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What lies beneath the water at Fukushima?

published, Mar 15, 2011 10:38pm
views (538)

Perhaps there is something we haven't been told yet?

Never before have we seen a nuclear accident unfold like the ongoing crisis at Fukushima this week.  In real time we have seen tweets of explosions, expert opinions, pro and anti nuclear comments.  We have seen people declare there is no danger, the reactor design is safe.

 

spent fuel pool

Articles about the reactors designer quitting GE over known flaws, To articles offering a simple and accurate explaination of what has happened.

In all this, I have a question.  And it's one I haven't seen an answer for yet.  The Fukushima plant has been running for a long time, nearly 35 years.  In that time, it's likely the nuclear fuel has been changed many times.

While not a nuclear scientist, I know this, and this is also a feature of the Fukushima design.  At the top of the concrete containment structure is a large, deep pool.  This pool is used as interim storage for the spent fuel from the reactor.  The process goes like this:

  1. The reactor uses it's fuel over a period of time.
  2. The spent fuel is removed from the reactor core, and transfered to this deep this deep holding tank.
  3. It's kept there for some period of time while active isotopes decay - which causes that pretty blue glow.
  4. The fuel when safer to handle is then packaged into those yellow drums and moved elsewhere for disposal.

Perhaps it's quite likely that one, two or even more of these pools have been filled with spend fuel, eerily decaying to a safe level for disposal.

Consider this.  Three roof structures have now exploded at Fukushima. If one of these exploding structures was covering a pool full of spent radioactive fuel, it's very likely that a good amount of this radioactive waste would have been blasted out in the explosion.  Lets hope the Plutonium in Fukushima 3 hasn't got out into the greater environment.

What have you heard?
Sam,

 

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