photo by kind courtesy of @atuktekt (*click the photo for details)


A quarter of all nuclear fuel assemblies in Fukushima's Reactor 1 damaged before the earthquake, says TEPCO | Kahoku Shimpo

A quarter of all nuclear fuel assemblies in Fukushima's Reactor 1 damaged before the earthquake, says TEPCO

福島第1原発1号機 燃料震災前破損70体 全体の4分の1

November 16, 2013
Originally posted by Kahoku Shimpo

Reactor 4 SFP (Spent Fuel Pool) slated for removal operation
Source: TEPCO (8 Nov 2013) *Japanese

*Click the image to enlarge

According to Kahoku Shimpo, 70 of the fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool (SPF) of Reactor 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which accounts to a quarter of total of 292 of them stored within the SPF, was damaged before the Great East Japan Earthquake hit the area on 11 March 2011 crippling the facility, its operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) revealed on Friday. This has raised concerns of the planned removal of fuel and decommissioning operation of the same reactor scheduled to begin as early as 2017, as technologies to remove a damaged fuel assembly have yet to be established, reports the local newspaper.

 (Official video presentation by TEPCO on the removal operation)

Until Friday, TEPCO has never revealed the details on the matter. But as they explained they insisted that they have "always informed the government." According to them, the 70 fuel assemblies in question were removed from the reactor and stored in a different location within the SPF due to "leakage of radioactive substances out of small holes found in them," creating recurring problems. 

The fuel removal scheduled to begin on Monday for Reactor 4 has also suffered a setback, as there are at least three fuel assemblies that are also damaged and the company has determined that it would be too difficult to perform and has set them aside for future operations. (related story)

Aside from Reactors 1 and 4, Reactor 2 has three, and Reactor 3 has four assemblies that are also damaged, making the total number of damaged assemblies to 80. TEPCO is considering the option of building a new dedicated transport vessel to address the issue.

Source: Safety Measures etc. concerning Fuel Removal from Unit 4 in Fukushima Daiichi NPS (5 Nov 2013)

On the reason why so many of the damaged assemblies are concentrated in Reactor 1, TEPCO explained, 

"Reactor 1 is our oldest power station and we have heard reports that the quality control of the fuel rods during their production was poor and the product quality was also inferior. Rods for Reactor 2 and beyond have been refined and their quality have improved."

Reactor 1 was TEPCO's first nuclear power plant to start its operation in March 1971.

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