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

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

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 …

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…