Tepco Drills a Hole in Fukushima Reactor … Finds that Nuclear Fuel Has Gone Missing

Cold Shutdown … or Escape of Hot Fuel?

I noted last month in connection with Tepco’s announcement of “cold shutdown” of the Fukushima reactors:

If the reactors are “cold”, it may be because most of the hot radioactive fuel has leaked out.


The New York Times pointed out last month:

A former nuclear engineer with three decades of experience at a major engineering firm … who has worked at all three nuclear power complexes operated by Tokyo Electric [said] “If the fuel is still inside the reactor core, that’s one thing” …. But if the fuel has been dispersed more widely, then we are far from any stable shutdown.

Indeed, if the center of the reactors are in fact relatively “cold”, it may be because most of the hot radioactive fuel has leaked out of the containment vessels and escaped into areas where it can do damage to the environment.

After drilling a hole in the containment vessel of Fukushima reactor 2, Tepco cannot find the fuel. As AP notes:

The steam-blurred photos taken by remote control Thursday found none of the reactor’s melted fuel ….

The photos also showed inner wall of the container heavily deteriorated after 10 months of exposure to high temperature and humidity, Matsumoto said.

TEPCO workers inserted the endoscope — an industrial version of the kind of endoscope doctors use — through a hole in the beaker-shaped container at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant’s No. 2 reactor ….

The probe failed to find the water surface, which indicate the water sits at lower-than-expected levels inside the primary containment vessel and questions the accuracy of the current water monitors, Matsumoto said.

And while cold shutdown means that the water inside the reactors is below the boiling point, CNN reports:

Massive steam and water drops made it difficult to get a clear vision….

Given that steam forms when water boils, this is an indication that the reactor is not in cold shutdown.

Asahi Shimbun reports:

Tadahiro Katsuta, associate professor of nuclear engineering at Meiji University, said: “While an inside look was provided much sooner than I expected, it is still too early to rest assured. The water level is lower than estimated, so there is the possibility that the melted fuel that fell to the bottom of the vessel is not being adequately covered by water.”

The Daily Yomiuri notes that even Tepco has gone from 100% confident that water was covering the fuel to saying it is “quite unlikely” that there is any problem:

Drops of water fall like rain in the video, which was shot using an industrial endoscope. The drops were apparently the result of vapor–created by the heat from melted nuclear fuel–that cooled inside the upper part of the reactor containment vessel.

“It’s quite unlikely nuclear fuel was exposed, as liquid from condensation is dripping down,” a TEPCO official said.

Mainchi points out that reactors 1 and 3 are probably in no better shape:

The fuel inside the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors is believed to have melted through the pressure vessels and been accumulating in the outer primary containers after the Fukushima plant lost its key functions to cool the reactors in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year.

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  • Hollywood could not have dreamed up a better nuke-nightmare scenario. Ten months on and the power company officials still are not letting on as to what they plan to do to solve this crisis. Meanwhile Japan is being bombarded with radiation. This is an outrageous example of malfeasance.

  • robertsgt40

    Yeah, gone missing. Much like the way a chunk of thermite goes missing when ignited on top of an engine block.

  • gmathol

    Well you find it in the big pond called Pacific.

    As we all know – Western Cesium or Plutonium isn’t as dangerous as Russian or Ukrainian.

  • jimstonefreelance

    The fact that the sensors are showing cold shutdown all the while there is steam blurring the camera only goes to show that something is amiss with the controllers that read the sensors. This is precisely the type of thing the Stuxnet virus is supposed to do; and why are the search terms FUKUSHIMA STUXNET banned on the search engine Yippy? None of the other search engines link to the real investigation into this subject when those terms are used . . . . . . . hmmmmmmmmm.

  • Howard T. Lewis III

    Fuckin’ duh!

  • Howard T. Lewis III

    This is why no permanent storage facilities are being built. They do not know what solid material will contain the spent waste permanently. Certainly not a few feet of Portland cement or 6 inches of steel.

  • ewkeane

    Could it mean that reactors must be ready to manualy shut down, as opposed to a shut down under electromechanical/digital control?
    Reactors can be set up to get out of control, as they are designed to operate close to critical normaly.
    This whole nuke thing is a mess, thanks eggheads.

    • Wooten Berston

      We eggheads were not in charge. The pinheads and the blockheads were upstream of the eggheads and the made all the decisions. The shitheads on the boards of directors, pandering to the doughheads in the shareholders’ groups, are the ones to be tarred, thank you very much.

  • Douglas Milholland

    I reccomend watching the movie Battle for Chernobyl
    “500,000 men waged hand-to-hand combat with an invisible enemy which claimed thousands of unnamed and now almost forgotten heroes… Thanks to these men that the worst was avoided; a second explosion, ten times more powerful than Hiroshima which would have wiped out more than half of Europe. This was kept secret for twenty years by the Soviets and the West alike. ”
    In other words the soviets figured that if the corium breached the basement structures a large explosion might occur. They brought miners from the urals to dig under the reactor, placing a massive refrigerator coil system to help the steel and concrete withstand the enormous heat of the escaped fuel…. It has worked for 25 years. Am I wrong here? Is this what the Japanese are doing? I don’t think so. We may be Fuku’d again – big time

  • Greg

    Some think this is still a planet killer, this will build up over time and lower the life span of all.

  • Gabriel Jones

    Only one thing more before going to the loo: these devils belong for the rest of
    their breathing process behind bars. No South Africa style atonement negotiations
    with them to whom genocidal war and other Fukushima like projects is big bussiness.


  • johnm33

    I’m sure that on http://sherriequestioningall.blogspot.com/ or one of the numerous links there it referred to the concrete being ‘honeycombed’ and that this meant that the steel had melted out , [?and followed the molten fuel down into the ground?] . I was fairly sceptical about a ‘china syndrome’ incident and have been trying to figure out what else could have happened, but with the temp. being 44c, no fuel or water, but steam present the steam has to be rising from below. How big a hole? Are all 6 in this state? What about the other plant referred to?

  • dirtyderka

    Not only should we be asking about whether Stuxnet was found on any systems (as though Tepco EVER tells the truth), I’m starting to wonder if the death of Mitre employee John Wheeler is connected.

  • KB

    So where does it all go? Not familiar with this. Does it continue to burn towards the earths core? Or does it mix with the ground water and spread into the ocean? Does it continue to radiate into the atmosphere? Does it burn out of control? I saw a thermal pic a few months back that showed the radiation spreading from the plant’s site into the Pacific. So what’s next? What do we do?

  • warren west

    our inferiors have risen, on our bodys they feast

  • SisterKris

    Get these reactors in water immediately, then send them into space…they ALL need to get OFF OF THE PLANET. Huge project, Huge problem.

  • Wakjob

    Looks folks, the globalists are PISSED that Japan refuses to open and accept foreign workers. This “accident” is the globalists’ punishment for Japan. They are paying off the TEPCO and gov’t folks and THAT is why nothing is being done. Japan is one of the most advanced technological and orderly societies. They are masters of order and organization. There is no way they couldn’t solve this crisis. The Russians did quite well at Chernobyl. There is NO reason a year later a fullsize water pump shouldn’t be in place circulating water through the reactors. The Japanese simply are not this incompetent. WHY has nothing been done? Because the globalists have paid off compromised men to allow it to continue. The purpose is to irradiate and destroy Japan and injure and make sick her people ALL BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT GO ALONG WITH GLOBALIZATION.

    The psycho elites who run the world feel threatened by any prosperous and strong citizenry and they want any such populace weak and unproductive. Since Japan will not open up and spill out her economy to the 3rd world, THEY ARE BEING PUNISHED BY THE GLOBALISTS.