Japan nuke news 19: Robots and reactors

Ana's Feeed starting Sunday mid day through last night:

TEPCO press conf. (NHK): Since the accident, we have caused a huge amount of trouble and inconvenience to residents and anxiety to the greater population in general ... Residents have been asked to evacuate and they would like to return home and we would like to assist the govt in planning for their return. Therefore, we release this plan:
To achieve cold shutdown in 6-9 months via 2 steps: 1) reducing radioactive material (3 months) and 2) controlling the release of radioactive elements (3-6 months)

  • 3 areas of focus will be: cooling, containment, and monitoring/decontamination
  • Breakdown, step 1): filling containment vessels of no.1 and 3 with water - sealing the leak in containment vessel at no.2 with "sticky cement" - injecting nitrogen to avoid explosions - restoring cooling systems for spent fuel pools - installing decontamination station to treat and reuse water. -kyodo
  • Kaieda: Gov't to review evacuation areas after 6-9 months -kyodo
  • NHK commentator: "It is yet to be seen if things can progress as planned."
  • An evacuated man: "TEPCO formed a six month temporary plan, but ... there's no solid foundation for this figure." (NHK)

TEPCO chairman Katsumata mulling resignation to take blame -kyodo

  • Katsumata: TEPCO President Shimizu also mulling resignation -kyodo

Sec. of State Clinton visited Japan, met with Kan and govt, called Fukushima accident a 'multi-dimensional crisis of unprecedented scope' -kyodo

  • Kan tells Clinton Japan 'will never forget U.S. support after quake' -kyodo
  • Clinton: Japan can rebuild itself, have economic success for decades -kyodo
  • Kan thanks Clinton for U.S. 'utmost' help in disaster relief -kyodo

Opinion piece by PM Kan in the Washington Post: Japan's road to recovery and rebirth

NISA news release detailing current efforts in: Zeolite sandbagging, anti-scatter resin spraying, remote rubble removal, and tsunami preparedness [LINK]

  • With this note: NISA directed General Electricity Utilities and other organizations concerned to consider the measures to ensure reliability on external power supply due to the temporary loss of external power supply at NPSs, etc. caused by ground faults in part of electric power system when the earthquake off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture occurred on April 7, 2011.

"His work is part of a young field called paleoseismology. Kerry Sieh, a pioneer in the specialty, says that the few dozen people who do this kind of work are usually doomed to be ignored." [LINK]

Toshiba has released a plan for decommissioning its two reactors at Daiichi:

  • They estimate that it will take 5 years to remove the fuel rods from pools and reactors, and another 5 years to clear the land and remove the soil. They add that, depending on conditions inside the reactors (which are still uncertain), decommissioning could take more than 15 years. (NHK)
  • Hitachi says it will take 15 or more years to decommission its no.4 reactor. (NHK)

"The robot took photos inside the building [no.3] and measured radiation and oxygen levels as well as the temperature and humidity. The utility says it is analyzing the findings."

  • Robot used to investigate reactor buildings
  • "If successful, the condition inside the No.3 reactor building will be known for the first time since a hydrogen explosion occurred there on March 14th." (NHK)
  • Readings from the robot, inside reactor buildings, first floor:
  • no.1: 10-49mSv/hr.
  • no.3: 28-57mSv/hr.
  • oxygen densities were around 21% "high enough for workers to enter" (NHK)
  • In these conditions, workers will receive their emergency-adjusted annual limits in 5 hours.

U.S. Nuclear Regulator Lets Industry Help With the Fine Print - ProPublica

Officials Demand Diablo Canyon Relicensing Be Suspended

Near the proposed Yucca Mt. nuke storage site: Hundreds of small earthquakes hit California-Nevada border, including magnitude 4.6

The Jap. govt. is "alarmed" at how foreign press is reporting on the situation. Offending footage on NHK highlights Busby on Russian TV, Ann Coulter on FOXNEWS.

  • A theater arts student who is running a watchdog blog wants us all to know that people wear masks in Japan to avoid pollen, not radiation. (NHK)

"The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says levels
of radioactive substances in seawater have risen again near the water intake of its No.2 reactor." -JAIF

  • TEPCO says it detected 260 becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter in samples taken on Friday. That is 6,500 times the legal limit. (JAIF)
  • The level of radioactive cesium-137 was also up in the same area. It detected 130 becquerels per cubic centimeter - 1,400 times the legal limit. (JAIF, April 16)

Tornado touchdown causes shutdown at Surry nuclear plant

The level of contaminated water in the tunnel of the No. 2 reactor continues to rise. (JAIF)

  • The level dropped 8 centimeters after about 660 tons of the highly radioactive water was moved into a turbine condenser. But as of 7 AM on Monday, the water had risen again, to a point 9 centimeters higher than before the transfer. (JAIF)

Nuke Agency: No. 4 reactor building flooded with water 5-meter-high -kyodo

Robots report high radiation at Japan nuclear plant as criticism grows over pace of response

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Since we have the tornado at Surry and the "officials" (actually politicians) at Diablo Canyon, I guess you'd also be interested in the dust-up in Vermont. Entergy have finally decided that they might as well use the courts to contest the Vermont Legislature's usurping of the Public Service Board's role in deciding Vermont Yankee's usefulness. Entergy's lawsuit is in this Burlington Free Press article and the lawsuit is here.

Back in Japan, I'm relieved that the levels that the robots have found are not so high as to prohibit work, although the scheduling will still need to be very careful at present to keep workers' doses down. Perhaps the robots will be helpful in this regard also. And Tepco have a plan to get to a safe and stable state, which while still rather vague at least has a good prospect of success within reasonable timelines.

I think that the Japanese government could consider adjusting the evacuation zone somewhat earlier than the six-to-nine-months timeframe they have floated, particularly to re-open those parts of the zone which did not receive significant radioactivity. (and which I take it were evacuated on a contingency basis).

From: http://filamimage.com/blog/2011/04/21/nhk-update-fukushima-daiichi-nucl…)

"Levels of radioactive water rising despite efforts
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant continues to transfer highly radioactive water near a reactor to a storage facility.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says work has been underway since Tuesday to move 10,000 tons of highly contaminated water accumulated in the turbine building of the Number 2 reactor to an on-site waste processing facility. The water has been pumped into the facility at a rate of 10 tons per hour.

TEPCO says the toxic water level in a tunnel near the turbine building was 2 centimeters lower as of 6 PM on Wednesday. But it says because there was no change in the water level in the basement of the turbine building, the leaking of toxic water into the basement appears to be continuing.

The utility company also says the water level in a tunnel linked to the Number 3 reactor has been rising several centimeters a day for the past week. The water is expected to rise to about one meter below the ground level soon.
The company says water levels are also rising in the Number 5 and 6 turbine buildings.

TEPCO says an estimated 67,500 tons of contaminated water are now in the Number 1, 2 and 3 reactors alone, hampering efforts to restore the reactorsâ cooling systems.
The utility says at the Number 1 reactor, some cooling water poured in has likely evaporated.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 06:08 +0900
High radioactive levels detected in reactors
Robots have detected high levels of radioactivity inside the reactor buildings of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. The plant operator says the radioactivity must be reduced to allow work inside the buildings to bring the crisis under control.

Tokyo Electric Power Company surveyed the interiors of 3 reactor buildings on Sunday and Monday using robots equipped with dosimeters and cameras.
TEPCO says that over 50 minutes the robots found18.9 millisierverts of radioactivity in reactor Number 1 and 6.46 millisierverts in Number 2. The levels are hazardous to humans even over a short period. Levels of radioactivity were not available in the Number 3 reactor."


"Noriyuki Shikata, a senior government spokesman, had earlier issued an appeal asking people to stay out of the zone until the government gave legal force to an evacuation that had been voluntary until now. âThe situation at Fukushima Daiichi is still not sufficiently stable,â he said. The 12-mile zone around the reactors was imposed in stages in the 30 hours after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

The government has also encouraged people to leave communities about 12 to 18 miles from the reactors as well as five towns farther away that happened to receive extra fallout because of wind and rain patterns.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, the deputy director general of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said that the authorities were looking for ways to shore up the bottom of the spent uranium fuel-rod storage pool at Reactor No. 4 to prevent it from collapsing."

By phillydoug (not verified) on 21 Apr 2011 #permalink