Japan - Exploded Nuclear Plant Uses MOX Fuel - Not Uranium! What is that? Just 2 MILLION Times WORSE than Uranium or Chernobyl's Meltdown!
UPDATE 3/13/11 10PM - Breaking News- NUMBER 3 REACTOR - rods may have been damaged (this is the one with the MOX fuel).
The official also said that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), the operator of the plant, has been able to release pressure in reactor No. 3 but that he's concerned that its fuel rods may be damaged.
Another UPDATE - Just out - From IAEA blog about Reactor 3 (MOX fuel reactor) -
Unit 3 does not have off-site power supply nor backup diesel generators providing power to the plant. As the high pressure injection system and other attempts to cool the reactor core have failed, injection of water and boron into the reactor vessel has commenced. Water levels inside the reactor vessel increased steadily for a certain amount of time but readings indicating the water level inside the pressure vessel are no longer showing an increase. The reason behind this is unknown at this point in time. To relieve pressure, venting of the containment started on 13 March at 9:20AM local Japan time. Planning is underway to reduce the concentration of hydrogen inside the containment building. The containment building is intact at Unit 3.
Original post commences about MOX fuel
I am so Astounded that the Japanese have as many Nuclear Power Plants that they have on the most seismic place in the world! How they did not have 100 different back up plans is beyond me! Why didn't they have their generators 50 feet in the air in case of tsunamis? I have thought of tons of questions regarding it all!
I am sadden by the tragedy in the first place, now the Man made tragedy is unfolding that is a million times worse than the natural tragedy!
We all know some of Japan's nuclear power plants are in trouble and one exploded.
What is NOT Being released is the FUEL used in that plant! I read about it and decided to research it!
I am SHOCKED at what I found! This power plant meltdown can be 2 MILLION times Worse than Chernobyl! This could make the whole country of Japan uninhabitable, besides being carried around the world!
This is truly Sickening! In fact it really makes you wonder WHY they did not have 100 safety precautions in place! How dare they use MOX in a nuclear power plant in a place that is known for the biggest quakes and tsunamis! Besides Japan putting their plants right along side the ocean!
Read this whole post to understand the FULL ramifications of this Nuclear Plant Meltdown! There is a Power Point Presentation the UN put together for MOX fuel I downloaded it - but there is not a link to go to for it. I can't insert power point presentations here either.
FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Saturday loaded a nuclear reactor in Fukushima Prefecture with MOX, a controversial fuel made with reprocessed plutonium and uranium oxides, as it prepares to become the leading power utility's first facility to go pluthermal.
Mixing it up: A MOX fuel rod on Saturday is loaded into a nuclear reactor in Fukushima Prefecture. KYODO PHOTO
The No. 3 reactor at Tepco's Fukushima No. 1 plant will be the nation's third pluthermal facility, but only the first to be refurbished since the plant was built 34 years ago.
Tokyo Electric plans to activate the reactor on Sept. 18 and let it start generating electricity on Sept. 23. (2010)
***Recognize that plant name? Yeah, it is the one that blew up****
The joint study cites a number of safety precautions necessary in the fabrication of MOX fuel relative to uranium fuel. MOX fuel emits higher gamma radiation and much higher neutron radiation than uranium fuel. Therefore, a separate fresh fuel storage facility designed for MOX only fuel containers for on-site use, and transport equipment for fresh fuel may be necessary. Dust resulting from MOX fabrication is also a concern for worker safety because of the dangers of inhaling plutonium (see article on health effects of plutonium).
MOX Spent Fuel
Plutonium is both used up and produced when MOX fuel is used in reactors. MOX spent fuel contains more plutonium than conventional spent fuel (that is, spent fuel resulting from loading an LWR with low enriched uranium fuel). Conventional spent fuel from LWRs typically contains about one percent plutonium when it is withdrawn from the reactor. The amount of residual plutonium in MOX spent fuel would depend on the initial plutonium loading (percent of plutonium in the fuel), the burn-up of the fuel, and the configuration in which the fuel is used.
For light water reactors using MOX fuel, the NAS calculates that residual plutonium in the spent fuel would range from 1.6 percent (for a 33% MOX core with 4% plutonium loading) to 4.9 percent (for a 100% MOX core with 6.8% plutonium loading). Ranges of 2.5 percent to 6.8 percent plutonium loading have been suggested. In the case of a CANDU reactor using a 100% MOX core, the percentage of plutonium in MOX spent fuel would be between 0.8 and 1.4 percent for MOX fuel containing 1.2 percent and 2.1 percent plutonium, respectively.12
Repository disposal of MOX spent fuel is complicated not only by the higher plutonium content in MOX, but by the larger quantities of transuranic elements in the spent fuel as well. This results in MOX spent fuel being thermally hotter than conventional spent fuel. The presence of greater amounts of transuranic radionuclides like americium-241 also cause persistent higher spent fuel temperatures, and cause the decay of thermal power level to be slower. MOX spent fuel use may therefore require that a host of issues be revisited, such as design of transportation and disposal canisters, and design of on-site spent fuel storage casks. For instance, the higher temperatures may cause storage problems at reactors that have limited storage room in their spent fuel pools. The higher temperature may also result in a need for more repository space, unless a repository is designed to take hotter fuel and withstand higher temperatures. Greater repository space would result in proportionally higher repository disposal costs. In addition, if the amount of residual gallium in MOX spent fuel is too high, it may result in deterioration of the spent fuel cladding, create new issues in evaluating the suitability of a repository, and pose greater risk of groundwater contamination. There are some uncertainties as to the concentration of gallium that might adversely affect spent fuel integrity. The differences between spent MOX fuel and spent uranium fuel pose many complications for reprocessing as well.
#Danger of Losing Control of the Reactor Is Greater with MOX
Conventional LWRs are designed to decrease the reactivity when
the temperature rises. But when using Pu-239 as fuel, heating of
the core from an increase in reaction rate tends to increase the
reaction rate still further. This is called the positive
temperature coefficient of reactivity, meaning there is a danger
of losing control of the reactor by accelerated chain reaction of
MOX spent fuel contains more fission products than uranium spent
fuel. The important factor in managing spent fuel is the heat
generation caused by the highly radioactive fission products.
Since spent MOX fuel contains much more fission products, the
heat generation from MOX spent fuel is twice as high as that of
spent uranium fuel after 10 years and three times as high after
Plutonium does not exist in the natural environment, and is only
produced in nuclear reactors. It is known as one of the most
toxic elements. It emits high energy alpha radiation, and has
harmful biological effects.
Alpha radiation has a very short range but very intense
ionization power. If exposed on the surface of the skin, the
skin works as a shield and will prevent its penetration into the
body, but all of its ionizing power will be focused on the small
spot, causing burns and killing the skin tissue. If inhaled
into the body, the alpha particle will go in through the
respiratory tract, and enter the lung. Due to its long
half-life, it will stay in the body permanently, emitting alpha
radiation, and killing the surrounding tissues by strong
ionization. If plutonium is taken into the body in soluble form
(e.g. plutonium nitrate) through food chain, it will enter the
blood stream, and into the bones, liver and genital organs where
it will be enriched. Alpha radiation leads to reactions in the
cells of living things. It can cause damage to the nucleus and
DNA of the cell, in effect causing genetic damage in descendants,
particularly if germ cells are affected.(15)
#Dangers of Resuspension in the Environment
In the event of a contamination of the environment with
plutonium, the whirling up and inhalation of plutonium particles,
known as resuspension, plays an important role. If there is a
road traffic, building work or cleaning work at the plutonium
contaminated site, plutonium can enter the body through the
respiratory tract. Generally, the more whirled up, the greater
the dose intake per quantity of plutonium on the ground. If
there is fire, and plutonium becomes airborne into fine aerosol
particles, plutonium contamination of the environment will extend
to a far larger scale, landing on ground, contaminating a vast
wider area. Plutonium remains effective over very long periods
affecting the health of the people and the environment.(16)
#Accident Scenario When Burning MOX
Accidents involving overheating and meltdown are possible in any
nuclear reactors. In such accidents, not only would readily
volatile noble gases, like Iodine and caesium be released
to the environment, but a small portion of the actinides,
including plutonium and neptunium would be released. As the
activity of the actinides is substantially higher in the case of
MOX, the consequences of such severe accidents become more
When MOX fuels are used, the probability of having such serious
accidents or trouble would increase due to the high content of
plutonium in the fuel. Even if an accident is not a serious one,
it could become serious since even a small portion of the
inventory of actinides released to the environment could cause
significant radiological consequences.
#Accidents at Fabrication Plants
Accidents at MOX fuel fabrication plants have occurred. In June,
1991, the storage bunker of the MOX fuel fabrication plant in
Hanau, Germany was contaminated with MOX. It occurred after the
rupture of a foil for container packaging in the course of an
in-plant transportation process. Five workers were exposed to
plutonium. This accident was the main reason the fabrication
plant at Hanau was shut down.(19)
In November, 1992, a rod was broken through a handling error and
MOX dust released during the mounting of MOX fuel rods to fuel
assemblies in the fuel fabrication facility adjoining the MOX
facility in Dessel, Belgium.(20)
In event of such accidents, if the International Commission on
Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommendations for general public
exposure were adhered to, only about 1 mg of plutonium may be
released from a MOX facility to the environment. As a
comparison, in uranium fabrication facility, 2kg (2,000,000mg)of
uranium could be released in the same radiation exposure. A 1 mg
release of plutonium from a processing process can easily happen
from various smaller incidents.(21)
Must Watch video - Information about Plutonium in Nuclear Plants.
One other bit of information - KI pills do no good against MOX - it is only good for Uranium radiation. Plutonium is not affected by the pills!
EDIT TO ADD 3/13/11 8:54pm - Link to information about Plutonium Contamination of Large Land Areas.
It stays in the soil 100% for one inch. Even rain does not wash it away. This link also give diagrams of distance to amount of contamination of that distance.
I will say in my own opinion ALL Nuclear Power plants anywhere near fault lines need to be SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY! That includes those that are right on the fault in California (what brilliant idiots decided on that place?) and all that are near the New Madrid Fault! Nuclear power plants ARE NOT Clean Energy! In fact they contaminate the Earth on a level that takes thousands of years to eradicate.