Hosono pledges to achieve mysterious “cold shutdown” by year-end

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VIENNA–Goshi Hosono, the state minister in charge of the Fukushima nuclear accident, vowed to achieve cold shutdown at the crippled reactors northeast of Tokyo by the end of the year.

The government had earlier set a goal of mid-January for achieving cold shutdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

However, Hosono said the government would pull out all the stops to reach that goal a few weeks ahead of schedule.

In his IAEA speech, Hosono also indicated that Japan would ask the IAEA to dispatch a team in October to help with decontaminating radiation from the Fukushima accident.

Before his speech, Hosono met with Yukiya Amano, director-general of the IAEA, during which agreement was reached on dispatching the IAEA team so Japan would be able to utilize its specialized knowledge.

After his meeting with Amano, Hosono told reporters, “We need advice on technology to remove cesium from the accumulated radioactive waste.”

Source: ajw.asahi.com, via Asahi Japan Watch’s twitter

Questions about cold shutdown

What does the government mean when they say they plan to bring the plants to cold shutdown?

How can this be accomplished when the fuel has melted, and the locations are not known?

Cold shutdown mean that the fuel is only generating a small amount of decay heat.

When the water surrounding the reactor is less than 100 degrees Celsius, that only means that the water is no longer boiling.

It is a gross mis-characterization to state that just because the water is at 99 degrees C that therefore there is no further fission (and thus releases) taking place.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to stop melted fuel from fissioning.

True, pumping water in helps to remove the heat that is being generated. But as long as the fission process continues, fission products will be created and released.

The best that can be done is to try to contain the releases.

To that end, building the tent is an excellent step to help reduce the release of fission products to the atmosphere.

Of course, the tent must have a vent at the top and within that vent there must be charcoal filters (or similar media) to trap the radioactive fission products.

The tent must also have sealed penetrations to allow the make-shift piping through so that further water cooling can continue.

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