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Removal of Fukushima Fuel Rods Hits a Bump … BEFORE It Even Starts

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Washington’s Blog
November 15, 2013

Tepco’s efforts to remove the radioactive fuel rods – already extremely dangerous and difficult – have hit a bump before they’ve even started.

Enenews rounds up the developments here:

Yomiuri Shimbun translated by EXSKF, Nov. 12, 2013: On November 12, TEPCO disclosed that there were three fuel assemblies [...] in the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 4 [...] that were deformed and would be difficult to remove.

Fukushima Minyu translated by EXSKF, Nov. 13, 2013: According to TEPCO, one of the damaged fuel assemblies is bent at a 90-degree angle [literal meaning: bent in the shape of a Japanese character "く"; actual angle could be less]. It was bent 25 years agowhen a mistake occurred in handling the fuel. The other two were found to be damaged 10 years ago; there are small holes on the outside from foreign objects.

And here:

Japan Times, Nov. 14, 2013:  Earlier this week, Tepco found three damaged assemblies that will be difficult to remove, but officials said the damage appeared to have occurred before the March 11 disasters.

Reuters, Nov. 14, 2013: One of the assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982, when it was mishandled during a transfer, and is bent out of shape, Tepco said in a brief note at the bottom of an 11-page information sheet in August. In a statement from April 2010, Tepco said it found two other spent fuel racks in the reactor’s cooling pool had what appeared to be wire trapped in them. Rods in those assemblies have pin-hole cracks and are leaking low-level radioactive gases, Tepco spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai told Reuters on Thursday. [...] Having to deal with the damaged assemblies is likely tomake [removing the other fuel] more difficult [...]

Tepco spokeswoman Mayumi Yoshida: “The three fuel assemblies … cannot be transported by cask [...] We are currently reviewing how to transport these fuel assemblies to the common spent fuel pool,” she said.

Why didn’t Tepco fix or replace these mangled fuel assemblies decades ago?

Its failure to fix these problems when they happened is now making its attempt to solve the most dangerous crisis since the Cuban missile crisis now even more difficult.

In many other ways, Tepco has been insanely negligent – and engaged in criminal acts – for many decades.

This article was posted: Friday, November 15, 2013 at 6:14 am





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