Friday, March 18, 2011

Where'd the water go?

Updating our Fukushima FUBAR post, the mystery of the water in Unit 4's spent-fuel pool may have an answer:
Additionally, a senior Western nuclear industry executive said that there also appeared to be damage to the floor or sides of the spent fuel pool at Reactor No. 4, and that this was making it extremely hard to refill the pool with water. The problem was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

Engineers had said on Thursday that a rip in the stainless steel lining of the pool at Reactor No. 4 and the concrete base underneath it was possible as a result of earthquake damage. The steel gates at either end of the storage pool are also vulnerable to damage during an earthquake and could leak water if they no longer close tightly.

The senior executive, who asked not to be identified because his comments could damage business relationships, said Friday that a leak had not been located but that engineers had concluded that it must exist because water sprayed on the storage pool has been disappearing much more quickly than would be consistent with evaporation.
Units 2 and 3 also continue to deteriorate, and we are now being warned about "recriticality" when melting fuel rods clump together in a mess.

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