Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Reactor No.3 Core Was Hot, Too

I read the Reuters article earlier today that said (the article has been updated since, but it still says the same thing):

... He gave no more details, but a TEPCO executive vice president, Sakae Muto, said the core of reactor No.1 was now a worry with its temperature at 380-390 Celsius (715-735 Fahrenheit).

"We need to strive to bring that down a bit," Muto told a news conference, adding that the reactor was built to run at a temperature of 302 C (575 F).

Turns out that it's not just the Reactor No.1. The Reactor No.3 had the same problem.

I found a press conference on March 20 where TEPCO engineers discussed the temperature inside the Containment Vessel of the Reactor 3, which went as high as 390-degree Celsius before they managed to bring it back down below 200-degree Celsius.

During the TEPCO press conference that started at 10:00PM on March 20, TEPCO's engineer disclosed the temperature inside the Containment Vessel (or outside the Pressure Vessel, same thing) of the Reactor No.3 was high, though not abnormally high. (First reference 28:35 into the conference - video here, in Japanese; free subscription):

In the Reactor No.3, the temperature inside the Containment Vessel was 380 to 390-degree Celsius after 5PM on March 19, when we were finally able to measure the temperature. We poured in water to cool, and the temperature is currently below 200-degree Celsius.

(Second reference after 1:02:40):

The thermal sensor is attached to the outside of the Pressure Vessel. 380-390-degree Celsius is about 100-degree Celsius higher than the normal operating temperature. We didn't know why the temperature was so high. We have no experience in how to deal with the situation we're in. So we decided to pour more water in to see what would happen. Luckily, the temperature went down after the pour.

I wonder if that's the sensor by the Israeli company...

It was a maddeningly disorganized, long (over 2 hours) press conference. Reporters didn't seem to fully understand what they were hearing, and what they were asking. And TEPCO's engineers didn't know how to how to talk to laymen without any scientific background. Unlike the press conference on March 21 by TEPCO's VP Muto (which I also watched), though, these engineers sounded sincere enough in answering questions.


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