Jeffrey LewisFEPC Info Sheet 4/1

Greetings from foggy Monterey!

I was traveling yesterday (and managed to irretrievably lose my iPhone), so I didn’t get around to posting the daily information sheet from FEP on the situation at Fukushima.

Full-text 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), April 1, 2011

  • Radiation Levels
    • On March 31, TEPCO announced that radioactive nuclides were detected from the groundwater sampled around the turbine buildings of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station on March 30. The results of the analysis are as follows:

 

Nuclides

(half-life)

Concentration (Unit : Bq/cm3)
Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 5 Unit 6
I-131

(8 days)

4.3 x 102 8.0 x 101 2.2 x 101 1.6 x 100 2.0 x 101
I-132

(2 hours)

8.3 x 100 UDL 1.3 x 101 UDL 5.8 x 10-1
Cs-134

(2 years)

5.2 x 100 7.0 x 10-1 1.0 x 101 2.5 x 10-1 4.7 x 100
Cs-136

(13 days)

3.9 x 10-1 6.5 x 10-2 9.4 x 10-1 2.7 x 10-2 3.9 x 10-1
Cs-137

(30 years)

5.9 x 100 6.3 x 10-1 1.0 x 101 2.7 x 10-1 4.9 x 100

UDL: under the detection limit

 

    • At 7:00PM (JST) on April 1, radiation level at main gate (approximately 3,281 feet from Unit 2 reactor building) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 141 micro Sv/hour.
    • At 7:00PM on April 1, radiation level at west gate (approximately 3,609 feet from Unit 2 reactor building) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 90.0 micro Sv/hour.
    • Measurement results of environmental radioactivity level around Fukushima Nuclear Power Station announced at 7:00PM on April 1 are shown in the attached PDF file. English version is available at:    http://www.mext.go.jp/english/radioactivity_level/detail/1304082.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 10:00AM on April 1, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.295MPa.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, water level inside the reactor core: 1.65 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.165MPaabs.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, the temperature of the reactor vessel measured at the water supply nozzle: 479.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • As of 3:30PM on April 1, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, preparation to recover and transfer the accumulated water at the turbine building continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, approximately 90 tons of water in total has been injected into the spent fuel storage pool.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, pressure inside the reactor core: -0.007MPa.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, water level inside the reactor core: 1.5 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.11MPaabs.
    • As of 3:30PM on April 1, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, preparation to recover and transfer the accumulated water at the turbine building continues.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor
    • At 4:30PM on March 31, TEPCO began to shoot freshwater aimed at the spent fuel pool, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete, until 7:33PM (approximately 105 tons in total).
    • At 11:45AM on April 1, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.016MPa.
    • At 11:45AM on April 1, water level inside the reactor core: 1.9 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 11:45AM on April 1, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.1068MPaabs.
    • As of 3:30PM on April 1, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, preparation to recover and transfer the accumulated water at the turbine building continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, approximately 4,802 tons of water in total has been shot into the spent fuel storage pool.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor
    • At 8:28AM on April 1, TEPCO began to shoot freshwater aimed at the spent fuel pool, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete, until 2:14PM (approximately 180 tons in total).
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, approximately 1,278 tons of water in total has been shot into the spent fuel storage pool.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5 reactor
    • At 2:00PM on April 1, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 100.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 6 reactor
    • At 2:00PM on April 1, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Common Spent Fuel Pool
    • At 7:30AM on April 1, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Others
    • At 3:42PM on March 31, a US Military barge carrying freshwater docked at the dedicated port at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, towed by a vessel of Marine Self Defense Forces.
    • At 3:00PM on April 1, anti-scattering agent was dispersed on a trial basis around the Fukushima Daiichi Common Spent Fuel Pool.
    • At 3:58PM on April 1, transferring the freshwater from the US Military barge to a filtrate tank commenced.

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. Eve (History)

    For those of you who might not have read about the workers conditions…

    “Emails from Fukushima workers reveal mental strain”
    New Scientist – March 31st

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/03/emails-from-fukushima-workers.html

  2. Eve (History)

    Sandia report – Jan 2011
    Salt Disposal of Heat-Generating Nuclear Waste
    Frank D. Hansen and Christi D. Leigh

    http://brc.gov/e-mails/January%2011/Andrew%20Orrell%20_Salt_SAND-01-13-2011.pdf

    While they discuss salt repository science, perhaps their is also scope for a backstop emergency system built on a MSR gravity fed shutdown system also?

  3. bks (History)

    Interesting web log from a chemist at Argonne National Lab:

    http://shkrobius.livejournal.com/302803.html

    Read the 15 March main entry and compare his predictions to current situation. He expands on the current situation on 30 March in the comments section.

    –bks

    • Eve (History)

      I did not read through the Russian input, but what they do say is a rather bleak outcome.

      Production of copious HCL in the RPV, and later the CO and H2 from concrete is rather ugly scenario.

      As they say “They are dammed if they put water on and dammed if they don’t.”

    • John Schilling (History)

      shkrobius is in error; the Fukushima Daiichi powerplant uses boiling-water reactors, not pressurized-water reactors. This actually does make a difference, particularly if one starts one’s arguments with “boiling = steam = inadequate cooling = progression to catastrophe”. Water boiling to steam is what is *supposed* to happen; the only question there is whether there is enough of it going on.

  4. bks (History)

    John, not exactly. He explains his novel acronym in the comments.

    –bks

    • John Schilling (History)

      There’s nothing novel about his acronym, though most people omit the ‘L’ as redundant. “Pressurized (Light) Water Reactor” is a standard term used to describe a type of reactor that is not found at Fukushima Daiichi.

      And he’s still wrong. According to shkrobius, “if water phase separates into steam and liquid, the heat transfer becomes inefficient and the fuel rods overheat”. Water phase separating into steam and liquid, at the surface of the fuel elements, is how a BWR is *supposed* to operate. And notwithstanding the alleged inefficiency of this means of heat transfer, nucleate boiling at the surface of the fuel elements provides enough cooling to carry away all the heat generated by a reactor at full power.

      It is possible that he is trying to describe a transition from nucleate to film boiling driven by a pressure drop. If so, he doesn’t have the language and he clearly doesn’t have (or didn’t do) the math. A pressure drop from 8 MPa to 100 kPa, starting with nucleate pool boiling in water, can reduce the peak cooling rate to 18% of its original value. However, by the time the Fukushima Daiichi reactors lost normal cooling, the heat generation rate was down to 1.6% of peak – and there was presumably a healthy margin between peak reactor power and peak cooling capacity.

      It seems more likely that shkrobius simply misunderstood, and then tried to invoke handwaving rather than admit error. If the Fukushima Daiichi reactors were actual pressurized-water reactors, it is conceivable that they would have behaved in the way he described. Likewise if someone were to depressurize the containment while still trying to run the reactors at high power.

      But a BWR in even hot shutdown, will be adequately cooled if it is immersed in water – at any pressure, in spite of steam being generated within the core. If any of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors overheated in the past (which they pretty clearly did) or are overheating now (less clear), it is because of insufficient water in the core, not insufficient pressure.

  5. Tosk59 (History)
  6. Tosk59 (History)

    A bit of a tangent, but is the info at this link true or is it… ?

    http://bit.ly/e0J9nb

    “80% des travailleurs du nucléaire au Japon sont en fait des sous-traitants, recrutés parmi les couches les plus paupérisées de la population japonaise.” – 80% of the nuclear workers in japan are sub-contractors, recruited from the poorest sections of Japanese society.

    “Un reportage d’El Mundo révélait en 2003 que la centrale de Fukushima Daiichi allait jusqu’à recruter des sans-abris dans les parcs de Tôkyô.” – a report in El Mundo in 2003 revealed that the Kukushima Daiichi center went so far as to recruit the homeless in Tokyo parks…

    • R.FinJpn (History)

      Tosk59, It is approximately true.

      In Japan, many of nuclear workers are actually employed as a sub-contractor or a part-timer recruited from the area nearby the nuclear plants or the poorest sections of Japanese society because electric companies in Japan think that works in nuclear plants are very dangerous to deal with by themselves in term of radiation risks and radioactive contamination (i.e, a worker in nuclear plants cannot keep working for a long time) and that people who are socially and easily employable and disposable are convenient to utilize.

      Even now, some of Fukushima 50 are such workers, who do not have expertise and who are treated ill.

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