Skip to main content

Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Japan Earthquake launch page:

UPDATE AS OF 11:30 A.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6:
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) today began injecting nitrogen into the containment vessel of reactor 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Nitrogen, an inert gas, is used in reactor containment vessels to stabilize the atmosphere and prevent ignition of the hydrogen that is believed to be accumulating inside the containment. The injection will proceed slowly, at 10 percent of the normal rate. It is expected to take six days to complete the process.

TEPCO has stopped a leak of highly radioactive water from the site into the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO had been trying various means to plug the leak in a concrete enclosure that carries electric cables since it was discovered Saturday. Pouring concrete and later an absorbent polymer into the enclosure were unsuccessful.

On Monday, workers injected a colored liquid tracer into the system of enclosures to determine the flow path of the water. It showed that the radioactive water may be leaking from a cracked pipe, and then seeping through gravel into the concrete enclosure. Additional testing showed leakage from the crack in the enclosure into the ocean.

Beginning yesterday, TEPCO injected approximately 1,600 gallons of liquid glass into the system, which stanched the flow of water. TEPCO is considering injecting more liquid glass into the area as a preventive measure.

Workers continue to inject cooling water into reactors 1, 2 and 3 and to the used fuel storage pools at reactors 1-4. Radioactive water in the turbine buildings continues to hinder efforts to fully restore cooling functions.

Some residents of the 20-kilometer (12.5-mile) evacuation zone around Fukushima Daiichi may be permitted brief visits to retrieve personal items from their homes. The Japanese government is analyzing radiation data and is expected to draft a plan for the visits.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …