Nuclear Plant Operator: Water in Pool Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods May Be Boiling, an Ominous Sign for Release of Radioactivity
by George Washington
Kyodo News reports:
A nuclear crisis at the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant deepened Tuesday as fresh explosions occurred at the site and its operator said water in a pool storing spent nuclear fuel rods may be boiling, an ominous sign for the release of high-level radioactive materials from the fuel.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the water level in the pool storing the spent fuel rods at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 4 reactor may have dropped, exposing the rods.
The firm said it has not yet confirmed the current water level or water temperature in the pool and will try to pour water into the facility from Wednesday through holes that were created following an explosion earlier Tuesday in the walls of the building that houses the reactor.
Unless the spent fuel rods are cooled down, they could be damaged and emit radioactive substances. ***
The utility said it could not deny the possibility that the early morning explosion was caused by hydrogen generated by a chemical reaction involving the exposed spent nuclear fuel and vapor.
But it’s not just reactor number 4. Kyodo News notes: