Cold Shutdown … or Escape of Hot Fuel?I noted last month in connection with Tepco’s announcement of “cold shutdown” of the Fukushima reactors:
If the reactors are “cold”, it may be because most of the hot radioactive fuel has leaked out.
The New York Times pointed out last month:
A former nuclear engineer with three decades of experience at a major engineering firm … who has worked at all three nuclear power complexes operated by Tokyo Electric [said] “If the fuel is still inside the reactor core, that’s one thing” …. But if the fuel has been dispersed more widely, then we are far from any stable shutdown.”Indeed, if the center of the reactors are in fact relatively “cold”, it may be because most of the hot radioactive fuel has leaked out of the containment vessels and escaped into areas where it can do damage to the environment.