Fukushima Update - Radioactive Hot Spot, Hot Water

Update # 40: August 1, 2011

by Nelle Maxey

After reporting the torrential rains at Fukushima and saying it didn't affect the plant, today NHK carries this story. There may be no connection with rain. But what is clear is that the contaminated water has been leaking from the building into the environment and the company has "begun work" to stop it.

Highly radioactive water flows into another place

"Highly radioactive water has been found in the basement of a building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant near the storage facility for contaminated water.

Tokyo Electric Power Company said on Monday that it discovered about 700 tons of contaminated water on Saturday in the basement of an on-site building.

The utility said the water contained 19,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium 134 per cubic centimeter, and 22,000 becquerels of cesium 137 — both very high levels.

Until June, the building was connected by a hose with another building where highly radioactive water is now being stored. The buildings are located next to each other and are part of the plant's waste disposal facility.

The utility is investigating how the leakage happened but says it has already started the work to stop the contaminated water from leaking out of the building." Monday, August 01, 2011 21:00 +0900 (JST)

TEPCO has begun to cool the SFP (spent fuel pool) in Unit 4. It's high time: the SFP temperature rose over the last week to 90°C. It has been emitting radioactive steam into the air for months.

Units 2 &3 SFPs remain in a range of 34° to 38°C. No temperature data on Unit 1 SFP has been available since the earthquake due to "instrument breakdown".

Full operation of cooling device begins

"The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has begun full operation of a device to cool a spent fuel storage pool.

The pool holds 1,535 fuel rods, the most for any of the plant's reactors. The wall supporting the pool was damaged in a blast on March 15th.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company reinforced the wall with steel pillars and concrete, and installed a cooling device with a heat exchanger to set up a circulatory cooling system.

TEPCO conducted a test-run of the cooling device at the Number 4 reactor's spent fuel pool on Sunday morning. It gradually increased the volume of water flowing into the device before shifting to full operation in the afternoon.

TEPCO says the water temperature of the pool remained above 86 degrees Celsius in the morning and it was around 82 to 84 degrees as of 5 PM.

The company plans to lower the water temperature to around 55 degrees within a month to cool the reactor in a stable manner.

TEPCO is already cooling the water in the spent fuel pools at the Number 2 and 3 reactors. It plans to do the same for the Number 1 reactor soon." Sunday, July 31, 2011 22:41 +0900 (JST)

The new decontamination system, SARRY, is being installed and will be operational soon. Video at the link. The latest reports I have seen do not confirm the 63% operating rate of the old system. Perhaps this is new information.

TEPCO installs new decontamination unit

"Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, installed new decontamination equipment at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Sunday.

The new equipment, called SARRY, is made by Japanese manufacturers…." Monday, August 01, 2011 05:59 +0900 (JST)

Note the contamination levels of Cesium in seawater have remain unchanged for ONE DAY ONLY despite the headline. Contaminated water could easily have been diluted by the torrential rains, no?

Cesium leveling out at the Fukushima reactor No.3

"The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says that the level of radioactive cesium in seawater around the Number 3 reactor has shown no signs of increasing.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been constantly checking the level of radioactive substances at water intakes in the plant and offshore.

On Saturday, seawater collected near the water intake of the Number 3 reactor recorded 1.3 becquerels of cesium 134 per cubic centimeter, which is 22 times higher than the national legal limit.

Cesium 137 was 17 times the limit at 1.5 becquerels.

But the recorded level hasn't changed since Friday.

In May, high levels of radioactive water were poured into the area around the intake and shortly afterwards cesium 134 levels 20,000 times higher than the legal limit were detected there. Levels of the radioactive substance have been decreasing since then.

In addition, iodine-131 was not detected from seawater collected from the intake of reactor Number 2 on Friday and Saturday, although it reached 7.5 million times the limit in April. TEPCO says it conducted investigations at 4 other spots in coastal waters. It also said that radioactive cesium was detected in one of the coastal waters but was below the legal limit.

The utility says it believes that radioactive water is no longer leaking since levels of radioactive substances have stayed relatively flat." Monday, August 01, 2011 05:59 +0900 (JST)

Perhaps the article above is only a counter to this article in the international press today regarding a massive contamination source at the plant:

Highest radiation level monitored at stricken Japan nuclear plant

Aug 1, 2011, 11:40 GMT

[German press article]

"Tokyo – The operator of a crippled Japanese atomic power plant said Monday it had measured the highest radiation level since the start of the nuclear crisis, a news report said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said more than 10 sieverts per hour of radiation was recorded on the surface of a pipe located outdoors between reactor 1 and reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Jiji Press reported…."

Here is SKF on this with quotes from the Japanese press and a photo of site:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fukushima I Nuke Plant: OVER 10 SIEVERTS/HR Radiation OUTSIDE Reactor 1 and 2

"The survey meter went overscale, so no one knows how high the actual radiation really is.

TEPCO hasn't updated the "survey map (contamination map)" of the plant for about a month, and I've been wondering why. (They have a new one out now, but it doesn't mention the exhaust duct at all.)

If you are exposed to 10 sieverts radiation in a short time, you will be dead."

Photo is from Kyodo News Japanese, with the original photo by the Ministry of Defense. The exhaust duct is where the black arrow is pointing.

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