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TOKYO—As the world anxiously watches for signs of progress at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, the focus of the repair has turned to removing radioactive water from in and around the reactor buildings, as the poison pools prevent workers from doing other tasks. Yet more than a week after the problem was first discovered, very little water has been removed.
Three factors have caused the delay: structural damage to pipes and other reactor parts crucial for water movement; radiation dangers blocking workers from performing essential steps; and a shortage of safe places to put the water.
When the water problem was first discovered March 24 after three workers got burned stepping in it, officials made the solution sound swift and simple: They would begin pumping the water out of the flooded buildings.
It turned out that wasn't so easy. They needed a place to put the water, and the logical places already were full.
The past week has been devoted largely to creating a three-link chain of repositories that will allow drainage of the reactors. Success now is measured not in actual removal of the water, but in clearing a space for it.
The key links in the chain begin with the most important task of attaching the electric cooling systems to reactors No. 1, 2 and 3, so the internal cooling process can begin. Absent that, operators are relying on injecting water to keep the reactors from overheating, a process that has stabilized the fuel rods, but doesn't seem likely to bring them to the desired cold shutdown. And it has the dangerous side effect of creating a large buildup of radioactive water in nearby groundwater and seawater.
Another factor that appears to be slowing down the water transfer: Tepco is using only three relatively small pumps to conduct the process.
The company has one pump assigned to each reactor. At reactors No. 1 and 3, the pumps can move only 25 cubic meters—or one metric ton—per hour. At reactor No. 2, they have a pump that moves just 10 cubic meters per hour.
A regulator said even faster pumps wouldn't necessarily help because it isn't clear the narrow pipes could sustain more volume.
Originally posted by Silverlok
reply to post by OuttaHere
If it is what it appears to be ( the containment vessel on it's side) then it explains the odd pattern of debris on the turbine roof , and lends credence to the idea that the primary and secondary caps made those holes (hell they may have even slid across the roof )
Originally posted by autopat51
i have followed this thread since page one, through all its ups and downs, hopes and frustrations.
this new developement just sucked the wind right out of me.
Originally posted by 00nunya00
Here's the blow-up:
You can see it's steam, as the "circle" is definitely not a circle, you can see where the steam starts to form the cloud shape and it takes a "bite" out of that circle shape near the top.
Radioactive Iodine, Cesium Above Limits Found in "Shiitake" Mushrooms
Tokyo, April 3 (Jiji Press)--Radioactive iodine and cesium exceeding the legal limits have been detected in fresh "shiitake" mushrooms collected in Fukushima Prefecture, which is home to the troubled nuclear power plant, the health ministry said Sunday.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said it found the mushrooms to contain 3,100 becquerels of radioactive iodine and 890 becquerels of radioactive cesium against the limits of 2,000 becquerels and 500 becquerels.
The announcement led the prefectural government to ask farmers to voluntarily refrain from shipping mushrooms in Iwaki.
Meanwhile, the science ministry said its helicopter, which examined air samples at the altitude of 160-650 meters, detected radiation of 0.30 microsieverts per hour in the sky above Kawamata in the prefecture -- a level more than 10 times the normal figures for the prefecture's sky at 0.01-0.03 microsieverts.