[ RadSafe ] NHK Report on Initial Removal of Fuel Rods from Fukushima Reactor #4 Cooling Pool

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Fri Nov 22 11:25:33 CST 2013

You are correct that the unused fuel does not need cooling.  I suspect
there are a couple of reasons they are moving it to the storage pool:

1.  Practice.  These are low risk items, so getting a couple of
transfers under their belts where even if things go wrong they can't
really go horribly wrong is a good idea.
2.  Having been in the spent fuel pool it is possible that they are
contaminated.  If cladding on some of the actual spent fuel was breached
there is a possibility the unused fuel has surface contamination.  Yes,
it could be removed, but where and when would YOU want to do the survey
and decon: on top of blown apart nuclear reactor building, beside a
spent fuel pool, with winter coming on, or practically anywhere else?
3.  Even though the fuel is unused, do you really see anyone letting it
into their reactor without close examination (and maybe even not then)?
So it has to go somewhere, and the paperwork is probably easier just to
move it with the spent fuel.

As to how long spent fuel needs to cool before it can go into dry cask;
it depends on a number of factors.  Three years sounds a little short to
me, but I could be wrong.  I suspect that a lot of the fuel in the pool
can, should, and will wind up in dry cask, but I think that is something
to deal with after it is no longer up on a compromised building.

Something that I have wondered about is the state of the fuel pools on
reactors 1-3.  I don't recall having heard anything about them.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Roger Helbig
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2013 3:39 AM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] NHK Report on Initial Removal of Fuel Rods from
Fukushima Reactor #4 Cooling Pool

I am a bit confused on why fuel rods that have never been in the reactor
need to be stored in a cooling pool.  I also thought that spent fuel
rods that are nearing three years into the fission product decay cycle
would no longer need to be stored in a cooling pool, but could be placed
in more secure dry cask storage.

Here is NHK report - that I found after watching another partial report
filtered through MOXNews linked to Christina MacPherson's Nuclear-News's
blog - the partial report crashed - perhaps due to my own DSL modem
failure (does anyone have a recommendation for a really good DSL modem?
- my Motorola one constantly overheats and I keep it cool with Blue Ice

Roger Helbig


"Cask" containing fuel moved into safer pool

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant says it has removed
the first batch of nuclear fuel from the reactor 4 building to a safer
storage pool.

Footage released by Tokyo Electric Power Company on Thursday shows
workers lowering a steel cask containing 22 unused fuel assemblies from
the 5th floor of the reactor building. Engineers used a huge crane to
lower the cask, 5.5 meters long and two meters across, onto a trailer on
the ground.

The container was transferred slowly to a separate pool in a building
100 meters away, and lowered into water to store the fuel more safely.

TEPCO plans to begin on Friday plucking the fuel assemblies out of the
cask and placing them in storage racks inside the pool. The utility says
it will review the process before starting a second round of fuel

Thursday's transfer involved unused fuel units. The reactor's storage
pool has 1,511 fuel assemblies left, including 1,331 highly radioactive
spent fuel assemblies.

TEPCO says the building housing the separate pool can withstand an
earthquake as strong as the March 2011 disaster that badly damaged the
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