Monday, March 26, 2012

Oops. 60 cm; instead of 3 meters of water in the reactor-

Just a little shocker to take your mind off health care.. from NHK, and I'll bet you don't hear about this one again...

TEPCO: Just 60cm of water in Fukushima reactor

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has found that the cooling water in one of the damaged reactors at Fukushima is only 60 centimeters deep, far lower than previously thought.

The utility confirmed the water level by inserting an endoscope into the No.2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Monday.

TEPCO had thought that the water level was about 3 meters. It has been injecting nearly 9 tons of water per hour into the reactor to cool the melted fuel that has fallen to the bottom of the containment vessel.

But the shallow level indicates that the water continues to leak into the reactor building through the suppression chambers under the vessel.

The utility argues that the fuel is still being cooled, as the water temperature remains at around 48 degrees Celsius.

But the low level suggests that decommissioning the reactor could be much more difficult. The operator may need to repair more parts of the containment vessel so it can be filled with water to block the strong radiation.

The No. 2 reactor's containment vessel is believed to have been damaged on March 15th with the sudden loss of pressure inside the reactor.

Monday's survey was the second look inside the No.2 reactor since January. During the first survey, an endoscope was unable to confirm the water level in the containment vessel. This time, TEPCO used a scope that is 10 meters longer.
Monday, March 26, 2012 21:40 +0900 (JST)

UPDATE, 3/27-

The AP did pick up the story- which is repeated in several places, among them the Washington Post. It has, as expected, disappeared from the NHK news feed.

You have to pick out the bits of information on what is actually going on- basically, instead of 10 meters of water in the containment vessel, supposed to be cooling it; there are 60 cm- and all this time, TEPCO has been pouring cooling water into it- and the water has just been leaking right out the bottom (carrying radioactive stuff with it, of course) - and going- nobody knows where.

They didn't know. They hadn't looked. Yes, this is still going on, right now- the cracked reactors continue to leak. Into the ocean, of course. They did admit today that "80 liters" of strontium contaminated water had reached the sea:

Tokyo Electric Power Company says about 80 liters of water contaminated with radioactive strontium has leaked into the sea off the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Workers found the leak in tanks at the plant site around 8:30 AM on Monday. The facilities store water after radioactive materials are removed.

The leakage stopped 20 minutes later when the workers turned the pumps off.

But the firm estimates that 120 tons of water has seeped out through pipe connections, and 80 liters reached the ocean via a sewer system located below the pipes.

TEPCO said it detected highly radioactive substances in the sea water around the overflow, emitting 0.25 becquerels per cubic centimeters of beta particles.

It said a safety barrier is still under construction and was unable to stop the spill.

The utility had a similar incident at the plant last December. After that, the government had declared a cold shutdown but since then, water has leaked many times.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 01:19 +0900 (JST)

So, that's all right, then.


billhicksmostfunny said...

What is your take on the liquid fluoride thorium reactors???

I just learned about them myself and was curious as to your opinion?

Greenpa said...

Bill- ehh. The thorium design has been around a good long time; since the 60's. I like Wikipedia:

A good question to ask- why is there no working commercial reactor anywhere by now? Sure, there can be silly reasons; but there can also be good "real world" ones.

At this point, my basic reaction is: it's just not NECESSARY; no matter how "safe" people claim it is. The mining and refining is dirty, it's all expensive.

And Japan; which used to get 30% of all it's electricity from nuclear - has only 1 reactor running now; and the PEOPLE are refusing to restart them. THEY think they can do without.

I think we can do without too.

Reactors are expensive; no matter what- which means thieves of all kinds are immediately attracted to them from corporations to mafia.

More dispersed, lower intensity energy sources are far less attractive targets for bad guys- and can definitely produce "enough".

billhicksmostfunny said...

I agree with you to a certain extent. I think it is not necessary and I do think people can do without nuclear power if they put their minds to it.

However, reality knocks. I just think as far as nuclear power goes the thorium design is the only way to go.

Now you say the design has been around since the 60's and you ask why there is not a working design around now. I thought the simple answer to that was: you can't make nuclear weapons with the thorium design.

I would love it if society put to rest the idea of nuclear power for now. Too many unknowns and too many loose ends for us to tie up with our current methods of doing things. But then again, people are hell bent on producing as much power/energy as possible without thinking about what we are even using it for. So the nuclear debate rolls along......