Fukushima Entombment not a slam dunk. Hitachi Maps out 30 year process. Tepco: Cold Shutdown in 6 to 9 Months.
April 17, 2011
Encasing reactors at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant in concrete would present much more of a challenge than Chernobyl, according to an executive of the firm whose pumps are helping cooling efforts there.
“In Chernobyl, where a single reactor was encased, 11 trucks were in action for a number of months. In Fukushima we’re talking about four reactors,” Gerald Karch, chief executive of the technical business of unlisted machinery maker Putzmeister, said in an interview with Reuters.
He said that while no decision had been made in Japan, concrete encasing would be the most sensible solution once the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant has cooled down.
“In my opinion, when a closed-circuit cooling system has been developed and successfully set up, there will be no other option but to encase the reactors in concrete,” he said.
He added, however, that the logistics of such an operation — getting all the necessary trucks on site, for example — would present a real challenge for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO).
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday that it aims to bring the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to a stable condition known as a ”cold shutdown” in about six to nine months, while restoring stable cooling to the reactors and spent fuel pools in about three months.
At a news conference in Tokyo, company Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata announced the utility’s schedule ”for the moment” for bringing the complex in Fukushima Prefecture under control, while offering an apology for the ongoing nuclear crisis.
The utility, known as TEPCO, also said it needs three months to achieve ”steady reduction” in radiation, and an additional three to six months to control radioactive emissions and curb radiation substantially.
It said it is addressing the immediate challenges of preventing hydrogen explosions at the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors and emission of water contaminated with high-level radiation from the No. 2 reactor.
Am I losing it, or do I remember reading the plants were in “cold shutdown” a month ago..?
Hitachi Ltd. and General Electric Co. submitted a plan to dismantle the crippled Fukushima Dai- Ichi plant they helped build as Japanese engineers battle to contain the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
The proposal, which also involves Exelon Corp. and Bechtel Corp., was submitted April 8, said Yuichi Izumisawa, a Tokyo- based spokesman at Hitachi, Japan’s second-largest maker of nuclear reactors. He declined to specify details of the plan.
The Hitachi-led proposal will vie against plans from groups led by Toshiba Corp. and Areva SA as Tokyo Electric Power Co. begins preparing to clean up a nuclear disaster that’s led to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of inhabitants. Decommissioning the reactors may take three decades and cost more than 1 trillion yen ($12 billion) to complete, engineers and analysts say.
A competing plan from a group lead by Toshiba Corp., was said to lay out a lightning-fast 10 year process.
Nuclear Technology. Another enterprise too big to fail.