Skip to main content

Finding the Crack at Fukushima

The Washington Post put it this way:
Authorities discovered radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant flowing into the sea from a crack in the No. 2 reactor Saturday, adding to mounting problems facing emergency repair workers a day after Japan’s prime minister tried to shift the country’s attention toward reconstruction.
True enough, but the workers were looking for the source of the radioactive water, so the news here is really that they found it. They also have a plan for what to do about it.
At a news conference Saturday, a Tepco spokesman said the company plans to pour concrete into the crack to try to stop the leak.
The Wall Street Journal carries that a little further:
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that concrete has started to be poured into the crack to seal it. It hasn't been confirmed, however, whether the leaking of highly toxic water has stopped, the agency said.
And of course, we may expect that Tepco will continue to look for any other possible source for leakage.
The Post provides some information on what Tepco's next step will be:
The discovery came as Tepco was considering broader steps to deal with the burgeoning crisis. Among the latest ideas, officials said, are pumping nitrogen into reactors Nos. 1 and 3 to try to prevent explosions of hydrogen gas that is building up and using an artificial floating island to store contaminated water that has pooled inside the facility.
Nitrogen acts as an inertial agent in this instance. 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…