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Fuel removal from the unit 4 pond at Fukushima

Dear Reader,

It has come to my attention that TEPCO are planning to remove the fuel from the pond at unit 4 of the Fukushima reactor site. If you want to see more details then visit this site.

A great question will exist of how well will this fuel age with time, the chloride concentration in the ponds at Fukushima was higher than they should be. If you want to read about the corrosion of zircaloy under accident conditions then please see the paper by O. Lavigne et. al, Journal of Nuclear Materials, 2012, 426, pages 120-125. To cut a long story short the addition of chloride (3000 ppm) does increase the ease by which the surface of zircaloy undergoes corrosion.

But it is interesting that nitrate and hydrogen peroxide formed by the action of radiation on the water do inhibit the pitting corrosion caused by chloride on the zircaloy. If you want to read more then I would suggest you look at G. Bellanger, Journal of Materials Science, 2000, 35, 1759 to 1771. I hope some times soon on this blog to explain a few things about corrosion. But it is getting late in the evening and I need to go to bed soon !

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