Friday, June 17, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Full "Hot" Run Starts at Contaminated Water Treatment System

After changing the "rupture disks" for the Kurion's part of the system and blaming the workers for closing the valve by mistake, TEPCO has started the full run, using "hot" water that they have in abundance (over 110,000 tonnes of it) at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

It must mean they were really running out of space to store the highly contaminated water, and have decided to run the full system made up of 4 different components by 4 different vendors (Kurion, Areva, Toshiba, Hitachi) with what looks to me like a very short test run. Or is this normal time-frame for a test run of the system like this? I'm no expert so I don't know for sure.

From TEPCO's handout for the press on June 17 (in Japanese only):

  • Kurion's system tested: from 3:45AM to 2PM, June 14 (10 hours and 15 minutes)

  • Areva's system tested: from 1:10PM to 8:35PM, June 15 (7 hours and 25 minutes)

  • Kurion+Areva tested: from 10:40PM, June 15 to 12:20AM, June 16 (1 hour 40 minutes)

  • Entire system tested: from 12:20AM to 7:20PM, June 16 when the system stopped (19 hours)

  • Entire system test resumed: from 1:00PM to ??? (NHK says the full run started in the evening, so 6 hours? making the total system test run of 25 hours)

If the "hot" water ever leaks like the low contamination water did (to the tune of 6 tonnes), I hope TEPCO and the participating companies have a plan ready to fix the leak.

Other potential Murphy moments would include:

  • Heavy rain

  • Seawater (neither Kurion's nor Areva's system has dealt with contaminated seawater)

  • Super "hot" radioactive sludge from the process, estimated to be 2,000 tonnes (no one knows what to do with them)

Even the cesium absorption towers (cylinders) need storage space after the run every day. TEPCO will need to replace one a day.

NHK World (6/17/2011):

A system to decontaminate highly radioactive water has gone into service at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The system is considered key to dealing with the build-up of contaminated water that is hampering work to bring the reactors under control.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, activated the system on Friday evening after conducting final test-runs.

The utility earlier found water leaking from one of the system's 4 components -- a US-made cesium absorption device -- forcing the test-runs to be called off on Thursday.

TEPCO later determined that a mistakenly closed valve in the pipes had clogged the water, which then damaged a safety valve in one of the absorption units and caused the leak. The broken valve has been replaced.

Highly radioactive water is building up in reactor facilities at a rate of 500 tons per day. TEPCO hopes to cool the reactors by decontaminating the runoff and re-circulating the water.

Stable operations of the decontaminators will now be important, as the system has suffered glitches both before and during the test-runs.

Friday, June 17, 2011 20:51 +0900 (JST)


Fiat's Fire said...

Yes, this will a "hot" run for sure - hot particles run!

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

This article says NRC commissioners refused to answer questions, what ever happened to contempt of congress?

"In Vermont, state officials are attempting to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant by refusing to issue a state certificate of public good so the plant can operate—even though the NRC gave Entergy, the company that owns Vermont Yankee, a 20-year license in March to continue operations there.

Sanders was incensed at reports that earlier this week, the NRC held a secret vote urging the Justice Department to intervene and force Vermont to allow the nuclear plant to continue operations. Through two rounds of questions, Sanders asked each commissioner if they participated in such a vote, and how they voted. Each commissioner refused to answer his questions. Jaczko did admit under intense questioning from Sanders that his staff did meet with representatives from Entergy—but not with state officials.

Sanders repeatedly criticized the commissioners, and urged them to step back from the issue. “If the state of Vermont chooses energy efficiency and sustainable energy for its future, instead of an aging and trouble-ridden nuclear power plant, it is not the place of the NRC to prevent us from doing that,” he told them. “The NRC’s mandate is very clear. Its concerns begin and end with safety. It is not supposed to be the arbiter of political or legal disputes between a $14 billion dollar energy company and the people of Vermont.”

Anonymous said...

There is no storage capacity left in the Process Main Building and the Miscellaneous Solid Waste Volume Reduction Treatment Building.

Anonymous said...

They will throw everything into the ocean... And then, japanese style, they will blame the workers, the weather, the moon, the sun, the wind.

Whatever. ;-)

This circus will continue. But month after month, more lies will be exposed... Japanese authorities and Tepco, accomplices in crime, will be more and more in a difficult position.

In a few months, we will start to have the first "abortions", voluntarily or "accidentaly"... In one year, we will the first new borns with malformations etc.

In USSR it was easier to "hide" things... No modern telecommunications, no internet, no webcam... But in 2011... in a small country like Japan... the name of the game is totally different.

That's the terrible beauty of nuke : even if it embarass you, even if you want to "forget" quickly as possible... it stays with you a very long, very long time... And it become more "visible" with time.

I wish we will witness the dismise of the corrupted japanese authorities, and the criminals put on trial.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

Another thing that made the Chernobyl disaster easier to hide was the "Iron Curtain". It wasn't until after the USSR collapsed in the 1990's that independent information started to leak out. The true extent of the damage is still disputed today.

The problem I see in Japan is the spirit of Gaman is both a blessing and curse. Suffering the unbearable with quiet dignity is why everything stayed relatively calm after the triple disaster. Unfortunately this is also why a majority of the population is willing to ignore the obvious. Then there is also the Hibakusha stigma nobody wants to be a "contamination" victim. There are reports that evacuee school children are already experiencing discrimination.

The Japanese tend to "hammer down the nails that stick up" so I fear the overall outcome may not be much different than Chernobyl. The Japanese economy can't weather a storm of truth coming out of Fukushima so those in power will do their best to obfuscate and minimize the effects.

I predict Japan won't give up it's radioactive tea. Eventually they'll just buy enough uncontaminated tea from elsewhere to blend it down below the legal limit. Then they'll claim the radiation is magically gone. The effected tea farmers will petition the TEPCO ratepayers/taxpayers to foot the bill (let's be serious TEPCO isn't paying for all of this).

The USSR had to do stuff like this around the Aral sea (among other places). For awhile they kept operating a fish packing plant there by importing fish from thousands of miles away because they couldn't accept the truth.

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