The current TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) plan calls for the nuclear fuel rods of the severely damaged "Daiichi' nuclear power plant fuel-pool #4 to NOT begin removal until possibly 2014. That's right, 2 more years before they might start the 10-year process of removing fuel rods there according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Tepco says it's working to remove the fuel rods as fast as it can. If all goes according to its timetable, the utility could start taking the rods out in 2014.
"the schedule allows up to ten years to get all the spent fuel in all the Fukushima reactor pools out.
Fukushima Daiichi suffered meltdowns at three of its reactors last year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out power in the area. Much of the nuclear fuel in those three reactors is thought to be in a melted lump at the bottom of the vessels that surround the core.
Another big earthquake or tsunami could send Fukushima Daiichi's fragile reactor buildings tumbling down, resulting in "an even greater release of radiation than the initial accident,"
Source: The Wall Street Journal, http://blogs.wsj.com/
The fuel pools are 100 feet above the ground, entirely open to the atmosphere (except for the water constantly being pumped into them) because the nuclear reactor buildings were blown apart by explosions back during 2011. The fuel pool (#4) which holds more than 10,000 nuclear rods could collapse from structural damage, should another strong earthquake occur there, and scatter the rods all over the ground. Emergency worker access to these rods will be impossible (except for suicide missions) as they will be emitting lethal levels of gamma radiation. The fuel rods will quickly heat up and ignite/explode, releasing massive clouds of radiation into the atmosphere.
The only thing saving the planet from exposure to 85x Chernobyl is the few feet of water covering the rods at this very moment. There is no other containment. Period. In fact, the fuel pool apparently is, and has been, leaking. A constant re-supply of water is required to avert total disaster. MUCH, MUCH MORE!
I won't add a lot of commentary to this post, as it doesn't need it. This latest incident should shock us all, and the rank stupidity the Japanese exhibited when someone there made the decision to store nuclear waste at a Petochemical complex is absolutely unbelievable:
Petrochemical Complex Containing Nuclear Fuel On Fire After Explosion
Posted by Alexander Higgins -- April 21, 2012 at 6:14 pmA chemical complex containing nuclear fuel is engulfed in a massive fire at Mitsui chemicals after a lightning strike caused an explosion.
The Fukushima Diary alerts us an alarming story about a lightning strike that caused an explosion and a massive fire at a chemical complex used to store nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.
The Iwakuni plant is still on fire according to the report and is reported to have 3379 55 gallon drums containing nuclear radioactive waste as well as Uranium rods used for nuclear fuel at the site.
Several people are reported to be injured following the explosion which occurred at 2:20 local time at Iwakuni Otake Petrochemical Complex of Mitsui chemicals.
So far there is no word from officials on the status of the nuclear fuel or radioactive waste stored at the plant.
Storing nuclear fuel and radioactive waste at an plant chemical plant that processes highly combustible oil products is a really dumb idea so you get what we have there today. MUCH MORE
If the next story doesn't scare the crap out of you and cause you to demand that immediate action be taken, I suggest you quit burying your head in the sand"