Australian news, and some related international items

A safety issue that Fukushima’s operators got right

Fukushima: The Story Of A Nuclear Disaster’ Reveals New Insight Into Japanese Catastrophe International Business Times, By on February 11 2014 “……It could have been even worse, if not for one key thing that Fukushima’s operators did right:

The spent fuel pools — which store the radioactive fuel rods that have been taken out of reactors — at many U.S. reactors are crowded, a huge risk should a plant suffer an accident or a terrorist attack. Fukushima’s operators were much more proactive about adopting a system known as “dry storage,” where spent fuel is loaded into sealed metal canisters within concrete and steel casks. The heat from the fuel is removed by passive cooling, meaning workers don’t have to worry about pumping water to keep the fuel from releasing radiation.

The 408 spent fuel assemblies in dry storage at Fukushima were jostled around by the earthquake and temporarily submerged by the inundation of the tsunami wave, but were otherwise unharmed. Unlike the spent fuel in the pools, the fuel in dry storage wasn’t an immediate threat: it didn’t need to be sprayed with fire hoses or have water dumped on it from helicopters to be kept in check.

“There are lessons to be learned from what went wrong at Fukushima,” Lochbaum, Lyman and Stranahan wrote. “There are equally important lessons to be learned from what went right.”

February 12, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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