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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

"The order of magnitude is worse"

Nuclear Watch: Learning from Three Mile Island

Aired on Jun. 11


how to remove fuel debris from the damaged reactors ?

The only people which  have done this kind of work are the Americans after the Three Mile Island accident when one of the two reactors at the power plant melted down (35 years ago)

NHK obtained special authorization to access 1,000 videotapes made by the US engineers while removing fuel debris.

The first camera was inserted in the reactor after 3 years [...] “ a lot of debris… something that looked like rock…” (more than 100 tons of debris were found)

6 years after the accident, engineers started to remove debris. (with a robot arm). The reactor had to be filled with water. Many challenges had to be faced (eg. microorganism growth from the heat reduced visibility and slowed down the work, debris extremely hard).

William Austin who was responsible for the work at TMI thinks what is waiting at Fukushima will be much more difficult (the fuel has melted through the reactor core, we are talking of three reactors to dismantle not just one)  “The order of magnitude is worse. I can’t conceive of how much difficulty you’ve got,” he said.


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