Skip to comments.A layman's guide to the situation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant
Posted on 05/18/2011 7:34:51 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
A layman's guide to the situation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant
BY RYOMA KOMIYAMA STAFF WRITER
Q: What happens if fuel rods melt?
A: Melted fuel rods cannot be easily cooled by water because they are completely deformed. They become like a chunk of concrete. Cooling them requires the continued injection of water. In this case, intense heat from melted rods on the bottom made holes in the metal pressure vessel, causing the contaminated water to leak.
Q: What are these holes like?
A: There are several of them. Their total size is about the same as a circle with a diameter of a few centimeters, according to TEPCO. As well as contaminated water, the melted fuel rods themselves could have passed through holes of that size.
Q: What if parts of the melted fuel have leaked?
A: In the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, nuclear substances were scattered over a wide area, carried in smoke produced by the large fire at the plant. The Fukushima incident is not as grave as the Chernobyl accident, but it is much worse than the Three Mile Island nuclear incident in 1979. In the case of Three Mile Island, meltdown also occurred, but the nuclear fuel rods were contained in the pressure vessel. That prevented substantial amounts of nuclear material from leaking.
(Excerpt) Read more at asahi.com ...
Thanks. The real crime here was in designing a plant with such insufficient backup cooling capacity, given it’s proximity to the ocean and likelihood of tsunami waves that could flood backup generators. And in the process setting back the cause of clean, safe nuclear power another couple fo decades.
I remember Three Mile Island... I dont recall it being this serious (fuel rods melting)
I stopped reading there. This is patently false. I can only assume more uninformed "answers for dummies" will follow.
This is a link to an article indicating that backup cooling failed prior to the tsunami and there is evidence that worker’s manually shut cooling off.
I too had you reaction to initial posts I read earlier that TMI had a melt down. It’s my impression that the fact that there was a melt down was only acknowledged or discovered long afterwards.
“The Three Mile Island accident was a core meltdown in Unit 2 (a pressurized water reactor manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox) of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania near Harrisburg, United States in 1979.”
It wasn't. From the article ...
"but it is much worse than the Three Mile Island nuclear incident"
OTOH, fuel rods did melt at TMI.
And you expertise is ......?