APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fukushima Daiichi -- update on all 3 reactors

7:00 PM Eastern Monday 3/14

Conditions at Fukushima Daiichi No. 1 and No. 3 are essentially as last reported here; cores covered with borated seawater.

Fukushima Daiichi No. 2 appears now to be in WORSE situation, from a core condition standpoint, than the other two. This is apart from the simple physical appearance of the buildings; serious exterior damage is visible to the camera at No. 1 and No. 3 plants, but this damage is (according to TEPCO, not necessarily believed by this writer) to be superficial. From a nuclear standpoint however No. 2 is probably in much worse condition since the core was uncovered more than at the other two plants and for a longer time.

TEPCO and the Japanese Government are setting up a special command headquarters now for the accident recovery.

The technical news is not so good: TEPCO is not certain that seawater is actually making it into the core since core water levels, as measured at the core by D/P cells and then transmitted remotely to the control room, do not appear to be increasing. Operators worldwide know, especially with the experience of TMI-2, to be wary of primary plant indications after an accident but in this case it may well be that the non-standard pumps being used cannot pump against the pressure in the reactor and are essentially running against shutoff head. The exact circumstance is unclear given TEPCO's statement, but we do know that fire pumps were used in at least one of the other plants to get seawater (borated) into the plant.

TEPCO and the government are describing the situation at No. 2 as "unstable."

More as it develops.

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