Saturday, April 02, 2011

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. 



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