Can Spent Fuel Pools Catch Fire?

Can Spent Fuel Pools Catch Fire?

In this Fairewinds’ feature, Fairewinds Associates Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen analyzes a US government national laboratory simulation video that shows nuclear spent fuel rods do catch fire when exposed to air. This simulation video proves Fairewinds’ assertions that nuclear fuel rods can catch fire when exposed to air, and Arnie discusses the ramifications of this phenomena if the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent fuel pool were to lose cooling water. The Sandia National Laboratories video in its entirety can be seen here.

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New Analysis of Unit 3 Fuel Pool Video Reveals Top of Fuel Bundle

About This Video

A video first released by TEPCO in April has been re-analyzed by Ian Goddard and appears to reveal a handle found atop a single nuclear fuel bundle. This raises more questions about the condition of any fuel still remaining in the Unit 3 fuel pool.

Video Transcript

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Arnie Gundersen: Hi I'm Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds.

If you have been watching the site lately, it has been about 3 weeks since we have updated a video.  During that time, Maggie and I have been on the road making a couple of presentations in Massachusetts, a couple of TV shows and some radio and print.  That will be on the site over the next couple of weeks to inform you of what we have been up to.  But something happened last night that I really wanted to share with you right now.

I got an email last night from Ian Goddard.  And Ian is a long time watcher of this site and has done some really great analysis in the past as well.  He took a look at an old TEPCO video.  And Tokyo Electric had gone into the Unit 3 fuel pool just once.  You remember that Unit 3 is the reactor that is blown to smithereens.  The video showed a lot of damage.  But Ian Goddard was able to find one spot where there is clearly something that appears to be discernible.  It looks like the handle of a BWR fuel bundle.

Ian compares that bundle to other bundles which were looked at over in Unit 4 and it is pretty clear to me and a couple of other nuclear engineers I have shown it to, that this might be a single nuclear fuel bundle in the Unit 3 fuel pool.

It raises more questions than it answers.  First of all, there should be a lot of bundles there.  Yet, obviously, there is only one in this picture.   Where are the other bundles?  The other part of the question is, this should be under about 25 feet of water.  It is not, it is very near to the surface.  So what has happened to that particular bundle, or to the water level in the pool that caused it to come in such close contact with atmosphere?

Like I said, it raises more questions than it answers, but I really do want to thank Ian Goddard for discovering this.  If you have any comments or questions or thoughts on what you think it might be, please send in through the comments section on the website.

Thanks, we will get back to you soon.

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こんにちは。フェアウィンズのアーニー・ガンダーセンです。ここ3週間ほど更新しておりませんでしたが、その間マギーと私はマサチューセッツでの講 演やテレビ、ラジオの出演、執筆などをこなしながら家を離れていたのです。この模様や経過を2,3週間の内に皆様にお見せできると思います。しかし、今日 は昨夜起きたことをぜひ皆様にお伝えしたいと思ったのです。 昨夜イアン・ゴッダードさんからメールをもらいました。イアンさんはフェアウィンズのサイトに以前から注目してくれ、すばらしい分析もしています。彼は以前公開 された東電のビデオを再度検討したそうです。東電は一度だけ3号機の使用済み燃料プールを撮影しています。思い出してください。3号機は爆発でめちゃくちゃになった原子炉です。ビデオには多くのダメージが映っていました。イア ン・ゴッダードはその中に一箇所だけ、形がはっきり分かるものを見つけたのです。それは沸騰水型原子炉用の燃料集合体の取っ手のように見えます。

イアンはその取っ手と4号機の燃料プールに映し出されていた燃料集合体の取っ手を見比べてみました。ほかの何人かの核の専門家にも見せてみましたが、私にもそれは3号機の使用済み燃料プールに残っている燃料集合体のように思えるのです。 答えよりも疑問の方が多くなってしまいます。まず、燃料集合体はたくさんあるはずです。しかし、明らかに映像には一体しか映っていません。ほかの集合体はどこへ行ったのでしょう?もうひとつ、燃料集合体は水面から25フィート(7.6m)ほど下にあるはずです。しかし、この燃料集合体はそうではありません、ほとんど水面に近いのです。一体ここに映っているこの燃料集合体に何が起きたのか、または使用済み燃料プールの水位に何が起きたのか。結果としてこの燃料集合体が大気にほとんど触れる位置になっています。