Setback at Fukushima No. 1 plant threatens reactor 3 rod removal


Tokyo Electric Power Co. has disclosed that a 35-ton piece of machinery debris might be resting on the inner gate of the spent fuel pool for reactor 3 of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant and that the gate is slightly out of position.

Tepco said Thursday that a fuel-handling machine dislodged during the March 2011 quake, tsunami and meltdown-triggered hydrogen explosions is touching one of two gates that stand between the pool and the reactor containment vessel.

The utility confirmed by underwater camera that both of the 8-meter-high, 1.6-meter-wide gates are slightly out of position but said the pool remains properly sealed due to water pressure and does not appear to be leaking.

A plan to remove the debris is being hammered out. If the gates are damaged, it might trigger a water leak from the pool, which contains 566 spent fuel assemblies, the utility said.

Tepco was planning to finish debris removal at the No. 3 reactor pool by the end of June and start removing the old fuel rods by the end of September. Tepco said it is not clear whether the latest setback will change that.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Four years later, and TEPCO just found this out? Poor Japan. The country is stuck with the folly.

  • dosdos

    They are still clinging to the myth that Unit 3 was a simply a hydrogen explosion. When will they admit that it was a nuclear detonation of the molten MOX in the reactor base? It’s the only way that the 15 exabequerels of xenon 133 released from Unit 3 could have been generated. Lots of evidence from four years ago has been conveniently forgotten, in the hopes that the critical instability of MOX in a meltdown would be forgotten.

  • Teri

    I am so angry regarding the permanent damage the nuclear industries have wrought upon our planet and all of it’s unsuspecting life forms. Cancers and other ailments are escalating side by side with the increasing levels of *supposedly safe* radiation ever since the nuclear boys first began playing with their deadly toys over 70 years ago. Chernobyl certainly got our attention, but Fukushima is the latest straw that finally breaks the camel’s back and should be jarring us into awareness.

    Man made radiation from the 3 meltdowns, that Tepco has no ability to stop, is STILL pouring into the Pacific daily, adding documented amounts of deadly radiation to an already massively polluted ocean. Food chains are being destroyed! Species, from the smallest bottom level phytoplankton up to the larger fish and mammals, are rapidly diminishing as radiation rapidly bio-accumulates in all life forms.

    There is NO safe place on earth to store nuclear waste that has half lives into
    hundreds of thousands of years. Think about it! WIPP in the USA only made it for 15 years. Plus, it’s a documented fact that the Yucca Flats geology was officially declared by consultants to be a dangerous location, unstable and unusable even before construction began.

    It’s well past time to end this madness that only puts money in the pockets of people who profit from nuclear related industries at our expense! It’s not a secret that man made radiation causes genetic mutations at cellular levels and once it’s re-circulating in the air, water and life forms, it is FOREVER, being absorbed by we humans too. Now, the big question is… who of our generations of innocent offspring will be cursed with babysitting the life destroying nuclear waste mess they inherit!

  • Timothy Milhomme

    This event should be the only concern of anyone. Right now it might be too late to save every living thing on this planet. It is amazing that most people barely remember the original disaster let alone it has been 4 years. 1 year into the disaster Arnie Gundersen said that if fuku wasn’t taken care of right away it would cause an extinction level event.

  • George Henry

    They’re going to hold the Olympics in Tokyo. If it were my kid who was competing I wouldn’t let them go. The entire country, especially Tokyo and environs, are contaminated with radioactivity. Unbelievable tragedy that we have no means of stopping. Wow… just wow.