TEPCO Reports Explosion at Fukushima Nuclear Plant: Did the Reactor 4 Fuel Pool Collapse?

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) has reported an explosion at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

There were no reported injuries or spikes in radioactivity around the plant.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that,

The explosion was heard around 0530 GMT as wreckage was being removed by remotely controlled heavy machinery on the southern side of the No. 4 reactor building.

Tepco said it was possible that a machine ruptured a buried gas tank, causing the explosion, the report said.

TEPCO gave the time of the explosion at ~05:30 GMT instead of providing the time in the local time zone. I can do that calculation, but how many people can actually take a time in GMT and convert it into a time in JST – it isn’t even the same day. But OK, it turns out to be about 2:30 in the afternoon if you believe TEPCO. I don’t.

Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #4: Click to enlarge

Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 4 - click to enlarge

First, I doubt there is an underground fuel tank next to a nuclear reactor. Even if there were, ANY explosion would increase radiation levels because radioactive particles are all over the place. However, I have attached a photo of Reactor 4 in case someone can show me the location and type of the underground fuel tank. Conclusion: The statement is not true.

Secondly, I doubt that people are operating remote-controlled heavy equipment without specific planned routes and copies of blueprints of the facility overlaid on maps in front of them with specific GPS coordinates FOR EXACTLY THE REASON THAT THEY DON’T DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT! Conclusion: The statement is not true.

Third: The ‘live’ feeds have been off for longer than the time the indecent supposedly occurred. Yesterday it was supposedly because heavy ground fog obscured the area. People are not operating heavy tracked equipment around the Reactor 4 fuel pool in zero visibility – I was born at night but it wasn’t LAST night. Conclusion: Everything TEPCO says is molasses.

What DID happen? We’ll have to wait for the picture to come back on but the most likely scenario is that the R4 fuel pool collapsed and the near-term clean-up effort has been set back to the year 2525.