Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Update

UPDATE AS OF 11:30 A.M. EDT, SUNDAY, APRIL 10:
Management of water continues to be a top priority at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

TEPCO has begun to install steel sheets and a silt barrier at the intake structure for reactor 2 to prevent further spreading of radioactive water that is leaking from the power plant, Kyodo news service has reported. Plans are under way to install similar barriers at other locations near the plant in an effort to contain contaminated water within the plant's bay. Last week, TEPCO used a sealant to block a leak from a concrete enclosure near reactor 2.

Meanwhile, 60,000 tons of contaminated water must be removed from the reactor 1, 2, and 3 turbine buildings and nearby underground enclosures, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported. The water will be pumped into the condensers of each reactor and into a radioactive water storage tank. TEPCO made room in the tank by discharging low-level radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO also has ordered temporary storage tanks for the site.

Injection of cooling water into reactors 1, 2 and 3 continues. Workers are spraying water into the spent fuel pools for reactors 1-4 as needed. TEPCO also continues to inject nitrogen gas into the primary containment of reactor 1. The nitrogen will prevent possible ignition of hydrogen that may be accumulating in the containment.

The utility is now using remote-controlled bulldozers and power shovels to remove radioactive rubble from around the plant. Operators are using cameras on the equipment and elsewhere on the site to control the equipment from hundreds of yards away. The rubble will be stored at the plant site.

The Japan education ministry is expected this week to release radiation exposure safety guidelines for school children in areas outside the evacuation zone surrounding the power plant, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum reported. The guidelines will require schools to suspend classes, stop outdoor lessons, or ensure students wear face masks if radiation surpasses certain levels.

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