Reuters (5/17 ’11): “Q+A: What’s going on at Japan’s damaged nuclear power plant?”
Officials are also concerned about the slow pace of cooling at the No. 3 reactor and the No. 4 reactor was so badly damaged by a hydrogen explosion that workers will have to try to shore it up with steel beams and concrete to prevent a collapse.
Not the reactor, guys, it’s the spent fuel pool (Four Romeo’s not even in service). And still no definitive confirm or deny on whether that “badly damaged” resulted in a lean.
UPDATE: hat tip to HuffyPo for digging up this one from the deep blogosphere …
One of the readers of my Japanese blog that has the Japanese translation of the video got curious and did some research using the data from the government agency (the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan), and came to a conclusion that the area where the plant sits may indeed have moved quite a bit, not just vertically but also horizontally.
UPDATE (7/18 ’11): you’d think the MSM could spare a thought for this ongoing story …
IEEE Spectrum (5/17 ’11): ” ‘The Scale of the Accident Was Beyond My Imagination’ “
IEEE Spectrum: Can you explain what a shroud is?
Futami: The shroud is a large component inside the reactor pressure vessel. It’s a very large cylindrical form made of stainless steel. …
Coincidentally, at the number 4 reactor unit at Fukushima Dai-1 they were just replacing the shroud in this year’s annual inspections. That’s why all the core fuel was removed from the reactor pressure vessel, and installed in the spent fuel storage pool. That may have generated more heat than is usual at the spent fuel pools, and may have contributed to the fires that broke out around the spent fuel pool in the number 4 building.
IEEE Spectrum: Do you think the spent fuel storage pools are a hazard?
Futami: Japan is constructing a reprocessing plant in Aomori prefecture, but the construction schedule is very much behind. We cannot remove the spent fuel from the power stations, so a lot of spent fuel is stored inside the spent fuel storage pool of each power station. TEPCO just last year started to construct intermediate storage facilities, also in Aomori prefecture, but these are also behind schedule. So Fukushima Dai-1, Fukushima Dai-2, and all nuclear power stations in TEPCO have a lot of spent fuel stored inside the power stations.
In a normal condition that’s not so dangerous. But in the case of the Fukushima Dai-1 accident, I think such a large amount of spent fuel storage inside the plant increased the difficulties and the risks.
UPDATE (5/19 ’11): Here is Igor’s candidate for “most cynically positive headline since 3/11” …
Financial Times (5/18 ’11): “Doubt over meltdown dispelled”
Now, a little over two months later, new information on the state of Fukushima Daiichi’s three overheated reactors is making the m-word impossible to avoid. Fuel inside the cores, it is now understood, melted far more quickly and extensively than was initially believed – disintegrating just a few hours after the tsunami knocked out the plants electricity and cooling systems.