Jeffrey LewisFEPC Info Sheet 3/24

TEPCO turned on the lights in the control room at Unit 1.  I imagine this is a little like turning on the lights Saturday morning after a very large party that turned ugly. It has to be the same sinking feeling as the scale and consequences of the preceding events slowly dawn on you.  Except that this crisis is continuing.

Keith Bradsher has an interesting story in the New York Times that summarizes the new technical concerns about current operations to stabilize the reactors at Fukushima including the  large amounts of precipitated salt that has collected in the reactors and the appearance of a fission product (I-131) that might imply criticality and a containment breach.

At lunch the other day, I compared this to how I play chess — being forced into a series of moves to stave off one disaster after another, all the while unable to manage how those moves are weakening my long-term position.  My solution was usually to play with a good friend over beers; Sadly, TEPCO doesn’t have the option of playing a drunken Mother Nature.

Full text of the most recent FEPC information sheet after the jump.

Update to Information Sheet Regarding the Tohoku Earthquake

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

As of 11:00AM (EST), March 24, 2011

  • Radiation Levels

o      At 6:30PM (JST) on March 24, radiation level at main gate (approximately 3,281 feet from Unit 2 reactor building) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 204.5 micro Sv/hour.

o      Measurement results of environmental radioactivity level around Fukushima Nuclear Power Station announced at 7:00PM on March 24 are shown in the attached PDF file. English version is available at:    http://www.mext.go.jp/english/radioactivity_level/detail/1303962.htm

o      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

o      At 10:50AM on March 24, hazy white steam was emitted from the top of the second containment building.

o      At 11:30AM on March 24, lighting was restored in the Central Control Room.

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.423MPa.

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, water level inside the reactor core: 1.7 meters below the top of the fuel rods.

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.39MPaabs.

o      As of 7:30PM on March 24, the injection of seawater into the reactor core continues.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, pressure inside the reactor core: -0.023MPa.

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, water level inside the reactor core: 1.15 meters below the top of the fuel rods.

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.11MPaabs.

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

o      As of 6:00PM on March 24, approximately 58 tons of water in total has been injected into the spent fuel storage pool.

o      As of 6:00PM on March 24, external power generation is connected and the functionality of the electric devices is being checked.

o      As of 7:30PM on March 24, the injection of seawater into the reactor core continues.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor

o      At 11:30PM on March 23, it was confirmed that the emission of black smoke had ceased (confirmed again at 4:50AM on March 24).

o      At 5:35AM on March 24, TEPCO began to inject seawater into the spent fuel pool via cooling and purification line, until at 4:05PM (approximately 120 tons in total).

o      At 10:20AM on March 24, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.036MPa.

o      At 10:20AM on March 24, water level inside the reactor core: 1.9 meters below the top of the fuel rods.

o      At 10:20AM on March 24, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.107MPaabs.

o      At 2:25PM on March 24, the radiation level near the power panel of the 1st basement floor of turbine building was measured as 200 milli Sv per hour.

o      As of 6:00PM on March 24, approximately 3,927 tons of water in total has been shot to the spent fuel storage pool.

o      As of 7:30PM on March 24, the injection of seawater into the reactor core continues.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor

o      At 2:36PM on March 24, TEPCO began to shoot water aimed at the spent fuel pool, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete, until 5:30PM (approximately 150 tons in total).

o      As of 6:00PM on March 24, approximately 685 tons of water in total has been shot to the spent fuel storage pool.

o      As of 6:00PM on March 24, external power generation is connected and the functionality of the electric devices is being checked.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5 reactor

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 117.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, the temperature of the water in the reactor core: 197.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 6 reactor

o      At 1:00PM on March 24, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Common Spent Fuel Pool

o      At 3:37PM on March 24, the external power started to be supplied.

o      As of 6:00PM on March 24, approximately 130 tons of water in total has been injected to the spent fuel storage pool.

o      As of 6:05PM on March 24, cooling of the spent fuel pool began.

o      At 6:40PM on March 24, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 163.4 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. bks (History)

    For Chernobyl it was entombment. The endgame for Fukushima will be burial at sea.

    The Chinese who are hoarding salt to protect against radiation are quite rational. After all, TEPCO has a radiation problem and they have been telling us for five days about their efforts to pour saltwater on spent fuel pools and “inject” saltwater into overheating reactors. why shouldn’t the Chinese emulate the TEPCO best brains?

    Pushing the reactors into the sea in an emergency was the plan from the time the location was chosen.

    –bks

  2. 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. The truck was probably chosen for its arm system and piping, with a water pump and nozzle being 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 and operator exposure more than 58m would suggest.

    The water supply rate reported the 23rd 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 four days. Even at a full boil I can’t conceive of a boil-off rate of four cubic meters per hour, not to mention 18. If it isn’t boiling off as steam (steam plumes are only episodic), I too want to know where all the water is going, and am in awe of media obliviousness to the question.

    Your reactor water level news of today is not good, given the increased reactor water injection rate reported yesterday. Only #2 shows any improvement, with #1 unchanged and #3 showing a net loss:. In terms of level over time, this is what we see:

    #1 Reactor water level (below rod tops): Mar 24= 1.7 m; Mar 23= 1.7m; Mar 22= 1.8m; Mar 21=1.75m; Mar 20=1.7m; Mar 19=1.75m

    Mar 24= 1.15 m; Mar 23=1.25m; Mar 22= 1.35m; Mar 21=1.35; Mar 20=1.4m; Mar 19=1.30m

    Mar 24= 1.9 m; Mar 23= 1.8m; Mar 22= 1.575m; Mar 21=1.6m; Mar 20=1.65m; Mar 19=1.85m

    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 intact above the water after three days (or a week) of continuous exposure. And that’s not taking into account any previous greater length exposures, including complete exposure, which have been hinted.

    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 a decreasing correlation between the health hazards of only the reported radiation levels, and the total hazard including the accumulated particular contaminants that environmental or human activity might/will cause to become airborne again.

    • rwendland (History)

      However Unit #1 RPV pressure is very high. It is hard to believe it could be leaking while retaining a pressure of above 4 atmospheres.

      Using the NISA reports, which give absolute pressure numbers in MPa, rather than the realative pressure above from FEPC above, Unit #1 “Reactor Pressure” at two measurement points has been:

      23-03-2011 06:00 0.403 0.391
      23-03-2011 12:00 0.457 0.420
      23-03-2011 18:00 0.481 0.459
      24-03-2011 05:00 0.511 0.488
      24-03-2011 11:00 0.533 0.502

      Guessing, looks to me they will have to release some of this pressure before too long.

      http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/

    • BungalowJill (History)

      Prior to the black smoke release 23/3/11 jaif english have provided readings from “north of the service building”. Radiation levels at this point had been much higher than at the gate and are no longer being published. Could this be because these levels are in fact now rising again?

    • Jeffrey (History)

      I wasn’t offended!

  3. CJ (History)

    @ JamesL,

    It’s worth mentioning that many of those concrete pumping trucks can be remotely operated via a wireless controller, so perhaps the operator was further away. Namely it allows for the operator to be where the end of the boom is, and is then able to manipulate it from what they can see.

    Of course, they are not actually there (last I checked, its a tad unbearable in the reactor) but hopefully at a safer distance. Since they equipped it with a camera, hopefully they also extended the range of the control pad as well.

  4. lsxaq (History)

    Here are new pictures from the globe and mail inside the fukushima nuclear plant.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/photos-from-inside-japans-damaged-nuclear-plant/article1954640/

  5. bks (History)

    Did anyone catch those TEPCO figures for the radioactivity in the seawater those guys stepped in near the turbine in Unit 3? I heard them on NHK-TV(English), en passant, and I have not heard them repeated. They seemed too high and sometimes the translators garble numbers and/or units.

    –bks

    • Eve (History)

      Three workers incurred dosages of 173-183 millisieverts.
      Two had water enter their shoes. One had boots and was somewhat protected. Skin lesions were reported but these could also be thermal burns.

    • bks (History)

      Eve, Not the doses the workers received, the *radioactivity of the seawater*.

      –bks

    • Eve (History)

      Perhaps this….
      “At 2:25PM on March 24, the radiation level near the power panel of the 1st basement floor of turbine building was measured as 200 milli Sv per hour.” – reactor 3

  6. Eve (History)

    It’s becoming a game of blitz on five chess boards where one or two boards already has six bishops and another two queens. One board could also affect the other.

    “At 2:25PM on March 24, the radiation level near the power panel of the 1st basement floor of turbine building was measured as 200 milli Sv per hour.” – reactor 3

    “At 11:00AM on March 24, absolute pressure, 0.533 MPa” – reactor 1

    “At 1:00PM on March 24, the temperature of the water in the reactor core: 197.6 degrees Fahrenheit.” – reactor 5

    “At 6:40PM on March 24, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 163.4 degrees Fahrenheit.” – SNF pool reactor 6

    Saltwater, heat and pressure are our intrinsic clock.

  7. rwendland (History)

    New photos from NISA in thier 19:30 March 24th, 2011 press drop:

    http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/files/en20110325-1-5.pdf

    NISA’s rater wonderful status overview diagrams:

    http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/files/en20110325-1-3.pdf

    lists Unit 1 RPV currently at:

    Feedwater Nozzle Temperature: 217.9 ℃
    Temperature at the bottom head of RPV: 172.4℃

    Reactor Pressure A: 0.540MPa (absolute)
    Reactor Pressure B: 0.468MPa (absolute)
    Condition: Tend to increase

    There seems little discussion of Unit 1 temp and pressure. Is it not worryingly high?

    • Eve (History)

      Don’t worry it’s just the head gasket….

      Didn’t they release at 0.580 last time? I’m trying to find that…. though I see….

      “At 6:55 AM on March 16, the pressure inside the reactor core was measured at 0.043 MPa. The water level inside the reactor core was measured at 1.4 meters below the top of the fuel rods.”

  8. anon (History)

    I liked the chess analogy. Thanks for doing these updates.

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