Images Show No Fuel (Or Water) Inside No.1 reactor Core
Mar. 19, 2015
Researchers say X-ray-like photos of a crippled reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant have confirmed that no nuclear fuel remains in the reactor core.
The finding supports the result of a simulation suggesting most of the molten fuel penetrated the core’s base.
Nuclear fuel in 3 of the plant’s 6 reactors melted down in the March 2011 nuclear accident at the plant. But extremely high radiation levels have prevented experts from locating and determining the state of the molten fuel.
Experts from the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization and other institutions have succeeded in taking X-ray-like photos of the plant’s No.1 reactor.
Since February, they have been using a type of elementary particle called the muon to get a peek inside the reactor, instead of using X-ray technology. The particles are created when cosmic rays collide with the Earth’s atmosphere.
The experts found nuclear fuel inside a storage pool located beside the No.1 reactor. But they did not find fuel inside the core of the reactor where the meltdown took place.
The finding confirms the result from an earlier computer simulation that suggested most of the fuel in the reactor core likely melted and fell through the bottom into the containment vessel housing the core.
Experts say the finding that most of the fuel had leaked out of the reactor core underlines the difficulties faced in scrapping the reactor.
IRID SAW no fuel or water remaining in reactor core of Reactor 1
IRID (International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning) and High Energy Accelerator Research Organization announced they could not find a potential part of nuclear fuel in Reactor core of Reactor 1.
On 3/19/2015, they released the prompt report of their “scanning” test implemented until 3/10/2015.
The report tells they could not find anything longer than 1m in reactor core, where originally fuel assemblies were set.
The muon equipment was installed in N of Reactor 1 and also in NW of Reactor 1. However, neither of them detected a potential fuel assembly.
Also, no water is retained in the reactor core of RPV (Reactor Pressure Vessel). These facts found strongly supports the possibility that the molten fuel has already dropped onto the bottom of Primary Containment Vessel. They did not mention the further possibility that the molten fuel has already gone through the outer wall of the vessel.
About the state of Spent Fuel Pool 1, they did not conclude more than “assuming the fuel remains inside the pool, but the size is not identified”.
Utility Applies For Reactor Check For July Restart
Mar. 19, 2015
Kyushu Electric Power Company filed the application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Thursday.
The step came one day after the regulator approved the utility’s equipment design documents for the No.1 reactor at the Sendai plant in Satsuma-Sendai city.
Inspectors are to check whether coolant pumps and other new facilities are built as designed and whether they function as planned.
Japan utilities to scrap 2 more nuclear reactors
Mar. 18, 2015
Two Japanese utilities plan to scrap one nuclear reactor each, as they are near the government recommended 40-year age limit.
This brings the number of reactors in the country slated for decommissioning after the 2011 nuclear disaster to 5, in addition to those at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Board members of the Kyushu Electric Power Company decided on Wednesday to decommission the No.1 reactor at their Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture.
The board of Chugoku Electric Power Company decided the same day to scrap the No.1 reactor at their plant in Shimane Prefecture.
Both reactors are relatively smaller in capacity and considered not worth the costs of upgrading.
Government regulations introduced after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi 4 years ago require costly safety improvements before utilities can restart reactors.
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