Instead, they assure their computer simulation shows the building is strong enough to handle another strong earthquake.
They make this claim even though they have just foundthe entire building leaning to the northwest and an exterior wall is bulging.
Tepco Finds Reactor 4 Building Leaning
Tepco Finds Reactor 4 Wall Bulging
TEPCO claims the wall is far enough from the spent fuel pool it presents no danger.
Here is the building, if it collapses we are all gone.
As you watch this video, realize that the fate of humanity rests on this building surviving an earthquake.
TEPCO Handout Fukushima Reactor 4 Image
TEPCO Handout Fukushima Reactor 4 Image 2
The Wall Street Journal instead deflects worry to the ‘jury-rigged leaky pipes’ being used to cool the reactors implying they are much more likely to fail in an earthquake.
TEPCO’s only plan, in the event they can no longer keep the fuel rods cooled, is to fill the pool with concrete which is only a viable plan if the rods are still in the pool.
Of course, if the building does collapse that isn’t an option and TEPCO admits they don’t know what they would do in that scenario and claim they haven’t run any simulations of what the consequences of such a collapse would be.
Unfortunately, the article also echoes a clear lie from TEPCO that even if the water circulation system is cracks or breaks an earthquake it would take 3 weeks for the water to boil off before they would have to worry about radiation leaking.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Japan Nuclear Operator Conducts Check on Risky Unit
The operator of Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant completed its first detailed on-the-ground inspection of one of the reactors there since the the tsunami 14 months ago, though two others remain too radioactive to examine. Reactor Unit 4 houses, in a pool of water at its top, what is seen as the most hazardous collection of fuel rods in the plant. The examination confirmed earlier computer analyses that showed the structure was stable.
Experts say the spent-fuel pool is a concern because it holds all of Unit 4′s thousands of rods, which were being stored for maintenance on the reactor when the March 11 earthquake and tsunami hit. Those disasters sparked a series of meltdowns and explosions at the plant, including one that blew the roof off Unit 4 and damaged some of its walls.
The utility did find slight buckling in an outside wall likely caused by an explosion, he said, but added that it was so small and the wall so far from the pool that it didn’t pose a danger.
But activists and concerned observers—including former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland Mitsuhei Murata and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden—continue to warn that if another big earthquake hits, Unit 4′s pool could collapse or spring a leak, exposing the thousands of fuel rods there to the outside, where they could overheat and emit huge amounts of radiation.
In a worst-case scenario, some say, the radiation from those fuel rods could drive workers from the plant, leaving the rest of the systems Tepco has jury-rigged to cool other crippled reactor cores to fail as well.
“This is a question of global safety,” says Mr. Murata, who has for years asserted that nuclear power is dangerous.
Such concerns highlight how unclear conditions at the plant remain after a string of recent disclosures, and how deep the distrust in Japan’s nuclear industry runs—even as Japan braces for a cleanup process that is expected to take as long as 40 years.
The heavily damaged reactors No. 1 through No. 3 remain largely too radioactive for people to approach, forcing Tepco to guess at their state by computer simulations and remote measurements.
[...]Many nuclear experts say it is nearly impossible to gauge what would happen if there is further trouble at Unit 4, because the consequences would depend on things such as whether the fuel rods stayed intact or were stripped of their protective covering and hidden in rubble, where they would be hard to cool.
Some say Unit 4 isn’t even as big a concern as the leaky system of pipes thrown together after the accident to keep water flowing to the other three damaged reactors.
If the pool springs a leak, Tepco has water-pumping trucks ready to spray more water on top of the fuel rods, said Mr. Matsumoto. As a last resort, Tepco is prepared to spray a concrete-like mixture over the rods so they are sealed, he said.
“It’s a race against time,” said Hajimu Yamana, a professor of nuclear engineering at Kyoto University, who heads a government committee on decommissioning the plant. Tepco says it aims to start the removal process by the end of next year.