Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The reason the fuel is out of reactor number 4 is it is undergoing "fuel shroud replacement" apparently the first 3 and number 5 have already been through this process (although im not certain about it for number 1)


The core shroud is a large stainless steel cylinder of circumferentially welded plates surrounding the reactor fuel core. The shroud provides for the core geometry of the fuel bundles. It is integral to providing a refloodable compartment in the event of a loss-of-coolant-accident. Extensive cracking of circumferential welds on the core shroud has been discovered in a growing number of U.S. and foreign BWRs. A lateral shift along circumferential cracks at the welds by as little as 1/8 inch can result in the misalignment of the fuel and the inability to insert the control rods coupled with loss of fuel core cooling capability. This scenario can result in a core melt accident. A German utility operating a GE BWR where extensive core shroud cracking was identified estimated the cost of replacement at $65 million dollars. The Wuergassen reactor, Germany's oldest boiling water reactor, was closed in 1995 after wary German nuclear regulators rejected a plan to repair rather than replace the reactor's cracked core shroud.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Apr 15th, 2011 at 09:41:12 PM EST

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