Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tuesday Update

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) continued efforts Tuesday to stop the flow of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
On Saturday, workers found a crack in a concrete enclosure used to carry electric cables near reactor 2. Since then, TEPCO has attempted to seal the crack with concrete and with an absorbent polymer, with no success.
A colored liquid tracer was injected into the system of enclosures Monday to determine the flow path of the water. The test showed that the radioactive water may be leaking from a cracked pipe, and then seeping through gravel into the concrete enclosure. Today, TEPCO is taking a new approach: sealing gravel under the enclosure with liquid glass. TEPCO has not yet announced the outcome.
To free up storage space for highly radioactive water in a waste disposal tank, TEPCO has begun to discharge 11,500 tons of low-level radioactive water into the ocean. The utility will use the tank to hold highly radioactive water that has accumulated in the basements of the reactor 1, 2 and 3 turbine buildings.
Small fish caught in waters south of Fukushima prefecture have been found to contain radioactive cesium. The Ibaraki Prefecture government said 14 picocuries of radioactive cesium was detected in one kilogram of sand lances. The acceptable limit is 13.5 picocuries per kilogram. This is the first time radioactive cesium has been found in fish at a level above the government limit.
Workers continue to inject cooling water into reactors 1, 2 and 3. In addition, spent fuel pools for reactors 1-4 are sprayed with fresh water as needed to keep them cool. (See NEI's video, "Spent Fuel Storage in Pools at Nuclear Energy Plants," for more information about how these pools work.)
NRC Chairman Jaczko: U.S. Nuclear Plants Are Safe
Events in Japan will inform future activities of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, its chairman said. “We already have begun enhancing inspection activities through temporary instructions to our inspection staff, including the resident inspectors and the inspectors in our four regional offices,” Gregory Jaczko told participants in a regular international review of nuclear safety, now convened in Vienna.
He said the NRC has asked licensees to verify that their abilities to mitigate conditions due to severe accidents—including the loss of major operational and safety systems—are in effect and operational, including a total loss of electric power, flooding, and damage from seismic events.
The NRC is “confident about the safety of U.S. nuclear power plants,” Jaczko said.
New Video on Emergency Preparedness
NEI has uploaded a new video to its YouTube channel: "Emergency Planning and Coordination at Nuclear Energy Plants." The video features NEI's Director of Emergency Preparedness Sue Perkins-Grew who explains emergency planning zones and how state and local authorities coordinate their responses during an emergency.


Anonymous said...

The link "Spent Fuel Storage in Pools at Nuclear Energy Plants," points to some Exchange thing.. I doubt that's correct. Copy/pasted from an email?

Horizon3 said...

Ehhh just a correction to make, it was probably a translation error.

The sealing material they are attempting to use is not "liquid glass" it's water glass, ie sodium metasilicate or sodium silicate.

I don't give it much chance of working though, as to be an effective sealant it has to get to the temperature of boiling water 210-220degF.
Is the water in the leaking pipe that hot?

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Why didn't the Japanese nuclear power company put the low level radioactive water into another storage unit instead of discharging into the ocean? With the overall negative PR about the radiation leak, wouldn't the public fear increase when the water is released instead of being contained further?