Unit 4 at Daiichi Cut Off, Didn’t Fall Off

It is unlikely that the portion of unit 4 that is no longer there fell off. More likely based on looking at images it was cut off. The marks where the remaining unit begins are clean breaks like they were cut rather than broke off. There is no rubble on top of the spent fuel pool. If all of this fell away during a quake in recent days there would be a pile of considerable rubble on top of the spent fuel pool.

If you inspect the photos closely it is a nice clean cut and very tidy in the manner the rubble was cleaned off. TEPCO did mention in earlier reports they were going to try to remove rubble at both units 3 and 4. Unit 3 has been plagued by high radiation levels. Workers at the plant have stated that the high radiation at unit 3 complicated the current attempt to remove rubble at that reactor. It is likely unit 4 was then cleaned off first. We do know that workers have been able to get up to the work deck of unit 4 and installed floating covers for the spent fuel pool. There is the TEPCO document from September 27th explaining they were installing the floating cover for unit 4’s fuel pool ahead of debris removal so this was well known it was coming.  We mentioned this back in September.

Below are some images that show where the debris removal and cuts took place and also some older photos with an overlay showing what was removed. Is unit 4 falling apart? Yes. It is a mess and TEPCO has admitted so as have many of the workers. The building is very unstable. Some work done to reinforce the area below the spent fuel pool has been completed but the building is far from safe or able to withstand a significant quake. Minor bits of the building have been shifting with each subsequent quake. The back top (near unit 3) shifted during a quake over the summer. Bits of the concrete facade panels have fallen off. But the entire top section above the pool appears to be a planned action.

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