Monday, July 11, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Robot "Quince" Is Back, Measuring Radiation in Reactor 2 Bldg

The Japanese robot "Quince", who got stuck on the stairs leading to the Reactor 2 basement and had to be rescued by carbon colleagues back in June, completed a successful mission of entering the reactor building in Reactor 2, and this time climbing up the stairs to the 2nd and the 3rd floors, and measuring air radiation. The feat was accomplished on July 8.

TEPCO's handouts for the press on July 11:

Air samples taken on the 2nd and 3rd floor still have slight amount of iodine-131, and a lot of radioactive cesium. The measurement unit is becquerels per cubic centimeter.

TEPCO says the radiation is too high for human workers (up to 50 millisieverts/hour), which is a bit odd considering the company didn't have any problem sending in human workers into Reactor 1 which had the radiation level as high as 1,000 millisieverts/hour (or 1 sievert/hour) on the 2nd floor of the reactor building, and the 1st floor was not much better.

But that was back in the beginning of May. TEPCO's sudden unwillingness to have the workers risk radiation indicates to me that the company may be running thin on skilled workers with low radiation exposure, both at TEPCO and affiliate companies, and wants to conserve on the radiation dose for them. In the press conference on July 10 (morning), I heard them say they are not letting workers continue to work once they exceed 150 millisieverts of cumulative radiation exposure, even if the regulation has been relaxed to 250 millisieverts after the accident.


Anonymous said...

Building 2 had the high humidity levels.

Iodine in the air, still.

netudiant said...

Given that the hope is to remove the reactor fuel as early as 2021, it is clear TEPCO is starting to recognize that they are in for a very long effort. Burning the people essential for doing the work is obviously self defeating.
More to the point, this is the simple part of the cleanup.
Working in the lower levels, after the water has been pumped out, will be much more difficult, yet essential if the cleanup is ever going to get done. The human and financial cost of doing this, for a decade or several as necessary, is far beyond TEPCOs capacity. So there must be government help, first financial but eventually also human, else the place will never get cleaned up.

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