Contaminated Water Levels Beginning to Drop at Fukushima Daiichi
July 8, 2011
• Tokyo Electric Power Co. is continuing preparations to stabilize Fukushima Daiichi’s reactor 3 primary containment vessel. The company is using a robot-mounted camera to check whether a penetration joint is suitable for nitrogen injection that will help stabilize conditions inside the reactor vessel. TEPCO is also checking radiation levels, which have decreased by up to half after installing steel plates on the floor of the working area inside the reactor building. However, radiation levels in the building are still high—up to 5 rem per hour.
• TEPCO is making headway in reducing the volume of contaminated water on site. In the last week, the new water filtration system has treated more than 13,000 tons of water. Recycling the treated water into the plant cooling systems also began last week, and the rate of water accumulation is now being reversed. The company says water levels in the basements of the reactor buildings could drop by more than three feet by next month. About 120,000 tons of water have accumulated in basements at the facility and in storage facilities. Also, the company has installed steel plates at the seawater intake structures for Fukushima reactors 1 through 4, closing off a path for leakage of contaminated water from the reactors to the ocean.
• TEPCO will add 12 more on-site monitoring locations at Fukushima Daiichi to sample for airborne radiation around the reactor buildings. Plant officials believe that dust and contaminated steam leaking from the reactors continue to contribute to contamination off site. A lightweight cover for reactor 1 is being built and should be in place by September. Similar covers will be installed on reactors 2-4.
• The mayor and town assembly of Genkai have retracted their approval for the restart of Genkai nuclear reactor after the central government announced that European Union-style “stress tests” should be conducted to assess the safety response of all Japanese nuclear plants to severe accidents. Mayor Hideo Kishimoto criticized the government for imposing the tests as a condition for restarting plants after he was assured that Genkai was safe to restart.
• Radioactive cesium levels in processed tea made in Tochigi City, about 100 miles from Fukushima Daiichi, are three times higher than the provisional government limit. Tochigi prefecture officials asked that farmers temporarily stop shipments of the tea.
• The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has found that some electrical equipment at the Tokai Daini nuclear plant in Ibaraki prefecture does not meet industry seismic standards. The plant operator will strengthen the seismic resistance of the equipment during the NISA inspection period.
• NEI’s new website provides information about nuclear safety, security and measures to protect public health.
• The Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee will hear Fukushima-related testimony at a July 14 hearing on small reactor designs. Marvin Fertel, NEI’s president and chief executive officer, will testify at the hearing.
• The NRC task force reviewing agency processes and regulations in light of the accident at Fukushima will brief the commissioners on the report at a public meeting July 19. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will speak at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on July 18.