Japan to Intentionally Send Nuclear Fuel Rod Into Meltdown

By Gerald Lynch on at

Japan's Atomic Energy Agency will, at some point after this coming April, deliberately send a nuclear fuel rod into a full-blown meltdown. What could possibly go wrong?

The experiment will be in an effort to understand more about the events that lead to the catastrophic meltdown of the nuclear reactor at the Fukushima plant back in March 2011, a disaster that the JAEA is still reeling from.

The Nuclear Safety Research Reactor in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, will house the experiment, in which a single 30-centimetre fuel rod will be filmed reaching 2,000 degrees centigrade. Data including pressure and temperature readings will then be analysed in order to glean further information as to what went wrong at Fukushima -- and how to prevent similar accidents in the future.

If this all sounds a little too much like playing with a fire that has already burned Japan's energy boffins, breath a little easier knowing that the experiment, using just a single 30-centimetre fuel rod, is on a miniscule scale compared to the tens of thousands of 4.5-metre-long rods that went into meltdown during the 2011 disaster. [Japan News via The Register]

Image Credit: Cat and Parrot in gas masks. Ecology concept from Shutterstock.com