Kyoto U. expert: Melted fuel may have sunk into ground — “We are now head to head with a situation that mankind has never faced before”

Friday, September 9, 2011
By Paul Martin

ENENews.com
September 9th, 2011

Nuclear fuel has possibly fallen into the ground — can’t imagine how melted fuel could be recovered

Radiation expert says outcome of nuke crisis hard to predict, warns of further dangers, Mainichi, September 9, 2011:

Hiroaki Koide, Nuclear safety expert at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute

[...] At the No. 1 reactor, there’s a chance that melted fuel has burned through the bottom of the pressure vessel, the containment vessel and the floor of the reactor building, and has sunk into the ground. [...]

It’s doubtful that there’s even a need to keep pouring water into the No.1 reactor, where nuclear fuel is suspected to have burned through the pressure vessel. [...]

Recovering the melted nuclear fuel is another huge challenge. I can’t even imagine how that could be done. When the Three Mile Island accident took place in 1972, the melted nuclear fuel had stayed within the pressure vessel, making defueling possible. With Fukushima, however, there is a possibility that nuclear fuel has fallen into the ground, in which case it will take 10 or 20 years to recover it. We are now head to head with a situation that mankind has never faced before. [...]

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