Water on Fukushima fuel/ radiation levels remain elevated

In Breaking News, Radiation on March 18, 2011 at 9:03 AM


The decision to drop water over the spent fuel pools with CH 47 Chinook helicopters is probably inefficient because is really difficult hit in the middle of so little target.

Even without radioactivity, it is a very challenging task to a pilot. I have seen firefighters in my country trying to extinguish a forest fire with light aircraft, helicopters and hydroplanes, and they needed a lot of flights (and we are talking now of a more fierce radioactive fire).

At first, maybe a chopper with a hose could have poured water directly into the pools, but now radiaction levels make impossible that kind of task.

TEPCO and the Japanese government are reacting again too late, and in a matter of time the unique solution is going to be sealing the whole plant.




This morning Japan time, two CH 47 Chinook helicopters began dropping tons of water onto the used nuclear fuel stored in pools at the unit 3 and unit 4 reactor. The helicopters made four passes, and have claimed some success, though footage on NHK television shows most of the water dispersing before it reaches the reactor building.


So far the efforts have done little to reduce radiation levels around the plant: NHK reports that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the plant, has seen no change in radiation levels 100 m from unit 3 (the broadcaster does not give a number).



I estimated from Union of Concerned Scientists Data that the pond was about 10m by 10 m by 15 m and that the lower third contained fuel rods. Given that the rods need to be exposed to generate hydrogen that says 2/3 of the pool needed to evaporate from fri afternoon to tuesday morning. Doing the math (about 1,500 cubic metres with 1,000 evaporated over four days) I estimate they need 200 liters per minute of pumping capacity into the pond. That is doable with a firehose, but represents about 20 chinook loads per day at 100% delivery. In short, this is a real problem.

Posted by: Dr Kingsley Jones


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