Nuclear Expert Warns Unit 1 Fuel May Be Out Of The Reactor Building

We documented in mid-August that the melted reactor fuel (corium) may have relocated and could be leaving the unit 1 reactor building.

Now Hiroaki Koide of Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute also states this theory is the likely scenario at unit 1.

At the No. 1 reactor, there’s a chance that melted fuel has burned through the bottom of the pressure vessel, the containment vessel and the floor of the reactor building, and has sunk into the ground. From there, radioactive materials may be seeping into the ocean and groundwater.

Koide also expresses concerns about the ongoing watering tactic at units 2 and 3, that it could lead to steam explosions if the melted fuel reheats itself and moves into an area full of water. There is also the same risk if the fuel at unit 1 manages to find groundwater. He doesn’t mention why unit 1 is again so different from units 2 and 3. The main known difference is unit 1 has an older design that includes a smaller containment vessel.

Koide also expresses concern for the flow of contaminated water out of the site and the lack of a clear plan to deal with all the radioactive waste being created both at the plant and all over Japan as people attempt to decontaminate.

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