They’re still importing boron!

In the comments “RF” posts a brief report.  In full:

Is this a welcome development?
From the BBC
0208 : South Korea says it will send some 50 tonnes of its boron reserves to Japan after a request from Tokyo, Reuters reports. The metalloid is vital for stopping fission nuclear reactions in nuclear reactors

I’m flabbergasted, and not in a good way.  Boron is a monster at absorbing neutrons.  I’d have thought whatever they have on hand would knock fission back to managable levels.

If the spent fuels are collapsing into bad geometries, they might also toss some in there to mess with unwanted criticality.

For now I’ll guess that the ad hoc cooling systems are having trouble getting boron into the right places.  Maybe they’re shovelling in far more than you’d normally expect to need, hoping some of it starts hitting home.

About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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6 Responses to They’re still importing boron!

  1. Sparkey says:

    I fear that things are going to hell in a handbasket, down s**t river without a paddle, no wings, and a humble prayer….

    I’m soooo pulling for those guys.

    • wormme says:

      Yes. And dear God I hope there’s no one for Monday morning quarterbacks to jump on, when things settle. Whoever signed off on putting the diesel storage tank near sea level, for example.

      It was a 9.0 earthquake and a 30′ typhoon, but you know people are already looking for sacrifical goats.

  2. Finn says:

    The problem with unit 4 is that the rods are not all spent. That reactor was defueled at the time of the quake.

    “Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it is considering spraying boracic acid by helicopter to prevent spent nuclear fuel rods from reaching criticality again, restarting a chain reaction, at the troubled No. 4 reactor of its quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.”

    ”The possibility of recriticality is not zero,” TEPCO said as it announced the envisaged step against a possible fall in water levels in a pool storing the rods that would leave them exposed.

    The best discussion I’ve seen has been in this arstechnica forum thread: http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=1139141

    • wormme says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Finn,

      I will check that link. Forgive me, but I’m keeling over with exhaustion. I’ll be back here tomorrow morning.

  3. Jorge Perez says:

    Boron truly is what will save them. Great post.

    Oh, here’s something I ran across today that you appreciate – “The Boron Song” by a young female scientist:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9rH1_sxwQ4

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