According to Natural News,the Tokyo Electric Power Co. is delaying the relocation of fuel rods from its crippled plant reactors due to the fact that the fuel rods remain highly vulnerable in the damaged storage pools.
Moving the fuel rods is a wildly risky proposition, as the fuel rods must be extricated from their operating matrix containing coolant water and control rods that “smother” runaway nuclear reactions. Absent these safeguards, the removal and transport of fuel rods is inherently hazardous.
“New video footage from a robot has revealed new leaks within the damaged reactors meaning the rods now can’t be taken out as planned,” reports Euronews. “One of the fuel assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982 when it was mishandled during a transfer and is bent out of shape.”
Euronews goes on to quote Kazuaki Matsui, the executive director of Japan’s Institute of Applied Energy, as saying, “It’s very difficult to remove a spent rod because parts of the wall and the bottom of the reactor are all melted. We’ve never had to deal with this before so that adds to the complication.”
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As reported by Reuters, Arnie Gunderson of Fairewinds confirms this activity is extremely risky:
[Fuel rod removal] is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle. That could lead to a worse disaster than the March 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant, the world’s most serious since Chernobyl in 1986.
All that is required for a runaway nuclear meltdown is for one of the fuel rods to be dropped or accidentally placed too close to other fuel rods. Removing these fuel rods safely is a lot like trying to play the game “Surgery” via a remote-controlled robot, under murky, haze-filled water, with twisted pieces of metal.
In other words, it’s almost impossible to pull this off without error.
Fukushima reactor No. 4 currently has 1300 fuel rods being stored in a leaking pool held 150 feet above ground. There are 6,300 fuel rods in a nearby fuel storage that also need to be moved. In all, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant holds 11,400 fuel rods, any one of which could break and send the entire situation spiraling out of control.
“Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area,” reports Reuters UK.
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