Tuesday, April 5, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO Claims Partial Success in Plugging the Highly Radioactive "Pit" Water

I put the pit in parenthesis because now they seem to be claiming that it was not exactly from the pit by the ocean near the water intake for Reactor 2 that the highly contaminated water (5.4 million becquerel/cubic centimeter iodine-131, as I posted yesterday) was coming.

Now they're saying, as the diagram drawn up by Asahi, based on TEPCO's presser, shows, the crack in the concrete is BELOW the floor of the pit, and the contaminated water may be coming from the substrate (crushed stones and concrete bits).

By injecting a solidifier into the substrate to fill the gaps, TEPCO claims the water coming out of the crack is "somewhat less", as reported by Asahi. What a victory.

And where is the contaminated water in the substrate coming from? They think there is a crack in the trench that contains electrical cables and wires (and that trench is connected with the trench that contains pipes to pump in/out the sea water for cooling the condenser in the turbine room).

No kidding.

So, if they ever successfully plug the water at this location, wouldn't the water just go around it and still find the way back to the crack below the pit? It is just normal dirt around the substrate. Even if they completely filled the gaps in the substrate for that particular section, the crack in the trench remains, and no one knows where the other cracks are.

For that matter, if you manage to plug all the cracks in the pipe, then the contaminated water would quickly overflow the storage tanks and trenches and run on the surface down to the ocean, unchecked, wouldn't it?

Even if you send the tiny robots down the trenches to check for cracks, the robots would be fried in an instant from radiation.

Paging adults, paging adults who can see beyond their noses, paging adults... (clearly a short supply in Japan on all fronts)...

Only now TEPCO is studying the blueprint, it seems. But as I said before, the blueprint may not reflect later modifications or last-minute design change. What TEPCO should have been doing was to call up retired engineers who worked at the plant and who probably still remember how things were laid out.

From my experience with a large construction-related engineering company, people who really knows how things work in excruciating details are the field engineers and mechanics, who are often looked down on or ignored by the management. Hands-on people, not the corporate managers or researchers in the lab.

A lot of irate Japanese (increasing in numbers, slowly) are proposing several new lines of jobs for the TEPCO management. The most rewarding job is for the VPs and managing directors to go clean out the Reactor Pressure Vessels without the anti-radiation suits on. The next seems to be the water bucket relay to scoop out the contaminated water from Reactor 2 turbine building. Some suggest a recreational activity of swimming in the ocean near the plant.


Anonymous said...

Isn’t this kind of like saying you’re partially pregnant? You’re right water is a powerful force that always wants to find it’s way to the sea it is just going to keep bypassing their efforts to stem the flow. As long as huge amounts of contaminated water are cascading out of the plants they are going to have a problem. Storage is only a short term solution They have to close their jury rigged cooling loops or they’ll just become a giant ocean contamination factory. I wonder if the solidifier’s are made out of more baby diaper gel and sawdust?

It is good to hear some people are shaking off their spirit of gaman to voice their displeasure at the situation. I agree with them that the ineffectual top brass should be part of the clean up brigade and they shouldn’t be issued any safety equipment and they should have to take their full 250 milli-sievert dose of healthful sunshine units. They should also be fed all the “safe” food that is being tossed because of “safe” levels of contamination and they should eat it exclusively until the crisis is over…..too bad it will never happen.

Here is a term you might want to familiarize your Japanese readers with it is know as littoral drift and it will probably govern contamination distribution and transport to some degree along the beach sediments in Fukushima (and beyond). I would determine the direction of the drift and avoid that direction. Littoral drift was one of the transport mechanisms that helped spread the hot particle contamination at Dounreay Scotland.

Don’t be surprised when the official radiation monitors say all of the littoral contamination has been buried by wave action not taking littoral drift into account they will also ignore the fact that animals live buried in the sand and they will become part of the contamination transport mechanism for any buried waste.


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