Molten corium-concrete interaction at Fukushima.

The self-appointed Fukushima expert, manufactured anti-nuclear hero, and Fukushima minimizer Arnie Gundersen is now saying 20% to 30% of the cesium at the destroyed units 1, 2 and 3 of the Daiichi plant has escaped containment. According to Gundersen, this is a “game-changer” and maybe Fuku is almost as bad as Chernobyl now.

Well, forgetting the absurdity that Chernobyl is in any way comparable to Fukushima in scope, with enormous cesium contamination reported in Japan, with the entire North Pacific ocean polluted with radioactivity, sea lions dying and washing up on the west coast, Australia reporting 20% to 40% increases in background radiation two years after the catastrophe started (where Chernobyl was barely detectable there), we should note that everyone with at least half a brain knows there have been three melt-throughs at the plant, not a little dribble of corium that has escaped containment. Gundersen is denying the obvious, and is pretending to say something meaningful, in that his estimate far exceeds Tepco’s estimate that 1% of the cesium escaped, which is even more absurd.

On April 19, 2011, I published this note on The Japan Earthquake scribble:

Radioactive isotope concentrations from Takasaki CTBTO station http://www.cpdnp.jp/pdf/110408Takasaki_report_Apr2.pdf

xxxxxxxxx Ba-140  Cs-134   Cs-136   Cs-137     I-131      I-132     La-140    Te-129  Te-129m   Te-132 
3/15-3/16 312725  6921136   857713   5644666   14680552   11156850   1770189  2127038  22588878 27094139  

Note high levels of Ba-140 and La-140 on March 15-16. Lanthanum-140 is the daughter product of Barium-140.

(from Neeb, The Radiochemistry of Nuclear Power Plants With Light Water Reactors, pp. 518-519), The SFD 1-4 test was performed… “high-burnup fuel heated to high temperatures in a steam-starved environment”, “a small-break initiating event with limited steam supply to the fuel bundle was simulated”, “the post-test damage state of the bundle… appeared to be quite analagous to that of the damaged TMI-2 core”. If a TMI-style meltdown occurred, using Dr. Saji’s inventory figures (below), there would have been a 23:1 ratio of I-131 to Te-129m released. The Takasaki figures indicate a 1:2 ratio. The data do not support this scenario.

According to “TELLURIUM PRECURSOR EFFECTS ON IODINE TRANSPORT IN A BWR ACCIDENT” http://www.iaea.org/inis/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/17/025/17025467.pdf
“This study describes the increase in iodine activity released to the atmosphere during a severe accident due to the radioactive decay of tellurium precursors… here it is seen that the iodine activity in the atmosphere is due disproportionately to I-132. Unlike the longer-lived isotopes, most I-132 (half-life of 2.30 hr.) existing early in the accident will decay before the significant atmospheric releases which follow reactor vessel failure. However, the supply is replenished by the decay of Te-132, which is released in large quantities from the drywell rubble.”

Takasaki is almost 100 miles from the Fukushima plant. Thus most of the I-132 which was released would be decayed. The large amounts of I-132 detected must have come from the decay of Te-132.

From p. 533, “Upon contact, the molten core material (the so-called “corium”) starts to react with the material of the basemat concrete… when the reaction zone is flooded with sump water… the highest temperatures might be reached… the molten-core – concrete interaction is the principal source of the release of the low-volatility fission products to the containment. The volatilization of these elements, such as barium, strontium, lanthanum, and cerium, is strongly supported by the gas bubbles which penetrate through the molten zone.”

Note again the high concentrations of barium and lanthanum, and that of tellurium.

Conclusion: The emissions observed at Takasaki were not due to a TMI-style accident, but one in which corium interacted with concrete and water. This released significant concentrations of barium, lanthanum, and strontium into the atmosphere.

This is based on CTBTO data, not Tepco data.

Species	Half-lives	Fukushima 1F2-5
Ru-103	39.3d	2805(PBq)
Ru-106	368d	640
Sr-89	50.5d	2649
Sr-90	29,12y	171
Kr-85	10.72y	21
Te-129m	33.6d	774
Te-132	3.26d	3333
I-131	8.04d	2292
I-133	20.8h	4985
Xe-133	5.25d	4844
Cs-134	2.06y	126
Cs-136	13.1d	82
Cs-137	30.0y	193
Ce-141	32.5d	4130
Ce-144	284d	2917

So it was obvious early on that there had been a molten corium-concrete reaction in units 1-3. The conclusions were based on CTBTO measurements, independent of Tepco, whose (faked) measurements Gundersen has been mostly using. Arnie is still denying any significant interaction with corium and concrete.

Going on to p. 533 of the Neeb document, simulations involving corium-concrete interactions are described in more detail. The first step of the molten core-concrete interaction is high-temperature decomposition of the concrete accompanied by the production of gases, mainly H2O and CO2, followed by melting of the concrete materials and their incorporation into the melt. As a consequence, the erosion of the concrete will start with the formation of a cavern, in which the melt separates into two phases, a lower metallic one which is covered by a lighter oxidic phase, with the former containing metallic fission products like ruthenium, technetium, palladium, and the latter containing barium, strontium, and other oxides… The heat production in the oxidic phase of the melt is mainly due to fission product decay heat, whereas in the metallic phase the exothermal metal-water reaction is the main contributor.

Due to the very high temperatures prevailing during this stage of the accident, the molten core-concrete interaction is the principal source of the release of low-volatility fission products to the containment. The volatilization of these elements, such as barium, strontium, lanthanum, and cerium, is strongly supported by the gas bubbles which penetrate through the molten zone… In addition to the comparatively high temperatures, the changed chemical conditions are also responsible for this enhanced aerosol production.

The first table above represents an estimate of the percentage of elements released into air and water, using standard nuclear fuel. Note that less than 0.1% of the strontium (Sr) is released. Now, according to Dr. Saji, there are around 7 times more becquerels of strontium in the fuel inventory than cesium. In a previous post, Strontium-90 in the Pacific, it was found that by June 2011, strontium-90 levels in the Pacific were 2.65% that of cesium-137. This is considerably more than predicted, and indicates a much more severe accident than the authors had simulated.

A study released recently found that large amounts of radioactive silver, Ag-110m, have been detected. According to the table, 3% of the silver would have been released. This also indicates a more severe accident than contemplated before.

The second table indicates simulated radioactive releases using MOX fuel, which was used in unit 3. Here 97% of the silver is released. Also note that 87% of the noble gas krypton-85 is released in this scenario. The entire inventory of the noble gas xenon-133 was released from the plant within the first 5 days of the catastrophe. It was further found that more than 100% of the xenon was released, which begs the question of further meltdowns that we have not been told about. See The mystery of the extra xenon-133.

But the most important thing to notice is that in both simulations, 100% of the cesium is released during the melt-throughs. This means that all of the cesium that has been released from the plant since the early stages of the catastrophe is coming from the spent fuel pools.

Cesium levels in river sediment near Kashiwa jumped by 3,700% in 3 months recently, according to Fukushima Diary. Fog in Tokyo deposited over 4,000 Bq/kg of cesium in one day, recently. Some of the cesium is being resuspended into the atmosphere by the burning of contaminated tsunami debris, but it must be that the vast majority of the cesium released into the air and sea is from the pools.

You have to wonder if this is even possible with semi-functioning spent fuel pools. Maybe some or all of the contents of the pools leaked out of them early on, and what we have here is a slow-motion meltdown event in pools 1-4, and the common pool. SFP 1 and the common pool contain an enormous amount of cesium. Since no independent scientific organization has been allowed into the Daiichi plant (contrary to Japanese law), we have no way of verifying that the pools are actually intact.

The underground coriums are leaking strontium, americium, uranium, and plutonium. Re-criticalities in these coriums are releasing iodine-131, iodine-129, and a host of other isotopes into the air and sea. The ratio of strontium to cesium in seawater, previously at 2.65%, has now reached 44%.

It should be clear that Arnie Gundersen, who by all accounts is a competent nuclear engineer, is deliberately distorting the facts in an egregious manner. Any anti-nuclear persons, organizations, and message boards that support him should also be questioned.

24 thoughts on “Molten corium-concrete interaction at Fukushima.

  1. Excellent analysis.

    I’m becoming increasingly pessimistic and wonder whether the effects are going to be undeniable within 5-10 years in Japan, Canada, and the US.

    I’m very worried.

    Remember Starr’s interview (posted at Enenews) where he quoted Alvarez (I need to find the original source)

    ‘there is enough cesium in 34 assemblies to make 5000 miles technically uninhabitable’
    http://enenews.com/scientist-discusses-fukushima-disaster-during-highly-informative-interview-audio

    Hundreds if not thousands of assemblies have probably gone up into the atmosphere and ocean

    We may have reached the tipping point like Alaskan seals, Alaskan King Salmon and California sea lions and bees and not realized it yet.

    If Daini goes… well, best not to think about falling nuclear dominoes.

    • It’s not going to take near that long majia, I wish so, the Pacific is dieing fast, soon I will have no reports, ..The Fungus has gotten to me once already, ..7 days of ICU and 13 days in the hospital, the earth already limping from Corexit/oil circling the globe land sea and air by fallout IE rain ! The animals are losing their stamina and falling everywhere with ills of parisites and lessions because of the steady assault of chemicals and radiation via GOM and Fuku ! We are past the tilting point, ..it’s all down hill now ! …How are you old friend ?

    • Thanks, Majia. The thing that we have been worried about, the spent fuel pools falling over, leaking, or burning up, has basically been going on since the beginning IMO. I don’t believe any of the photos, videos, or reassurances from Tepco, or its paid stooges anymore.

      • And the boron from the borated water that is being sprayed causes tritium to form, and the nitrogen being pumped into the reactor buildings causes carbon-14 to form. Both are efficiently transported from the sea to the land. This is being caused by Tepco’s actions directly.

  2. Thank you, Bobby1. I am worried, too Majia. Looks like it isn’t flat pancakes or cold spagetti but plutonium, uranium, strontium, etc., that we have all been eating, drinking and breathing. The use of those food metaphors to domesticate plutonium and the rest, was always maddening. Even “fuel fleas” covers up the reality of record levels of xenon-133, etc., in our atmosphere. Why does he use these domestic metaphors? I recommend, “Don’t Think of an Elephant.”

    • NoNukes, the sea sediments off Japan contain strontium, plutonium, and americium. The americium is more mobile in seawater and the environment than plutonium. Americium decays to neptunium-237, which is even more mobile in the environment. It has a half-life of 2 million years, so it will be around for 20 million years.

      • The MOX pool that blew into the air they Bull Doze all the scattered tonnes of pellets into the Pacific were it was said the water boiled for weeks !
        You know I am out a lot and the Fuel Fleas/Nuke Fleas are abundant, I get many on me each day, ..Them explosions that got it into the jet stream, they are still falling, ..THEIR HERE ! Hundreds oftonness of water running into the Pacific from the water being poured on becomingg highly radioactive running into the Pacific too for 2 years……ongoing……..

  3. Cesium levels in drinking water increasing in Japan:

    March 29, 2013, the Ministry of the Environment is ” monitoring the measurement results of radioactive material in the public water system Chiba, Saitama and Tokyo announced “.

    The survey, Chiba , Saitama and Tokyo of public water point 67 point, etc. environmental standards in in which the survey was conducted of (rivers: point 8 point 51 and ground water sources, lakes: point 8, coastal) . The study period has become a February 20, 2013, December 03, 2012. In this survey of radioactive cesium that has been previously detected 7600 becquerels maximum value exceeding 14 200 becquerel was detected. The Ministry of the Environment, ” in general decreased or remained flat has announced, “and the maximum value of the radioactive cesium contamination seems to be worsening significantly.

    http://www.best-worst.net/news_aAATKtvmXG.html (Japanese)

  4. Go Take a lQQk see Bobby1…comment..

    Anonymous

    It is factually official. Everyone in Western Massachusetts has been contaminated with Cesium 137.

    I just got back my chelation lab results back and Cesium is positive and not in a minute amount!!!!!!! And, I asked them to give me a pediatric chelation dose CAL EDTA/DMPS.

    I am continuing the chelation until the results show no cesium, if that is even possible now post contamination and continuance.

    Apr 5, 2013, 5:55 pm

    http://beforeitsnews.com/japan-earthquake/2013/03/molten-corium-concrete-interaction-at-fukushima-2441578.html#comment_201980

    • chelation lab

      is the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body. Chelation therapy has a long history of use in clinical toxicology.[1] For the most common forms of heavy metal intoxication—those involving lead, arsenic or mercury—the standard of care a number of chelating agents are available. DMSA dimercaptosuccinic acid has been recommended for the treatment of lead poisoning in children by Poison Centers around the world.[2] Other chelating agents, such as 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA), are used in conventional and alternative medicine.

      No approved medical research has found any benefits to chelation therapy for any use other than removal of heavy metals from the body,[3] and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers over-the-counter (OTC) chelation products to be “unapproved drugs and devices and that it is a violation of federal law to make unproven claims about these products. There are no FDA-approved OTC chelation products.”[4] …more ..

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelation_therapy

  5. Chelating agents were introduced into medicine as a result of the use of poison gas in World War I. The first widely used chelating agent, the organic dithiol compound dimercaprol (also named British anti-lewisite or BAL), was used as an antidote to the arsenic-based poison gas, lewisite. ;*^.

    Warm regards
    http://healthwellnessbook.com/index.php/

  6. This pdf summarizes isotope measurement from fragments that apparently came from the Unit 3 explosion. I think this tells a lot about the nature of this explosion. Hard slogging, though. There is a significant and very dangerous amount of plutonium in these fragments, but the ratio of plutonium to cesium is tiny and much less than you would expect. These are mostly volatile elements. There is corium in it, but relatively small amounts. Cesium-137, silver-110m, antimony-125 are featured. It is possible that the explosion occurred prior to the melt-through, though there is a large amount of iron in the samples. Maybe part of it had melted through. The corium-concrete reaction would have occurred later, after the explosion.

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2014/images/handouts_140212_04-j.pdf

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