APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fuel storage: Daiichi No. 4

We begin with the seemingly serious news that rad levels around the fuel storage pool in the reactor building of No. 4 plant are so high that it cannot be approached. The chance of using the helicopter method for improvised water delivery is now, as I surmised on this blog earlier, relegated to an almost zero chance because the fuel pool is nowhere near any opening that any appurtenance a helicopter could use could enter.

So far as we are aware there is zero chance of spent fuel achieving criticality in this pool. Fresh fuel, however, would be another matter... and as this is written we are beginning to wonder if spent fuel is the concern or if fresh fuel had been delivered to the plant for installation. If this was new fuel waiting to be installed the situation is radically different... but again this is highly speculative and we'll need to wait for the first N&ISA and TEPCO briefings to find out what the actual situation is.

So far the news at the other plants seems good; Fintan Dunne was able to get a report during our interview that water is indeed going into No. 2 plant, which is good news indeed.

5:35 PM Eastern Tuesday 3/15

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