The Amount of Radioactive Fuel at Fukushima DWARFS Chernobyl

Science Insider noted yesterday:

The Daiichi complex in Fukushima, Japan … had a total of 1760 metric tons of fresh and used nuclear fuel on site last year, according to a presentation by its owners, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). The most damaged Daiichi reactor, number 3, contains about 90 tons of fuel, and the storage pool above reactor 4, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) Gregory Jaczko reported yesterday had lost its cooling water, contains 135 tons of spent fuel. The amount of fuel lost in the core melt at Three Mile Island in 1979 was about 30 tons; the Chernobyl reactors had about 180 tons when the accident occurred in 1986.

And see this.

That means that Fukushima has nearly 10 times more nuclear fuel than Chernobyl.

It also means that a single spent fuel pool – at reactor 4, which has lost all of its water and thus faces a release of its radioactive material - has 75% as much nuclear fuel as at all of Chernobyl.

However, the real numbers are even worse.

Specifically, Tepco very recently transferred many more radioactive spent fuel rods into the storage pools. According to Associated Press, there were – at the time of the earthquake and tsunami – 3,400 tons of fuel in seven spent fuel pools plus 877 tons of active fuel in the cores of the reactors.

That totals 4,277 tons of nuclear fuel at Fukushima.

Which means that there is almost 24 times more nuclear fuel at Fukushima than Chernobyl.

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