On The Trail Of Missing Fukushima Fuel

By Richard Wilcox, PhD

The location of the melted fuel (corium) at the Fukushima nuclear power station #1, in reactors 1, 2 and 3, is historic because of the massive radioactivity of the material. Depending on its location it will emit deadly radiation into the environment for a long, long time to come.

A few days ago I commented on the high radiation reading (530 sieverts per hour) inside the unit 2 reactor that was discovered by engineers. This reading was not “new” in the sense that the radiation is increasing, indicating that Godzilla is emerging from underground hibernation, but that the radiation was “discovered” for the first time by engineers.

This is not rocket science folks, but I guess people prefer scary “end of the world” scenarios rather than studying bland engineering procedures.

Just because you don’t know what is in that hotdog or sausage that tastes so good at a summer barbeque (pigs hooves, gristle, rat pellets, etc.,) does not mean it’s not in there, it just means you either don’t, can’t or choose not to know.

In the case of Fukushima it is a step by step process of sending the latest high tech robots on suicide missions down into the radioactive pits of Hell in order to gather forensic evidence that will hopefully lead to an understanding and solution to the missing melted fuel (corium) crisis.

Although the latest procedure involving the Scorpion robot has been called a “failure” or an “aborted mission,” in fact the mission retrieved useful information.

In the latest update from the Simply Info website we now learn that the highest reading found in unit 2 was “210” sieverts per hour — less than half the estimate that was made by less precise measurements a week earlier (1).

It is worth noting that these [radiation] readings are not ‘increasing’ but are the result of venturing into the more deadly areas of the reactor where they have been unable to previously.

Engineers believe “a very thick amount of fuel debris can be seen in the lower right section of the image.” Is this an indication that the corium may be near there, or is it just one chunk of it, with more scattered in different places?

A bizarre and eerie montage of photographs inside the destroyed unit 2 reactor

Nancy Foust of SI reported to me:

That pile of material appears to be some form of corium, with how low the radiation in the pedestal was it may be fairly diluted with other materials. If they can retrieve a sample that would give more information about what that blob is made of. The larger mass of corium is still MIA. Finding that is going to be the next big deal.

Still, this could be a sign that the corium has not spread all the way to Timbuktu, meaning that eventually the mass of deadly materials can be retrieved, or at least dealt with in some protective way, where it lies.

This is one heck of a science project folks. Maybe it’s time for the countries of the world to consider abandoning nuclear power and switch to safer alternatives for energy such as wind and solar power. Just an idea.

Engineers are also readying a robot to enter the unit 1 reactor in order to better determine its status and attempt to locate the corium there (2).

* Richard Wilcox lives in Japan and has followed the Fukushima disaster since it occurred in 2011. He is a periodic contributor to Activist Post.


[1] Scorpion Dies In Fukushima Unit 2, Sends Back Data

[2] Pmorph Robot Prepares For Fukushima Unit 1 Entry

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