Pravda.ru

Hotspots and Incidents » Disasters, catastrophes

Fukushima's first reactor melts down completely

12.05.2011
 

The fuel rods of the first reactor of Japan's troubled Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant have melted down completely. The total meltdown took place because the rods were not covered with water fully.

To all appearance, the melted mass is currently resting on the bottom of the reactor, under the water. The mass is being cooled, TEPCO officials said Thursday.

TEPCO acknowledged the total meltdown of nuclear fuel in one of the three damaged reactors of Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant. The biggest danger now is the possibility of hydrogen explosion inside the reactor. However, both the operation of the nuclear plant and experts evaluate the danger as insignificant.

The external surface of the reactor shell remains relatively "cool" - from 100 and 120 degrees Celsius.

Yoshiaki Oka, a nuclear engineering professor at Tokyo's Waseda University, said that workers pump nitrogen into the reactor to prevent a hydrogen explosion. The probability of explosion is extremely low, the professor told reporters.

It became possible to find out what happened in the reactor after ventilation equipment in the first reactor reduced the content of radioactive particles in the air. The equipment was installed last week. Afterwards, workers could enter the building and install gauges there.

It became known that the water level in the first reactor is five meters low than required. It means that four-meter red-hot fuel rods were not cooled by water. As a result, the rods have already melted down completely. There is still some water on the bottom of the reactor: the water cools the melted mass, expert said.

TEPCO specialists previously said that the rods in the first reactor had been 55 percent destroyed. The company currently pumps eight tons of water an hour between the reactor shell and its external steel surface. This will create a water sarcophagus to cool the system.

The situation in the second and in the third reactor of the nuclear power plant is not completely clear either. TEPCO experts said that 30 or 35 percent of the fuel rods at those reactors may have been destroyed. In the second reactor, it is highly likely that the steam condensate pool of the reactor has been damaged. Radioactive water leaks through the damaged pool.

Extremely high temperatures have been registered in the third reactor. The fourth reactor of the nuclear power plant had been shut down for technical servicing before the tsunami and the quake. There was no fuel in the fourth reactor. The fifth and the sixth reactors have not been damaged much. They have been shut down and remain stable.

AP photo






3029

Popular photos

Most popular

Can the Russian ruble decline in value even more?
Can the Russian ruble decline in value even more?
The Russian government is not considering an opportunity for the Russian ruble to weaken further. "This is nonsense, because the rates of the Russian ruble and other currencies depend on demand and...
Russia will shoot down Turkish jets in Syria, Deputy Defense Minister says
Russia will shoot down Turkish jets in Syria, Deputy Defense Minister says
Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said that Turkey had refused to confirm its agreement with the memorandum of flight safety in Syria and blocked a telephone hot line prior to the attack on the...

Video

Popular photos

Рейтинг@Mail.ru Rambler_s_Top100_Service