We knew it was going to be a very risky job, perhaps even foolhardy, removing the fuel rods from the Fukushima reactors.
…since an earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi Plant in March of 2011, the fuel rods at Reactor Number Four have been in dangerously delicate shape. They can’t heat up, be exposed to air or break without releasing deadly gas, but the cooling pool they’ve been resting in is leaky and corroded by seawater and could never withstand another tremor or quake.
Starting any day now, Tokyo Electric or TEPCO, is going to begin plucking more than 1,500 brittle and potentially damaged fuel assemblies out of where they are and placing them in new casks.
Each assembly contains some 50-70 spent fuel rods, weighs around 660 pounds and measures fifteen feet long. And I did mention the pool is 100 feet up?
Operations like this are usually done by robot, but here it has to be done by hand because the rods are out of place and the pool’s still littered with junk.
Foolhardy because today that work began. And an earthquake hit Japan.
A strong earthquake has struck Japan’s coast south of the Fukushima nuclear plant currently undergoing a dangerous removal of highly radioactive Unit 4 fuel rods, according to online reports.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a 5.7 magnitude earthquake has struck Japan 25 kilometers southeast of Toba, releasing the following tweet:
The quake struck at around 04:10am local time (0610 AEDT) on Tuesday off the eastern Honshu coastline, 25km from the city of Toba and 37km from the city of Ise, according to the US Geological Survey which monitors earthquakes worldwide.
The tremor struck far down at a depth of 332km, USGS added. There are no initial reports of damage.
And this happens as Saskatchewan digs more of the Yellow Monster out of the ground.