AN PROPOSED PROCEDURE TO STOP NUCLEAR CORE MELTDOWN RADIATION ESCAPE
by Conrad LeBeau 4/17/2011
Engineers are invited to analyze, comment on and improve this proposal
The current disaster at Fukushima is worse than the meltdown at Chernobyl as three nuclear plants have melted down and groundwater is spilling several hundred tons of water contaminated with radiation each day into the Pacific Ocean. Over time, this radiation will gradually spread throughout the Pacific Ocean contaminating fish, seaweed and beaches.
While water is one way to cool an object that is over-heated when the temperatures are extremely high, it can also cause sudden contractions in the overheated object making it crack or even shatter. When the reactor vessels outer wall is overheated (1000 F or more), spraying room temperature water on the vessel's outer wall will cause a contraction that could crack the reactor's containment vessel and this would allow radioactive material to be released into the atmosphere. Most likely this has already happened to Reactor No 1 and 3, and possibly No 2 as well.
Water is also dangerous if it breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen and then explodes causing further damage to the uranium rods, the containment vessel or the building structure. It would be the wrong cooling material to use directly on uranium rods melting down as the exploding water act would like a sandblaster and cause more radioactive material to be released into the atmosphere. The water then would pick up radioactive materials and wash them into the ocean causing more damage to the environment.
What I am proposing here a fast way to both cool and seal the reactor core and vessel. It is to drop 150 tons or more of copper or aluminum pellets on and around the reactor core and vessel. Both copper and aluminum are excellent conductors of heat and will immediately draw heat from the reactor core and outer vessel and move it to the outside of the vessel. This could drop the internal temperature of the reactor core by as much as 50% in a matter of hours. Then water from any source, even sea water, could be safely used to draw heat away from the core of the reactor. This is because the water does not directly touch the uranium rods, only the cover metal that surrounds and coats the rods. Spraying water directly on the overheated uranium rods is like sandblasting them. It spreads cesium, plutonium and other radioactive components directly into the air.
It will take 150 tons or more of copper or aluminum pellets to cover a 12-ton reactor with about 5 feet of aluminum or copper metal. Copper is probably the best choice as its melting temp is about 500 degrees F less that the melting temp of the stainless steel vessel that surrounds the reactor core.
Enough mass of metal needs to be poured on the reactor vessel until an outer crust forms and solidifies. Water is then sprayed on this outer crust to cool it off. At this point, you need to spray water on it until the temperature dissipates and the entire mass becomes one sealed blob of solid metal. This could take many months. As the surface area increases, it will dissipate the heat more efficiently. To top off this crude radiator, large beams of steel or iron could be placed on top or against the reactor to further dissipate the heat.
At this point the reactor core is sealed and the heat is being siphoned off via the outer aluminum or copper metal and no more radiation is escaping into the atmosphere or going into the ocean.
Materials needed: At least 150 tons of aluminum or copper pellets 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter will be needed per Nuclear Reactor and dropped on and around the reactor vessel.
IF THE TOP OF THE REACTOR VESSEL ITSELF HAS BLOWN APART, THEN COPPER PELLETS SHOULD BE DROPPED DIRECTLY ON THE FUEL RODS
The cement pump that US Navy is now using to spray water could be used with extender to reach the top of the nuclear reactor core vessel or the reactor core itself. Copper pellets and water would be mixed and delivered together to the top of the nuclear reactor vessel or core.
Water and copper pellets are then blasted onto the vessel or into the core until it is filled up. Then the reactor vessel and core is topped a 5 foot layer of copper pellets that are dropped on top of it.
The reactor core may be in the 4000 to 5000 F degree range and copper melts at around 1981 degrees F. When the total mass of the reactor core and the copper pellets are equal in weight, the temperature of the reactor core should drop 40 to 50% or around the mid to lower 2000 degree F range.
Like a Volcano that is cooling, a skin covers the outer layer of the molten copper and with the larger pieces of metal on top to blend in; it will create a greater surface area to dissipate heat from the reactor core. Water then can be sprayed to cool the mass and create a thicker skin of solid metal. The radioactive isotopes are sealed inside the molten mass of metal and no longer enter the atmosphere. Water that is sprayed on the metal mass that surrounds the nuclear core no longer touches the uranium rods so the water can safety flow in the ocean without further contamination of the ocean with radioactive isotopes.
Initial Cost Estimate - about One Million Dollars of copper pellets per nuclear reactor to safely seal a nuclear reactor in meltdown to stop deadly radiation from contaminating the environment.
Please pass this on to the appropriate government officials.
Note: Japan has copper pellets on the mainland in sufficient amounts to accomplish this task.
This plan was drafted by Conrad LeBeau West Allis WI. posted at Keep Hope Alive 414-231-9817. An email sent about this plan to TEPCO in Japan was never answered.