What Cold Shutdown Is And Looks Like
The Japanese government and TEPCO have declared December 16th cold shutdown day.
Both have been pushing this inaccurate terminology for months along with trying to tie it to wider agendas such as forcing people to go home, even if it isn’t safe.
What is cold shutdown?
shutdown refers to the state of the reactor when it is subcritical by at least a margin defined in the reactor’s technical specifications. Further requirements for being shut down may include having the reactor control key be secured and having no fuel movements or control systems maintenance in progress.
cold shutdown when, in addition, its coolant system is at atmospheric pressure and at a temperature below 200 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. 95 degrees Celsius). This temperature is low enough that the water cooling the fuel in a light water reactor does not boil even when the reactor coolant system is de-pressurized.
Most accounts estimate the fuel has melted through the reactor vessels. A complete meltdown in no way meets the intention of the status of cold shutdown that would happen under normal operating conditions. Maybe we should draw the DoJ and TEPCO a picture?
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