(For today’s commentary – No “Melt-throughs” at Fukushima Daiichi? – a Detailed Explanation – click here)

  • A team of American experts have concluded that F. Daiichi unit #4 spent fuel pool was never really a danger. An Oak Ridge National Laboratory research group finished their report in January and ran it through an extensive peer review process. Their findings are published in the November issue of Nuclear Technology entitled “Study of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 4 Spent-Fuel Pool”. As is typical of esteemed researchers, the team has done next to nothing to draw popular attention to their important work. The long, detailed analysis is painstakingly recorded for any interested party, but the bottom line is stated in the report’s conclusion, “… it is reasonably concluded that there would have been no large leakage in the SFP and no occurrence of fuel uncovery at any time.” This overtly contradicts the irresponsible statements made by Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko to America’s congress on March 16, 2011. He said the pool’s fuel was completely dry and the spent fuel bundles were on fire. This writer, fellow writer Rod Adams, MIT’s school of Nuclear Engineering, and several European experts immediately cried “foul” stating there just wasn’t enough heat being generated for a long enough time to start uncovering any of the bundles in the pool as of March 16. Not even close. The Oak Ridge study corroborates our 18-month-old position that Jaczko was grossly in error. (http://atomicinsights.com/2012/10/oak-ridge-researchers-prove-fukushima-unit-4-spent-fuel-pool-never-a-danger.html#more-13073)
  • High-resolution pictures from inside F. Daiichi SFP #3 show no damage to the stored fuel bundles. The hydrogen explosion of 3/14/11 resulted in considerable heavy debris falling into the pool and accumulating on top of the stored fuel. The location and condition of the debris is now better-understood. In addition, all indications are that the falling debris did not damage any of the contained bundles. Tepco’s greatest concern was the 35-ton fuel transfer apparatus that plunged into the pool, which is the heaviest of the debris material. “We now know approximately where the equipment fell,” an official at the utility told reporters Monday, adding the spent fuel rods in the pool apparently were not damaged by the impact. (Japan Times)
  • Tepco reports that a water leak was discovered on the first floor of the F. Daiichi unit #2 turbine building on Monday. The leak was from the system transferring water from the building’s basement to the Radioactive Waste Treatment Facility. The leak was stopped an hour later. The leaked water was entirely contained within the turbine building, and nothing escaped to the outside of the building. The extent of the leaked water on the building’s floor covered an area of about 18 m2 and 5 millimeters depth. Earlier in the day, plant staff intentionally stopped the cooling system for the unit #2 spent fuel pool in order to perform system maintenance. As a result of the inspection, a few system valves and some of the system piping will be replaced. Restart is expected by Saturday. The SFP temperature at shutdown was 23oC. Because of the very low decay heat being generated from the stored fuel bundles, it is estimated that by restart on Saturday the pool will be at about 29oC. (Tepco Press Release)
  • Seismic investigation of the geologic anomaly under the currently-operating Oi NPS will begin on November 2nd. The study will be run by a team of four seismic experts under the aegis of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA). The group will be headed by Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki, a seismologist, and three other people from different Japanese academies. NRA chair Shunichi Tanaka says this is a re-assessment of existing seismic data on the anomaly, spurred by intense public concern. It should be noted that one of the team members has been an outspoken about underground geological seams that could undermine nuke quake resistance. (NHK World)
  • The Seismological Society of Japan has announced they will avoid use of the term “prediction” when making future earthquake projections. The Society says the term has generated considerable misunderstanding. They point out that it is possible to make mid-to-long term “projections”, but they are necessarily uncertain as to when they might happen. The Society has been under heavy criticism for not predicting the Great East Japan Earthquake of 3/11/11. Society head Teruyuki Kato of The University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute says he regrets the Society’s broad use of the term “prediction” has caused misunderstanding. He hopes focusing on the term “projection” will give the public a more correct understanding of the current state of seismic research. Kato added that the field of seismology cannot predict the time, place and magnitude of future earthquakes. They can only “project” whether or not a fault is likely to produce a quake, but cannot predict when it might occur. (NHK World)
  • New Science and Education Minister, Ms. Makiko Tanaka, has questioned Tokyo’s recent no-nukes policy. She says the pursuit of renewables should happen, but Japan should make also use of nukes that meet the NRA’s future regulations and safety requirements. “It’s not easy to change all the energy sources to green energy, like what [former] Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said. It costs a lot of money as well as time,” Tanaka told the Press. “If Japan wants to keep up its economic standards and live as a cultured nation and not bother (other nations), (nuclear energy) is needed. Nobody on Earth thinks that nuclear power is great after seeing the March 11 disaster. . . . Risky plants should be stopped. And, of course, we cannot build a new nuclear reactor. . . . But nuclear energy also has a plus side to it, such as uses in the medical field. What we have to do is to conduct further research on reactors and other equipment that can survive quakes . . . and at the same time develop green energy.” (Japan Times)