SFP Fire At Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 Possible – 23 Old Mark 1 Reactors In US With Same Problem – 20 August 2012

Uploaded on 19 August 2012 by

Can Spent Fuel Pools Catch Fire?
Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen analyzes a US government national laboratory simulation video that shows nuclear spent fuel rods do catch fire when exposed to air. This simulation video proves Fairewinds’ assertions that nuclear fuel rods can catch fire when exposed to air, and Arnie discusses the ramifications of this phenomena if the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent fuel pool were to lose cooling water.

The Sandia National Laboratories video in its entirety can be seen here. http://mediasiteson.sandia.gov/mediasite/Viewer/?peid=20eab58445ac4b94aa5d6d3

Zircaloy can burn in air if it gets hot enough. And it is called pyrophoric,

There are 4 reactors in jeopardy at Fukushima-Daiichi. But everyone’s attention now has been focused on the fuel pool at Fukushima-Daiichi Unit 4. Why is that? Well, in the Mark I design, there is no containment over the fuel pool. And that means that if there is a problem in the fuel pool, there is nothing to trap the radiation and prevent it from going airborne. At Fukushima-Daiichi, Unit 4 though, an entire nuclear fuel core had just recently been removed from the containment, from the nuclear reactor, and was put into the spent fuel pool. That is what makes Daiichi Unit 4 unique. It has got an entire nuclear core, out of the reactor, out of the containment, and in the fuel pool. Related to that though, is the fact that Fukushima-Daiichi 4 is also damaged. There is a bulge in the bottom of it and I believe it is something called a first mode Euler strut bulge. And it clearly is an indication of a seismic damage. This is not something that happened from the explosion. The building has been damaged from a seismic event. So Daiichi Unit 4 has an entire nuclear core out of the containment in a spent fuel pool and the building it is housed in, has been previously damaged by the explosions in the building and by the seismic events that occurred since March 11th of 2011. That is why all eyes in the world are focussed on what is going on in Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission wanted to know if a fuel bundle can burn in air too. And they commissioned Sandia National Labs to run a test. Just by coincidence, the test was done about 2 weeks before the Fukushima-Daiichi accident. Now this was a test of a nuclear fuel bundle, but I need to be clear: there was no spent nuclear fuel in the bundle.

There’s an enormous amount of data collected in these 5 hours and all of it is on the Sandia site which we linked to/from the Fairewinds site. The first video shows a bundle immediately before the heat was applied. Shortly after, it’s the same bundle, the heat is on, and it’s already beginning to smoke. A little further on is the bundle, again, smoking considerably. Well, where’s there smoke there is fire. The last one in the sequence shows the bundle on fire. Now, what you’re seeing is zircaloy burning in air. There was no match applied to start this fire, it just got hot enough so that it began to combust of its own volition – in air.

Now it is even worse than that. The Japanese put all of their nuclear fuel from this latest core offload in a very confined space in the pool.

So the Japanese have about 2 weeks in the event of the fuel pool cooling system fails to fix it.

The real problem is if there is an earthquake.

Brookhaven National Labs did a study back in 1998 about this and they estimate that over 180,000 cancers would result from a fuel pool fire and that an area of about 40 mile radius would have to be permanently evacuated. Now the Brookhaven study had less uranium in it than the Fukushima fuel pool. So the odds are that if a fuel pool fire were to occur at Fukushima-Daiichi Unit 4, it would, in fact, be worse than the Brookhaven study.

Regardless of what the nuclear industry claims, a fuel pool fire is possible if the water were to drain from a seismic event. Now this is not just a Fukushima-Daiichi Unit 4 problem. There are 23 Mark I reactors in the United States and they have even more nuclear fuel in them than Unit 4 at Fukushima-Daiichi. This is an international problem, especially in the United States, because we have the most of these Mark I reactors. What can we do about it? We can put the pressure on Tokyo Electric and on the Japanese Government to get the fuel out of that pool just as quickly as possible. We cannot wait for an earthquake to be proven right or wrong. In the United States, we can demand that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission take the fuel out of these fuel pools in the 23 nuclear reactors that are identical to Fukushima-Daiichi. Right now, industry pressure to save money is preventing those fuel pools from being emptied.

((REMIXED from MsMilkytheclown))

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