian's picture

 Airborne particles have a distinct FAIL component when wafting over population areas.

  But your point of water contamination is good...if the groundwater becomes hot...it is grim LONG term.Airborne is grim long-term as well(lung cancer).But our experience in the Pacific testing area shows how vegetables can grow well in such an area...and be a poison to all that consume them.This is a poor outcome...to put it mildly.Particulate fallout will be the main mechanism, unless a tsunami hits the nuked reactor site.When the tsunami first hit, it was still not hot there.But it is hot now...and the fallout will have to be dealt with.In the Pacific Test Area, we removed the topsoil...which helped.This is not so cool with nice farmland however....losing your good topsoil sucks big time.And where to put the contaminated soil...hmmm that is a bother.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:50 | 1065423 sharkbait
sharkbait's picture

Water does not become hot, impurities in water can.  That is my understanding.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 01:52 | 1065546 Cistercian
Cistercian's picture

 That's what I meant...radioactive material in the water, either dissolved or as particles.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:47 | 1064659 DavidPierre
DavidPierre's picture

"Good Night and Good Luck"

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:56 | 1064708 Judge Judy Scheinlok
Judge Judy Scheinlok's picture

Seriously, it's going to blow and glow.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:03 | 1064751 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

The abc guy tonight was catching a flight a half hour after his interview...this is going to get ugly....watch what they do not what they say

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:37 | 1064660 TomJoad
TomJoad's picture

I posted this link at 14:23 today.

http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf

Just Sayin'

 

Jump! You Fuckers!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:58 | 1065294 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/world/asia/17nuclear.html?pagewanted=...

 

American officials who have been dealing with their Japanese counterparts report that the country’s political and bureaucratic leadership has appeared frozen in place, unwilling to communicate clearly about the scope of the problem and, in some cases, unwilling to accept outside assistance. Two American officials said they believed that the Japanese government itself was not getting a clear picture from the Tokyo Electric Power Company.


“Everything in their system is built to build consensus slowly,” said one American official who would not be quoted by name because of the delicacy of discussions with Japan. “And everything in this crisis is about moving quickly. It’s not working.”


United States Air Force officials announced Wednesday that a Global Hawk remotely piloted surveillance plane would be sent on missions over Japan to help the government assess damage from the earthquake and the tsunami. A Pentagon official said the drone was expected to fly over the stricken nuclear plant.

 

American officials were careful to offer no public comparisons to past nuclear accidents when discussing the Fukushima disaster. But clearly the crisis in Japan already far outstrips what happened at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, where very little radiation escaped a crippled reactor. The effort now is to keep the Japanese crisis, involving at least three reactors that had been in active use before the quake, and three others that were inactive but had storage pools for spent fuel, from escalating to the levels of the worst nuclear disaster in history: Chernobyl.


Though the plant’s reactors shut down automatically when the quake struck on Friday, the subsequent tsunami wiped out the backup electronic pumping and cooling system necessary to keep the fuel rods in the reactors and the storage pools for spent nuclear fuel covered with cool water.


The spent fuel pools can be even more dangerous than the active fuel rods, as they are not contained in thick steel containers like the reactor core. As they are exposed to air, the zirconium metal cladding on the rods can catch fire, and a deadly mix of radioactive elements can spew into the atmosphere. The most concern surrounds Cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years and can get into food supplies or be inhaled.

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:51 | 1064680 kinetik
kinetik's picture

I can't believe this, amazing information. Thanks ZH!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:52 | 1064683 Michael Victory
Michael Victory's picture

Jeezo, Tyler. Where the hell do you get all this info.
You are the man. The Edward R Murrow of the 21st Century.


tru dat.
interesting sh!t.



~MV

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:24 | 1064873 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Who becomes the first nation to warn their west coast populace about incoming radiation, Canada or the US?

I'm thinking the Canucks will and they are the ones to watch. Vancouver is a big cash pool for them.

If radioactive dust does settle what does that mean? Don't buy West coast fruits and veggies for a few years? Decades? What about Salmon?

Man it would suck no GOM seafood, no Salmon, no Alaskan crab.

Of course we would never be warned by TPTB against eating those irradiated foods.

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:54 | 1065037 Idiot Savant
Idiot Savant's picture

It's funny you mention GOM seafood. I no longer eat it, but all my friends and family do. When I mention oil and Corexit, they're all like "core what?".

As far as eating west coast fruits and veggies, well, that might not be an issue soon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQXDt4VdS0E&feature=player_embedded

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:22 | 1065172 PY-129-20
PY-129-20's picture

Some of the food in Southern Bavaria is still not allowed to be traded because of Chernobyl. It depends on how much you will get. Let's hope the best.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:31 | 1064912 prophet
prophet's picture

In trying to help out a bit I posted the link to this ppt yesterday:

by prophet
on Tue, 03/15/2011 - 19:17
#1057760

 

The link below is a ppt from TEPCO and shows some pictures and stats on the pools. 

http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf

found from a nice article on the pools at

http://www.dcbureau.org/201103141303/Natural-Resources-News-Service/fission-criticality-in-cooling-ponds-threaten-explosion-at-fukushima.html

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:16 | 1065140 TomJoad
TomJoad's picture

I came across it via a different path this morning and posted it in another thread. Information flow on ZH is so freaking chaotic due to the signal/noise ratios being FUBAR'd by trolls, morons, etc. it is a wonder anyone sticks around to contribute real information. Do keep up the good work!

 

 

Jump! You fuckers!

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:32 | 1065373 davepowers
davepowers's picture

indeed you did

it's still a chilling read

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:02 | 1065079 critical tinkerer
critical tinkerer's picture

What chance is that earthquake smashed all those used (not spent, since they still have 98% of reactivity) fuel rods and crashed them together, which caused cold melt down. Crashed rods let loose all the uranium pellets which were not restrictedby zirconium between pellets anymore. That cold meltdown caused the heat to rise. Also there was tsunami inside the pools, not from outside that spilled from uncovered pools onto ground around reactors. That highly radioactive coolant probably flooded generator room and caused shorts in the system, prevented technicians to refill the pools. Reactor 4 did not have fuel rods inside reactor and it still exploded, which points to spent fuel pools problem. Also the fact that only outer shell exploded, not reactors.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:42 | 1064635 I think I need ...
I think I need to buy a gun's picture

Those helicopter drops aren't doing anything. Nothing ...Zilch

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:46 | 1064654 dukeness
dukeness's picture

They delay the obvious.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:51 | 1064684 kinetik
kinetik's picture

Sorry to say but these are all replays at the moment, the water drops were called off 40 min after they began.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:03 | 1064759 Eddie Stobart
Eddie Stobart's picture

Apart from reducing the vapour that was billowing from the reactors.

 

And burning fossil fuels and contributing to climate change, the bastards!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:04 | 1064765 Hang The Fed
Hang The Fed's picture

One WOULD tend to believe the entire idea is totally asinine, what with the fact that the pools are obviously leaking.  Talk about trying to attack a tank with a toothpick.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:17 | 1064843 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

similar to bernake helicopter drops

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:48 | 1064657 ss123
ss123's picture

Why don't they call in Homer Simson so he can run a long hose from the ocean and fill up the tanks?

Slots in Vegas seem to have better odds than these helicopter drops.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:11 | 1065122 homersimpson
homersimpson's picture

I'm still trying to find the "any" key..

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:48 | 1064663 Gmpx
Gmpx's picture

I offer to bomb the plant. Vacuum bomb can be tried to open the reactors open without sending ash in the sky. Once reactors are opened helocopters, machines and people can start effectively cleaning the contaminated area.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:49 | 1064665 Math Man
Math Man's picture

"And now the only thing left is to spray water in hopes of refilling pools full of thousand of spent fuel rods. Surely, this will end great."

And why wouldn't it? Oh that's right, because here on ZH we believe nothing ends great.

They are currently refilling the pools and and making progress to get the power back up to run the pumps - which the AP reported earlier.   The situation continues to improve....  regardless of what the fear mongering Zerohedge reports.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:54 | 1064691 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

ah, the meth man....young grasshappa, you no learn about MSM or trusting govemint....its not like running an extension cord to an outside fan and turning it on....

the plant was hit with a salt water tidal wave...aka tsunami....any electrical item this water touched is SHOT. it will probably need a few more days of major repair to get any of these pumps up....time you do not have when there is reported 5rem/hr from the plant.....

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:02 | 1064749 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Someone on NHK was saying about an hour ago that once they get power to the site they would need to rig a temporary cooling system because the existing one was compromised by the ongoing problems. So as you say it's not like you flip a switch. Of course this rigging will be done while the crew is being radiated at some level above "normal".

Do I hear volunteers?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:19 | 1064858 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

I'm certainly no expert on nuclear reactors, but aren't some of those pumps pumping salt water right now? Weren't they made for freshwater? If you put a boat with a freshwater motor in saltwater, it's not going to last very long. Saltwater is much more corrosive to metal and rubber/plastic. It's like trying to run E85 in a gasoline engine.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:31 | 1064910 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

The only pumps that are running are fire trucks.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:34 | 1064933 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

He's saying that running saltwater through made-for-fresh-water pumps will kill them quickly. I agree and they know this as well. They are saying they must rig a temporary cooling system so either they know using the exisiting cooling system won't work for long or they know the exisitng system is already broken.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 03:43 | 1065644 sushi
sushi's picture

 

He's saying that running saltwater through made-for-fresh-water pumps will kill them quickly. I agree

 

Doesn't matter if you agree or not. You are still both wrong.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:04 | 1065080 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

CD...these spent fuel pools are somewhat larger than I am used to here in the US. The amount of rods they store in there is probably not best practice. Typically in the US, you rotate rods out of the reactor to minimize rods in the pool. I had read a long time ago from a NRC document that some plants in Japan were storing full fuel reloads in storage pools, but I never really thought about the issue much. Maybe that is part of the problem...people who should know - or are supposed to know, should say something, otherwise everyone gives a collective shrug and eventually it becomes an accepted way of operation.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:28 | 1065364 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

They are saying now they plan to get their existing system running....lots of confusion, as usual. It would be nice though to get those 100,000 GPM coolant pumps up.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:39 | 1065395 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Until they start chopping up what's left of the units with high pressure jets from cracks....ah hell God bless 'em let's hope it all works great

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:55 | 1065440 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

Well, lets hope not. But high pressure jets reminds me when I worked at Comanche Peak in Texas. Comanche Peak is a PWR, so it pumps superheated steam, which was very high pressure and temperature. The high pressure turbines were built in Germany by Allis-Chalmers, and they leaked like crazy when the plant first started up, and inside the turbine room, it was almost impossible to see the invisible jet of gas, since it did not saturate until it was many feet away from the turbine. We kept broom handles hanging just outside the turbine deck doors so you could wave them in front of you to keep from getting chopped in half. Jesus...I am getting nostalgic in my old age.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 04:28 | 1065668 sushi
sushi's picture

 

This is the kind of hardware I am familiar with:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fireboat_Ariake.jpg   

When they mentioned "water cannon" something similar to the above came to mind. They have 9 of these down in Tokyo and should have no problem moving them up the coast. I don't think the Japanese have thought of this yet.

Downthread there is some arguement going on about pump capacities. 100,000 GPM sounds decent. Depends on the hardware. Some boats only manage 30,000 GPM. The pressure is sufficient to take down most wood frame structures. On a steel frame with concrete cladding I guess you need to wait for the H2 explosions and then go to work.

 

Share your concern with that high pressure steam. Worse than anything else.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:33 | 1065378 knukles
knukles's picture

They'll get right on it.  Cooling down 10,000 degree Kelvin molten radioactive glassine goo.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 13:15 | 1067192 collinar
collinar's picture

Yes, I volunteer the guys who designed this, to clean up their own mess. This kills (pun intended) two birds with one stone. i.e. 1.) It gets the mess cleaned up, and 2.) they never get to design anything again, ever.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:56 | 1064709 machineh
machineh's picture

See my post below, about needing 3,828 tonnes of water to refill the pool.

You're a math man. Tell us how long that will take with a water cannon.

Please show your work. Thanks in advance.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:07 | 1065103 malikai
malikai's picture

According to NHK each water truck has a 4 ton water capacity. Heh.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:34 | 1065384 knukles
knukles's picture

And one cubic yard of water weighs approximately 1,700 lbs.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 13:18 | 1067206 collinar
collinar's picture

Factor in the leakage rate. The pools lost water due to physical damage. The pools can not hold water. Now, try to fill the pools.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 13:19 | 1067216 collinar
collinar's picture

Factor in the leakage rate. The pools lost water due to physical damage. The pools can not hold water. Now, try to fill the pools.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:58 | 1064719 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

Meth Head,

Your extreme level of arrogance is only exceeded by your incredible stupidity.

And CitizenPete calls me a troll on ZH?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:58 | 1064722 herewego...
herewego...'s picture

+1

These guys are heroes who are saving Japan.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:01 | 1064747 adissidentishere
adissidentishere's picture

I saw a comment you made on an earlier post where you attempted to reason away the issue with an extremely faulty application of exponential decay.  I'm curious how you can call yourself "math man" when you clearly don't understand even basic high school algebra.  Is the "math" in your name perhaps a typo?  How about "myth man?"

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:04 | 1064763 Yes We Can. But...
Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

meth

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:03 | 1064766 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Actually he's know as MethMan here on ZH. It explains everything you need to know.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:08 | 1064792 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

Yes... Something to do with "thermal heat"... It sounded very scientastic.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:38 | 1064951 RunningMan
RunningMan's picture

Now that's funny.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:02 | 1064760 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture

Calm down Meth Man Calm down.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:09 | 1064793 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

meth mouth heh

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 18:07 | 1163180 akak
akak's picture

"And now the only thing left is to spray water in hopes of refilling pools full of thousand of spent fuel rods. Surely, this will end great."

 


And why wouldn't it? Oh that's right, because here on ZH we believe nothing ends great.

They are currently refilling the pools and and making progress to get the power back up to run the pumps - which the AP reported earlier.   The situation continues to improve....  regardless of what the fear mongering Zerohedge reports.

This simply cried out to be bumped, to highlight the sheer unbridled disingenuous, truth-hating center-thinking and outright dishonest propagandizing of MothMan.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:48 | 1064666 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

sure they are...they are pushing those melted rods closer together so they can fuse....and they are creating more steam for more airborne radiation.....

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:37 | 1065392 knukles
knukles's picture

"TEPCO workers are preparing to spray water at the spent fuel pool in Reactor 3 which has been overheating and spreading radioactive steam into the atmosphere"

 

That folks, is not a plan.

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:52 | 1064667 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

After the initial outline and charts it discusses the "common spent fuel storage pool" which is pool number seven located at ground level and which was inundated by the tsunami and damaged. The key is the note "In operation since 1997" when it was installed at Fukushima.

We have heard nothing about this pool or it's contents though this pool is twice the size of the pools located at the top of each reactor building.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:07 | 1064783 Hang The Fed
Hang The Fed's picture

Somehow, I have a feeling that that's a question with a highly regrettable answer, given the way that things are proceeding at this point.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:10 | 1064800 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The good news is that because it is located at ground level it would be much easier to fill. The bad news is that with all that's going on, it seems that things are given low priority until just before they blow up. I hope this "common spent fuel pool" isn't one of those "things".

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:24 | 1064874 Hang The Fed
Hang The Fed's picture

Oh, I'm pretty sure that they'll leave it as a completely bottom-of-the-barrel concern.  The first four reactors are totally fucked, and five and six are also seeing temperatures rise significantly in the storage pools.  I seriously question, at this point, whether they have ANY substantive cooling capacity left at any unit in that plant.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:32 | 1064918 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

That's a big ten-four on totally fucked. Can you say write off? I commented elsewhere here that TEPCO admitted that even after they run the power line in they must rig an emergency cooling system for each unit. It's a little more complicated than running the garden hose to the flower bed.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:39 | 1064946 Hang The Fed
Hang The Fed's picture

Hahaha, and even rigging those emergency units will require knowledgeable folks to get close enough to the reactors to glow in the dark for the rest of their very short lives.  At this point, I think that the only way the situation could get worse is if an aftershock managed to squeeze enough dry fuel rods together to initiate critical mass.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 06:13 | 1065744 BoeingSpaceliner797
BoeingSpaceliner797's picture

Where's Trav777?  He's been such a voice of reason and calm amidst all this panicking and hysteria.

/sarc

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:40 | 1065400 knukles
knukles's picture

"bottom-of-the-barrel"

Jesus, that iodine tastes terrible.  No wonder it hurts on cuts.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:56 | 1065292 Screwloose
Screwloose's picture

CD

Agree about their reactive approach - although I wouldn't have wanted to be in their shoes.

What's your view on the 10 hour period when they apparently ran the controls for the steam-driven back-up circulation pumps on the battery packs - while the TEPCO bosses refused US offers to sling-in a skidded genset that could have maintained their charge levels nearly indefinitely.

Do you feel that attempts to avoid "loss of face" by accepting outside help may have contributed to turning a crisis into a catastrophy?

 

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 06:34 | 1065754 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I'm beginning to think it's more than just saving face. There is apparently a long history of safety issues ignored or covered up and TEPCO appears to act like it is the alpha dog. The nuclear regulators seem to have been emasculated for decades and the public, while suspicious during that period of time, is impotent and cowed. Everything has a way of coming together in a critical mass during extreme stress and we are seeing it in spades here.

I have found the lack of coordinated communication between TEPCO and the government remarkable. Reminds me of the early days in the Gulf of Mexico disaster where the US let BP run the show. The degree of potential human disaster is so much higher with the nuclear plants though. Amazing really.

Banzai7 sent me this article on the long history of problems this morning.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iU29-CtBza8xA01r9IzPwksyP1WQ?docId=9e518d4998224fd8b705cc3fe9903eb6

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 13:14 | 1067176 Screwloose
Screwloose's picture

Thanks - good link.

Trying to keep secrets is one hell of a dangerous factor in this situation.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:35 | 1065381 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

It is surprising to me that they keep this many rod bundles in storage, as Japan is one of the countries that reprocess the the fuel pellets into new ones. My only guess would be that their reprocessing capability (along with required cool-down time) is overwhelmed by the amount of spent fuel they produce...so additional storage at the reactor facilities becomes one way of dealing with it.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:51 | 1064672 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

We dropped bombs in Nevada for 60 years. We should be fine

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:59 | 1064736 Dr. Porkchop
Dr. Porkchop's picture

Let's check your baby teeth.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:32 | 1064922 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

Interesting you bring that up.  There are several very interesting white papers and a few books detailing the level of the planets background radiation (and resulting human cancer statistics) after all the above ground tests were conducted.  They don't do above ground tests any more -- did you ever wonder why?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:54 | 1065034 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

...Howard Hughes complained?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 00:43 | 1065405 Aristarchan
Aristarchan's picture

When I worked at the NTS, atmospheric testing had already ceased, and everything was done underground in boreholes with tunnels dug down to various levels to run the instrument packages and streak camera casing. But, there we quite a few surprises, shots that would exceed calculated yield, resulting in the overburden being breached and a lot of junk ejected into the atmosphere. It is probably a little know fact, but some of the earlier underground tests were not tests of the weapons themselves, but tests to test how to test the weapons. Therefore, a whole lot of early underground tests barely qualified as such.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:54 | 1064677 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

Surely, this will end sadly.

Cue "Radioactive Volcano" headlines.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:51 | 1064682 Yes We Can. But...
Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

This all sounds like Marla.  Marla, you still around?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:03 | 1064767 Judge Judy Scheinlok
Judge Judy Scheinlok's picture

"Mr. Durden retains sole power to bind Zero Hedge. No other person shall have actual or apparent authority to bind Zero Hedge to any contract. "

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:19 | 1064859 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

I'll bookmark that Eclastisitas!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:52 | 1064685 machineh
machineh's picture

A cubic meter of water weighs one metric ton (1,000 kg or 2,205 lbs). So it would take only 3,828 tonnes of water to refill an empty 12 x 29 x 11 m spent fuel pool. 

This task probably can be completed by ... oh, the end of 2012, at the rate of 6 tonnes per day from the police water cannons.

Ready, fire, aim!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:09 | 1064802 Beatscape
Beatscape's picture

And as soon as the water hits the glowing hot spent fuel rods, it evaporates. They need a constant flow of water. It's not a matter of filling the pool--it essentially needs a river flowing through it.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:39 | 1064955 Bad Asset
Bad Asset's picture

good call.  could we just move the cages with the spent rods to the ocean?  They would probably melt the cage before you could get them there.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:36 | 1064936 Augustus
Augustus's picture

a gallon of water is in the range of 7#.  300 gal then = 1 metric tonne.  It would take roughly 1.5 million gal to get 3300 tonnes.  Time to pump depends upon pipe size and horsepower of pumps. 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:57 | 1064702 Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

 

Article:

This is what a typical storage pool looks like. 

- - - -

Ahhhh ... I think you will find that this is the Common Pool found in another building ... probably those off to the left of Reactor #4 ... also a tipoff might be that extra exhaust stack over there ... just a guess on my part.

 

Check the size on that common pool - it's going to be bigger any one of the reactor bldgs.

 

 

 

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:14 | 1064821 machineh
machineh's picture

Good point -- it's the common pool which has a volume of 3,828 cubic meters, according to the drawing.

If the stated capacity of 8,310 fuel assemblies is for all six reactor unit storage pools, then each one would have a capacity of 1,385 assemblies, or about 20% the size of the common pool.

So estimate 765 cubic meters for the pool in each reactor building. That's still 765 tonnes of water to fill each one. At 250 gallons/minute, a water cannon (precisely aimed, which is a whole other story with the spent fuel pool at the 5th floor level, and probably a show-stopper) could deliver almost one cubic meter per minute. So in 13 hours, with perfect aim, a big water cannon could refill an empty pool. That's if the workers, or shifts of workers, can spend 13 hours in the radioactive steam without getting fried.

Okay, we've jocked out the calcs! Any volunteers?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:03 | 1065085 10kby2k
10kby2k's picture

I have 1000LF of fire hose (used for building demo--cant drive a water truck in)--lets rock.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:48 | 1065269 Pez
Pez's picture

sniff sniff ... I smell another "Die Hard"est sequel brewing in Hollywood

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:56 | 1064705 greenfire
greenfire's picture

Yep. Pissin' in the wind.  Interesting the translation is water "spraying." They're the typical bucket drops we would see in aerial forest firefighting.  Pilots don't even want to hover for a moment to perfect their aim, since each moment overhead is potentially/probably lethal....

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:55 | 1064714 Eddie Stobart
Eddie Stobart's picture

So what's the issue? Nuclear power is inherantly unsafe? Some engineers did their best to create a safe system but it failed under the most extreme circumstances? Or all humans should not be trusted?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:06 | 1064785 Spitzer
Spitzer's picture

you are an idiot.

the anti nuclear nuts got all the funding cut off for new study on them. These plants are equal to propeller planes.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:30 | 1064870 Eddie Stobart
Eddie Stobart's picture

That's a coincidence. My idiot detector just went of the scale.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 05:41 | 1065722 Golden monkey
Golden monkey's picture

Don't trust any monkey walking on Wall Street.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:56 | 1064720 THE DORK OF CORK
THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Whats the vile smell coming from my pants ?

Sweet Jesus , what have they done ?

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

 

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:37 | 1064948 Augustus
Augustus's picture

Don't post a link to Palast.  that is the secret source for the Geo Wash cut and paste scare material.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:49 | 1065278 Pez
Pez's picture

They should build this Nuke on a rig 5 miles off Louisianna. If it blows, so what?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:59 | 1064727 justbuygold
justbuygold's picture

Another fantastic post by Tyler

Quite frankly these helicopters are doing nothing.  The only way to end thsi before it results in permanent contamination of a large area is 1-4 small nukes ( when the wind is seaward) and just vaporize all the rods and cores.  The radiation from nuking  is likely far less than these spent rods causing 150 yrs of damage.  

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:16 | 1064816 Eddie Stobart
Eddie Stobart's picture

Let's make it 2 nukes - just like the good old days.

So by "vaporise" you mean a ground burst which will turn the uranium and plutonium in the rods (and the bombs) into a cloud of dust over Asia, the Pacific and into the earths atmosphere which will settle onto the USA? And that's better than trying to stabilise the situation by cooling the spent rods? I'll have to think about that for a while.

 

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:29 | 1064900 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

I got the idea. Vapor(ism)

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:00 | 1065064 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

...perhaps there will be another tsunami rom a major aftershock which will flood the area? Next few days there should a abig one.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:30 | 1064911 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

WTF is with all this nuke the nukes crap that keeps popping up?  Are you nuts?  Do you work for the Fed where debt is solved with more debt and take that as your model? Or what? 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:45 | 1064985 RunningMan
RunningMan's picture

This is as surprising as the folks wanting to nuke the seabed floor in the Gulf. I think people recall the time in match class when they learned to multiply two negative numbers together and it gave a positive result. Two wrongs do make a right - bring out the bitsy big boy boomeroos!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 21:59 | 1064737 max2205
max2205's picture

Pissing on a fire

Where's the next cyclone

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:24 | 1064880 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

The Ivory Coast. Hurricane would be appropriate.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:01 | 1064748 1fortheroad
1fortheroad's picture

The mother of all fuckups.

Never ever shit where you eat.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:03 | 1064752 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

The United States Government has come out and accused the Japanese Government of completely understating the severity of the crisis and the lying about what's likely to happen next.

It's incredibly, really.

 

U.S. Calls Radiation ‘Extremely High,’ Sees Japan Nuclear Crisis Worsening


Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:28 | 1064894 Backspin
Backspin's picture

Holy crap, that was a scary read.  Everything in there was completely consistent with what we actually see on screen from NHK.

And yes, this is obviously much worse than three mile island.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:52 | 1065018 Eddie Stobart
Eddie Stobart's picture

From "The Patriotic Cynic"

Governments and their officials are always wrong except when they disagree with a foreign party. In which case they are always right.

Rule number 26.a

Ref. cases Hussein. S, BP et al

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:01 | 1065074 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

...so GS has its boat loaded with Japanese related shorts presently?...why else would our government be saying this?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:06 | 1064784 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Is anyone else here amazed by the bizarre response of the Japanese?

Today (in Japan) they are pouring water by helicopter on...what exactly? Water on strewn about spent cores, lying every which way due to the explosions that rocked the facilities?

Do the cores matter as much now?

What are they doing?

I see that ZH has the chart that shows they're storing an insane amount of spent rods at Daiichi (a Russian Physicist told Reuters that the Japanese are insane and greedy, for storing what's WAY more than typical in these facilities, in an article I posted earlier).

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:15 | 1064835 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

I was thinking about that myself. An explosion breaks rods and you now have pellets and rods in a corner piled up. Are you going to be able to cool that pile with water. The containment pool is no longer nice and orderly allowing water to flow through it, but anything is better than nothing I guess.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:24 | 1064872 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

TiS:

 

1) they are dropping water into the pools on to the spent fuel assemblies 

2) They also have trucks on the ground that will spray water from the ground into the open walls and roof to fill the pools if possible

3) the Japanese are no different than US utilities -- all pools in the US are as FULL or more -- and are rotated into dry cask storage on site when cool enough. This is a fact - I have seen them up being loaded up close and personal.  Yucca Mountain was intended to be the permanant long term storage but became a multi-billion political fiasco (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain)

4) other than the MOx processing facilities, the DWPF in the US there are no processing facilities for commercial assemblies that I personally am aware of ( I could be wrong on this).

Thee sites are for "Nuclear Weapons" processing and the manufacture of materials for the nuclear arsenal of the US -- they do not process spent fuel.

Hanford (http://www.hanford.gov/page.cfm/ProjectsFacilities) and SRS (http://sro.srs.gov/inside1.htm) are the sites for DWPF and MOx - under DOD and run by DOE contractors. 

 

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:05 | 1065088 rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

...a thorium cycle reactor might have avoided this issue.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:13 | 1065129 malikai
malikai's picture

+100 MSRs

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:46 | 1064997 goldfish1
goldfish1's picture

Is anyone else here amazed by the bizarre response of the Japanese?

Bizarre? Let's see, the biggest earthquake ever hits. You don't even get to assess the damage before a humongous tsunami hits and devastates your entire northeast. You don't even get to assess the damage before the nuclear reactors start expolding one by one. In the meantime, your financial empire is crumbling. One can't even get to where one's going because the damage is so extensive and pervasive. The people who survived need immediate attention with blankets, food and water. Radiation starts to spread and the US pulls out of humanitarian operations.

It's going on 7 days of never ending shiite and the palpable fear is everywhere. These lovely people haven't even had a moment to process their grief and loss or digest the devastation. Bizarre? They're doing better than I would be.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:05 | 1065067 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

All of that is true.

I am pissed that we (the U.S.) aren't doing more. Where is the leadership?

The U.S. and many European Nations have technical expertise and equipment that should be on site right now, aiding the Japanese.

Have the Japanese, due to cultural issues, told us and the Europeans to stay out?

I am not trying to be glib or to oversimplify this, but am genuinely puzzled by why we're not either doing more or allowed to do more.

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:32 | 1065227 Oracle of Kypseli
Oracle of Kypseli's picture

Rio is very nice this time of the year. And the baboon is planting a garden while eating ice cream. 

There are no leaders anywhere anymore, period. These coward politicians fear PC attacks, media attacks and so they stay in their safe cocoon with premeasured cliche statements and reading teleprompters.

Shame on you. Face the mirror and question yourselves.   

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:33 | 1065229 Idiot Savant
Idiot Savant's picture

Agreed - I keep hearing about people without water, food, or adequate clothing. Perhaps I've watched too many Band of Brothers episodes, but airdrops would seem to be a quick and efficient remedy to these problems. Am I missing something?

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 05:02 | 1065695 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

During the initial stages (over the weekend), Obama was playing host to the National Press Club, yukking it up with J-school brats.  The Japanese that I've talked to that were aware of this (as their government was looking for help from those (apparently) good for nothing bases) are pissed beyond belief.  Airdrops should have started days ago.  Nothing is stopping the commissary up in Misawa to miss their delivery schedule so why aren't convoys streaming south to the freezing people in Iwate?

On a related note,I've heard several Japanese commentators offer very high praise for the Self-Defense Force and one comment to the effect that they are the only efficient gov't organization anymore.  This is a huge step out to hear public praise like this...BTW there are scores of Jietai and firemen volunteers that are manning these pumps and setting up the new systems.  Many will likely die from radiation exposure a la K-19.  I hope these boys get the recognition they deserve.

Thu, 03/17/2011 - 04:54 | 1065688 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

+1

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:10 | 1064797 Life of Illusion
Life of Illusion's picture

 

Next

Melt down threw bottom plate and into water level.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:30 | 1065220 Screwloose
Screwloose's picture

It may emerge that Reactor 2 has already done that.

One of the few useful pieces of info released mentions that the reactor vessel pressure fell from 3 bar to atmospheric when that "hydrogen explosion" allegedly "cracked" the torus.

Why hydrogen would accumulate at the bottom of an "empty" reactor vessel wasn't explained...  Nor how it could explode without air to mix with?  The other hydrogen explosions have been outside the reactor vessel after the hydrogen was vented.

As they'd admitted that the whole of that R2 core had been exposed for an unknown, but significant, time; it's far more plausible that the fuel melted and either burned through the base of the reactor vessel, or ran down into the torus and ate its way through there - I doubt that anyone has gone to see exactly where the leak actually occured.

The only positive, if that is the case, is that the fuel escaped into the ground underneath the, still intact, containment building - which should be able to fulfil its function and minimize the airborne emissions.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:12 | 1064809 KickIce
KickIce's picture

Fox is showing them dumping water via helicopter.

Lots of dispersement before it even hits the building.  One would think we would see steam rising if they were on target.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:15 | 1064836 mt paul
mt paul's picture

maybe it will rain tonight...

 

fill them cooling pools right up....

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:17 | 1064845 ss123
ss123's picture

I wonder how much water got in #4? Its roof looks to be mostly in tact still (according to the little lego model they built).

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:26 | 1064889 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

They said that trucks on the ground may also spray up through the walls.  But what is the final solution?  They can't do this forever.

 

They should be dumping boron. 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:59 | 1065302 Pez
Pez's picture

Jim Crammer? Oh you said Boron.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:19 | 1064852 user2011
user2011's picture

IMO, the biggest problem is not the radiation.  It is the fact that earthquake can return and more Tsunami can come.  

You can rebuild but nature can always come back.   How are you going to fix that ?

Insurance premium will go up.    Live in Japan will be going back down to basic.   But the sad part is that their farming are impacted.   No matter how they settle for simpler live, they still need food.

On the other hand,  Tuna and seafood around the globe will be better off.  Japanese can't bid up the prices, so fishing will be slower.

 

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:26 | 1064884 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

You live in the US?  Did you see this video on Fox today? 

 

... and now for something completely different ... Imminent(?) Earthquake Prediction for US this Month - Jim Berkland on FOX - Surrealism 

http://aucanary.blogspot.com/2011/03/earthquake-predictions-for-us-berkl...

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:21 | 1064868 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

Judy take a bath Your wisdom will be forever yours.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:27 | 1064890 Hang The Fed
Hang The Fed's picture

Nuclear fission is, and always has been, a horrendous source of energy.  Any energy source that produces such lethal byproducts is a bad idea.  Had more of the time and money spent on development of fission reactors been put toward fusion, we probably wouldn't be in such a sorry state of affairs.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:31 | 1064913 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

I'm aloud to giggle. Correct?

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:41 | 1064959 Hang The Fed
Hang The Fed's picture

A guy in Italy built one that runs on hydrogen and nano-ground nickel powder.  It's not a joke anymore.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:29 | 1065214 Hang The Fed
Hang The Fed's picture

Gah, missed that update.  Although, even the author admits that it's worth it to wait and see, even if maintaining skepticism until the proof arrives.  Even in light of the failure of such a thing, fission is still a horribly filthy source of power.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:47 | 1065266 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Well to be fair, any thermal power plant is a horrendous waste of energy, as two thirds of it comes out of the stack as steam.  Doesn't matter if it's nuclear, coal or wood, if it's a teakettle it's very wasteful.

What would be better is to develop some form of synthetic natural gas with which we could use the most efficient power systems ever developed, combined cycle (turbine 'jet engine' generator followed by steam turbine using exhaust heat).  That, my dears, DOUBLES the efficiency, give or take some balance of plant usages.  Assume that you generally don't have a heat load for the back end, like industrial cogeneration, because of the need for scale.  Combined cycle is awesomely efficient why?  Because of the truly massive R&D into jet engine turbines.  Parasticism on military and aerospace R&D--now that's efficient.

So, biomass gasification, biomethane (from farms), or pure synthetic gas seeing as CH4 is after all the simplest hydrocarbon.  Heck, it's made abiotically at the bottom of the ocean and on Titan via the Sabatier reaction, CO2 + H2O (yes, really).  Or, hey hey, actual old fashioned natural gas. 

And that is all I have to say on the subject.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 23:50 | 1065277 Rusty Shorts
Rusty Shorts's picture

Production = Destruction = Thermodynamics

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:30 | 1064904 Backspin
Backspin's picture

Man, oh man, the translator is back, scared out of her pants, saying that the heli ops were aborted due to radiation levels too high.

The man was giving some radiation figures.  87 msv/h at 300 meters altitude, I believe he said.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:31 | 1064917 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

Back flips!

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:32 | 1064921 proLiberty
proLiberty's picture

This indicates that it keeping spent fuel on site presents an ongoing risk of accident that would be eliminated by proper storage at a remote location.   I hope we reexamine why we stopped the Yucca Mountain project.

 

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:47 | 1064996 Augustus
Augustus's picture

The proper way to deal with it is to reprocess it.  When in operation the nuclear fuel becomes depleted.  However it is still about 95% useable when removed, just not pure enough to sustain the reaction.  take it out and process it to remove the depleted parts and put it back in for reuse.  The French regularly reprocess their fuel and haul it around the country on trucks and trains.  That also solves the storage problems.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:31 | 1064925 99er
Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:35 | 1064934 prophet
prophet's picture

You should see all the negative experiences with casks in the US.  I thought they were a good solution but there are being under-engineered and tested.

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 22:38 | 1064953 Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

Good info, and that explosion we saw on sunday with Unit 3 which is a Mox reactor must have blew up over a thousand feet not only the reactor pieces but almost all the spent rods.  If you don't believe me look at the diagram again and then go see the explosion of three on Youtube, remember there was alot of debris coming down and it didn't look anything like paneling.  And it was a big explosion too.

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