In the short term, workers will continue to cool the reactors and clean up as much contamination as possible. But in the longer term they will have to actually remove the uranium from the reactor cores and transport it away from the coast, where it poses a major environmental and health risk.
The radioactive fuel inside the reactors is believed to have melted down completely, and some or all of it has probably leaked from the stainless-steel pressure vessel in which it was housed into the concrete enclosure below the reactor.
The radiation will remain powerful enough to kill for decades to come, so workers will have to find a way to clean up and remove the fuel remotely.
Given the current levels of radiation near the reactors, it may be years before workers are even able to take a first look at what has happened inside.
- Tents over Fukushima reactors will increase dispersion of radioactive gases – Trapped radiation to be pumped up high into air (enenews.com)
- TEPCO Changes Reactor 3 Cooling Methods to Cool Slumped Fuel Coore (enformable.com)
- Dr. Helen Caldicott – Arnold Gundersen with a Fukushima update – Gigabecquerel is the new word (enformable.com)
- Nuclear Engineer: I find it very strange there’s been no photos of Unit No. 3 fuel pool for months (enenews.com)
- After Reports of Smoke After Earthquake – TEPCO Workers Entered Fukushima II (Daini) Reactor 4 | EX-SKF (enformable.com)
- In ‘uncharted territory,’ TEPCO drafts fuel-removal plan – Containers for damaged reactor buildings not to be constructed until 2015 (enformable.com)
- Status of TEPCO’s Facilities and its services after the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake (as of September 7) (enformable.com)
- Radiation in Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 3 (enformable.com)
- Spent Fuel in Number 1 Reactor Thought Not As Badly Damaged As Reactor Core (enformable.com)
- More on Fukushima II (Daini): Loss of Function to Remove Residual Heat for Up to 2 Days and 23 Hours, March 11 to 14 (enformable.com)