TEPCO has released more information about the unused fuel removed from the Unit 4 spent fuel pool. TEPCO remarked that there was rust on the surface of the fuel rods but claims no corrosion or damage was apparent. TEPCO stated yesterday that they intend to inspect the fuel pellets inside the rods soon.
Some comments from Dean (paraphrased):
1. The discoloration on the new elements which have been stored in the SFP (spent fuel pool) is not normal for a new element and I don’t think it was caused by the new fuel pellets located inside those tubes, although they have not as of yet taken any pellets out of the tubes.
2. My guess is that the changing water chemistry which has occurred over the time since the explosions and the introduction of so many differing compounds in the water has caused some oxide buildup or attacking of the outer tubing.
3. The crud that was between some of the fuel rods which was attributed to debris from the blast. The fuel racks are designed in a way that allows a space below the bottom of the rack, this creates a flow path of water for convective cooling. If the debris accumulated on the bottom of the sfp (spent fuel pool) is extensive enough there is the possibility that the debris is deep enough to impede the convective flow or reach a height where the bottoms of the fuel elements may be covered thus reducing the heat transfer capabilities..
Please see our previous post on the inspection of the unused assemblies for more information and photos.
TEPCO handout in English handouts_120829_01-e
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