Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan Earthquake launch page:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is continuing to manage the transfer of large amounts of contaminated water from basements and tunnels at Fukushima Daiichi as it works to restore the plant's cooling systems. On Friday TEPCO said the level of radioactive water was increasing in a tunnel at reactor 2 after an earlier drop. The company had on Wednesday finished transferring some 660 tons of water from the tunnel to a condenser in a turbine building, resulting in a drop of the water level in the tunnel by 8 centimeters. However, by Friday morning the level in the tunnel had returned to its previous level. TEPCO says there are at least 50,000 tons of contaminated water at the plant. It plans to use a waste-processing facility, makeshift storage tanks and a floating tank to store the radioactive water.

TEPCO also reports that radiation levels of Iodine-131 and Cesium-134 in water in so-called sub-drain pits have risen by up to 38 times during the past week.

The company is working to finish moving emergency diesel power generators and water injection pumps to higher ground and to bring in additional backup power trucks and fire engines as a precautionary measure. Work is also in progress to cross-connect external grid power lines to all four reactors.

The U.S. State Department has lifted its voluntary evacuation advisory for families of U.S. government employees in Tokyo and other Japanese cities, saying that while the situation remains serious, it is “dramatically different” now than it was on March 16, and health and safety risks are low for areas outside an 80-kilometer (50-mile) zone around the plant, which includes Tokyo. However, it has maintained its recommendation for U.S. citizens to avoid travel within the 50-mile zone.

TEPCO also reported on Friday it had conducted a 2-hour long unmanned helicopter flight over reactors 1 through 4 “to check the condition of the reactor buildings.” The helicopter is to fly again today. Video footage has not yet been released.

NEI has uploaded a new video to its YouTube channel. The video, "INL Director Explains How the National Labs Are Assisting With Japan's Nuclear Crisis," features the Idaho National Laboratory's Director John Grossenbacher, who discusses the types of nuclear expertise and capabilities that exist within the U.S. Department of Energy's national labs to assist with the Japan nuclear crisis. He also explains how the labs will provide long-term research that will uncover lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear plants.

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