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Fuel Amounts at Fukushima

| by David Wright | nuclear power | nuclear power safety | Japan nuclear |

A New York Times article states that 32 assemblies in the spent fuel pool of Unit 3 are MOX. The MOX fuel rods were stored in the pool but TEPCO announced they were being loaded into the core last fall, so we think those are currently in the core. (MOX fuel rods have uranium 238, a small amount of uranium 236 and plutonium in them, my note).

The same article says that a total of 11,125 spent fuel assemblies are stored at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi facility. However, not all of those are stored in the pools in the reactor buildings. Several hundred are currently in dry cask storage, and more than half of the total are stored in a common storage pool.

While BWR fuel comes in various sizes, the last column assumes 170 kg per assembly.

Each fuel assembly consists of roughly 60 fuel rods.

First chart of number of fuel assemblies / fuel rods at Fukushima Daiichi Japan nuclear power plant - from Union of Concerned Scientists blog

First chart of number of fuel assemblies / fuel rods at Fukushima Daiichi Japan nuclear power plant - from Union of Concerned Scientists blog

NOTE: On March 21, an updated set of numbers was posted here.


A cross-sectional view of a boiling water reactor with a Mark I containment like that at Fukushima Dai-Ichi. from Union of Concerned Scientist blog All Things Nuclear

A cross-sectional view of a boiling water reactor with a Mark I containment like that at Fukushima Dai-Ichi. from Union of Concerned Scientist blog All Things Nuclear

Figure 1 shows a cross-sectional view of a boiling water reactor with a Mark I containment like that at Fukushima Dai-Ichi. The reactor core is housed within a metal reactor vessel. The reactor vessel is enclosed within the primary containment structure. The reactor building completely surrounds the containment structure. The reactor building walls are made of 18 to 30 inch-thick concrete up to the elevation of the refueling platform. The walls are made of metal from that elevation to the roof.



-The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) is posting updated status charts on the Dai-Ichi and Daini nuclear plants.

Translating times between Japan and the US:

JST = Japan Standard Time = GMT + 9

EDT = Eastern Daylight Time = GMT – 4

so H:00 JST  = (H:00 – 13:00) EDT

(also from the page link above at the Union of Concerned Scientists blog “All Things Nuclear” – from March 19, 2011 post)


NOTE: On March 21, an updated set of numbers was posted here.



Here is some of what I know from the coverage over the last few days –

*  The evacuation zone around US nuclear plants that is to be evacuated in the event of a critical or dangerous nuclear situation is 10 miles.

*  The only real solution that has been designed for those who are in the fallout zone beyond being evacuated is the “shelter in place” solution such as that used in Japan right now between the 20km and 30km radius of the nuclear plant at Fukushima Daiichi –

*  “Shelter in place” in the case of a nuclear criticality event meant to close all the doors and windows, cut off all ventilation systems, cut off all airconditioning systems and outside ventilation intakes, hunker down and don’t go outside the house for any reason. There is also evidence that this would be the living environment conditions for a period of many days or even weeks in the event of a nuclear power plant disaster of some kind. (as well as there being no predictability for such an event and when that “shelter in place” may have to happen – but note that, the same is true for situations with chemical hazards from industrial plants as well as for nuclear fallout and radioactive materials in the air.)

*  There are more than 80-90 tonnes of fuel rods in each of the four reactors sitting next to one another in Fukushima Daiichi and many times that in the spent fuel rod pools and shared fuel rod pool.

*  The protective measures leave a lot to be desired.

*  And, my friends assure me that no one in America is interested in knowing more about this – unless it involves the Simpsons, the ultimate fighting matches, who is going to the NASCAR events or what kind of shoes Michelle Obama is wearing . . .

*  And, I believe they are probably right about the lack of interest. The idea that, to show the devastation happening from a real news event is too “negative” and that a warning must be made before showing a segment of the news which contains genuine grief over real people who have been lost in a real event – is about ridiculous, but happening that way nonetheless. But, I keep thinking that the audiences in the United States watch the Freddie Kruger stuff and have kept it in business, watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies and have paid to go see them and to own the video of it – and shared it with their friends, etc., etc., etc., with many, many more grotesquely graphic violent and psychotic crap. But, to see the news of what has happened in Japan – is too “negative” to suit them as news?

I don’t get it.

– cricketdiane


And, as I said last night – there is great event that would make a viral video, press and news opportunities for some organization, and an ongoing public interaction about the nuclear safety issues – but, even with this great idea that would work – it is beyond me to understand how to get paid $50 to give it to them to use it. And, I’m sure the increased participation in their organization because of it with more people knowledgeable about them and press opportunities, and the viral video too – they could have increased memberships for their organization. It is just bizarre that I don’t know how to get $50 to be able to tell them about it. But, if I don’t know how, then I don’t know how and so the organizations which might benefit from having it won’t, and the $50 that would help me buy food and pay my bills won’t be there for me either.

And, I don’t know how to fix it.

And, and – and I’m already tired of hearing that nobody wants to know about this radioactivity stuff and nuclear stuff and that if I want to make any money, that I need to go sell hotdogs on the sidewalk somewhere like the grocery store out front. I don’t know anything about hotdogs – cooking them for many or selling them on a sidewalk . . . and I don’t own a car to get there with them.

That is just about stupid.


What I do know is how to completely pay off the US debt in about six months by charging a federal sales tax on every dollar of stocks, bonds, credit default swaps, commodities trades, and exotic financial instruments being bought, sold, swapped or traded. That I know.

And, I do know how to locate information about certain things very effectively and find the real information sources about them.

I do know how to do that.

Occasionally, I think of some great idea which would promote something in particular like the two or three ideas that I’ve written down in the last few days to help bring public awareness and interest in nuclear plant safety or like the great concepts and solutions I generate in relation to something I’m researching as it awakens my thinking and creativity about it.

Those things apparently have no value unless someone else is doing it – in which case, it has value.

That’s partly because I don’t know how to talk about it properly and in the context where it could make a difference, I suppose.

There are fifty thousand ways to share information with others and only about a handful of those ways actually make a profit or are generally profitable based on the way they are set up to harvest that interest. I understand that. But, I don’t understand how to do that effectively – and then disgustingly enough, I hear these people on the other side of that wall somewhere crying to have new ideas and options for doing things and ways to let the public know about it with viral video concepts and things that could get publicity.

It is damn ridiculous.

And, the people they are paying to do it – come out with things that mostly don’t work or only half of which work despite the millions of dollars being poured into them. Unbelievable.

– cricketdiane

I’m going back to rocket science and nuclear physics that are easier.


BreakingNews Breaking News
Neutron beam, a kind of radioactive ray, has been observed 13 times at Fukushima plant since tsunami – Kyodo http://bit.ly/gI0r2I

4 hours ago


Oh yeah – and I also know that the nuclear plant at Fukushima Daiichi could’ve been completely shut down, “killed” and contained within the first twenty-four hours and certainly within the very first seven days after the earthquake and tsunami. That is the truth.

France supposedly sent 95 tons of boron to them, GE offered to come shut it down for them. And, I’m absolutely sure the Russians and Chinese were willing to send whatever might be necessary to completely stop the chain reactions and get it shut down in very short order. The fact is – the wind blowing it over their nations and over South Korea would’ve certainly been more than enough incentive to fly over some concrete, sandbags, liquid nitrogen, boron, lead and whatever else might have been required – in a very short period of time but TEPCO didn’t want to do that. They decided to do what they are doing instead with the lives of all the workers there put at risk and permanently damaged, and all the people in the surrounding territories and cities and towns affected for the rest of their lives and the entire food chain of several nations put at risk instead.

What assholes. There is not a nice word to describe the gravity and import of all this.


I was going to say that it is my thought about the way Fukushima Daiichi has been handled is the result of a different goal than the overall safety of the public – my guess is that they wanted to save the fuel to resell it, reuse it or have it “not killed” with massive boron and other avenues of stopping the overheating at the plant.

Seawater is one thing – but the fuel could still be reclaimed, with any of the other options – those tonnes of fuel rods can’t be recovered, despite the fact that it would have saved the public and the surrounding nations from overall radiation and radioactive fallout.

These aren’t isotopes that are some kind of normal radiation like from pretty sunshine – they are bizarre combinations that cause cellular damage as a fact. They are only made isotopes specific to the core of nuclear reactors. There has been cesium 137 found and iodine 131 found in these radioactive readings from the areas surrounding the plant. That specifically means they got out of that reactor and went to those places. That doesn’t happen from an enclosed containment vessel by virtue of the very concept of “containment” and “enclosed”.

The only way that could have happened is when the “containment” no longer was complete and contained – as in, breached, compromised, cracked, or “consummately buggered.”