Skip to main content

USA Today Errs on Condition of Spent Fuel Pools at Fukushima

We've seen a few recent instances of reporters incorrectly stating the fuel in the pools melted. That's incorrect, as the AP reported earlier this year. However, the misconception persists. USA Today included the following in a story published earlier today:
Spent nuclear fuel pools that burned during the crisis are now under control.
The spent nuclear fuel assemblies at Fukushima never burned or melted, and in fact, were always underwater. Here's a more accurate description of the accident from the consultants at Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems. You can find this description on page 9 of the report:
Disablement of spent fuel pool cooling and the possibility of earthquake-induced damage to the pools were the cause of great concern, which spurred one-week-long unconventional cooling efforts with helicopters and water cannons. While it was later established that the fuel assemblies in the pools remained underwater throughout the accident, the Fukushima experience does underscore the importance of reliable long-term cooling and protection of the spent fuel pools at nuclear plants.
We're sending a note to USA Today asking for a correction. Stand by for updates.

UPDATE: USA Today has informed us that they'll run a clarification that the fuel rods didn't burn. The correction should be appended to the online version of the story and run on page 2A or 3A in the newspaper.

Comments

Pete said…
The USA Today on-line version says: "The fires at the spent nuclear fuel pools, which ignited hydrogen, but did not burn the spent fuel rods, are now under control." This appears to be different than the original, but is still not correct, is it? There were no spent fuel pool fires. The Unit 4 explosion is now thought to be from H2 leakage from Unit 3.
SteveK9 said…
Guess they just couldn't give up on the word 'fire'.
Brian Mays said…
Good to see you back, Eric.
gunter said…
Hey did you guys catch that the 2.5" fuel rod fragment found 1.5 miles away was core material ejected by a hydrogen explosion?

During early days, some folks though these fuel fragments laying around on site in between the units were from the fuel pools.

It wasn't until NRC's Gary Hollihan identified in one of those NRC Task Force public meetings that the iodine-131 signature on some of the fragments could only have come from a core ejection.

To get that kind of trajectory, it would seem that one of the reactor pressure vessel heads would have had to be dislodged by the explosion.

Popular posts from this blog

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

New Home for Our Blog: Join Us on NEI.org

On February 27, NEI launched the new NEI.org. We overhauled the public site, framing all of our content around the National Nuclear Energy Strategy.

So, what's changed?

Our top priority was to put you, the user, first. Now you can quickly get the information you need. You'll enjoy visiting the site with its intuitive navigation, social media integration and compelling and shareable visuals. We've added a feature called Nuclear Now, which showcases the latest industry news and resources like fact sheets and reports. It's one of the first sections you'll see on our home page and it can be accessed anywhere throughout the site by clicking on the atom symbol in the top right corner of the page.
Most importantly for you, our loyal NEI Nuclear Notes readers, is that we've migrated the blog to the new site. Moving forward, all blog posts will be published in the News section, along with our press releases, Nuclear Energy Overview stories and more. Just look for the &qu…