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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fukushima Daiichi update - December 13, 2011

There is little significant news coming out of Fukushima Daiichi, at least in terms of the number of reports. Two of the few reports are, however, of some note.

-Getting the least important update out of the way first -- as of December 10th, TEPCO has added core spray to No. 1 plant's cooling injection. As of that date, all three plants are operating (finally) with both the normal feedwater injection lines and their core spray lines. (This is, according to TEPCO, the top spray above the steam separators.)

-NISA has taken some serious action against TEPCO as a result of several decontamination / desalination system water leaks over the past week, issuing a Serious Warning to the utility and essentially forcing TEPCO to rewrite the standards by which it is given license to operate its water cleanup systems. This is almost like relicensing, but without a forced interim shutdown of the equipment.

-TEPCO now estimates that there is something like as much as 500 tons per day, total, of ground water at the Fukushima Daiichi site leaking INTO the turbine buildings. This is causing a faster buildup of water onsite than planned. TEPCO would like to release some low-level contaminated water to sea, but as of today Yukio Edano has said that TEPCO will have to get permission from fishermen's groups in the area before it discharges any more water. This writer wonders just how long ground water has been leaking into the buildings, and what effect overall this has had on the operation since the very beginning. Surely each aftershock after the first quake had the opportunity to further breach the buildings' basements, allowing possibly more groundwater to get in.

3:40 PM Eastern Tuesday December 13, 2011


  1. I noticed this news story from NHK...

    Radiation dose to the public around Fukushima Daiichi is low and of "extremely low health impact".

    Regarding the groundwater leaking into the turbine buildings... I believe I remember reading that the coastline of northeastern Japan dropped by as much as a meter in elevation due to the earthquake. This might have raised the relative water table elevation at the coastal plants. Also, the earthquake could have created cracks in the turbine buildings foundations or other damage. Condensate pumps, for instance, are often of the vertical, staged design that go down 20 feet or so below the turbine building floor.

  2. This is a grave concern for us that Tepco might not be publishing every important updates on what is exactly going inside the plant. This is not the way we can provide safety to the general people potentially risked.

    The Japanese people are not happy.

    Many realize a significant portion of Japanese soil is not suitable for habitation. Just last October a leaked Tepco documented indicated the total amount of plutonium and neptunium emitted from the plant. This stuff sticks around for millions of years...

    If you haven't seen the dispersion maps for plutonium they are published here: