UPDATE AS OF 3 PM EDT, TUESDAY, MARCH 29:
Plutonium found in five soil samples at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex originated from uranium fuel at the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. has determined. The level of radiation from the plutonium is not considered dangerous to human health.
The company on March 28 said that some of the plutonium—which is at a very low level—could have been the result of fallout from atomic weapons tests during the Cold War.
Fresh water is being injected into reactors 1, 2 and 3 to cool fuel in the reactors. Workers have switched from diesel fire pumps to temporary electric pumps to move water into the reactors. U.S. Navy barges filled with fresh water have arrived at the site with much-needed supplies of fresh water to pump into the reactors and used nuclear fuel storage pools.
TEPCO also continues to clean contaminated water from the basements of the turbine buildings at the three reactors. The water is being pumped into the main condenser for each reactor. Workers also are working to drain water remaining at unit 4.
As reported earlier, radioactive water has been found in concrete-enclosed channels that hold piping and cables outside of the reactor 1, 2, and 3 turbine buildings. TEPCO is assessing the best way to remove the water from these structures. None of the trenches empty directly into the sea near the Fukushima plant.
NEI’s Pietrangelo Briefs Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Tony Pietrangelo, NEI senior vice president and chief nuclear offer, briefed members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on events in Japan and steps U.S. companies are doing to ensure safety and emergency preparedness at nuclear energy facilities. To watch video of Pietrangelo’s briefing, click here and go to the 94 minute mark.