4th Reactor of Fukushima NPP on fire
I thought bad things come in threes.
A fourth reactor at Fukushima NPP is on fire and it’s releasing highly concentrated radioactive materials said Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
He called on citizens residing within the 20-km distance from the reactor to immediately leave this zone and those living more than 20-30 km (13-17 miles) from the NPP to stay in their houses, but to shut windows and doors.
And you thought it won’t get any worser. Fukushima NPP is fueled by MOX.
MOX stands for “Mixed-Oxide Fuel”. It is a nuclear power reactor fuel made from plutonium mixed with uranium.
Use of MOX fuel attacks commercial nuclear reactors where they are the weakest. Many reactors are aging prematurely, and cracks are appearing in vital reactor components. Most atomic reactors were not originally designed to use MOX fuel and MOX makes key reactor components age even faster.
Because of its high “neutron flux” levels, the reactor pressure vessel can become brittle and fail during accident conditions.
A nuclear accident involving MOX fuel could cause a meltdown more serious than Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, because the levels of radiation inside a reactor using MOX are even higher than in a normal atomic reactor.
Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear energy consultant and former head of nuclear campaigns at Greenpeace said on the Guardian:
Plutonium Mox fuel increases the risk of nuclear accident due the neutronic effects of plutonium on the reactor,” Burnie told the Guardian.
“In the event of an accident – in particular loss of coolant – the reactor core is more difficult to control due to both neutronics and higher risk of fuel cladding failure.
In the event of the fuel melting and the release of plutonium fuel into the environment, the health hazards are greater, including higher levels of latent cancer.
MOX fuel emits higher gamma radiation and much higher neutron radiation than uranium fuel.