– Nuclear fuel at Fukushima No. 1 unit melted after full exposure (Mainichi Daily News):
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, revealed Thursday that holes had been created by melted nuclear fuel at the bottom of the No. 1 reactor’s pressure vessel.
The company said it has found multiple holes adding up to several centimeters in welded piping. Earlier in the day, it said the amount of water inside the troubled reactor was unexpectedly low — not enough to cover the nuclear fuel — hinting that a large part of the fuel melted after being fully exposed.
The finding is raising concerns that the company will face difficulty achieving its plan to bring the damaged reactors to a stable condition known as a “cold shutdown” in about six to nine months, observers said.
On the ‘cold shutdown’ fairy tale:
“Cold shutdown” means the reactor cores – and the used fuel pools – decrease in temperature through 100 degrees C and continue to go down after a couple of days without additional cooling. If that doesn’t happen within 48 hours, it isn’t going to. E-V-E-R. The reactors are still ‘in service’ – which means the fuel is still reacting. It hasn’t happened at Fukushima and it never will.