Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Japan Earth

Endoscopic Exam of Fukushima Reactor 120

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-want-this-large-glove dept.
mdsolar writes with this excerpt from the Sydney Morning Herald: "Radiation-blurred images taken inside one of Japan's tsunami-hit nuclear reactors show steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by 10 months of exposure to heat and humidity. The photos — the first inside-look since the disaster — showed none of the reactor's melted fuel or its cooling water but confirmed stable temperatures and showed no major ruptures caused by the earthquake last March, said Junichi Matsumoto, spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company." Here's a video.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Endoscopic Exam of Fukushima Reactor

Comments Filter:
  • ''Given the harsh environment that we had to operate, we did quite well - it's a first step,'' Mr Matsumoto said. ''But we could not spot any signs of fuel, unfortunately.''

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:44AM (#38771996)

      It's more a lack of confirmation than an actual problem.

      It's like saying "Well, this telescope is aimed at the night sky, but it's not in focus so we can't see Jupiter" rather than "OMG, the planet Jupiter is missing from the Heavens!"

      Sorry, I ran out of car analogies.

      • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:47AM (#38772006)

        More to the point, what does this mean for the layman?

        Was the fuel consumed in the disaster? Did the containment vessel melt and the fuel escape? What are the possibilities, for those whose science courses are quite a few years back? :)

        • by Microlith (54737) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:58AM (#38772044)

          It could all be at a pile near the bottom of the reactor vessel and it simply can't be seen yet. If there was a meltdown, this is the most likely case. Then they need to look inside the containment vessel (which the reactor vessel is inside) and check the reactor vessel from below to see if there was any escape. Don't know if they've done this.

        • by Loki_1929 (550940) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:00AM (#38772052) Journal

          "He said it would take more time and better technology to get to the melted fuel, most of which had fallen into an area the endoscope could not reach."

          The current tools simply can't go where the fuel is, so they can't yet inspect it. They've confirmed there are no major breaches and are now looking over the information they've been able to gather to see what everything looks like inside. The fuel comment was a regret about the limitations of the tools they have to use, not so much a cause for alarm about anything being amiss.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Idou (572394)

            They've confirmed there are no major breaches . . .

            in the places that they have looked at so far (which was difficult because of all the moister i.e. "steam"). They also confirmed that there was no water where they had been claiming the water level was, so they just say "oh, the water level must just be a couple more meters down . . ."

            This, plus your comment, supports the notion that this is not a scientific endeavor that we are observing but a propaganda one . . . The most optimistic view that cannot be unproven at the moment becomes the assumed truth u

        • by AHuxley (892839) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:04AM (#38772068) Homepage Journal
          Re What are the possibilities?
          http://fairewinds.com/content/cancer-risk-young-children-near-fukushima-daiichi-underestimated [fairewinds.com]
          January 17, 2012 Arnie Gundersen - energy advisor with 39-years of nuclear power engineering experience -(Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in nuclear engineering)
          • by Anonymous Coward

            So...is he a MD? I have a degree in Computer Science, so can I give diagnosis to someone who got boinked in the head by a HP Proliant server just because 'I know computer'?

          • by wrook (134116) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @07:34AM (#38773158) Homepage

            I recommend doing a Google Search on Arnie Gundersen's name. He is a hired consultant for anti-nuclear lobbyists. There is a record of people complaining about the exagerration of his experience. From what I have been able to find, he does indeed have a master's degree in nuclear engineering. He also worked briefly as a technician in a non-operational plant (I haven't been able to find reliable reports on how long he was employed in that capacity, but I have read that he has never worked at an operational plant. It seems likely that he last worked in a nuclear facility in the early 70s.). Most of his career has been as a high school math teacher.

            As a high school teacher myself, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that profession. But when these kinds of stories come out with quotes from him (and if you really do the googling, you will see that there are a *lot* of scary sounding predictions from him going back decades), you are always left with the impression that he is an insider in the nuclear industry. But rather he seems to be just a guy with an engineering degree who doesn't like nuclear power. At one point some anti-nuclear lobbyists latched on to him as being a credible source and have used him as an expert witness in trials or to make sound bites like the above. It appears (but I can not verify) that his 39 years of nuclear power engineering is mostly his work as a consultant for lobbyists rather than actively working as an engineer.

            This is, of course, simply an opinion based on googling around. I recommend having a look yourself.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by AmiMoJo (196126)

              Detailed studies carried out by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) in 2003 reported an excess of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma near UK nuclear plants. Those are plants that did not have major accidents. This was an official government report using large amounts of evidence and has not been robustly refuted by any yet. The government's position has always been that there is no danger, so naturally they were not happy when this came out.

              Furthermore a 1997 Ministry

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                I didn't read the entire latest COMARE report, but the summary says "it has been concluded that the risk estimate for childhood leukaemia associated with proximity to an NPP is extremely small, if not zero".

              • by Strider- (39683)

                Detailed studies carried out by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) in 2003 reported an excess of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma near UK nuclear plants. Those are plants that did not have major accidents. This was an official government report using large amounts of evidence and has not been robustly refuted by any yet. The government's position has always been that there is no danger, so naturally they were not happy when this came out.

                Did they perform a similar study on the cancers of people downwind from coal power plants? There are far too many variables in cancer risks to narrow it down to just the nuclear power plant. I recall a similar study that showed elevated cancer risk allegedly from high voltage power lines and substations. In the end, it turned out that A) the data was cherry picked to support the conclusion and B) the affected areas had old, leaking transformers which were releasing PCBs into the environment.

                • by AmiMoJo (196126)

                  Did they perform a similar study on the cancers of people downwind from coal power plants?

                  Yes, they were comparing rates with those around other types of plants (we have coal and gas), as well as the control level in cities.

                  What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that radiation is not all the same. The stuff that comes out of coal plants is very different to what comes out of nuclear plants, the latter being much more of a health risk.

                  There are far too many variables in cancer risks to narrow it down to just the nuclear power plant.

                  Well it would be an incredible coincidence that all nuclear plants in the UK have the same elevated levels if it were not down to the plants themselves.

                  In the end, it turned out that A) the data was cherry picked to support the conclusion and B) the affected areas had old, leaking transformers which were releasing PCBs into the environment.

                  We

            • by mdsolar (1045926)
              His analysis of the TEPCO data was pretty spot on, and much more accurate that TEPCO's. Maybe you just wish he weren't and expert. How could you know yourself really?
              • by wrook (134116)

                If you would kindly supply links to what you are referring to, I'd have a chance. However, I caution you to noy rely too much on what the western press has reported on TEPCO. The reporting was truly abysmal. I've stated previously that I'm not a fan of TEPCO, but at the time of the disaster, their reporting was by and large timely and accurate. Unfortunately the western press wrote a lot of things that were either mistranslations of the original reports, misunderstandings of the issues or possibly even

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          If they do find it, I wonder why they can't just contain and remove it somehow. Fill the pit with concrete, let it harden, then cut it out, remove it, and store it elsewhere.

          Oh man, I can just see the setup for a movie now. The core leaks out into the ocean which creates a giant radioactive whale that gets it revenge on Japan by curbstomping sushi restaurants.

          • by tmosley (996283)
            Concrete won't contain the molten fuel. If it could, it wouldn't have breached the floor or the reactor in the first place.
      • by jamesh (87723) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:35AM (#38772188)

        It's more a lack of confirmation than an actual problem.

        It's like saying "Well, this telescope is aimed at the night sky, but it's not in focus so we can't see Jupiter" rather than "OMG, the planet Jupiter is missing from the Heavens!"

        Sorry, I ran out of car analogies.

        "Dude! Where's my car?" is probably all the analogy you need.

    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      McCOY: Endoscopic examination is unrevealing in these cases!
      DOCTOR #1: A simple evacuation of the expanding nuclear disaster will relieve the pressure.
      McCOY: My God, man, drilling holes in the reactor not the answer. The containment must be repaired. Now put away your butcher knives and let me save this reactor before it's too late!
    • This diagram shows where they were looking. Might have seem melted fuel from that angle but they did not. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120120006919.htm [yomiuri.co.jp]
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NospAm.hotmail.com> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:49AM (#38772014) Journal
    They should have just hired an animator to draw th e inside of the reactor. It'd be a lot more informative, and given that the interim asessement of Tepco's response "reveals at times an almost cartoon-like level of incompetence.", woud be quite appropriate.
    http://www.economist.com/node/21542437 [economist.com]
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      First they are criticised for making assumptions, now they check exactly what is happening and you criticise them for verifying the integrity of the reactor vessel and the internal conditions. It is hardly informationless, we clearly know for certain more than we did before. TEPCO made some big mistakes but you could at least try to not instantly disapprove of everything they do without considering it first.

      Or perhaps you have a better idea? What would you be doing differently at this stage?

      • Or perhaps you have a better idea? What would you be doing differently at this stage?

        Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

  • Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by snowgirl (978879) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:57AM (#38772036) Journal

    Der Spiegel [spiegel.de] has some video, the commentary is all in German, but at least it's better than still pictures...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Press release documents (pictures, videos, etc):
      http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/110311/index-e.html

  • Blurred (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:04AM (#38772070)

    Trying to figure out if the small white speckles are gamma rays or neutrons hitting the CCD. Beta probably wont penetrate that far through the camera body and alpha certainly won't.

    The bright white, fast moving streaks are drops of water, probably from core spray inlets (similar to a shower) which has been flowing since the incident.

    Chernobyl photography (exclusively film) was similarly damaged by radiation. Taking those photos eventually killed the photographers.

    The fuel isn't visible because it slagged into corium at the bottom (or below) the pressure vessel. The camera can in from the top and there is a big collection of crap in the way. It may be years before the slagged fuel is sighted.

    • Despite the blurry images, one can appreciate the interior design and decoration. It didn't change much since my last visit.
  • That is not endoscopy, by my ass. Shit, even Goatse comes closer to that.

  • 1: What's the temperature inside the reactor room?
    2: About three hundred degrees.
    <pause>
    1: That's not bad. Is there any water remaining in the pool?
    2: No.
    1: Humidity?
    2: None.
    1: Sh*t.
    <pause>
    1: Pebbles or slag in the bottom of the pool?
    2: No idea.
    <pause>
    1: Bring the Aldrich catalog, Fisher, VWR, and anything else you are able to find. I want sensors. Digital sensors, photoelectric multiplier tubes, diode arrays, sensors for any wavelength, frequency, ridge pattern, oscilloscopes

  • Fox News reports [foxnews.com] is reporting that although Tepco can't see the fuel because of steam in the containment area, and although they can't find the current water level, the internal temperature of 112F qualifies as proof that the "cold shutdown" has been successful.

    The other point of view at the washington post [washingtonsblog.com] is that if they can't see the fuel, it has broken completely through the containment system, and "Given that steam forms when water boils this is an indication that the reactor is not in cold shutdown.

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

Working...