Robot finds possible melted fuel inside Fukushima reactor

July 23, 2017
This handout video grab taken with an underwater robot and provided by Japan's International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning on July 21 shows a part of the pedestal wall inside reactor No. 3 at Fukushima nuclear power plant

Lava-like rocks believed to be melted nuclear fuel have been spotted inside Japan's stricken Fukushima reactor by an underwater robot, the plant's operator said at the end of a three-day inspection.

Large amounts of the solidified lumps and deposit were spotted for the first time by the robot on the floor of the primary containment vessel underneath the core of Fukushima's No. 3 reactor, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said.

"There is a high possibility that the solidified objects are mixtures of melted metal and fuel that fell from the vessel," a TEPCO spokesman said, adding that the company was planning further analysis of the images.

The three-day investigation using the small, remote controlled underwater robot, which is about the size of a loaf of bread, ended Saturday, the spokesman said.

TEPCO said the images were the first "highly likely" sighting of melted fuel since the 2011 disaster, when a massive undersea earthquake sent a huge wave barrelling into Japan's northeast coast, killing more than 18,500 people, and sending three reactors into meltdown at the plant in the worst such accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Locating the fuel debris is a key part of the decommissioning process for the plant, which is expected to take decades.

In February, TEPCO sent another robot into one of three damaged reactors where radiation levels have hit record highs.

But the mission at the No. 2 reactor was aborted as the robot had difficulty moving and could not reach its target destination beneath the pressure vessel, through which nuclear fuel is believed to have melted.

The Japanese government said in December that it expects total costs including compensation, decommissioning and decontamination to reach 21.5 trillion yen ($192.5 billion) in a process likely to take at least four decades as high radiation levels slow operations.

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EmceeSquared
4.6 / 5 (9) Jul 23, 2017
The (low) estimated damages cost for TEPCO's Fukushima meltdown is $192.5B. At $0.246:KWh TEPCO charges residences, that's the entire revenue from about 13 years of Tokyo's 6.946M households' consumption, the cost of free electricity to all of Tokyo. It's over 135x TEPCO's 2010 (pre-Fukushima) profits.

Nuke power: totally safe, too cheap to measure. Amirite?
gkam
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 23, 2017
Hey, Willie said it will save us.

Look up Plant Vogtle and even Summer Plant and see the lost billions in those, too. And they are net even going to produce power.
PTTG
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 23, 2017
Well, hey, solar panels can malfunction too. Like, if all the bolts corrode and someone climbs up and gives it a shove, it might fall off the roof.

So that's basically as bad as meltdowns.
ThomasQuinn
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 23, 2017
Well, hey, solar panels can malfunction too. Like, if all the bolts corrode and someone climbs up and gives it a shove, it might fall off the roof.

So that's basically as bad as meltdowns.


Sure, in the same way that a bomb going off and milk going off are basically the same thing.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Jul 23, 2017
Well, hey, solar panels can malfunction too. Like, if all the bolts corrode and someone climbs up and gives it a shove, it might fall off the roof.

So that's basically as bad as meltdowns.
Sure, in the same way that a bomb going off and milk going off are basically the same thing.

Methinks there's some irony in the original post

(Though I have seen other posters actually *seriously* decry the dangers of nacelles and blades falling off wind turbines...which must slaughter thousands upon thousands of unwary people each year that don't get reported...especially off-shore)
Pooua
3 / 5 (4) Jul 24, 2017
(Though I have seen other posters actually *seriously* decry the dangers of nacelles and blades falling off wind turbines...which must slaughter thousands upon thousands of unwary people each year that don't get reported...especially off-shore)


The only person who died from the Fukushima reactor was a man who drowned. In fact, more people die in the solar and wind industries than in the nuclear industry, the latter which has one of the lowest deaths/kWh of any power source.
Lex Talonis
5 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2017
I am interested in how they got a camera to function in that environment - not sure of the design life under such circumstances, and I'd assume that the camera was supposed to be more or less disposable.

More along the lines of everything else that goes in there, get's it's radiation hardened brains fried in a short period of time......
Solon
1 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2017
All those reactors used by the US and Russia to power their ships and submarines are just disasters waiting to happen I guess, and who knows how many have already melted down and how many crew have been killed and how much radiation has been dumped into the ocean. Of course that information is classified, so we will never know how bad it is. They should all go back to coal fired boilers, much safer.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2017
The only person who died from the Fukushima reactor was a man who drowned.

You mean the stuff like increased mortality from nursing homes due to forced evacuations doesn't count? Or the increased suicide rate?

All those reactors used by the US and Russia to power their ships and submarines are just disasters waiting to happen I guess, and who knows how many have already melted down and how many crew have been killed and how much radiation has been dumped into the ocean. Of course that information is classified, so we will never know how bad it is. They should all go back to coal fired boilers, much safer.

Or maybe we shouldn't play at war. That'd be safer.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Jul 24, 2017
The (low) estimated damages cost for TEPCO's Fukushima meltdown is $192.5B. At $0.246:KWh TEPCO charges residences, that's the entire revenue from about 13 years


Assuming the same price, the meltdown cost 782 bilion kWh worth of electricity. All the Fukushima units combined had 4,700 MW of capacity. Between 1971 to 2011 they have produced an estimated 1,645 billion kWh of electricity.

So the accident cleanup cost actually represents about 47% of the worth of the electricity that the facility produced in its lifetime up to the accident. Not necessarily a profitable proposition for TEPCO, but not actually hugely expensive in proportion.

And, if I remember correctly, about half of the cost is actually not the cleanup cost but compensation paid to the people who were displaced - which was not strictly necessary but was done due to hysteria and arbitrarily high radiation safety limits.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 24, 2017
You mean the stuff like increased mortality from nursing homes due to forced evacuations doesn't count? Or the increased suicide rate?


Indeed they don't, because they were largely results of misguided policy, not the accident.

If a person commits suicide because they were convinced by scaremongers that the nuclear accident made them a radioactive monster, or doomed to die of cancer anyhow, etc. then who is really to blame, the accident or the scaremonger?

If a government keeps an arbitrarily high radiation safety limit and forcibly displaces people out of their homes and jobs, preventing them from rebuilding and driving them to destitution, whose fault is it?
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 24, 2017
The Japanese government response to the accident was a little bit like the story of the monkey who said "Please let me help, so you surely wouldn't drown", as he carried a fish up a tree.

The displacements killed more than the radiation would have.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Jul 24, 2017
They need super-smart folk like Eikka there.

Good opportunity for the man who knows everything you can look up.
EmceeSquared
5 / 5 (4) Jul 24, 2017
Eikka:
So the accident cleanup cost actually represents about 47% of the worth of the electricity that the facility produced in its lifetime up to the accident. Not necessarily a profitable proposition for TEPCO, but not actually hugely expensive in proportion.


Hahaha - losing half all the decades of *revenue* (not just profit) from the world's biggest nuke plant is "not actually hugely expensive in proportion"? In proportion to what? To what it's actually going to cost for the next decades/centuries and beyond?

If had TEPCO proposed the Fukushima plant saying "it'll only make half this revenue over the next 40 years, because meltdowns will be a significant expense", they'd have been run out of Japan, not least by their bankers.

The ability of otherwise smart people to make the most absurd concessions to nukes is really magic.
WillieWard
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 24, 2017
No one has died from radiation exposure, meanwhile air pollution from fossil fuels(backup for intermittent renewables) respects no border and is killing thousands of people each day, millions each year.
"California is embracing huge costs while doing virtually nothing for the environment."
http://www.latime...ory.html
"Japanese government planning to build 45 new coal fired power stations to diversify supply"
http://www.abc.ne.../8224302
More people are dying thanks to antinuclear fearmongers and sensationalist mass media.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Jul 24, 2017
"Japanese government planning to build 45 new coal fired power stations to diversify supply"
That's right. They had to shut down their dangerous nuclear plants.

It is not that they like the Fuel of the 1800s, it is that they cannot trust their radioactive power sources.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jul 25, 2017
Not necessarily a profitable proposition for TEPCO, but not actually hugely expensive in proportion.

TEPCO isn't footing all of that bill. The taxpayer is.
https://www.ft.co...2a889797

So the electricity has cost the consumer actually much more than they paid when they used it. Just another example how nuclear is no way as 'cheap' as some claim.
ThomasQuinn
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 25, 2017
Well, hey, solar panels can malfunction too. Like, if all the bolts corrode and someone climbs up and gives it a shove, it might fall off the roof.

So that's basically as bad as meltdowns.
Sure, in the same way that a bomb going off and milk going off are basically the same thing.

Methinks there's some irony in the original post

(Though I have seen other posters actually *seriously* decry the dangers of nacelles and blades falling off wind turbines...which must slaughter thousands upon thousands of unwary people each year that don't get reported...especially off-shore)


Yeah, I was kinda jumping on the irony-bandwagon there with an outrageous simile resting on the different meanings of "going off".
WillieWard
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 25, 2017
"Japanese government planning to build 45 new coal fired power stations to diversify supply"
That's right. They had to shut down their dangerous nuclear plants.

It is not that they like the Fuel of the 1800s, it is that they cannot trust their radioactive power sources.
Japanese people cannot trust in "100% renewable unicorn fantasy" to power their whole country day and night with risk of getting their children freezing in the dark.
Nuclear power is so superior, it's the best energy source in all respects that faux-greens and eco-nuts are forced to use lies to fight against it, in this way they have paradoxically to defend coal, and gas/fracking, to keep lights on when sun is not shining or wind is not blowing, even it emitting radioactive ashes and being far deadlier than carbon-free nuclear power.
https://www.scien...r-waste/
gkam
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2017
Hey, Willie,

http://www.utilit...447482/?
"Report: Summer nuke could cost up to $10B more, should be abandoned

"A report by Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School finds that continuing construction on the V.C. Summer nuclear project could add as much as $10 billion to South Carolina ratepayers' bills.

The report argues for the abandonment of the project, saying that even though $9 billion has already been spent or committed, dropping Summer now would save significant amounts of money."

Gosh, Willie, are you working for Putin, too?
WillieWard
3 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2017
"Report: Summer nuke ... should be abandoned
Each unit of carbon-free nuclear energy abandoned means a unit of energy from coal and/or gas/fracking to keep lights on when there's no sun nor wind.
It is the way that faux-greens pretend to fight Climate Change, fossil fuels barons love them.
https://uploads.d...a1f1.jpg
EmceeSquared
3 / 5 (2) Jul 25, 2017
WillieWard:
Each unit of carbon-free nuclear energy abandoned means a unit of energy from coal and/or gas/fracking to keep lights on when there's no sun nor wind.


See how the nuke fetish troll acts like solar, wind, geothermal and other sustainable energy sources don't exist, because they're obsessed with nukes. Nuke fetishists are absolutists, nukes are always the ultimate perfection and nothing else can possibly exist.

They also act like time doesn't pass. Like it doesn't take time to build nuke plants (sometimes decades), during which time sustainables build multiple generations of new plants, multiplying their share of energy supply at the expense of filthy fuel like nukes. Or the time it takes to wind down nuke plants, years (to say nothing of the decades to clean them up).

No, for the fetishist nukes are sexy magic and everything else is automatically a loser. The complex reality of energy is much worse for nukes.
WillieWard
3 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2017
...acts like solar, wind, geothermal and other sustainable energy sources don't exist...
geothermal and hydro have geographical limitations, biomass is worse than coal in terms of CO2 emissions, solar and wind have low energy density and are inherently intermittent thereby strongly dependent on fossil fuels.
"Geothermal power facility induces earthquakes, study finds"
https://news.ucsc...kes.html
"Why do the sort of people who exclude nuclear energy for its radiation embrace geothermal?"
https://pbs.twimg...-t79.jpg
"Biomass More Polluting Than Coal, New Study Finds"
https://www.ecowa...699.html
gkam
Jul 26, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
EmceeSquared
not rated yet Jul 26, 2017
WillieWard:
...acts like solar, wind, geothermal and other sustainable energy sources don't exist...
geothermal and hydro have geographical limitations, biomass is worse than coal in terms of CO2 emissions, solar and wind have low energy density and are inherently intermittent thereby strongly dependent on fossil fuels.


These are good points of debate about the limitations of sustainable energy sources. Each point has a strong rebuttal - mostly some other part of the complex energy grid that you now conveniently ignore.

But debate with a nuke fetishist troll? It's a tried and failed folly, even in this discussion - as in every discusion with you. You'll never accept anything. You worship nukes, and acknowledge the existence of alternatives only to shallowly dismiss them. Why bother when you're just a troll, interested in only FUD to your competition and only human sacrifice for your idol?
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2017
"are inherently intermittent thereby strongly dependent on fossil fuels. "

Not anymore,Willie. Solar PV plus storage, 24-hour power, is now at 4 cents/kWh!!
WillieWard
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2017
"Germany's dirty climate secret: Their stagnant emissions show renewables are alone not enough to beat global warming" - July 25, 2017
https://amp.cnn.c...dex.html
"Not to mention this 100% RE can not prove itself even on a small scale..."
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2017
Hahaha - losing half all the decades of *revenue* (not just profit) from the world's biggest nuke plant is "not actually hugely expensive in proportion"? In proportion to what? To what it's actually going to cost for the next decades/centuries and beyond?


If the cost due to the disaster is 50% more relative to the value the plants had already provided, on the level of the whole society that's not actually all that much. It's like buying an ice cream for a dollar and realizing that the bank charged you 50 cents more on the transaction - you still got the goods and even though you got cheated, the price in the end wasn't entirely unreasonable.

In comparison to alternatives which would cost anywhere from 100% more and up, it's simply a question of how you prefer to spread your catastrophes. It's still true that nuclear power has the least number of lives lost per GWh of energy produced despite the Fukushima disaster.

Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2017
Ultimately, you have to contrast it with alternatives like, what if Japan had produced the same 4.7 GW for four decades with imported coal instead of nuclear power, with coal burning technology dating to 1971? How many people in the Fukushima district would have died due to smog and asthma, and lung cancer? What would the economic impact of importing that much more coal be on the people and their welfare?

So, was the cost worth it or not?
EmceeSquared
3 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2017
Eikka:
Ultimately, you have to contrast it with alternatives [...] imported coal instead of nuclear power, with coal burning technology dating to 1971?


Why coal? Even in 1971 they could have burned oil instead. By 1975 they'd be switching from oil to natgas, like NY state did then. Hell, they could have started installing solar in 1971 and by 1985 they'd be at 15% efficient PV at $5:W or something.

But even at coal, by 2011 TEPCO was selling KWhs from Fukushima for about $0.22, because it cost something like $0.17:KWh to generate (after public subsidies like insurance, which we now see why private insurers weren't willing to sell it). Or costs over $0.27 now that the true cost has to be included, though of course we know only the first estimates from a notoriously unrepentant liar corporation.

If TEPCO had warned that 40 years of Fukushima's profits at pre-meltdown prices would be return at most only 30% of its net loss, TEPCO would have been run out of Japan.

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