A key concern is that another major earthquake could cause cracks in the pool, which is nearly 100 feet above the ground, allow the cooling water to escape and expose the rods to the air. That would allow the zirconium alloy cladding to ignite and release radioactive material into the air.
Zircalloy does not spontaneously combust on exposure to air. Heck, I’d be long dead if it did, having handled a few hundred tonnes in my time. Yes, even the sort of tubes that they’re talking about here.
I’d be really, really, grateful is someone could tell m where this story is coming from. Here’s the actualy skinny on Zr and zircalloy:
Massive zirconium metal scrap can be handled, shipped, and stored with no evidence of combustion or pyrophoricity hazards. Mechanically produced fine scrap such as shavings, turnings, or powders can burn but are not pyrophoric unless the particle diameter is less than 54 ..mu..m. Powders with particle diameters less than 54 ..mu..m can be both pyrophoric and explosive. Pyrophoric powders should be collected and stored underwater or under inert gas cover to reduce the flammability hazard. Opening sealed containers of zirconium stored underwater should be attempted with caution since hydrogen may be present. The factors that influence the ignition temperature have been explored in depth and recommendations are included for the safe handling, shipping, and storage of pyrophoric or flammable zirconium.
The powder is nasty stuff. Solids, as we have here, is not.
Now, anything at all will burn if you get it hot enough but surely no one is trying to state that after a couple of years in those ponds then the zircalloy will still be hot enough to ignite are they? If this were true then we’d never be able to refuel a reactor would we? For as soon as we draw out a tube then it will go bang.
Is there something I’ve missed here? Or are these people really talking bollocks of such amazing size?
Others have issued even more dire warnings, with Charles Perrow, a professor emeritus at Yale University, warning: “The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas, including Tokyo.
“Because of the radiation at the site, the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years.”
Charles Perrow is a sociologist for fuck’s sake!