UPDATE AS OF 5 P.M. EDT, FRIDAY, MARCH 25:
Fresh water is being injected into the reactor pressure vessel at reactor 3 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.
TEPCO said that radioactive materials discovered at the reactor 3 turbine building possibly came from water from the reactor system, not the spent fuel pool. TEPCO made that statement after collecting samples of contaminated water in the reactor 3 turbine building and conducting a gamma-emitting nuclide analysis of the sample. The reactor pressure and drywell pressure at reactor 3 remained stable on Friday, leading TEPCO to believe that “the reactor pressure vessel is not seriously damaged.”
Cooling efforts at Reactor 1 already had switched back to fresh water cooling. Reactor 2 is still being injected with seawater, but is expected to switch to fresh water soon.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that crews continued spraying water into the used fuel storage pools at reactors 3 and 4 on Friday to keep the used uranium fuel rods safe. Also on Friday, the heat removal system at reactor 6 was switched to a permanent power supply, NISA added.
TEPCO said it was assessing the radiation dose to two workers who were contaminated while laying cable in the turbine building of reactor 3. TEPCO said it had instructed its employees and contract workers to pay attention to their personal radiation dosimeter alarms and evacuate when necessary.
On-site radiation monitoring at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant indicates that radiation dose rates continue to decrease, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.
Radiation Monitoring Update
Air and seawater sampling continues by the Japanese government. Measurements in the ocean were taken 30 kilometers off-shore and 330 meters from the discharge points on March 23 and March 24. Results indicate concentrations of iodine-131 at 2,162 picocuries per liter and cesium-137 at approximately 703 picocuries per liter. Adult consumption of 1,000 picocuries (1 picocurie is one-trillionth of a curie) per liter concentration for 30 days will result in 24 millirem of radiation dose. For comparison, a typical dose from a chest x-ray is 10 millirem.
The concentrations found in the seawater samples are most likely “due to atmospheric fallout rather than just ocean currents,” IAEA said. Dilution is expected to rapidly decrease this surface contamination, IAEA added.
Iodine-131 was detected in drinking water in 13 prefectures and cesium-137 was detected in drinking water in six prefectures. All results remained below the limits set by the Japanese government, IAEA said. Iodine-131 levels in drinking water in Tokyo are now below limits for consumption by infants set by the Japanese authorities and restrictions have been lifted.
On March 25, the IAEA radiation monitoring team made additional measurements at distances from 34 to 62 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. At these locations, the radiation dose rate was at extraordinarily low levels, ranging from 0.073 millirem per hour to 0.88 millirem per hour.