Response to RobertEarl (Reply #8)
Thu Apr 19, 2012, 09:42 AM
FBaggins (14,810 posts)
9. Well... you're getting closer.
So I suppose the teasing can stop.
Yes, boiled off. The pools overheated and boiled off the water.
Close. The way you worded it implies that they boiled dry (or almost). There was fear that this could happen (a year ago), but it doesn't appear that it did.
Then when the water level went below the tops of the rods the rods reacted with the air and began burning. Releasing radiation.
Two errors there. This is at least the second time that your statement implies that you think there is a reaction between the fuel and the air. That isn't the case. The water provides both cooling and shielding, but the lack of water does not change the rate of decay heat not the activity level in the fuel.
Remember the small crane
Actually, IIRC it was one of the three largest concrete pumping trucks in the world.
Regardless... here's the crux of the conversation. The fuel pools were certainly a priority and a great risk at the time, but they were not the source of the explosions. Uncovering the tops of the fuel would be very dangerous to anyone standing above the pool, but would not have much of an impact otherwise. Your'e forgetting another basic physics principle. It's hard to heat just one end of a metal rod when the other end is still being cooled. In order for the fuel to burst into flames they first had to raise the temperature of the pool to boiling and then boil off substantially all of the water.... THEN they could get hot enough to burn.
The problem is that there are physical constants involved here. Even in the pool with the highest level of activity (#4), it would take a week or more to heat it up enough and boil off the water (and as you note, they were adding water). The explosions took place long before that point.
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