Jeffrey LewisFEPC Info Sheet 3/29

I was too busy yesterday to post the FEPC information sheet.  Here it is, belatedly, with the disturbing news that now we have plutonium in the soil, which indicates a containment breach.

 

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 29, 2011

  • Radiation Levels

o      At 11:45PM (JST) on March 28, TEPCO announced that plutonium 238, 239 and 240 were detected in the soil sampled on March 21st and 22nd at five spots in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Concentration of detected plutonium 238, 239 and 240 are the same level of the fallout observed in Japan at the atmospheric nuclear tests in the past and poses no major impact on human health.

o      At 6:30PM on March 29, radiation level at main gate (approximately 3,281 feet from Unit 2 reactor building) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 177 micro Sv/hour.

o      At 6:30PM on March 29, radiation level at west gate (approximately 3,609 feet from Unit 2 reactor building) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 120.2 micro Sv/hour.

o      Measurement results of environmental radioactivity level around Fukushima Nuclear Power Station announced at 7:00PM on March 29 are shown in the attached PDF file. English version is available at:    http://www.mext.go.jp/english/radioactivity_level/detail/1304082.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 1:00PM on March 29, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.371MPa.

o      At 1:00PM on March 29, water level inside the reactor core: 1.65 meters below the top of the fuel rods.

o      At 1:00PM on March 29, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.265MPaabs.

o      At 1:00PM on March 29, the temperature of the reactor vessel measured at the water supply nozzle: 570.9 degrees Fahrenheit

o      As of 3:00PM on March 29, transferring the water found at the turbine building to the condenser continues.

o      As of 4:00PM on March 29, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor

o      At 1:00PM on March 29, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 114.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

o      At 1:00PM on March 29, pressure inside the reactor core: -0.025MPa.

o      At 1:00PM on March 29, water level inside the reactor core: 1.5 meters below the top of the fuel rods.

o      At 1:00PM on March 29, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.1MPaabs.

o      As of 4:00PM on March 29, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.

o      As of 7:00PM on March 29, approximately 96 tons of water in total has been injected into the spent fuel storage pool.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor

o      At 12:00PM on March 29, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.029MPa.

o      At 12:00PM on March 29, water level inside the reactor core: 1.85 meters below the top of the fuel rods.

o      At 12:00PM on March 29, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.1075MPaabs.

o      At 2:17PM on March 29, TEPCO began to shoot freshwater aimed at the spent fuel pool, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete, until 6:18PM (approximately 100 tons in total).

o      As of 4:00PM on March 29, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.

o      As of 7:00PM on March 29, approximately 4,697 tons of water in total has been shot to the spent fuel storage pool.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor

o      At 11:50AM on March 29, lighting was restored in the Central Control Room.

o      As of 7:00PM on March 29, approximately 960 tons of water in total has been shot to the spent fuel storage pool.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5 reactor

o      At 2:00PM on March 29, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 6 reactor

o      At 2:00PM on March 29, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 70.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Fukushima Daiichi Common Spent Fuel Pool

o      At 3:10PM on March 28, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

o      As of 7:00PM on March 29, approximately 130 tons of water in total has been injected to the spent fuel storage pool.

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. FSB (History)

    hot enough? “the temperature of the reactor vessel measured at the water supply nozzle: 570.9 degrees Fahrenheit.”

    And, please, can someone advise them to switch to deg C? MPa and Fahrenheit don’t play nice.

    • mike (History)

      Apparently the design max is 300C and this figure is down from a peak over 400C. The 3/30 report has it slightly lower to 270C, though on 3/24 it was reported below 250C

  2. Thomas (History)

    Here’s a quesiton that I’ve been wondering for awhile:

    Instead of pumping water into the reactor buildings, why doesn’t TEPCO just pump in cement and bury the reactors and fuel pools?

    • John Schilling (History)

      1. It is not clear that the existing foundation and structure can handle a solid block of concrete encompassing everything up to and including the spent fuel pool. It would be a Bad Thing to have a pool full of wet cement and hot reactor fuel collapse and fall to the ground – in hindsight, maybe not the best idea to put the thing three stories above ground in the first place, though I can see why they did it that way.

      2. Entombment of the reactor alone would be more feasible, and may be the long-term plan. However, the reactor cores are still generating approximately three megawatts of decay heat each, and concrete is a pretty good insulator. Premature entombment would cause, not prevent, a full meltdown with catastrophic containment failure. I believe we are past the point where that is a plausible outcome, but that is not certain and it is a needless risk.

  3. Spruce (History)

    There’s a much clearer indication of containment breach: the big amount of water in turbine hall and tunnels that contains large amounts of non-volatile nuclides. The nuclides in the water (Ce-144 for one) pretty much guarantee that the water has leaked out from the primary loop and containment building as water. Had it been condensation from steam release, there would not be that mix of nuclides in the water.

    Compared to that the tiny amounts of plutonium (it took a measurement of one week for them to become detectable) is much more ambigious sign.

  4. Cliff (History)

    reactor #2: At 1:00PM on March 29, pressure inside the reactor core: -0.025MPa.

    Does this mean that the pressure in the core is *less* than atmposphere? If so, how could this be? Anyhow, I thought the core of #2 was breached anyhow.

    This ‘data’ is as reliable as the sources for it.

    • Wramblin' Wreck (History)

      Cliff, the pressure you are seeing is the drift of the pressure gage and electronics. Ideally the pressure should read 0.000 but there is always some inaccuracies in the pressure transducer and current loop.

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