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Sat Nov 16, 2013, 01:14 AM

Japan postpones removal of Fukushima atomic fuel rods

Source: Euronews

The operators of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have postponed the extremely complicated and difficult task of removing damaged atomic rods.

Kazuaki Matsui, the executive director of Japan’s Institute of Applied Energy said: “It’s very difficult to remove a spent rod because parts of the wall and the bottom of the reactor are all melted. We’ve never had to deal with this before so that adds to the complication.”

Meanwhile, decontamination workers say mismanagement is to blame for the delay of radiation removal work.

The inital plan called for the clean-up in the affected towns to be finished by March this year but the government now says the work will be delayed by as much as three years.

Read more: http://www.euronews.com/2013/11/15/japan-postpones-removal-of-fukushima-atomic-fuel-rods/



Earlier this month a delay of "a couple of weeks" was announced to allow for a "test" removal. At that time, by way of robot video, new leaks were discovered, as well as that one of the fuel assemblies was damaged and bent out of shape. The current delay is apparently indefinite. In other words, nobody's figured out what to do!

Postponed: Fuel removal attempt at Fukushima Unit 4 delayed, possibly for weeks — Gov’t safety agency wants tests conducted, as another ~M5 quake hits Eastern Japan http://enenews.com/postponed-fuel-removal-attempt-at-fukushima-unit-4-delayed-possibly-for-weeks-govt-safety-agency-wants-tests-conducted

The Japan Times, Nov 4, 2013: Tepco to conduct fuel removal test at reactor 4 Tokyo Electric Power Co. will conduct a fuel removal test at the No. 4 reactor building of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant, delaying the start of the actual operation by up to two weeks, sources close to the matter said Monday.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/04/national/tepco-to-conduct-fuel-removal-test-at-reactor-4/#.UocM2ydsuSq

72 replies, 6409 views

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Arrow 72 replies Author Time Post
Reply Japan postpones removal of Fukushima atomic fuel rods (Original post)
Divernan Nov 2013 OP
TexasTowelie Nov 2013 #1
Hissyspit Nov 2013 #2
silvershadow Nov 2013 #3
Ghost Dog Nov 2013 #10
brer cat Nov 2013 #12
Art_from_Ark Nov 2013 #72
WowSeriously Nov 2013 #4
valerief Nov 2013 #13
WowSeriously Nov 2013 #19
valerief Nov 2013 #25
heaven05 Nov 2013 #15
WowSeriously Nov 2013 #21
ChairmanAgnostic Nov 2013 #23
groundloop Nov 2013 #17
WowSeriously Nov 2013 #18
Divernan Nov 2013 #20
WowSeriously Nov 2013 #22
nilram Nov 2013 #30
nilram Nov 2013 #31
WowSeriously Nov 2013 #36
freshwest Nov 2013 #5
jtuck004 Nov 2013 #6
The Stranger Nov 2013 #24
Tikki Nov 2013 #29
jtuck004 Nov 2013 #32
bananas Nov 2013 #7
Divernan Nov 2013 #8
Katashi_itto Nov 2013 #9
Ghost Dog Nov 2013 #39
FBaggins Nov 2013 #43
PuraVidaDreamin Nov 2013 #11
valerief Nov 2013 #14
JohnyCanuck Nov 2013 #16
The Stranger Nov 2013 #26
Hestia Nov 2013 #37
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #38
FBaggins Nov 2013 #40
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #47
FBaggins Nov 2013 #48
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #50
FBaggins Nov 2013 #52
FBaggins Nov 2013 #44
The Stranger Nov 2013 #45
FBaggins Nov 2013 #49
The Stranger Nov 2013 #55
FBaggins Nov 2013 #59
Berlum Nov 2013 #27
Bennyboy Nov 2013 #28
Bennyboy Nov 2013 #33
Lodestar Nov 2013 #34
FBaggins Nov 2013 #41
Katashi_itto Nov 2013 #42
MindMover Nov 2013 #53
MindMover Nov 2013 #54
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #56
MindMover Nov 2013 #57
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #58
FBaggins Nov 2013 #60
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #62
FBaggins Nov 2013 #63
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #64
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #66
FBaggins Nov 2013 #67
RobertEarl Nov 2013 #68
FBaggins Nov 2013 #69
FBaggins Nov 2013 #61
Bonobo Nov 2013 #65
locks Nov 2013 #35
Myrina Nov 2013 #46
Paper Roses Nov 2013 #51
ramakrishna Nov 2013 #70
Octafish Nov 2013 #71

Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 01:42 AM

1. This should go well.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 02:08 AM

2. Hmm.

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Response to Hissyspit (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 02:22 AM

3. It sure has been a nice ride. Wish it wasn't going to get much, much worse.

That's my arm-chair quarterbacking running smack into the "grumpy cat" element of my persona, if you've ever run into either.

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Response to silvershadow (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 06:48 AM

10. It is going to get much, much worse, isn't it.

That's my gut feeling, based on the information I've received.



All the younger generations of my family, via my brother, are living in Tokyo.

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Response to Ghost Dog (Reply #10)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 08:23 AM

12. ...

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Response to Ghost Dog (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 03:55 PM

72. I'm in Tokyo, too, right now

Usually I'm much closer to Fukushima than that. While the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex is a sort of Sword of Damacles, people around here can't let it consume their lives.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 03:51 AM

4. Clean, safe, abundant.

 

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Response to WowSeriously (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 08:46 AM

13. Yeah, right! nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #13)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:09 PM

19. Or perhaps I was refering to solar power.

 

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Response to WowSeriously (Reply #19)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:28 PM

25. When Hell freezes over. Billionaires must become trillionaires, after all, the planet be damned! nt

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Response to WowSeriously (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 09:44 AM

15. even some on here

Last edited Sun Nov 17, 2013, 08:53 AM - Edit history (2)

have in the past said it's not as bad as it looks. All I can ask is, hmmmm???? Are you sure?

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #15)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:10 PM

21. Or perhaps I was referring to wave power

 

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Response to heaven05 (Reply #15)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:13 PM

23. Well, to be fair . . .

the vast majority of our MSM has studiously ignored this story. Instead, they schedule and report on interviews with that celebrated christmas book author, that halfwit, half term gov. from Alaska. Or they cite horror stories about ACA, which Crooks and Liars or MediaMatters later disproves.

Since most Americans see absolutely nothing about Fukushima, it can't be that bad. Right?

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Response to WowSeriously (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 11:02 AM

17. I think our new member hasn't learned the :sarcasm: tag yet


That's the only sane explanation.

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Response to groundloop (Reply #17)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:08 PM

18. Wow! Seriously? My comment actually required

 



For clarity?

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Response to WowSeriously (Reply #18)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:10 PM

20. I got it w/out the tag, and welcome to DU.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #20)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:12 PM

22. I suspected as much!

 

I just couldn't miss the opportunity to use my posting name in a comment.


It's good to be here, thanks!

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Response to WowSeriously (Reply #18)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 01:26 PM

30. Oh, yeah, it totally did.

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Response to WowSeriously (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 01:27 PM

31. And don't forget, too cheap to meter.

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Response to nilram (Reply #31)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 08:29 PM

36. I recall another DU poster amending that statement to:

 

Life too cheap to meter.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 04:34 AM

5. Who's running this? Satan? End timers? FFS, fix and or bury the accursed thing. It's not theirs now.

This is too big a problem for letting only one nation deal with it. What do the international nuclear organizations say about it?

This thing almost borders on a violation of the CWC. It's a smoking radiological gun at this point. Or so it would appear to those of us not experts in this.

'Indefinite' as in 'never' or 'kiss your ass goodbye'?


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Response to freshwest (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 05:13 AM

6. Not sure that bury is even an option any longer - and the water supply for 40 million

people in Tokyo runs through it. They don't know exactly what is under that mess, (still too hot to see) and there is some indication that it may not be as contained as people would like to think. If an earthquake broke something else and caused the contaminants to escape (which they could even from under a dome of concrete) it could poison the water supply and force an immediate evacuation of everyone in the city.

If that's not enough, the next earthquake or even the removal of the fuel itself could set off a rain of nuclear fire,

You can read about it here, but it might mess with your sleep schedule.

People I speak with who I don't think are anything bu thoughtful and knowledgeable about this are scared that we are damned in any direction we go.

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #6)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:24 PM

24. Why are there so many things unknown when it is has been over two years?

Everything in that link references -- "but it is unknown" the status of ____.

Come the fuck on. At least go in there with protection and see where we are.

Do something.

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Response to The Stranger (Reply #24)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:56 PM

29. The nuke industry has been trying to figure out what to do with nuke waste for 60 years...

This is an industry with no conscience and no vision..

Get ready for the nuke waste spun into gold (glass) crowd to come here soon…
That technology will never become standard practice because it really isn't feasible and the nuke industry
makes way too much money from tax payers pushing the sh*t parts of nuke around and around in holes
in the ground for profit.

The World becomes way smaller with a nuclear industry.

The Tikkis
children of the radiant glow...

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Response to The Stranger (Reply #24)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 01:33 PM

32. It is so hot and mangled there is no protection that allows for it. Workers are


being told that they have less than an hour inside the building for a lethal dose with the best protection there is, from what I was reading before. And the real problems are hidden under tangles of pipes with the hot material inside, and all that covers the hottest area where the corium is.

They are building some robots in a couple of places designed to help, but even those are having to be engineered.

And if they move the fuel rods in the wrong way, rods that are all crumpled together like smashed cigarettes in a pack, and break them open to expose the fuel to another, it could start a reaction which produces a nuclear fire that begins to rain radiation down on everything and through the air, a fire they may not be able to extinguish.

And the same thing could happen with the next big earthquake. So it's not like we can wait forever.

It sure seems like it need a bigger international response at this point.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 05:52 AM

7. Is there an official announcement of the delay?

The only report I found was that euronews article, and it doesn't give a source.

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Response to bananas (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 06:22 AM

8. Perhaps TEPCO's still trying to figure out how to spin this.

Euronews (stylized as euronews) is a European, multilingual news television channel, headquartered in Lyon-Écully, France. Created in 1993, it claims to be covering world news from a Pan-European perspective. Criticisms are that it acts as a propaganda outlet for the European Commission, its major source of revenue.

As a rolling-news channel, headlines from both Europe as well as the world are broadcast in thirty-minute intervals. Brief magazine segments typically fill in the remaining schedule, focusing on market data, financial news, sports news, art and culture, science, weather, European politics, and press reviews of the major European newspapers. These item slots will occasionally be preempted by breaking news or live television coverage. Some segments are displayed without commentary under the banner "No Comment", which has been the channel's signature program since its launch.

In 1992, following the First Persian Gulf War, during which CNN's position as the preeminent source of 24-hour news programming was cemented, the European Broadcasting Union decided to establish the channel to present information from a European perspective. Euronews was first broadcast on 1 January 1993 from Lyon, with an additional broadcast studio set up in London in 1996. It was founded by a group of ten European public broadcasters:
Logo used from 26 October 1998 to 3 June 2008
Logo used from 26 October 1998 to 3 June 2008



(Wikipedia)

I googled last night trying to find the latest news on Fukushima & why there was no news on moving the fuel rods, which was supposed to start at the beginning of November. The Euronews story had just gone out and remains the latest news at this point.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 06:25 AM

9. Its much worse than you think. The contaimated water thats flowing into the ocean is being

understated by a factor of 20 at least. Plus TEPCO is covering up the fact that the fuel rod assemblies were damaged long before the accident and were never capable of being taken out.

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Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 11:56 PM

39. cf.

... One of the assemblies was damaged as far back as 1982, when it was mishandled during a transfer, and is bent out of shape, Tepco said in a brief note at the bottom of an 11-page information sheet in August.

In a statement from April 2010, Tepco said it found two other spent fuel racks in the reactor's cooling pool had what appeared to be wire trapped in them. Rods in those assemblies have pin-hole cracks and are leaking low-level radioactive gases, Tepco spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai told Reuters on Thursday.

The existence of the damaged racks, reported in a Fukushima regional newspaper on Wednesday, came to light as Tepco prepares to begin decommissioning the plant by removing all the spent fuel assemblies from Reactor No. 4.

"The three fuel assemblies ... cannot be transported by cask," Tepco spokeswoman Mayumi Yoshida said in an emailed response to queries on Thursday, referring to the large steel chamber that will be used to shift the fuel assemblies from the pool high up in the damaged reactor building to safe storage. "We are currently reviewing how to transport these fuel assemblies to the common spent fuel pool," she said.

Tepco is due within days to begin removing 400 tones of the dangerous spent fuel in a hugely delicate and unprecedented operation fraught with risk...

/... http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/14/us-japan-fukushima-removal-idUSBRE9AD0JQ20131114

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Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:20 AM

43. The amount of water is irrelevant.

The question is the amount of radioactive contamination within that water.

And to date... it hasn't even been detectable outside of the area immediately next to the plant (and there is has been entirely inconsequential levels).

Far larger amounts are washed from Japan every time it rains.

Plus TEPCO is covering up the fact that the fuel rod assemblies were damaged long before the accident and were never capable of being taken out.

That's nonsense. They reported it (the opposite of covering it up) back in August - which is how you know about it... and we're talking minuscule damage to three assemblies.

An assembly damaged in 1982 has obviously been out of the reactor for over 30 years... and two others appear to have "wire" clogged in them. They've also reported dozens more that were damaged long ago (almost all of them in unit 1 and roughly 40 years old). Far from "never capable of being taken out"... they just can't be taken out in the cask that will do most of the offloading. They'll have to create purpose-built containers for those few (which they had to do anyway in order to remove fuel from the cores years later)... and take smaller loads. Worth reporting, but hardly a big deal.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 07:55 AM

11. I wonder when the exodus of our West Coastlines begins

My surf break here on the East Coast is going to become more crowded.

I wonder if the West Coast fishing industry is beginning to feel this?

Is our government even monitoring radiation levels out there?
Would they tell us if they were?

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Response to PuraVidaDreamin (Reply #11)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 08:48 AM

14. Why would the fishing industry be hurt? It's not like we have controls in place

to protect us from contaminated food. That would take away some billionaire's freedumb.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 10:43 AM

16. The crane operators who'll be lifting the rods out won't be wasting the downtime

They'll all spend the wait time using these high tech nuclear-fuel-rod-remover simulators to keep their skills up to speed, so we can all be assured they'll be ready for the real thing when they finally do go live.


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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:30 PM

26. Someone educatd on this issue please explain something to me.

Is the danger of the rods being removed that they will come into contact with other rods? Amazingly, this still hasn't been explained in the torrents of discussion on this topic.

Is it like the "Tickling the Dragon's Tail" experiment? So that it goes "critical"?

If so, then what? Does it explode? Does it get very hot? Does it somehow trigger other fuel to do the same thing?

Finally, why is this a potential problem when the fuel rods are described as being "spent fuel"? That description, to me, indicates that there is no more potential energy within the rods.

Thanks in advance.

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Response to The Stranger (Reply #26)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 09:27 PM

37. Since no one answered you Stranger, here are a couple of links that answer your question

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/24-3
Fuel Removal From Fukushima's Reactor 4 Threatens 'Apocalyptic' Scenario

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/08/30/why-fukushima-is-worse-than-you-think/
from Fareed Zakaria

and probably the most disturbing op/ed article of them all:
http://rt.com/news/fukushima-apocalypse-fuel-removal-598/

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Response to The Stranger (Reply #26)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 10:10 PM

38. Problems in the fuel pool

When building number 4 blew up, it did so because the rods in the pool overheated. The fuel pool was known to have lost water. After the explosion we saw pictures of an outside-the-walls water pump putting water into the pool. So, we know the rods overheated due to lack of water.

What scientists are saying is that absent the cooling waters the rods can generate tremendous heat, still.

And there is evidence that some of the rods melted and fused with the metal in the tank. Becoming one with the tank, it could be said.

One of the problems #4 pool faces, is that while there are some old rods which have greatly decreased in their possible heat generating properties, there is a whole reactor full of rods that had just been removed from the reactor. Those rods are quite capable of still boiling water, and that is why the pool is said to have overheated like it did. Those rods are still quite hot. It takes 10 years for rods to cool enough to be dry-casked, iirc.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #38)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:00 AM

40. Nope (yet again)

When building number 4 blew up, it did so because the rods in the pool overheated.

Untrue. In fact, we know for certain that this didn't happen.

The fuel pool was known to have lost water.

No it wasn't. It was mistakenly assumed to have lost water (by a couple people with no first-hand knowledge)... but we learned years ago that this was incorrect. I made a similar mistake at the time based on reporting of smoke around the pool. If the fuel was going to cause that, I assumed that there must be a hole in the pool - and that the danger involved would depend on how high above/below the tops of the fuel that hole was. But we long-ago learned that there was no hole in the pool.

After the explosion we saw pictures of an outside-the-walls water pump putting water into the pool. So, we know the rods overheated due to lack of water.

Did that make sense to you when you typed it? Adding water proves there was a lack of water?

Nobody could see into the pool at the time and they had no idea how much water there was... so they were adding water against a worst-case scenario where the pool had a serious leak. Again... we learned years ago that this was incorrect. The pool is intact.

Knowing that now (and for well over two years)... there are other things that we know for certain. Yes... the fuel at the time had the ability to heat up the water to the boiling point, but the amount of heat (and the amount of water) are known quantities. They know how long it would take a full pool to reach the boiling point of water... and they know how long it would take for the water to boil off.

This isn't a new calculation. Regulators/operators for decades have performed detailed calculations for how long it would take a given pool to heat up and how long evaporation/boiling would take before fuel was uncovered and/or damaged.

The explosion occurred well before this point. Therefore... the explosion had nothing whatsoever to do with the fuel in the pool (also true for unit #3). It's not physically possible.

And there is evidence that some of the rods melted and fused with the metal in the tank. Becoming one with the tank, it could be said.

There has been absolutely zero evidence of this... in fact it wouldn't be possible knowing what we know now (see above). Please back this up with something other than continued un-sourced claims repeated over and over despite correction.


It takes 10 years for rods to cool enough to be dry-casked, iirc.

Five years. And even that leaves a safety margin. The vast majority of the rods in that pool could be "dry-casked" now.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #40)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:16 PM

47. You doing ok, baggins?

Hadn't seen you post in a long time.

I get that because the nuke industry has taken an asteroid hit via Fukushima there is a lot of depression and soul-searching about any more support for using nukes to boil water. Hope you are hanging in there.

Appreciate your opinions, they certainly are contrary to established facts, but they do make one think, y'know?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #47)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:25 PM

48. How's that fantasy world treating you RE?

You know... like that recent pronouncement that after Japan sought our help, the US told them that their plans for fuel removal were bad and they had to start over...

... with the fuel removal that started this morning?

They've been saying for months that the start date would be mid-November (moved up from December)... and her we are in mid November.

Never one to let the facts get in the way, eh?

Now... were you going to get around to actually defending any of those "facts" (you know... by providing evidence?) or will we play this game yet again the next time you make the story up out of whole cloth?

Just wondering.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #48)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:46 PM

50. Read ENEnews.com

They cover the whole history of this catastrophe.

They even have a forum. Of course they don't cotton to pro-nukes. Why would they? Pro-nukes to them are like republicans are to DU.

ENEnews.com sources are from the mainstream, mostly. And pro-nukers out there are no longer mainstream.

On the close-down-the-nukes front, progress is being made. Slow going but moving on the eliminating future threats from these nasty nuke water boilers. Fukushima got out of control and we can't let that happen again. Time is short. Lots of work to be done.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #50)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:54 PM

52. Why waste time with a woo site?

They aren't a news organization. They're nothing but fearmongers.

ENEnews.com sources are from the mainstream, mostly.

Lol! Hardly. They take a mainstream source and then twist it beyond recognition. Did you ever count how many times they had reported that Unit #4 had collapsed?

Have you ever looked to see who is behind the website?

On the close down the nukes front, progress is being made.

Only by cheap natural gas... certainly not the anti-nukes. They had a short burst right after Fukushima (Germany and Japan primarily)... but it's been largely backwards since then.

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Response to The Stranger (Reply #26)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:34 AM

44. Your answers.

Is the danger of the rods being removed that they will come into contact with other rods? Amazingly, this still hasn't been explained in the torrents of discussion on this topic.

No. This has been continually misreported (largely sourced to people who are knowingly deceiving the public). Fuel rods/assemblies "touching" isn't worrisome (absent "touching" hard enough to damage the assembly significantly). Some people have treated it as though these were electrical sources that would arc if they got too close. These things have been modeled for decades. They've even modeled scenarios where one assembly is dropped onto another (partially crushing both of them to make them more compact than designed) and then miraculously end up touching along their whole length (not possible since one of the two assemblies would be inside a rack)... and they never get close to a criticality.

Similarly, you will read nonsense that implies (or outright asserts) that if the assemblies come in contact with air, they will burst into flames and release massive amounts of radiation. This too is nonsense. After three years, it doubtful that any of the assemblies can get that hot even without water cooling.

In both scenarios (criticality or fire), it would take many errors before it would even be a miniscule possibility. Even a building collapse at this point (while serious) would be very unlikely to result in either - though the chances are greater than zero.

Finally, why is this a potential problem when the fuel rods are described as being "spent fuel"? That description, to me, indicates that there is no more potential energy within the rods.

That's a good question. The difference in this case is that spent fuel is less fissile (less capable of sustaining fission), but more radioactive. This is because, as the fuel is "spent", the U235 is depleted and replaced with fission products (many with much shorter half-lives and thus far more radioactivity - but that can't sustain a chain reaction).

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #44)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 11:52 AM

45. Then why all the hubbub, bub?

If there is no danger of arcing between the rods, and no danger of their coming into contact with air, and a "miniscule possibility" after "many errors" for criticality, why hasn't removal been completed by now(or a year ago)?

I seem to think that there is more to it than you are letting on.

And here is the question I really wanted answered: How does criticality occur in this situation? That really still hasn't been answered. I had speculated that it was contact between rods, but you seem to think that is not a problem.

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Response to The Stranger (Reply #45)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:43 PM

49. There isn't all that much "hubbub"

A couple news organizations go for the sensational story line (usually with no fact checking and awful sources)... but almost all of the "hubbub" is invented nonsense. A few key anti-nukes just trying to keep the paychecks rolling in from the suckers. They keep ending up dead wrong, so they have to come up with ever more panicked fantasies of how this time it's really going to harm large numbers of people. We've just been incredibly lucky up to this point and NOW the fate of the world rests on the edge of a knife.

why hasn't removal been completed by now(or a year ago)?

Two primary reasons:

They had to construct a substantial addition over the pool in order to perform the process

The longer you wait, the less radioactive the material is.

And here is the question I really wanted answered: How does criticality occur in this situation? That really still hasn't been answered. I had speculated that it was contact between rods, but you seem to think that is not a problem.

The more precise the answer, the few the people who are equipped to understand it. The middlin answer is that criticality in nuclear fuel usually requires a very precise distribution of fissile material (nor just a certain amount of it within a certain distance) and a moderator that slows down the neutrons without absorbing too many of them (as with a "neutron poison"). It's incredibly unlikely that dropped fuel would just magically align into a configuration that would sustain a chain reaction... and it approaches infinitely unlikely that it can do so in a pool filled with boron-laced water (a neutron poison).

Take another look at Chernobyl. The corium has been there for decades... with no water cooling it... melted into large lumps. Yet there's no criticality.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #49)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:07 PM

55. Okay, so just to make sure.

This line is from the recent Bloomberg piece reporting successful removal of the first rods.

Were the rods to break or overheat, it could prompt a self-sustained nuclear chain reaction similar to the meltdowns at three Fukushima reactors following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-18/fukushima-plant-fuel-rod-removals-to-begin-today-tepco-says.html

This is overstating the real threat because there is no precise distribution of fissile material and no appropriate moderator?

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Response to The Stranger (Reply #55)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 08:53 PM

59. Yep

The "reporting" has been incredibly poor.

They can be forgiven to some extent... since there are self-styled "experts" intentionally trying to deceive people into thinking that nuclear power is an evil genie always just a hair's breadth away from bursting out and killing millions of people... and they keep making themselves available for interviews (since publicity among anti-nukes is how they get their next paying gig). And, of course, the authors are often trying to sell their next story... and who wants to read a story about something as mundane as moving spent fuel?

Let's take the statement you cite. There are three distinct claims:

Broken rods can lead to criticalities
Overheated fuel is a cause of criticalities
The three meltdowns in 2011 were the result of such criticalities.

All three statements are demonstrably untrue. Fuel rods don't go critical because they're broken. Temperature doesn't impact reactivity. And it was decay heat (not heat from a criticality) that caused all three meltdowns.

Again... let's not forget Chernobyl. That wasn't just a few broken fuel rods or a short exposure to air. Hundreds of fuel rods melted entirely and have been sitting in air for decades. Yet there's no fission going on.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:31 PM

27. Meanwhile, gamma-eating Green Slime thriving & multiplying inside Chernobyl

...won't be long until Fukushima also give birth to the Green Slime Mutants...


Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor??

Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor??
https://unitedcats.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/major-biological-discoveryinside-the-chernobyl-reactor/

There has been an exciting new biological discovery inside the tomb of the Chernobyl reactor. Like out of some B-grade sci fi movie, a robot sent into the reactor discovered a thick coat of black slime growing on the walls. Since it is highly radioactive in there, scientists didn’t expect to find anything living, let alone thriving. The robot was instructed to obtain samples of the slime, which it did, and upon examination…the slime was even more amazing than was thought at first glance.

This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical found in human skin as well, in the same fashion as plants use chlorophyll. That is to say, the melanin molecule gets struck by a gamma ray and its chemistry is altered. This is an amazing discovery, no one had even suspected that something like this was possible.

Aside from its novelty value, this discovery leads to some interesting speculation and potential research. Humans have melanin molecules in their skin cells, does this mean that humans are getting some of their energy from radiation? This also implies ...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/122824495

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:34 PM

28. Yet the Japan Times, today, says

 

that they are going ahead with fuel removal on Monday....

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday it will start removing nuclear fuel from the spent fuel pool of the reactor 4 building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant from Monday.

“Full-scale removal (from the accident-stricken unit) is a very important process in moving ahead with the plant’s decommissioning,” Tepco spokesman Masayuki Ono told a press conference, adding that the experience will be useful in dealing with the three other units that were damaged in the 2011 nuclear crisis.

The unit 4 spent fuel pool contains 1,331 spent fuel assemblies and 202 unused ones. Workers will begin with the removal of unused fuel assemblies, which are easier to handle.

The work Monday will begin with the placement of a transportation container inside the spent fuel pool. Workers will then use a crane to take each fuel assembly out of the storage rack and put it into the container.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/15/national/tepco-to-start-fuel-removal-from-fukushima-reactor-4-pool-monday/#at_pco=tcb-1.0&at_tot=8&at_ab=-&at_pos=0

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Response to Bennyboy (Reply #28)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 02:46 PM

33. Yep, operation starts Monday...

 

Tepco announced they plan to start the fuel removal of reactor4 pool on 11/18/2013.

Specifically, they will start it from sinking the cask in the pool but the exact time schedule was not announced.

They estimate one cycle (sinking the cask to the pool ~ setting the fuel in the common usage pool) would take 7~8 days.

http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/11/tepco-to-start-fuel-removal-of-reactor4-pool-on-11182013/

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 04:47 PM

34. The horrific effects of this nuclear disaster in Japan will, by far, surpass the destruction caused

by the tsunami itself. If we ever doubted our connectedness or the Oneness of all living things, this disaster will drive it home like no other. No living thing will escape the repercussions. The Japanese will only be the first to absorb
the effects. Closer to home we can look to the recent disaster in the Gulf for a more immediate impact.

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Response to Lodestar (Reply #34)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:07 AM

41. Not a chance.

Tens of thousands killed/injured/missing and over a million buildings destroyed/damaged...

... compared to zero people killed by radiation and the strong likelihood that the number will never rise to a level that's identifiably sourced to the radiation.

The impact globally, apart from CRIP, (Continual Ridiculous Irrational Paranoia) is nonexistent.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #41)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:10 AM

42. Total BS is what your expounding

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Response to Katashi_itto (Reply #42)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 02:04 PM

53. Reality is sometimes messy, but it does provide truth ...

Speculation on the other hand, provides more speculation, which in the end is not truth ...

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #41)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 02:15 PM

54. I really appreciate your demeanor of reality ...

and CRIP is just toooo funny ....

I have stated from the beginning that this disaster should have been handled by a worldwide crisis management organization, put together with experts from all the fields that are necessary to contain this mess ...

Russian authorities used the worlds expertise to contain Chernobyl, my question is why have the Japanese not done the same or have they ...????

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Response to MindMover (Reply #54)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 04:34 PM

56. Eh, MM?

Look here for info:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023933194

Weird you find bag's CRIP to be funny. People have been killed and made sick from nuke accidents. There is a reason they let nuke workers only get so much radiation before they are forced to retire. There is a reason medical pros who work with rads are very careful about how much radiation they get.

What about Chernobyl? That funny too?

The 'reality' you are responding too is nothing more than a nuke supporter spouting more nonsense, as if nuclear radiation never killed anyone. FTS. I would think you would know better than to believe that pile of crap. Guess not?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #56)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 08:38 PM

57. So you have links to how many people have been killed by Fukushima ... I do ...

Yes, you are correct in that there have been several thousand deaths from radiation poisoning in nuclear accidents ....

however none yet from Fukushima ....

I believe what is in front of me, verifiable data ... not hyperbole designed to cause CRIP ....


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_and_radiation_accidents_by_death_toll

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Response to MindMover (Reply #57)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 08:47 PM

58. You do, what?

Glad to see you are now refuting the baggin's claims. You had me thinking you were.... well, good to see you know.

Fukushima.... they have rotated over 20,000 workers thru the plant because those reached their exposure limits.

And they forced 160,000 people to flee the area. Could there be many deaths if not evacuated or rotated out? Eh? Yes, sure, of course.

Reports are now coming out that medical people are NOT allowed to report deaths, sickness or injuries if caused by Fukushima.

Check ENEnews.com for links to many such reports. Use the search engine.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #58)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:03 PM

60. You really just keep making stuff up, eh?

Don't think anyone else notices?

Fukushima.... they have rotated over 20,000 workers thru the plant because those reached their exposure limits.

It was 138 as of July. Can you document the other 19,862 in the last few months?

And they forced 160,000 people to flee the area. Could there be many deaths if not evacuated or rotated out? Eh? Yes, sure, of course.

Of course? That's a ridiculous assumption (as if regulatory limits are set just below the death threshold... rather that many MANY times lower). How many people would you expect to die if your town's drinking water had double the allowable arsenic contamination?

Reports are now coming out that medical people are NOT allowed to report deaths, sickness or injuries if caused by Fukushima.

Pure nonsense. How on earth would a doctor know that a stillborn child was "caused by Fukushima"?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #60)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:15 PM

62. Why do you keep doing this?

What is it you hope to accomplish? Every time you claim something you are proven to be wrong.

The nuke industry has committed a grave injustice on the world. It has lied again and again and again. And here you are, again, helping them.

Why do you do that?

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #62)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:21 PM

63. Because you remain "invicibly ignorant"

Which... were this a theological debate... would leave you safe.

Unfortunately... facts matter.

Every time you claim something you are proven to be wrong.

Sigh... and here's where I challenge you to provide a few examples (as I've done for you dozens of times)... and you spin off to some other topic and pretend that it never happened.

Why do you do that?

Correct your errors? Simple... because some people might fall for the lies and assume that you knew what you were talking about... when instead you make things up out of whole cloth.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #63)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:29 PM

64. Hey

The industry is the one that has made the huge mistakes. Not I.

From above, here is your quote: "The impact globally, apart from CRIP, (Continual Ridiculous Irrational Paranoia) is nonexistent."

There you are saying that globally, the impact from nuke power plants is non-existent. And you call me ignorant?

Tell you what I am not, and that is not a shill for the industry.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #64)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:40 PM

66. No global impact? Bullshit

Here's the official US government words about Fukushima:

US Energy Chief offers Japan Help

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_JAPAN_US_NUCLEAR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-10-31-06-16-32

TOKYO (AP) -- U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he expects deepening cooperation with Japan over the high-stakes cleaning up and decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The Fukushima plant has had a series of mishaps in recent months, including radioactive water leaks from storage tanks. The incidents have added to concerns about the ability of operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, to safely close down the plant, which suffered meltdowns after being swamped by the March 2011 tsunami on Japan's northeastern coast.

"We expect the relationship in the area of decommissioning between TEPCO and our national laboratories to expand and deepen in the coming years," Moniz said in a lecture Thursday in Tokyo.

"Just as the tragic event had global consequences, the success of the cleanup also has global significance. So we all have a direct interest in seeing that the next steps are taken well and efficiently and safely," he said.

*****************

Just goes to show baggins knows not what he is talking about. Hang it up, baggins, you're done. No one believes you any more. Not that anyone ever did....

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #64)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:50 PM

67. Still putting words in others' mouths?

There you are saying that globally, the impact from nuke power plants is non-existent.

Context matters. The post I replied was talking about the global impact of Fukushima... which has, in fact, been negligible.

Of course, on balance the global impact from nuclear power plants has been a large net positive - since the primary competition (coal) kills many millions of people when it's operating normally.

Tell you what I am not, and that is not a shill for the industry.

You have more than a few DUers that aren't so sure about that.

Your frequent errors (and the ease with which they are debunked) has a number of anti-nukes that believe you are a "sock puppet" for the nuclear industry. There are DUers with legitimate concerns over nuclear power (or simply a preference for a different low-carbon solution and a fear that support for nuclear saps support for their preferred solutions)... and little makes them look worse than to be associated with some of these nutty claims that are so easily refuted.

Example?

Here's a video from over a year and a half ago of half a dozen people in the basement of the unit that you claim kills robots in minutes and humans can't even approach. You've been given such evidence of your error several times... yet continue to repeat it.

#!

BTW - The dose for the 3/4 hour journey into units 2&3? Between .67 and 2.87 mSv.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #67)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:03 PM

68. Bwahaha

That's all you got?

Who made that video? Looks like #4 to me. The only reactor that didn't blow up. Unlike #3 which blew sky high and even Tepco says they can't work.

Go ahead, find a Tepco release where they claim they are working in #3. I won't wait.

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #68)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 10:13 PM

69. Lol... "looks like #4 to you"???

You can tell the difference between the basements of the four units?

BTW - Unit #2 is the one that didn't blow up. Remember?

Go ahead, find a Tepco release where they claim they are working in #3. I won't wait.

No need to wait. Here's the release from that trip. There have been plenty of others (installing equipment... drilling into the reactor vessel... etc)... and many hundreds of hours of robot work (if not thousands).

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_120314_01-e.pdf

And here's the enenews "report" from that same day:

http://enenews.com/nhk-radiation-levels-too-high-for-humans-to-continue-at-reactors-no-2-and-3-workers-must-repair-damage-to-suppression-chambers-video

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Response to RobertEarl (Reply #56)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:11 PM

61. Now you need to build strawmen, eh?

Can't deal with what was actually said... so you just make stuff up. Now I'm supposedly claiming that radiation never killed anyone?

People have been killed and made sick from nuke accidents.

Yep... when they're exposed to MUCH more radiation than any member of the public (or almost any plant worker) has seen.

There is a reason they let nuke workers only get so much radiation before they are forced to retire.

Same answer as above. And that threshold is set well below the more dangerous levels.

There is a reason medical pros who work with rads are very careful about how much radiation they get.

And what you continually ignore is that the amount actually matters. Yes, radiation can do damage... but we're all exposed to radiation all the time (including internal doses). Safety levels tend to be set well below the threshold below which damage cannot be statistically identified. Many tens of thousands of Japanese citizens have had very detailed measurements of their internal dose and nobody in the general public came anywhere close to those levels.

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Response to Lodestar (Reply #34)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:35 PM

65. Trust me, only people who are lucky enough to not really feel the pain of the 20,000 dead...

would say that kind of thing.

No, you did NOT suffer a damned thing when 20,000 died and millions were displaced.

So please don't make it worse by showing how little you appreciate of the suffering Japan went through.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Sat Nov 16, 2013, 04:49 PM

35. It is depressing

to have CNN air Pandora's Promise and especially difficult to watch Jim Hansen stridently defend nuclear power. For years he has given outstanding support to environmentalists and scientists around the world as they try to alert us to climate change and how much we need to decrease fossil fuels. After Chernobyl and Fukushima I find it hard to believe that he can call nuclear power a safe alternative. Even without a terrible disaster near a nuclear plant such as Indian Point, we have never found a way to remove nuclear rods or waste.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:04 PM

46. Oh fuck.

That is all.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 01:50 PM

51. THey are scared to death of the whole project.

Any surprise here?

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 07:28 AM

70. TEPCO completes Fukushima's reactor 4 fuel rods transfer

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has transported 22 fuel assemblies from the Unit 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

source[link:http://nuclear.energy-business-review.com/news/tepco-completes-fukushimas-reactor-4-fuel-rods-transfer-221113|

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Response to ramakrishna (Reply #70)

Mon Nov 25, 2013, 09:29 AM

71. 4 down, 1,496 to go.

Then there are the other reactors' spent fuel pools...not to mention the three melted reactor cores that TEPCO has failed to find.

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