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Five Years Later, TEPCO Still Can’t Locate 600 Tons Of Melted Radioactive Fuel

Five Years Later, TEPCO Still Can’t Locate 600 Tons Of Melted Radioactive Fuel thumbnail

Five years after the Fukushima tragedy, TEPCO’s chief of decommissioning Naohiro Masuda admits that the company still has no idea exactly where 600 tons of melted radioactive fuel from three nuclear reactors is located.

As we discussed when we profiled the status of Fukushima on its five year anniversary, the radiation at the plant is still so powerful that it is impossible to get deep enough into the area to find and remove the melted fuel rods. The situation is so severe that even the robots that were sent in to find the highly radioactive fuel have died.

Masuda went on to say that the company still hopes to locate and remove the missing fuel, but the fuel extraction technology is yet to be determined – that assumes they are able to locate it of course.

“It’s important to find it as soon as possible. Once we can find out the condition of the melted fuel and identify its location, I believe we can develop the necessary tools to retrieve it.” said Masuda.

Of course, this is easier said than done as everyone knows – as RT points out, if the radioactivity flux killed the robots that were sent in to find the material, human exploration is obviously out of the question. The first major hurdle in this effort is to first locate the material, let alone be able to find a way to extract it.

As a reminder, when the 2011 tsunami caused the meltdown, uranium fuel of three power generating reactors gained critical temperature and burnt through the respective reactor pressure vessels, concentrating somewhere on the lower levels of the station that is currently filled with water.

The company’s decommission plan implies a 30-40 year period before the consequences of the meltdown are fully eliminated, however experts are skeptical that the technology is sufficient enough right now to deal with the task.

Given the fact that nobody knows where the radioactive fuel is at this point, it may be a possibility that it’s left there.

It may be possible that we’re never able to remove the fuel. You may just have to wind up leaving it there and somehow entomb it as it is,” said Jaczko, who headed the USNRC at the time of the Fukushima disaster.

As RT explains, melted fuel rods and tons and tons of radioactive water aren’t the only issues facing TEPCO’s clean-up effort – there is also some 10 million plastic bags full of contaminated soil concentrated in gigantic waste dumps scattered around the devastated nuclear facility.

There is also the cost of the clean up, although given the fact that the BOJ will monetize everything it’s much less of an issue. At the time of the disaster the government said it was paying TEPCO $70 billion to enable the company to accomplish its decommissioning – and that number would likely be more than $240 billion over a 40 year time frame.

To give context to the extend of the disaster, here is an eerie video of the area taken by a drone. We can only hope things are able to improve in the efforts to finally get this disaster taken care of.

34 Comments on "Five Years Later, TEPCO Still Can’t Locate 600 Tons Of Melted Radioactive Fuel"

  1. onlooker on Fri, 27th May 2016 1:55 pm
    BILLIONS of dead fish now washing up in Alaska from radiation-polluted Pacific Ocean
    And the assault on Mother Earth continues and continues.

  2. penury on Fri, 27th May 2016 2:40 pm 

    Of course they know where the melted fuel rods are. They did the computation and the melt will be exiting around the Falkland Islands. Of course this does not account for the fuel which after the explosion was found in N.Canada, Norway and Siberia.The ocean also has received a massive dose of fallout. SUPRISE

  3. onlooker on Fri, 27th May 2016 2:55 pm 

    This is just one nuclear accident imagine all over the world all the nuclear reactors going haywire. Can we say Armageddon 3.0 or is it 4.0

    Superbugs will ‘kill every three seconds’ by 2050

  4. diemos on Fri, 27th May 2016 3:41 pm 

    Oh, it’s in the basement somewhere.

    Probably behind the spare refrigerator, next to the box of christmas tree ornaments.

  5. peakyeast on Fri, 27th May 2016 4:37 pm 

    Perfect place for suicidal islamic terrorists to pick up their equipment.

    I bet the safety level is fairly low..

    Especially is they collect dead fuk-u-fish.

  6. dissident on Fri, 27th May 2016 5:30 pm 

    These idiots can’t grasp that it went into the air as aerosol and into the oceans as they were dumping thousands of tons of water on the rectors. They actually expect to find it. The corium left the reactor zone just like it did at Chernobyl. They were expecting to find it all in the basement of the Chernobyl power plant but when they actually looked they found only a small amount of the total.

  7. sidzepp on Fri, 27th May 2016 6:03 pm 

    Japan could send all the waste to Flint, Michigan!

  8. valerie benson on Fri, 27th May 2016 6:05 pm 

    So when do our great leaders tell us ignorant peasants that there is NO future and this is an extinction event? I remember the Gregory Peck movie: On The Beach. The facts are that this is a major human genocide event. I have listened to experts like Arnie Gundersen radioactive waste specialist and Michio Kaku Japanese physicist. Also have seen Youtube presentation with Jeff Rense with guests Yoichi Shimatsu Japanese journalist and Dana Durnford Bristish columbian who went up and down the west coast and checked the tidal pools for life and all the tidal pools are virtually devoid of life. Everything is dying along the west coast. I guess the government thinks that if they tell us the truth we all stop going to work and just wait for inevitable death from radiation?

  9. arkieguide on Fri, 27th May 2016 6:25 pm 

    The Japanese are making a big show of trying to handle their mess.Their big ice wall. No effort is being made up hill to stop the ground water from entering the contaminated area. ? Why ? The ice wall and all the publicity, will not solve the problem. Is where the reactor containment vessel was – open to the sky ? We have cameras that can count coins from 100,000 feet in the air, use them.For get computerized robots use mechanical means. This dam mess is one more item among many that our fed gov. will not tell us the truth about. Akin to the missing 9/11 pages.

  10. Edwin Cassidy on Fri, 27th May 2016 6:32 pm 

    The well documented object over the plant right before it blew the roof off,There was enough fuel spent/unspent in all reactors and pools that should have had more deadly of an impact on the northern hemisphere than the dousing we did get.Humanity had an intervention is my guess where the missing fuel went.

  11. Plantagenet on Fri, 27th May 2016 6:37 pm 

    I used to think the Japanese were a very competent group of people.

  12. makati1 on Fri, 27th May 2016 7:03 pm 

    One down and about 420 to go….

  13. Sissyfuss on Fri, 27th May 2016 7:41 pm 

    It’s a great big wonderful world that we live in!

  14. makati1 on Fri, 27th May 2016 7:50 pm 

    In other news:

    “6 Giant Corporations Control The Media, And Americans Consume 10 Hours Of ‘Programming’ A Day”

    “If you allow someone to pump hours of “programming” into your mind every single day, it is inevitable that it is eventually going to have a major impact on how you view the world. … it has been estimated that somewhere around 90 percent of the “programming” that we constantly feed our minds comes from them, and of course they are ultimately controlled by the elite of the world. So is there any hope for our country as long as the vast majority of the population is continually plugging themselves into this enormous “propaganda matrix”?”

    Now back to your regular scheduled …

  15. GregT on Fri, 27th May 2016 9:13 pm 

    “I used to think the Japanese were a very competent group of people.”

    Yup, they never should have allowed a GE reactor to be built in Japan. What were they thinking…………

  16. Brent Christopher on Fri, 27th May 2016 9:36 pm 

    The Earthquake registered 9.1 just off the coast of SW Japan. Having enough force to knock “anything” down that is within a 1000 miles radius. Answer me this How come when we see footage of the tsunami hitting landfall,there was absolutely no visible damage done to any of the structure’s in the path of the Tsunami. How come there were no reports of how many people died from the initial Earth Quake.? look over all the footage you want..there is no damage to any structures.
    By the way,. the nuclear fuel can be found on the ground surrounding the reactor as the tsunami hit the reactor breaching every wall of security to the reactor blew up when the tsunami hit. See the photo’s..see the reactor blasting the fuel out onto the landscape of Japan. NRC,Japan’s PM,and Israel are keeping the real series of events under wraps. All the people of Japan will at some point soon show symptoms of radiation poisoning. To much to report on. Things are not as they are told to you.

  17. Larry on Fri, 27th May 2016 9:57 pm 

    Send the Khardashians in to get the Robots. Please!

  18. onlooker on Fri, 27th May 2016 10:03 pm 

    then who is going to get the Khardashians oops I am sorry that was the point.

  19. Leslie Corrice on Fri, 27th May 2016 10:40 pm 

    All of this fabricated uncertainty and doubt is deplorable. The solidified corium is inside the PCVs, at the very least. Probably still totally inside units #2 and #3. So what if the precise location cannot be presently identified. It’s contained. Any other conclusion or inference is pure crap. Stop it! The world deserves the truth… not some fabricated crap like this!

  20. Go Speed Racer on Sat, 28th May 2016 3:39 am 

    I keep explaining this to y’all, but ya
    just don’t get it.
    Go an get a nice big hydrogen fusion nukyalur bomb from the fireworks stand.
    Put it right in the middle of Fukushima, in-between bombed-out reactors #3 and #4.

    Use only under adult supervision. Do not hold in hand. Light fuse and get away.

    When the dust clears away (it blows out to sea, towards North Korea) you have a nice blue lagoon for running your speedboat around in. It will even sweep off your driveway, as added bonus.

    And it will put 10,000 gubbamint workers out of a job, cause then it is all cleaned up.

  21. frederick on Sat, 28th May 2016 3:41 am 

    İm not so sure Leslie that the majority of the corium is still within containment İts much more likely most of it is underneath the plant in the bedrock or in the case of unit 3 became dust in the explosion that occured there and was spread around the world

  22. Anonymous on Sat, 28th May 2016 4:44 am 

    Come, on. IF they ever do find it, we know the nuk-lee-ar engineers have a plan already in place. Get even an bigger ice-making machine and freeze it to death.

    Problem solved.

    As for where the core is, Im not going to claim I know, how could I? But I suspect I know where *some* of it might have ended up.

  23. MattMephisto on Sat, 28th May 2016 4:45 am 

    It’s called a meltdown…
    “MELT”, as in going from solid to liquid and/or melting everything in its path.
    “DOWN”, as in the direction gravity will pull it until it reaches a cool enough, or moist enough area to return to a solid.


  24. shortonoil on Sat, 28th May 2016 7:02 am 

    Someone can lose their car keys, maybe their sunglasses, but 600 tons? 600 tons would take a few dump trucks most of a day to move. You don’t lose 600 tons! There is no, “it fell out of my pocket when I was shopping”! This story is a complete, absurd fabrication. It was designed to satisfy the curiosity of idiots. There are 600 hundred tons of highly radioactive radionuclides out there somewhere, and they don’t want you to to know where it is!

    If “OH – we lost it” is the best the nuclear power industry can offer, they had better shut their doors, and go into the fast food business. Their prospects for offering “deep fried rat” would be better than their prospects for producing electricity!

  25. Nukes are good for us on Sat, 28th May 2016 7:10 am 

    Why worry about it. Just build another four reactors next to it. What could go wrong?

  26. Karin on Sat, 28th May 2016 7:30 am 

    Because of their age, every nuclear reactor is at risk. Thank you Sara Shannon for your research and book – Radiation Protective Foods (2014 edition). Let’s hope that these next few years will mark the end of nuclear power and the beginning of safe renewables.

  27. Dredd on Sat, 28th May 2016 8:06 am 

    It is here (You Are Here).

  28. Davy on Sat, 28th May 2016 8:49 am 

    We will see the end of NUK in a process that may be slow or fast. Collapse is undefinable currently. Probably slow in the beginning with the possibility of dangerous and fast as society loses the ability of industrial control. We will likely continue to see renewables in the same process and the same scenario without the dangers but with the industrial decline.

    It is conceivable that what you see now will be more or less all that is going to be produced of significance meaning the end of growth without an age of transition. Once the global system goes into a palpable crisis economic abandonment along with focused and prioritized investment will rule. Governments will concentrate dwindling resources on crisis management.

    There will be no renewables age. NUK will die. Globalism will fizzle out. Fossils fuels will likely be the last to go. Millions will begin to die above what is born. Climate will become surreal and our industrialized food system will breakdown. This might be a decadal process with the normal times front loaded. Now is absolutely the time to prepare and practice personal risk management. You don’t have long to do a lot.

  29. JuanP on Sat, 28th May 2016 9:33 am 

    I am very ignorant of nuclear and radiation issues. The most reasonable explanation of what happened to the “missing” fuel that I have read so far is that it melted, consolidated, melted the steel and concrete floor and sank down, melted the ground underneath and the bedrock and kept sinking, and it is deep down under the plant now, and nobody knows exactly where or how deep.

    I don’t expect them to ever find it or retrieve it. Fukushima truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

    Exactly the same thing could happen here in Miami where we have a very similar plant built in a place where it could be subjected to a 50′ storm surge with 20′ waves on top during a worst case Class 5 hurricane. The only difference is the water would be brought by a hurricane instead of an earthquake and the flood could last hours in Florida instead of the few minutes it lasted in Fukushima. A hurricane storm surge is much worse because it can last much longer than a Tsunami, though at least it gives more warning.

  30. Kenz300 on Sat, 28th May 2016 9:56 am 

    Nuclear energy is poisoning the planet…………
    5 Years After Fukushima, ‘No End in Sight’ to Ecological Fallout

    Nuclear energy is toxic to people and the planet…..

    7 Top NRC Experts Break Ranks to Warn of Critical Danger at Aging Nuke Plants

    Nuclear energy is too costly and too dangerous…..

    How much will it cost to store nuclear waste FOREVER and who will pay for it

  31. Apneaman on Sat, 28th May 2016 10:05 am 

    Radiation Protective Foods (2014 edition)? Mmmmmm There’s no better way to start your day then by digging into a big brimming bowl of Fuka Flakes or having a hearty serving of Chernobyl O’s.

    Kids Love Em!

  32. FarQ3 on Sat, 28th May 2016 10:40 am 

    Well if 600 tonnes of hot nuclear fuel reaches ‘wet’ bedrock we could see something akin to the worlds largest radioactive steam generator.

  33. MSN Fanboy on Sat, 28th May 2016 7:24 pm 

    Radiation Protective Foods?

    I hope that is Sarcasm Karin, not utter stupidity.

    How some people function…. 90% + of humanity deserves extinction, Plato’s Cave, too right.


  34. Go Speed Racer on Sat, 28th May 2016 8:23 pm 

    Singing commercial: We put two scoops of Cesium in every package of Kellogg’s Chernobyl Bran.

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