During the first three years of the cleanup, TEPCO has been surveying the site to create maps of radiation levels. The next step is removing radioactive debris and scrubbing radioactive materials off walls and floors. Spent fuel must be removed from the pools in the reactor buildings; leaks must be plugged. Only then will workers be able to flood the containment structures so that the melted globs of nuclear fuel can safely be broken up, transferred to casks, and carted away.
Meet the team of robots who will dismantle Fukushima
— By Janet Fang on March 9, 2014, 8:57 PM PST
The current issue of IEEE Spectrum has a thorough discussion. It includes the embarrassing revelation that the Japoanese govt. had funded a robotic R&D effort some years back, just for such disasters, but decided to de-fund it because it might be perceived as admnitting nuclear power was unsafe. Thus, the 1st robots to go in came from the US.
Those of us who've worked for Japanese companies have often witnessed similar 'face-saving' myopia that sadly often lead to actual loss of face.
Why are people here not concerned with what will happen to the radioactive waste?
These new robots better be great at digging holes underwater since that is where the corium(s) are headed.
How will those in charge really communicate with US about what is happening, or will it be far more of the same old mis-direction?
Here is a great example: Leaked Emails Expose NRC’s Cover-Up of Safety Concerns Days After Fukushima Disaster | EcoWatch http://ecowatch.com/2014/03/10/leaked-emails-nrcs-fukushima/
Here is a great listing of internal NRC emails that give a sense of what was being discussed immediately after 3/11/11 occurred:
Note: It takes a while to load, but it is worth it and/or saving to disc.
BTW: I'm surprised that it is still publicly available...!
NRC employees talking in coded phrases, using foreign languages, trying to tell each other to follow the chain of command so as not to make any public statements and even to other US Gov't. Labs (which were the most telling emails to me) to not get involved.
Taken together, they illustrate just how bad Fukushima really was, despite the happy face that BOTH the NRC and the Nuclear Industry tried their best to project to the public.
It has been a rough road for the past 3 years and in retrospect, I'd give the NRC a D+ grade and I'd give the US Nuclear Industry a D- grade for their handling of Japans Nuclear Debacle.
To be fair, sometimes those in the Nuclear Industry do get it right but what they have to say is not welcomed by their associates, even though it is the truth:
"Clearly we're witnessing one of the greatest disasters in modern time."
- AREVA Executive VP
March 21, 2011
The BIG issue I and an increasing number of others have with new NPP's is the ongoing creation of ever more radioactive waste (☢W). The generation of large amounts of radioactive waste (☢W) is just another form of pollution which is just one of the reasons that prevents NPP from being GREEN, despite what many of those that support building NPP claim. This topic, which is glossed over in most NPP discussions is referred to, if radioactive waste (☢W) is mentioned at all, as a separate issue because it will be "someone else's problem way down the road". Because voters realize that they (and their children, their grandchildren, and all of their future descendants) will have to be the ones paying for it. In reality, it is such a BIG PROBLEM that it's name is like the Dark Lord in the Harry Potter Series) never even mentioned aloud during public discussions of different types of generation, which is why radioactive waste (☢W) will continue to haunt the entire nuclear industry. To be clear, all the problems associated with long term ☢W storage includes the many CENTURIES of storage that ☢W requires, the cost of which is even now increasing used to point out that new NNP's just do not not pencil out in todays Energy generation market place. Left completely unsaid, until almost exactly 3 years ago, is the fact that nuclear generation's cost is also based upon the HOPE that nothing goes BAD, because if that happens for any reason, as Fukushima has proven, then "all bets are off" at which time the cost of one or more NPP could easily result in a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster or far worse!
Robots are sexy especially to the Japanese MSM but in reality they will not save the Japanese People from the Nuclear Utility Gangs that control the Government and thereby the Japanese people!
The Japanese (Utility Gangs) will milk mankind for the mess they created - CaptD
The Fukushima cleanup will enrich the Yakuza with Billions of Yen each year for many decades to come, increasing their Power over the Japanese people and all those downwind from Fukushima!
Happy 3rd Anniversary of Fukushima which occurred on 03/11/11 ===> N☢T
These frantic research to improve the robotic field could bring an unexpected positive outcome: A brand new series of super robots to be used in daily life.
Robots to help in hospital as nurses, etc., robots to take care of all the house tasks, and any other field you can think of.
The negative side of all that robotic help will produce human beings of enormous size because nobody will do a stitch of work and the Ms Universe of that time will be a standard size 34.
But the idea of having excellent service at home during 24 hrs with total disregard on privacy issues is too good to be dismissed!
It could be a dream come true! (provided we can stay slender, of course).
What slows Fukushima recovery isn't technology but money and will. Japan attempts to 'fix' material problems with gimmicks and PR.
Controlling water flows in- and out of the facility would require a sheet-pile cofferdam, a conventional water control structure installed w/ pile drivers. The Japanese govt needed to build such a cofferdam around the entire site as soon as possible after the meltdowns too keep cooling water inside the facility and groundwater out. Instead ... ?
For access to- and from the facility, Japan's govt needed to build a railroad spur. Rail cars have higher capacity and smaller footprint and won't distribute radioisotopes all over the highway network as w/ trucks.
Japan's government needed to hire Boots and Coots to horizontally drill under the facility from a distance and locate the cores. Core material can also be removed by drilling and drill-core handling, something that is routine in petroleum production business.
Cleanup and material removal inside the reactor does not need billion dollar robots but cheap lead bricks and relays of human workers (Japanese soldiers). This was how Three Mile Island plant was decommissioned.
Japan needs to remove fuel and spent fuel from reactor units #5 and #6 as a first priority. Otherwise, Tepco will be tempted to bring these units back online. Fuel material needs to be completely removed from the site (by way of the low-tech railroad), not just relocated to the common fuel pool 100 meters from the decrepit reactors. A serious problem at any of the 6 reactors and the fuel pool will be out of reach: thousands of tons of plutonium-laced waste that can catch fire or worse.
Long past time for bosses to get real about Fukushima and make the proper effort to clean up the mess they themselves are responsible for. If the outcome is bankruptcy of Japan's status quo and the end of the nuclear industry so be it. They are not sacred cows.
I really don't think it will take 40 years, and if really looks like it will, they might opt for the expedient of simply encasing the mess in boron-doped concrete to make it an artificial hill. That being said, I think the nightmare occurred because some political type over-ruled the engineers when time came to site the emergency equipment. After all, what competent engineer would put emergency equipment at ground level in an earthquake and tsunami zone? None! Still, most folks blame the reactor design and/or the engineers who built the thing when the critical decisions were most likely not made by them.
When human's greed, selfishness, and apathy takes over a healthy, sustainable planet look what you get. Intelligent humans
live simply, alongside nature and it's inhabitants, disease free mostly, and healthy.....air, earth, and waters are clean and rich,
sustainable to all living beings. I suggest humans stop destroying the planet by enjoying life as it should be, but there is a
serious problem the hovers all of what we may choose to better the world and that is mass human population. The
intelligent human understands fully that lowering human population is the first step in making a better world to live in.
The Japanese have made a world disaster just because of their lack of intelligence, and now the world will pay the price.
No matter where they try to hide the poison, I call it, it will somehow, somewhere escape and like I say we will pay the price....
how stupid can humans be.
Consider this point of view:
The Japanese (Utility Gangs) will milk mankind for the mess they created at Fukushima - CaptD
Fukushima cleanup will enrich the Yakuza with Billions of Yen each year for many decades to come, increasing their Power!
@SBOVERIE Thank You! Yes will certainly be stuck with the latest NPP at least until there is another Fukushima at which time I believe that even the nuclear Industry and it's lap dog the IAEA will not be able to prevent a public outcry to close NPP's ASAP, except in all the Countries where the people really have not say, which besides Countries like China, Russia, Iran, N. Korea it now looks like we should also add Japan, the USA, the UK, and many others once considered as "free" Countries, while Germany, Australia, NZ and many others will lead the rest of US toward a Solar powered future!
@CaptD I agree with you on the problem with radioactive waste. I was pro nuclear power years ago until I found out that there is no place to put the worst waste and that it takes a few decades to decommission a reactor (even one that has never had any serious problems).
Encasing the reactor in concrete is a short term solution, medium to high radioactive materials will break concrete down to crumbling chunks. Nuclear power plants are not green and have never gotten the cost of power to the "Too cheap to meter" level even when the decommissioning costs are left out of the lifetime costs.
Unfortunately, nuclear power is going to be necessary to fill in the loss of power generation using fossil fuels. wind and solar have a longer way to go to be able to fulfill the loss of fossil fuel power plants. One problem that may happen is that we find ourselves too reliant on nuclear power to switch to alternative power generation, similar to the problem phasing out fossil fuel power plants.
The new thorium nuclear generators may work as advertised, but I am skeptical that we are being told the full costs; which should include waste storage and decommissioning costs and amount of time to decommission.
This is just robotic slight of hand...
Get everyone talking about futuristic robots and hide all conversations about dumping billions of gallons of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean for decades to come, while saying "So Sorry" to mankind...
Liked ===> Plus see my comment above, the Japanese Utility Gangs don't want a quick fix, they want to milk this radioactive make work project forever!
I won't argue that there are no things that the could/should have done differently. However, I can't agree with the notion that they should spend an almost unlimited amount of money ("whatever it takes") to reduce all risks/impacts of this event to zero, even if it "ends the nuclear industry". Given that the fossil fueled generation that would replace nuclear has thousands of times the negative impact, that is an unacceptable result.
Fukushima caused no deaths and experts agree that any public health impacts will be too small to measure. Fossil fueled power generation causes hundreds of thousands of annual deaths (~1000 every single day) along with global warming.
Increased spending on Fukushima, to reduce public exposures (or releases in general) must be objectively compared to spending to reduce fossil fuel pollution, or other societal risks/impacts in general. Objective analysis would show that spending on Fukushima (at the reactor as well as cleanup of surrounding lands down to very low radiation levels) is achieving very low public health and safety benefits, per dollar spent.
@Starman35 Wake up, Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7 which Fukushima proved and it could happen again tomorrow, then what would you say, go for it again?
If there's any "world disaster" it's from Japan's (indefensible) decision to close its nukes and use fossil fuels instead, in response to this event.
The health and environmental impacts of that decision (that fossil fuel use) will be orders of magnitude larger than any impacts from the reactor meltdowns (which all experts agree will have no measurable public health impact). That fossil fueled power generation will kill thousands (from air pollution), and will result in a massive increase in CO2 emissions (global warming), in addition to inflicting an enormous economic cost.
Why let the Japanese Utility Gangs off the hook?
Why let them dump highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean?
Why let them restart their reactors which are built on questionable fault lines?
Why coddle those that created Fukushima for the rest of the Planet to 'enjoy" (sic)?
Why should the US nuclear Industry support them instead of US?
Why not embargo them and force them to pay BIG yen in penalties which could then be used to install safe and clean Solar Globally, which would end resource wars?
What effect will Fukushima have on Planetary Global warming for 40 to 100 years?
@JimHopf Your comment is a bunch of Nuclear Baloney* (NB) and is usually repeated to non-Professionals by people receiving some form of Nuclear Payback**. What about all the Nuclear waste created, what will its affect be 100 years from now, does anyone living today realy know are people just wishing that problem will disappear...
Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other "costs" are for others.