Nearly all fuel in Fukushima reactor has melted, says TEPCO

March 19, 2015
The unit four (right) and unit three (left) reactor buildings at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant on March 1, 2013

New tests show almost all of the fuel inside one of the Fukushima plant's reactors has melted, its operator said Thursday, the latest step in the clean up after Japan's worst ever nuclear crisis.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the technology, which uses called "muon" to create x-ray style images, gave the most concrete evidence yet the had dropped to the bottom of the first reactor.

The data, though largely expected, should help TEPCO as it continues its effort to decommission the plant four years after an earthquake and tsunami caused one of the worst nuclear meltdowns in living memory.

Engineers have not been able to develop a machine to directly see the exact location of the molten fuel, hampered by extremely high levels of radiation in and around the reactors.

"While our previous analysis have already strongly suggested that fuel rods had melted down, the latest study provided further data that we like to regard as a progress in our effort to determine the exact locations of the debris," said a TEPCO spokesman.

TEPCO plans to eventually use robots to locate the fuel debris as part of the decommissioning process, which is expected to take three to four decades to complete.

Last month the International Atomic Energy Agency said Japan had made "significant progress" in its cleanup efforts but warned the situation "remains very complex" due to the growing amounts of contaminated water generated by the process.

The reactor four building at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on November 7, 2013

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was directly hit by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and killer tsunami of March 2011.

It lost emergency power to cool the reactors, which went into meltdown, contaminating a vast region in northern Japan.

Explore further: First of four Fukushima reactors cleared of nuclear fuel

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5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2015
Are there any projects that have longer decommissioning timelines than the three to four decades of Fukushima?

1 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2015
Some additional information :

not rated yet Mar 20, 2015
Three to four decades, my ass...

Speaking of which, they better hire google/boston dynamics robots.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 20, 2015
which is expected to take three to four decades to complete.

That sounds expensive.
Speaking of which, they better hire google/boston dynamics robots.

The electronics of robots aren't 'automagically' proof against radiation. And we're not talking about something that wil just need to prance arround the place - we're talking heavy duty work (drilling, wrecking, levering, and handling of large/heavy objects)
not rated yet Mar 20, 2015
great news - all is well - another feather in the cap for truth and technology - nothing to worry about - we can get back to real problems like AGW
not rated yet Mar 22, 2015
450 tons of very very toxic fuel per reactor 150T/reactor or 900,000 pounds are melting down toward bedrock. No cooling is possible. After impact with bead rock it will slip into the ocean the entire pacific ocean will be void of all life for 200,000 years and as this happens all the Earths oceans are doomed . Rain fall will kill off all life on land. The only hold outs will be isolated no rain zones but those areas in time (10,000 yrs) will be as dead as the rest of Planet Earth.
All this is due to ~1 million pounds of deadly contamination
reactor vessel are breached and leaking radioactive material. large cracks or holes in the reactor vessels"
1, 2 and 3 experienced full meltdown
Could we stop it
Any way to slow it down
How much time before its so severe that it obvious there is no return today or for the general public with national security 20 years max.
Drill a massive holes to the core of the earth in the ocean then biuld a dam around holes then biuld dome
not rated yet Mar 23, 2015
"The electronics of robots aren't 'automagically' proof against radiation. And we're not talking about something that wil just need to prance arround the place - we're talking heavy duty work (drilling, wrecking, levering, and handling of large/heavy objects)"

I know A.A... That is my religious side, hoping against the lack of hope.

At least Ed, you hint at one possible process that could delay work. The solution you suggested won't.

If once hitting bedrock, the molten slag will flow downhill into the ocean, then we should start building a berm around Fukashima at bedrock level. Then maybe we can slow it down.

If it could be slowed down, moving mostly horizontally and the flow directed, maybe we cool and capture chunks at a time.

What will that cost? $100,000,000 per pound?!?
not rated yet Mar 23, 2015

At least they are employing the homeless and yazuka-indentured debtors.

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