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The water level in the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is only about 60 centimeters deep, far shallower than previously assumed levels of about four meters, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. The lower-than-expected water level was discovered for the first time when the power utility used an industrial endoscope to check the crippled reactor's interior on Monday, TEPCO said. According to some experts, it is possible that nuclear fuel that melted through the reactor's pressure vessel and accumulated on the bottom of the containment vessel in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami may not be completely covered in the water. TEPCO said the water temperature in the vessel remained relatively low within a range of 48.5 C to 50 C. The discovery of the unexpectedly shallow water level will not affect TEPCO's judgment that the reactor is in a state of "cold shutdown."
Reactor radiation fatally high
One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination that renews doubts about the plant's stability.
A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No 2 reactor's containment chamber for the second time since a tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago.
The data showed the damage from the disaster was so severe the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades.
The examination with an industrial endoscope detected radiation levels up to 10 times the fatal dose inside the chamber. Plant officials previously said more than half of the melted fuel had breached the core and dropped to the floor of the primary containment vessel, some of it splashing against the wall or the floor.
Particles from melted fuel have probably sent radiation levels up to a dangerously high 70 sieverts per hour inside the container, said Junichi Matsumoto, spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co. The figure far exceeds the highest level previously detected, 10 sieverts per hour, which was detected around an exhaust duct shared by No 1 and 2 units last year.
The exact conditions of the other two reactors, where hydrogen explosions damaged their buildings, are still unknown. Simulations have indicated that more fuel inside No 1 has breached the core than the other two, but radiation at No 3 remains the highest.
Press Release (Mar 27,2012)
Receipt of instruction from NISA to submit a report on the confirmation of contamination with radioactive materials at Service Building of Unit 3 and 4 of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station (uncontrolled area) (continued release)
At around 12:42 pm on March 27, 2012, during the work to receive samples (water) for analysis which were carried in from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, at Service Building of Unit 3 and 4 of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station, our employee has found the spot contaminated with radioactive materials on the table next to the small monitor in the check point (uncontrolled area*1) to check the contamination of the goods when leaving controlled area.
Investigation for cause is currently underway.
The table where pollution was found and the area where pollution is suspected are set as a restricted area to prevent expansion of the contamination and are under control.
After the investigation, it was confirmed that the contamination on the table next to the small monitor in the check point was due to the spilled sample (water). The spilled amount was approx. 2.5 cc and the surface contamination concentration was approx. 206Bq/cm2 according to the measurement by the contamination survey meter.
During the investigation for the contamination in the entire route of sample transportation, 7 spots were confirmed to be contaminated (max above 700Bq/cm2). In order to prevent expansion of the contamination, 4 spots were decontaminated and 3 spots were temporarily put under control. While inside of the vehicle transported such sample was also confirmed to be contaminated,
outside surface of the vehicle nor the entrance area of the service building were not contaminated.
Therefore, it is considered that the contamination is limited in the service building of Unit 3 and 4. (Announced on March 27, 2012) Today we received an instruction*2 from NISA on "Submission of a report on transportation of water for analysis from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station" regarding contamination with radioactive materials in the uncontrolled area. In reply to the instruction, we will promptly prepare and submit the report to NISA.
*1 uncontrolled area Controlled area is an area where control is necessary to prevent unnecessary exposure to radiation and to prevent expansion of the contamination with radioactive materials. Uncontrolled area is area outside of the controlled area.
*2 Instruction to receive a report "Submission of a report on transportation of water for analysis from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station" (March 27, 2012, NISA No.13) ------ We have provided a Japanese press release version of the instruction document received from NISA.
However, at this time we have reserved the right to not provide an English version due to potential misunderstandings that may arise from an inaccurate rendering of the original Japanese text.
We may provide the English translation that NISA releases in our press releases. However, in principle we would advise you to visit the NISA website for timely and accurate information.
Originally posted by chevy369
This has been posted for months on ATS...
Nuclear Event in Japan on Wednesday, 28 March, 2012 at 05:45 (05:45 AM) UTC.