Jeffrey LewisFEPC Statement 2/23

Your daily update on Fukushima, with the full-text below the jump.  I have been collecting, thanks to an eagle eyed reader, some of the images of the spent fuel ponds.  I will try to get to it later today.

I am also including a picture of the type of concrete-pumping truck, manufactured by Putzmeister.  (The TEPCO statement indicates they also put a camera on it to assess the status of the spent fuel pool.) My nine-month old son would go crazy if he saw something like that.

 

Update to Information Sheet Regarding the Tohoku Earthquake

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) Washington DC Office

As of 10:00AM (EST), March 23, 2011

  • Radiation Levels
    • At 6:30PM (JST) on March 23, radiation level at main gate (approximately 3,281 feet from Unit 2 reactor building) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 249 micro Sv/hour.
    • Measurement results of environmental radioactivity level around Fukushima Nuclear Power Station announced at 7:00PM on March 23 are shown in the attached PDF file. English version is available at:    http://www.mext.go.jp/english/radioactivity_level/detail/1303962.htm
    • For comparison, a human receives 2,400 micro Sv per year from natural radiation in the form of sunlight, radon, and other sources. One chest CT scan generates 6,900 micro Sv per scan.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor
    • At 2:33AM on March 23, amount of seawater injection has increased by using water supply system in addition to water extinction system (from 2 cubic meter per hour to 18 cubic meter per hour).
    • At 2:00PM on March 23, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.376MPa.
    • At 2:00PM on March 23, water level inside the reactor core: 1.7 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 2:00PM on March 23, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.345MPaabs.
    • As of 2:00PM on March 23, the injection of seawater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on March 23, external power generation is connected through Unit 2 and the functionality of the electric devices is being checked.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor
    • At 4:07PM on March 22, TEPCO began to inject seawater into the spent fuel storage pool, until 5:01PM (approximately 18 tons in total)
    • At 4:20AM on March 23, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • At 2:00PM on March 23, pressure inside the reactor core: -0.036MPa.
    • At 2:00PM on March 23, water level inside the reactor core: 1.25 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 2:00PM on March 23, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.11MPaabs.
    • As of 2:00PM on March 23, the injection of seawater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on March 23, approximately 58 tons of water in total has been injected into the spent fuel storage pool.
    • As of 7:00PM on March 23, external power generation is connected and the functionality of the electric devices is being checked.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor
    • At 10:46PM on March 22, lighting was restored in the Central Control Room.
    • At 9:10AM on March 23, pressure inside the reactor core: -0.104MPa.
    • At 9:10AM on March 23, water level inside the reactor core: 1.8 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 9:10AM on March 23, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.1MPaabs.
    • At 11:00AM on March 23, TEPCO began to inject water into the spent fuel pool, until 1:20PM (approximately 35 tons in total).
    • At 4:20PM on March 23, black smoke was emitted from the secondary containment building. (Under investigation)
    • As of 2:00PM on March 23, the injection of seawater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on March 23, approximately 3,927 tons of water in total has been shot to the spent fuel storage pool.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor
    • At 5:17PM on March 22, TEPCO began to shoot water aimed at the spent fuel pool, until 8:32PM, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete (approximately 150 tons in total).
    • At 10:00AM on March 23, TEPCO began to shoot water aimed at the spent fuel pool, until 1:02PM, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete (approximately 130 tons in total).
    • As of 7:00PM on March 23, approximately 535 tons of water in total has been shot to the spent fuel storage pool.
    • As of 7:00PM on March 23, external power generation is connected and the functionality of the electric devices is being checked.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5 reactor
    • At 7:41PM on March 22, it was confirmed that power supply was completely switched form diesel generator to external power.
    • At 2:00PM on March 23, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 6 reactor
    • At 7:41PM on March 22, it was confirmed that power supply was completely switched form diesel generator to external power.
    • At 2:00PM on March 23, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 67.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our official sources are:

  • Office of The Prime Minister of Japan
  • Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA)
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Press Releases
  • Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)

Comments

  1. antonio (History)

    3/23

    • chochi80 (History)

      My friend, my previous “comment awaiting moderation” only means that the correct date of the FEPC statement should be 3/23. Thank you

  2. mike (History)

    Ok, pardon my ignorance on the technical details of the reactors but where exactly are they putting this seawater at #1 and #3? Are they just spraying the outside of the containment vessel or are they actually injecting it inside? If the latter, why has there been no change in levels since they started? TIA

    • Spruce (History)

      They are injecting it into the pressure vessel and/or containment building. The reason the levels are not increasing is that they are injecting just enough water to counteract the amount that is boiling off. So, the boiling is the heat removal process and they just keep topping the water off so that it won’t boil dry.

  3. JamesL (History)

    Your photo is not of a concrete sprayer, but a concrete pumper truck, which simply delivers concrete at low velocity a maximum of about 100′ (bigger ones can reach farther)for concrete pours where a concrete truck’s 12′ chute can’t reach. Pumpers also come in more pedestrial ‘ground line’ forms–just a firehose for concrete lying on the ground. A pumper is not a sprayer. There ARE concrete sprayer (shotcrete) pumpers, which shoot concrete or other mortar type mixes onto the interiors or exteriors of 3D forms. Their range is short. A human operator would have to be in close proximity. BTW, one would never put a nuclear operator or engineer on the controls of a pumper truck, meaning that maximum radiation dose rates compared to the total work anticipated to be accomplished by a finite number of qualified people now extends to another finite group of skilled operators.

  4. Martin (History)

    Don’t you have such trucks? In Germany and Switzerland, they are very common, one is being used right in my neighborhood in a building project.

  5. bks (History)

    249 microsieverts/hour. Sure. Are we ever going to see a report with error bars and timeseries? If someone in my group turned in a report like this they’d get a warning. On the second offense they’d be looking for another job.

    There are hundreds of fuel rods sitting in rubble formerly called “containment” being pelted with thousands of tons of water. Every one of them contains some Pu. When are we going to see a complete breakdown of the radionuclides being drained into the Pacific?

    I want to know where all the seawater they’re injecting is going, too. Seawater is closer in composition to blood than it is to fresh water. Until they start coughing up some reasonable reports I’m assuming seawater in equals radiation out.

    –bks

    • Spruce (History)

      The seawater is sitting there until it boils off. Since they are just replacing the amount that is boiling, there’s really no water getting out.

      That of course means that they are running an extremely efficient salt and chlorines condensing plant inside the containment. Back-of-envelope calculations suggest that they are by now approaching or already have saturated salt water inside the pressure vessels, even taking into account the high temperature. If that salt starts crystallizing inside, it might do nasty things to heat transfer.

      And the combination of boridic acid, hydrogen, and condensed salt water in high-pressure, high-temperature environment means that the conditions are extremely corrosive. Luckly the structures have to take it just for some weeks instead of several years.

    • BungalowJill (History)

      A table of nuclides released/concentrations in seawater is available on the Tepco website (press release 24 March).

  6. Red_Blue (History)

    Jeffrey, when are you going to blog about the Austrian ZAMG “backwards calculations” using secret CTBTO data, computer models and public weather data and models to come to a conclusion that already 50% of Chernobyl disaster Cs-137 has been released and the total activity approaches 3% of total estimated release from Cherbobyl?

    I have a few questions:

    1) What is the “security through obscurity” logic of hiding CTBTO data or even attempts to keep their equipment detection sensitivity secret?

    2) What kind of validation has been done to show that the models are even broadly applicable to this kind of a situation (reactor accident), where the location and time is well known and the actual product derived from the model is the total activity release (or “source term” as they call it)?

    3) How significant readjustments to these results should be expected when data from large scale ground sampling is integrated to the model? How many orders of magnitude?

  7. mike (History)

    @Spruce – thanks for the info. Perhaps part of my confusion is the reference point of measurement (current top of rods or original?) I understand your later point about salt causing its own issues and thus not wanting to fill more than necessary to offset the boil off rate but would think you want to get all the rods covered first?

    While they don’t give the rate for the other units, @ #1 they have increased injection to about 400 tons a day (which should cover boil off) from about 45 prior if I’ve done my math correctly. That was the first mention of the rate of injection that I’ve seen.

  8. anonymous (History)

    Jeffrey,

    Dying to see the spentfuel pond photos. Thanks for the data.

    Anonow if

  9. G.Balachandran (History)

    I have no idea of the “secret” data used by ZMAG. However, MEXT has been releasing the daily density of fallout of both I-131 and Cs-137 radiation in the different prefectures of Japan. If we multiply the density by the area of each prefecture and add up the sum, the total I-131 fallout over all the prefectures in Japan comes to less than 3PBq, far less than the estimated release of 1760 PBq of I-131 from the Chernobyl accident, nowhere anywhere near the 20 perecent estimate of ZMAG! It is very unlikely that more than 95 percent of I-131 release from Fukushima fell far from the shores of Japan. Therefore unless the ZMAG computations are released in full, it will be difficult to place any credence on their values.

    • Eve (History)

      It’s now sea salt…anyone have a calculation on how many PBq’s there?

  10. ospalh (History)

    Eve: Well, sort of. While you can translate Putzmeister as “cleaning master”, the translation of “Putz” as “plaster” seems more appropriate. So “Putzmeister” = “plaster master”.

  11. ospalh (History)

    Using a concrete pump for water is not as much of a crazy jury-rig as it may sound. That has been done before.
    The German web site of Putzmeister has an image of a smaller pump dousing a fire:
    http://www.pmw.de/cps/rde/xchg/pm_online/hs.xsl/9405_DEU_HTML.htm

  12. JamesL (History)

    Jeffrey, Thanks for the continuing info. My detail on a concrete pumper was to clarify. They use a screw-type pump to overcome the mass and friction of pushing concrete through the line and as such they can’t pump water. Sounds like the truck is chosen for its arm system and piping, and a water pump and nozzle were added…probably not a new idea as pointed out above. The four arm links may total 58m, but the thing goes up, over, and down, so actual reach is less.

    The water supply rate reported as being increased from 4 to 18 cubic meters per hour is not reassuring to me, rather the opposite. Water levels are still below the rod tops in 1, 2, and 3 and no appreciable gain has been made over the past three days. Even at a full boil I can’t conceive of a boil-off rate of four cubic meters per hour. If it isn’t boiling off as steam (steam plumes are only episodic), I too want to know where all the water is going. More tea is not necessarily better.

    For all the talk about fuel rods I’ve seen only two hints of rod length: about 4 meters, or about 16’. Rod exposures of 1.3 to 1.8 meters would be enough of a concern if the rod would be 50m, not to mention 2m. The issue would be clearer if exposed rod length was expressed as a percentage. Rod exposure lengths of 1, 2, and 3 have not changed much over past three days: roughly 30 to 40% exposure. A question I’d like answered is whether there would be any rod left above the water after three days of continuous exposure. And that’s not taking into account any previous exposure which other hints have suggested might have been, for unknown amounts of time, complete.

    Today for the first time I see a writer making a guess as to when the ‘crisis’ will be over: about two weeks he says. That seems more of a lullaby than news. I have seen virtually no info as to whether humans have been inside 1, 2, and 3, and if they were, where they were and how long they managed to stay. It appears no human has directly observed the spent rod pools since last Saturday, which suggests to me that cautiously optimistic media reports are a product of wishful thinking.

    The reported daily radiation levels are encouraging, but I have seen no report or comment on the net effect of distributed radioactive particulates. I suspect that there is a decreasing correlation between the health hazards of reported radiation levels and the total hazard including the accumulated particular contaminants that environmental or human activity might cause to become airborne again.

    • Seb Tallents (History)

      UCS posted an article on allthingsnuclear.org suggesting that the fuel pools may be leaking as a consequence of failure of air pumps used to maintain rubber tube seals on the gates that lead to a shaft that goes to the reactor. The shaft is used during re-fueling and de-fueling, but is otherwise kept dry. A failure of these pumps in a reactor at Hatch led to the SFP loosing several feet of water over a relatively short period of time.

      Of course… over time I would guess the shaft that leads to the reactor should fill up if this is the case, anyone know how much volume that is?

  13. archjr (History)

    I assume the spent fuel ponds have been re-racked several times, but wonder also if the age of the rods affects their radioactivity, and, if so, whether the old ones are on top or on the bottom. Can anyone enlighten me?

  14. Jon Seward (History)

    Great machines, these concrete pumpers. I had wondered if they had bolted a camera onto the arm so they could see better what was going on through the side of the buildings. Wonder if we’ll ever get to see those images and footage? That might answer a lot of questions.

    I imagine that many of my Yiddische friends would see ‘PutzMeister’ as quite a joke, given that a putz is a clumsy or unfortunate person. I suppose that putzes everywhere can now walk a bit taller.

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